There are various types of pepper plants to grow in your garden. Some are easy on the taste buds while others are a mild form of torture. All peppers are a part of the Capsicum family and include both the sweet peppers as well as the chili peppers (the hot and spicy peppers).
Peppers add an enticing bump of flavor to your cooking. Although it’s easier to find a variety of fresh and dried peppers at the grocery stores, growing some in your garden would be more fun and economical. This is without forgetting the beautiful spectrum of colors from the peppers as they mature and ripen.
Having said that, it now time to look at different peppers that you can have at home.
Types of Pepper Plants to Grow in Your Garden
1. Habanero Pepper (Capsicum spp)
Habanero pepper is a warm seasoned firm chili pepper with beautiful yellow, brown, red, and orange fresh colors. It is one of the easiest peppers to grow in pots/containers and one of the worlds’ hottest peppers.
Due to its compact and bushy growth habits, habanero pepper is popular for balconies and gardens.
Its fruits are shinny and lantern-shaped with a fruity and spicy flavor and, hotness of approximately 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville units.
2. Jalapeno Pepper (Capsicum annuum 'Jalapeno')
The Jalapeno Pepper is one of the easiest and fastest pepper to grow. It is a medium-sized chili pepper with 2 to 3 inches long mature fruits.
Although its origin is in Mexico, Jalapeno pepper is now grown worldwide for its flavor and mild heat level (Approximately 2,000 to 8,000 SHU Scoville Heat Units). These peppers are mostly used in salads, salsa, and Mexican food.
Other names for Jalapeno pepper include; Chipotle chilies (smoked Jalapeno peppers), Cuaresmeno, Chile Gordo and, Huachinango.
3. Serrano Pepper (Capsicum annuum 'Serrano')
Serrano pepper originated in the mountainous regions of Mexican states Puebla and Hidalgo. While it is similar in appearance to the Jalapeno pepper it is smaller and much hotter (Ranges from 10,000 to 25,000 SHU). The serrano peppers can be found in a series of colors depending on ripeness, from green to yellow, orange, red, and even brown.
These peppers are usually eaten raw, either sliced or chopped, and mixed into salsas and guacamole or, cooked in dishes like soups and chilis.
4. Scotch Bonnet Pepper (Capsicum spp)
Scotch Bonnet is a fruity, fiery and, bright-colored pepper whose name comes from its resemblance to the Scottish "tam o’ shanter" hat. However, Scotch Bonnet is primarily found in the Caribbean, Guyana, and the Maldives where it’s used in regional cooking, particularly Caribbean jerk sauce and marinades.
It is one of the world’s hottest pepper with a Scoville scale reading ranging from 100,000 to 350,000 SHU.
The Scotch Bonnet Pepper is also commonly known as Bonney peppers or Caribbean red peppers
5. Anaheim Pepper (Capsicum annuum 'Anaheim')
Anaheim pepper is a vigorously growing pepper plant with slightly tapering green fruits that turn maroon when ripe.
This pepper plant grows as a perennial and when well taken care of, it can produce peppers for close to 3 years or more. It is an easy growing upright (erect) pepper plant that grows to about 1.5 feet tall.
The Anaheim pepper is one of the best mild peppers to grow (1,000 to 5,000 Scoville units) and it’s excellent for stuffing and cooking.
6. Datil Pepper (Capsicum chinense 'Datil')
The datil pepper is a relatively small green to yellowish-golden aromatic hot pepper well-known in St. Augustine where it is said to have been brought to Florida by Minorcans. The flavor of a datil pepper is unique in that it bears a sweet, fruity tang coupled with its spiciness.
Datil pepper is similar in heat index to a habanero, hitting at around 100,000 to 300,000 SHU. But unlike habaneros, datil peppers are sweet, with a fruitful tangy taste to them.
7. Cayenne Pepper (Capsicum spp)
Cayenne pepper is also known as Guinea spice, cow-horn pepper, aleva, bird pepper, or red pepper. The cayenne is a long and skinny pepper and it is closely related to Jalapeno and bell peppers. However, Cayenne pepper is much hotter with a Scoville scale reading of approximately 25,000 to 50,000 SHU.
This chili pepper plant can grow to about 2 to 4 feet tall. The immature cayenne pepper pods are green, but they gradually build in spice level as they ripen and, turn red ready for harvesting.
8. Poblano Pepper (Capsicum annuum var. annuum 'Poblano')
The poblano is a mildly spicy pepper (1,000 to 2,000 Scoville units) that was first grown in the Mexican state of Puebla hence the name ‘Poblano’. The Poblano pepper can be as large or even larger than a bell pepper but is skinnier and has a pointed tip.
This popular Mexican chili pepper can be used as a green pepper (eaten unripe) or as red pepper (eaten ripe).
The Poblano pepper is also known as ancho chili pepper (a ripened and dried Poblano pepper).
