Peppers, the often spicy fruit you use in your kitchen – yes, peppers are technically fruits and not vegetables as many people think. Peppers are also often associated with being hot, but not all of them are. There are hot peppers (chile varieties), sweet peppers, and many others in between. We ll get to see different types of pepper plants in this article. All these pepper varieties are part of the genus capsicum.
Originally, peppers were only found in Latin America but were later taken to other places by explorers. Today you can find at least a species of pepper in almost all the regions of the world.
Pepper grows best in the summer heat, where they can produce hot fruits that’ll heat your taste buds and kitchen. What makes peppers so popular? It’s numerous varieties with their different heat coefficients, from the sweetest (the bell pepper) to the hottest. The hotness of a pepper is measured in Scoville heat units (SHU) and ranges from zero to 3 million.
Pepper comes in different colors like green, red, yellow, orange, and many more, creating a whimsical garden feeling in your backyard. Peppers are small plants with shallow roots and can comfortably grow in containers and even raised garden beds.
This article will discuss 15 pepper species and some of their most popular features.
Types of Pepper Plants
Sit back while I take you through this hot ride.
1. Bell Pepper
This is the sweetest pepper you can grow. The bell pepper can be eaten raw with dips or put in stir-fries. Whichever way you decide to consume this fruit, you’ll enjoy its taste. It comes in yellow, red, orange, green, and purple colors. They are relatively large for peppers and grow up to 8 inches in length.
- Scoville heat units: 0
2. Anaheim Pepper
Anaheim is a mild pepper species that change from deep green to red at maturity. Sometimes called California chile, this thick-walled fruit takes between 74 to 80 days to mature. They are popular because of their disease-resistant capabilities, which has made them the most popular grown and dried species for ristas.
- Scoville heat units: 450 to 2500
3. Havasu Hot Pepper
This cone-shaped, thick-walled fruit is a favorite in the Southwest. The Havasu pepper is harvested when the fruit changes to pale yellow or ripens further to red. It takes 60 days after planting to turn to yellow and about 80 days if you’re looking to harvest the ripened red Havasu pepper. They enjoy the full sun, and the fruit is about 3.5 inches in length and 2 inches wide.
- Scoville heat units: 3000 to 4000
4. Habanero Pepper Plant
The habanero pepper is a thin-walled fruit with a length of 2 inches and about 1.5 inches wide. Its color depends on when it is harvested
as it changes from yellow to orange and then to red. They are very hot but also have a mild citrus flavor. The habanero is a popular ingredient for hot sauces. They take about 95 days to mature.
- Scoville heat units: 150,000 to 300,000
5. Serrano Pepper
The Serrano pepper ripens from green to orange to red and grows up to 4 inches in length and ½ inch wide. They can be cooked when ripe and unripe. Even though this plant loved hot, humid weather conditions, they can also adapt to various climates. Typically, the smaller the fruit, the hotter it is, so take note. They take about 80 days to mature.
- Scoville heat units: 10,000 to 25,000
6. Jalapeño Pepper
The jalapeño pepper, which is also called chipotle, is a Mexican pepper that is typically plucked when it is still green, allowing it to ripen on the vine will give it a fruity flavor. Jalapeño pepper is used in making salsa and is the most popular pepper in the US. The heat of the jalapeño varies slightly from fruit to fruit, even those from the same plant. Fruits that mature quickly usually have more water but with a milder heat. Fun fact: the jalapeño is the first pepper in space after accompanying astronauts on the shuttle Columbia in 1982.
- Scoville heat units: 2500 to 5000
7. Jalafuego Hot Pepper
The jalafuego is a jalapeño hybrid species that produces a big, firm fruit. It is a highly disease resistant and can resist bacterial leaf spot and potato virus common to the jalapeño species. They grow up to 4 inches long and take 70 days to mature.
- Scoville heat units: 4000 to 6000
8. Scotch Bonnet
The origin of its name is a unique one. Its resemblance to the tamo’ shanter hats men wears in Scotlandgave it the name scotch bonnet. This variety is the hottest pepper in the Caribbean and is used to flavor many dishes there. Even though it is usually hot, you can find some milder fruits called the cachucha.
- Scoville heat units: 80,000 to 400,000
9. Banana Pepper
The banana pepper is a mild, often sweet/tangy pepper used in pizzas and sandwiches – I know you’ll love this. It is green or yellow but can ripen into an orange color.
- Scoville heat units: 0 to 500
10. Shishito Pepper
The shishito species is a Japanese sweet pepper that can be pan-fried and eaten alone. It is often used when unripe (green) as the ripe red shishito is spicier. The fruits are thinly walled, love the full sun, and grow up to 4 inches long. It takes 60 days to get the green shishito, while you need to wait up to 80 days to harvest the ripe red shishito.
- Scoville heat units: 50 to 100
11. Purple Flash Pepper
This pepper is planted for both its fruits and ornamental value in the home. Its different color leaves and flowers can brighten your backyard design. When ripening, its fruits go from black to bright red, and its leaves sport colors ranging from white, purple and green.
This is a hot pepper, and because of its shape, it can be attractive. Plant this pepper away from areas kids can visit, so they don’t get burns playing with it. Its fruits are about 1 inch round and take between 80 to 100 days to mature.
- Scoville heat units:5000 to 30,000
12. Poblano Pepper
This famous Mexican pepper is called Ancho when it is ripe and dried. The green is used to make chiles Rellenos. It is slightly hot and has a mellow flavor. It is a big plant, so it needs a lot of space to grow. An area of about 4 feet from other plants is ideal. Its fruits are usually 4 inches long and 2 inches wide, and it takes 75 days to mature.
- Scoville heat units: 1000 to 2000
13. Red Ghost Pepper
The red ghost pepper is a hybrid species. It has a thin wall and wrinkled skin. It ripens from green to bright red and is one of the hottest peppers in the world. Its slow-growing nature is one of the secrets to its boiling fruit. The plant can grow up to 4 feet tall. Bear in mind you need to wear protective clothing, including goggles and gloves, when handling this plant. It takes over 100 days to mature.
- Scoville heat units: over 1,000,000
14. Carolina Reaper Pepper
Are you daring enough? Can you plant one of the hottest peppers in the world? The Carolina reaper species looks like the regular pepper you know, bright red, with a characteristic wrinkled skin. Do not be deceived by its looks; it is a scorching pepper and should be handled carefully. Gloves, goggles, alongside utmost care, should be applied when running this pepper. It takes about 74 days to mature into its full glory. It also has a sweet aroma and a fruity flavor.
- Scoville heat units: 1,569,300
15. Mad Hatter Pepper
The mad hatter pepper fruit looks exactly like a hat – no wonder its name carries a ‘hat.’ Planting this pepper in your garden can make it an exciting plant to look at. Even though its ornamental value is attractive, its taste is the most exciting part. Its sweet floral flavor with mild heat makes it a popular choice in salads. It matures from green to red, and it takes 65 to 70 days to get the green while 80 to 90 days to get the red.
- Scoville heat units: under 500
There are hundreds of pepper species ranging from sweet to extremely hot. These different varieties have their various uses. If you want to enjoy both worlds’ best, here’s what to do; plant a sweet, hot, and mild species in your garden and select whichever pepper you need at any time.