With “pepper” in the common name, you might assume that these plants are good for eating. That’s partially true.
The Ornamental Pepper plant, or Capsicum annuum, is grown specifically for their culinary additions rather than for the taste.
Capsicum, the genus that these individuals belong to, contains chilies and peppers.
This also includes bell peppers, though Capsicum annuum should not be confused with this vegetable.
Being able to house your own Ornamental Pepper plant may be intriguing for a few different reasons.
Most who choose to house these plants do so for their appearance. This makes sense, given the first word in their name.
The leaves are simple, small, and a light green appearance. The peppers are colorful, ranging between red, orange, and yellow.
And this happens all on the same plant! Growing them indoors can make for a beautiful display to anyone who visits your home.
And better yet, they aren’t all that challenging!
This article will look at what will keep these plants vibrant.
- 1 ORNAMENTAL PEPPER PLANT CARE BASICS
- 2 ORNAMENTAL PEPPER PLANT WATERING TIPS AND TRICKS
- 3 PRUNING AN ORNAMENTAL PEPPER PLANT
- 4 PROPAGATING YOUR ORNAMENTAL PEPPER PLANT
- 5 ORNAMENTAL PEPPER PLANT PESTS AND DISEASES
- 6 ORNAMENTAL PEPPER PLANT PROBLEMS
- 7 FIVE STEPS TO A HAPPY ORNAMENTAL PEPPER PLANT
- 8 ORNAMENTAL PEPPER PLANT FAQ
ORNAMENTAL PEPPER PLANT CARE BASICS
Did you know that the Ornamental Pepper plant could be grown as both a perennial and an annual, depending on the environment?
You will more often find them as an annual, especially when it comes to inside the house.
There are a few preferences that should be considered before going out and bringing one of these plants home.
The general rule for Ornamental Pepper plants is that they aren’t all that picky when it comes to the type of soil that they live in. Any potting mix that you find at the store should work just fine.
They do prefer that the soil be slightly more acidic than the typical houseplant. It should be somewhere between 6.0 and 6.8 on the pH scale.
Healthier plants tend to be placed in a soil that is rich in nutrients and that can drained properly.
Adding drainage holes is crucial in ensuring that your houseplant doesn’t sit in the water.
Another factor to consider is that Ornamental Pepper plants tend to need a bit more phosphorus than other houseplants.
Peppers are notorious for loving sunshine. In fact, they need it. Those fruits take a lot of energy.
Plants gain energy from the sun. The Ornamental Pepper plant requires at least a few hours of direct, bright light.
The rest of the time, they’ll prefer to be in a room with ample lighting. We suggest finding a location with a window that faces the east or west. This will help keep them happy and healthy.
Indoor individuals will need supplemental lights through artificial means if there isn’t enough sunlight in your home. We understand that a good majority of houseplants will become scorched when given this much light.
You don’t have to worry about that as much with the Ornamental Pepper plant. They would rather get too much sun then not enough.
The general gist of watering an Ornamental Pepper plant is not to give them too much. Doing so can cause damage to the roots, thus potentially stunting the overall health and growth of your plant.
You should focus on allowing the soil to dry out between watering. Be careful about this, however.
They still need moisture to grow those vibrant leaves, flowers, and fruit. The soil should be evenly saturated to prevent shock.
Watering these individuals once every few days is ideal, just as long as you watch how dry the soil gets. Still hesitant? We’ll go over this in greater detail later on.
One of the basic care that they are picky about tends to be how warm their environment is. Being naturally found in North and South America, you might deduce that they prefer it to be quite warm!
Without this, the plant won’t produce as many fruits. Actually, it will likely struggle to grow in general without the proper temperatures. In the daytime, you should strive for anywhere between 21 and 28 degrees Celsius (70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit).
The evening hours can be more forgiving, though still fairly warm.
Cooler temperature ranges are from 13 to 18 degrees Celsius (55 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit). This may be a bit challenging for a home lifestyle.
Do what you can! If this is incredibly challenging, just make sure that the temperature doesn’t reach below 13 degrees Celsius (55 degrees Fahrenheit).
Given their origins, the Ornamental Pepper plant responds positively to higher levels of humidity.
