image of beautiful ornamental peppers blooming on a dark plant

5 Beautiful Ornamental Peppers You Need to Grow

Ornamental peppers are fantastic varieties known to bring aesthetic value to your garden. While most people believe growers produce peppers simply for eating and consuming, gardeners enjoy growing ornamental varieties for their unique pepper shapes, striking color displays, and overall attractiveness.

Most people think the peppers on these beautiful ornamental pepper plants aren’t edible, and that’s simply not true. Growers use these pods in the kitchen to add a little spice to their dishes. You’ll be surprised to know that some of these ornamental pepper varieties are incredibly hot, with heat levels reaching higher than 50,000 SHUs!

Any pepper classified as “ornamental” is considered aesthetically pleasing. But we wanted to showcase some of the most beautiful ornamental peppers out there, available to plant in any garden around the world. Read on to see which entries made it on our list!

black pearl ornamental pepper plant

1. Black Pearl Pepper

Species: Capsicum annuum
Heat Level: 30,000+ SHUs
Origin: USA
Days to Harvest: 120 Days

The first entry on the list belongs to the Black Pearl ornamental pepper. A dark pepper plant with tiny pods that look almost like little olives (unrelated to the Black Olive pepper), the Black Pearl brings a striking beauty to any garden or container. Its dark foliage contrasts beautifully with its subdued lilac flowers, and these 1/2"-long pods grow in clusters at the center of each branch.

The Black Pearl received the AAS award in 2006 for its uniquely dark characteristics and pepper flavor. While most ornamental peppers have a neutral flavor, also known as “peppery” or “spicy,” the Black Pearl pepper tastes similarly to a sweet Red Bell pepper. While the heat isn’t quite the same, reaching heat levels higher than 30,000+ SHUs, growers can use these peppers for drying or for cooking.

bolivian rainbow ornamental pepper plant

2. Bolivian Rainbow Pepper

                Species: Capsicum annuum
                Heat Level: 10,000-30,000 SHUs
                Origin: Bolivia
                Days to Harvest: 90 Days

Next, we have the Bolivian Rainbow pepper, a stunning variety that fills your garden up with bright colors that shine in the sunlight. What makes this a unique ornamental pepper is the way these tiny 1”-long peppers change colors. The Bolivian Rainbow pepper plant will grow many of these tiny peppers that mature at different times, showing a wide range of greens, yellows, oranges, purples, and reds. Many growers attribute these peppers to looking like Christmas light bulbs sprouting off their pepper plants!

The Bolivian Rainbow also tastes amazing, having a nice sweet flavor with the heat of a Cayenne pepper – still slightly less than the Black Pearl. These ornamental peppers also germinate very well, sprouting very soon after planting. Our growers in our greenhouse boasted a 96% germination rate for these peppers!

sedona sun ornamental pepper plant

3. Sedona Sun Pepper

                Species: Capsicum annuum
                Heat Level: 0-1,000 SHUs
                Origin: USA
                Days to Harvest: 70+ Days

If you want a display of warm and vibrant colors in your garden, then look no further than the Sedona Sun ornamental pepper plant. These short, bushy pepper plants really make a statement when they begin producing these tiny peppers. Fruits will mature at different times, similarly to the Bolivian Rainbow, and show different colors for a nice ombre of yellows, oranges, and even some reds. The Sedona Suns truly look like a beautiful sunset!

These are a much milder pepper variety, with sweet and spicy flavors that work well with almost any type of food. Expect an easy growing season with these plants and make sure to provide them with plenty of sun for them to sprout bounties of these colorful peppers.

hot firework ornamental peppers

4. Firework Peppers

                Species: Capsicum annuum
                Heat Level: 30,000-70,000 SHUs
                Origin: Unknown
                Days to Harvest: 80-90 Days

For those who enjoy a nice colorful display in their garden, but with a unique growing twist, the Firework Peppers are the perfect ornamental pepper for you. These exotic pods grow on bushy plants that are great for growing in your garden or in a container. Firework peppers literally explode from the pepper plant in clusters of colorful distorted little fingers showing bright hues of yellow, orange, red, and even purple.

A word of caution: Firework peppers tend to have explosive heat, ranging from 30,000-70,000 SHUs! What’s worse, you never know how hot the pepper will truly be until you taste it. That’s why these hot peppers are the perfect variety for drying and using as chili powder or pepper flakes. Or if you decide not to use them for any culinary purposes, the Firework pepper plant remains a remarkable and exotic ornamental pepper variety.

chinese 5 color pepper plant

5. Chinese 5 Color Pepper

                Species: Capsicum annuum
                Heat Level: 5,000-50,000 SHUs
                Origin: China
                Days to Harvest: 85+ Days

Finally, our last entry on our list happens to be one of the most popular ornamental pepper varieties out there: the Chinese 5 Color pepper. The name says it all: these plants produce tiny 1” pods that change to 5 different colors as they mature. With the easy-to-grow plants producing over a hundred of these pods, you can expect to see a beautiful rainbow display of colors – cream, purple, yellow, orange, and red.

These Chinese 5 Color pepper plants are taller than other compact varieties, and the taste of these peppers is different as well. Chinese 5 Color peppers taste sweet with a bit of an earthy aftertaste to them, making them perfect to roast, grill, or cook into stir-fries. The heat is incredibly variable: you can bite into a pepper with a nice mild heat, while another one might really make your face pink! There’s no telling how hot the Chinese 5 Color peppers will be!

ornamental pepper plants

Growing Ornamental Peppers from Pepper Joe's

We carry plenty more ornamental pepper seeds for you to beautify your garden! Our collection includes many varieties and variations of popular peppers like cayennes and Aji peppers. You won’t be disappointed by the amazing colors and spicy flavors our ornamental peppers bring to your garden and kitchen.

Also, our Ornamental Seed Collection gives you a variety of award-winning and popular ornamental seeds in an all-in-one product. Get the “best-of-the-best” when it comes to ornamental peppers and grow these distinguished varieties right in your own garden!

If you have other favorite ornamental peppers you didn’t find on the list, let us know in the comments! For additional tips and tricks, check out our Grow With Joe blog series where you can find posts about best practices when growing peppers.

Browse through our 2023 New Pepper Seed Collection for other pepper varieties!

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