9. Tabasco pepper (Capsicum frutescens 'Tabasco')
Tabasco pepper is among the best types of pepper plants whose peppers grow straight up on the vine. This pepper is native to the Mexican state of Tabasco and is mostly used to infuse vinegar and as the central seasoning in the hot sauce of the same name.
As they ripen tabasco pepper changes color from yellow, then orange, and finally a beautiful red shade. These colors coupled with the growth habit make the tabasco pepper a lovely option for landscaped home gardens.
The tabasco pepper is of a medium-hot heat level, with a Scoville rating between 30,000-50,000 units.
10. Thai Chili Pepper (Capsicum annuum 'Bird's Eye')
Thai chili pepper is also commonly known as bird’s eye chili or bird’s chili. This pepper originated from Mexico, Central America, or South America, but is now one of the most popular peppers commonly grown in South and Southeast Asia.
It is very easy to confuse Thai chili pepper with cultivars derived from C. frutescens because of their similarities in appearance. However, the Thai chili plants grow up to 6 feet tall and feature small, tapering fruits that are about an inch long.
Thai’s hotness ranges between 50,000 to 100,000 Scoville units.
11. Chiltepin Pepper (Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum)
The chiltepin peppers are tiny little peppers that are round or oval-shaped with colors varying from orange to red at maturity. These peppers grow in wild throughout much of the U.S. and Mexico. Chiltepin peppers are quite spicy and measure up to 100,000 Scoville Heat Units.
These peppers are often dried and crushed for spices and seasoning to bring a distinctively smoky flavor.
Chiltepin peppers are also commonly known as Indian pepper, chiltepe, and chile tepin, as well as turkey and ‘mother of all peppers’
12. Siling Labuyo (Capsicum frutescens 'Siling labuyo')
Siling Labuyo is the smallest hot chili pepper in the world (smaller than Thai chilies). It is characterized by triangular fruits which grow pointing upwards and its leaves are quite small (approximately 50 to 65mm) and elongated with pointy tips.
The Siling Labuyo peppers look similar to Thai chilies but, Siling Labuyo tends to be more rounded (less pointy) and a little shorter than Thai peppers. In addition to this, Siling Labuyo has rated at about 80,000 to 100,000 Scoville heat units hence hotter than Thai peppers.
The fruits and leaves of a Siling Labuyo are used in traditional Philippine cuisines.
13. Bhut Jolokia (Capsicum spp)
The bhut jolokia pepper is an interspecies hybrid (mostly Capsicum chinense with Capsicum frutescens) and one of the most unique peppers. Other names for bhut jolokia pepper include; naga Jolokia, Bih Jolokia, ghost pepper, ghost chili pepper, red naha chili, and ghost chili.
Bhut jolokia peppers are used fresh or dried as an ingredient in spicy foods and it is the third hottest pepper in the world at 1,041,427 Scoville Heat Units.
14. Carolina Reaper (Capsicum chinense 'Carolina Reaper')
Carolina Reaper is one of the best types of hot pepper plants to grow. It is currently the hottest pepper in the world, with approximately 1,400,000 – 2,200,000 Scoville Heat Units.
The Carolina Reaper pepper was created by crossing a Pakistani Naga with a Red Habanero type from St Vincent’s Island in the West Indies and bred in South Carolina.
The pods of a Carolina Reaper are small and have a classic scorpion-like tail (distinctive characteristic of a Carolina reaper)
15. Sweet Peppers (Capsicum spp)
Sweet peppers come in a series of colors (green, red, orange, yellow, purple). Due to their size and mild-sweet taste, sweet peppers are perfect in stuffing, but are also incredibly adaptable and add flavor to any dish they are used in.
There are different types of sweet peppers for example; Red sweet Bell Peppers, Italian Frying Peppers, Purple Bell Peppers, Roasting Pimentos, Cubanelle peppers, Green bell peppers, Yellow Bell Peppers, and cherry peppers.
16. Ornamental Peppers (Capsicum spp)
The ornamental pepper plants are admired by many gardeners for their colorful fruits in shades of red, orange, yellow, purple, black, and white. It is easy to find multiple colors present on one plant at the same time, as the fruits’ color changes as they mature and ripen.
Although ornamental peppers are safe to eat, most gardeners grow them for their attractive color and ornamental qualities rather than their flavor (extremely hot).
Caution: The leaves of ornamental peppers are toxic to humans and pets.
Examples of ornamental peppers include; Masquerade, Purple Flash, Medusa, Black Pearl, Chilly Chili, Aurora, Tangerine Dream, Sangria, Cajun Belle, and Chinese 5-Color.
You have just seen the various types of pepper plants for your garden. Some of them for example, the Carolina Reaper are extremely hot while others like the bell peppers are sweet.
Apart from this, you have seen that there are ornamental peppers like Masquerade, Purple Flash, Medusa, Black Pearl, and many more that add dazzling bursts of colors from red, purple, yellow, orange, black, to white for an alluring garden.
Do you know of other types of pepper plants that haven’t been mentioned in this article? Let us know in the comments.