Unlike temperature, this isn’t as much of a requirement. Most homes tend to sit at around 40 percent relative humidity.
This isn’t all that bad for these plants, but they prefer higher. If you can manage, aim for 50 percent relative humidity.
Low levels of humidity can have negative effects such as stunted growth and falling leaves.
You can increase the humidity of your plant’s growing environment with a few easy steps. Implementing a misting schedule is one of the easiest methods.
You can also place your Ornamental Pepper plant in a saucer with rocks so that the water evaporates and thus increases the humidity.
The biggest tip that we can provide is that you actively try to avoid placing your flora in a spot that may be subjected to drafts.
Most plants that produce vivacious fruit need the additional help of fertilizer. The Ornamental Pepper plant is another candidate for supplemental feeding.
The nutrients that they tend to need the most are phosphorus and potassium. Try to find a fertilizer that specializes in this, rather than the typical food that includes more nitrogen.
Opting for the correct solution will enhance the growth of the flowers and fruit. Dilute the fertilizer so that it isn’t overpowering, and only use when the Ornamental Pepper plant is producing fruit.
Fertilizer in any other season is moot and can potentially harm your flora. You will want to add this food in two-week intervals.
There are two ways in which you can go about propagating your Ornamental Pepper plant.
The benefit of creating a copy from the adult would likely outweigh any hesitancy that you may have about the process itself. If you have a healthy, vibrant plant with high-quality fruit, then copying that individual is the right choice!
Besides, having more fruit at your disposal. The two common methods include starting from seedlings, and stem cuttings. Growing from seeds will take two months, on average.
Cuttings tend to be quicker. They don’t require as many specifics in terms of growth. We will provide a detailed step-by-step guide for stem cutting propagation.
We consider Ornamental Pepper plants to be a worthy houseplant for a few reasons. The first, and often most important, is their ability to provide people with a tasty addition to cuisine.
The other is in relation to their overall size. These peppers stand at about six to twelve inches in height, even at maturity. Their width measures to about the same.
They are considered to be a perennial, meaning that they last for longer than a few years. Surprisingly, they can also be grown as an annual as well, with certain conditions.
These individuals are known for providing lots of fruit during the growing season. There tend to be at least half a dozen, if not more depending on the quality of your specimen. If you want to help them with their fruit production, you can add Epsom salt.
We have an article dedicated to the use of Epsom salt!
The roots of an Ornamental Pepper plant take on the physical characteristics of an annual grower. We’re referencing their shallow, thin roots. This makes them relatively easy keepers.
They don’t need large containers in order to be satisfied. You could place several plants in one container. Most people do this for individuals that grow outdoors.
We suggest giving one plant their own separate, small pot. This doesn’t make them susceptible to cramped roots. You’ll want to repot your Ornamental Pepper plant if watering once every couple of days doesn’t cut it.
With a thin root system, be careful. They have been known to be relatively fragile.
ORNAMENTAL PEPPER PLANT WATERING TIPS AND TRICKS
With such a demanding fruit production, the Ornamental Pepper plant requires a good amount of water. They also don’t, however, like to sit in water.
Finding that happy medium can be tricky. Deep watering with time for the plant to dry out some is the best compromise, especially for indoor plants.
As for how much water you’ll want to supply, the general consensus is around two inches of moisture of week.
When adding the water, apply around the soil evenly. Pouring it all in one spot will only wash away the soil, meaning that the roots won’t get a thorough addition of moisture.
PRUNING AN ORNAMENTAL PEPPER PLANT
Although beautiful and flashy, these plants are known for becoming bushy in the way that they grow. Exercising somewhat frequent pruning can help your plant look less cluttered.
You’ll want to take on this task once the pepper plant has begun to dry, rather than pruning it after a fresh watering.
The process itself involves removing the ends of the branches carefully. The overall goal is to open up the central portion of the plant so that it can grow successfully.
By pinching off the top inch or so of the stem, you’re ensuring that the older growth is removed. A completely pruned individual should have stems that average about six inches in overall length.
PROPAGATING YOUR ORNAMENTAL PEPPER PLANT
The two methods that fall under the category of copying your Ornamental Pepper plant include starting from seedlings and through stem cuttings.
