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FIRST THINGS FIRST – Are ornamental peppers edible?
Ornamental peppers are safe to eat, but they are normally grown for their attractive color and ornamental qualities rather than their flavor, which you may find disappointing. Most people consider them too hot to enjoy anyway. Peppers bred for culinary use produce better fruit for eating.
ORNAMENTAL PEPPERS FOR SEASONAL COLOR
Within the scope of gardening, some plants blur the boundary between being simply and stunningly beautiful and being edible. Capsicum annuum, ornamental pepper, is definitely a case of an edible, making the crossover to the ornate. Bushy, glossy green foliage and colorful fruit that stand in upright clusters at the end of the stems combine to create an outstanding ornamental plant. The fruit comes in shades of red, purple, yellow, orange, black or white, and the peppers change colors as they ripen, so you may see several different colors on the same plant. Use them as bedding plants in the garden or plant them in pots so you can enjoy them on sunny decks and patios.
Whether grown indoors or out, ornamental peppers need bright sun to produce fruit. In shade, they become spindly and unproductive. Choose a spot that gets at least six to eight hours of sun daily for best growth. Ornamental peppers don’t need as much fertilizer as edible peppers, but they do benefit from it. Ornamental peppers require little care. Water the plants when there is less than an inch of rain in a week.
Their vibrant color lends them to landscape uses as well in planting beds with garden chrysanthemums, fall pansies, ornamental cabbage and kale. Add them to window boxes, containers and planters with fall blooming annuals and grasses to provide a lush lavish display of seasonal color.
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