Seeds take a lot of time and attention due to the fact that they need more to germinate. Stem cuttings tend to be the more commonly used practice.
- Find out which plant you’ll want to propagate, preferably one that is thriving and has long, healthy stems.
- Use a sharp, clean knife to make 45-degree angle cuts along a stem that has at least two healthy leaves. The incision should be made below a node.
- Do this a few more times to get a few three to five-inch stem cuttings.
- Remove any foliage, fruit, or other growth.
- You can opt to dip the open end of your stem cutting into rooting hormone.
- Plant these cuttings into a pot with organic material such as peat, vermiculite, and sand. A mixture of both is ideal. The soil itself should be already watered and moist.
- Place the container into a room that gets plenty of warmth and indirect sunlight, covering the plant with a plastic bag to increase moisture.
- After two weeks, you’ll likely see roots start to appear. You can transfer your individual to a new pot once these roots are an inch or two in length.
ORNAMENTAL PEPPER PLANT PESTS AND DISEASES
Overall, caring for an Ornamental Pepper plant is relatively easy. There are a few invaders that you should keep your eyes out for. Insects have been known to take advance of the fruit, while diseases attack the roots.
The insects that are somewhat atypical include cutworms and pepper maggots. Regardless of which bug you may have, they can all be dealt with by the use of insecticides, or insecticidal soap.
There are two diseases that you should be aware of. The Mosaic Virus, and Verticillium Wilt tend to show themselves through wilting, discoloration, and wrinkling of the leaves.
By taking special care of the watering routine you implement, you can likely avoid such diseases from happening in the first place.
Are you curious about these diseases? We have an article that discusses the symptoms and treatments of the Mosaic Virus!
ORNAMENTAL PEPPER PLANT PROBLEMS
Pests and diseases aren’t the only issues that can attack your Ornamental Pepper plant. There are a few problems that can arise depending on the care that you provide.
We’ve compiled a few of the most common issues that you may see in your pepper plant so that you can stop it before the problem gets worse.
PROBLEM #1: WILTED LEAVES
The wilting of leaves usually is a direct correlation to a lack of overall moisture.
To fix this problem, you’ll want to increase the frequency between watering sessions. You can even opt to implement a misting schedule.
PROBLEM #2: FOLIAGE DROPPING OFF
If you notice that the leaves fall off, you can safely assume that your plant is experience either too much or too little water.
To play it safe, you’ll want to lessen the amount of water that you give. More leaves falling off will alert you that it instead means that it needs more water.
PROBLEM #3: YELLOWING OF LEAVES
The leaves of a pepper plant are supposed to be a bright green. The yellowing of foliage is a sign that your houseplant either needs more water, or isn’t getting enough nutrients.
Trying to add a fertilizer with more phosphorus and potassium can’t hurt. Give it a week or two for the plant to shift in color. If there isn’t a change, add water more frequently.
PROBLEM #4: SOGGY ROOTS
Mushy roots are a clear indication that your plant is experiencing root rot. This disease isn’t detrimental if caught early enough.
Root rot should be dealt with by first transferring it to a new pot. You’ll then want to be careful about how much water you add in the future.
FIVE STEPS TO A HAPPY ORNAMENTAL PEPPER PLANT
There are a few preferences that the Ornamental Pepper plant needs to have met in order for it to produce plentiful fruit!
- Give your pepper plant lots of full sunshine with an east or west-facing window.
- Opt for soil that is high in organic matter like loam, moss, and vermiculite.
- Add enough water so that the soil stays moist but also ensure that it doesn’t dry out completely. They tend to prefer a good amount of water!
- Try to keep your house between 21 and 28 degrees Celsius (70-80 °F).
- Implement fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season.
ORNAMENTAL PEPPER PLANT FAQ
What are the Scoville units for an Ornamental Pepper plant?
Ornamental Pepper plants tend to be anywhere from 10,000 to 30,000 Scoville heat units, depending on the subspecies.
Are Ornamental Pepper plants edible?
These plants are indeed safe to eat! Some people say that they can be a bit too hot, so be careful!
Are Ornamental Pepper plants poisonous to dogs and cats?
Although we can eat pepper plants, animals cannot. There is a poison found in these individuals that can have negative impacts on an animal if they were to consume one.