13 Pretty Ornamental Pepper Varieties to Try

Plant a peck of pretty peppers and add pops of orange, red, purple and other colors to your garden when you grow ornamental peppers.
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Photo By: Courtesy Ball Horticultural

Photo By: Courtesy Ball Horticultural

Photo By: Courtesy Ball Horticultural

Photo By: Courtesy Ball Horticultural

Photo By: Courtesy of Ball Horticultural

Photo By: Courtesy of Ball Horticultural

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Courtesy Ball Horticultural

Photo By: Image courtesy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Image courtesy of All-AmericaSelections.org

'Medusa' Ornamental Pepper

Dwarf 'Medusa' is ideal for containers, growing just 6 to 8 inches tall. This variety produces long-lasting, upright, sweet fruits that are safe for a children's garden. The twisty peppers, which may remind you of Medusa's snake-like hairdo, start out ivory and ripen to yellow, then orange, and, finally, bright red.

'Black Pearl' Ornamental Pepper

'Black Pearl' was the first black-leafed ornamental pepper on the market. Use the plants in mixed beds or containers, so the glossy foliage and round, shiny fruits--which start out black and age to dark red--can really stand out. It's beautiful grown alongside plants with silver, blue or yellow foliage or flowers.

'Chilly Chili' Ornamental Pepper

Like 'Medusa', this ornamental pepper is not pungent, so it's fine for public gardens or growing around children. The fruits start out greenish yellow and gradually turn orange to dark red. 'Chilly Chili' reaches about 9 to 10 inches tall.

'Masquerade' Ornamental Pepper

Hot, early-bearing 'Masquerade' peppers are purple when they first appear. The fruits turn yellow, orange, and red as they ripen from summer until frost.

'Purple Flash' Ornamental Pepper

Here, ornamental peppers 'Purple Flash' surround a birdbath in the garden. 'Purple Flash' has small, round, black fruits that are extremely hot, and not recommended for eating. Its foliage is nearly black with hints of purple.

'Tangerine Dream' Ornamental Pepper

Orange-red 'Tangerine Dream' peppers are as pretty to look at as they are tasty. The flavor is mostly sweet, but there's a hint of heat. The plants are bushy and compact enough to grow in containers.

'Prairie Fire' Pepper

Great for culinary use or as a garden ornamental, 'Prairie Fire' peppers start out green and then turn orange and red. The tapered fruits are held upright on small plants that grow nicely in containers.

'Aurora' Ornamental Pepper

Medium-hot to hot 'Aurora' peppers (Capsicum annuum) ripen from green to lavender and dark purple, and then from orange to red. Some gardeners make them into vinegars and pickles, but always make sure any ornamental peppers you use are edible.

'NuMex Twilight' Chili Pepper

Developed at New Mexico State University, 'NuMex Twilight' peppers measure up to 100,00 on the Scoville heat scale. Try this variety in the garden or containers; the fruits begin purple, then transition to yellow, orange and red.

'Sangria' Ornamental Pepper

With its mild taste and bold colors, 'Sangria' earns a spot in both vegetable and flower gardens. The 12-inch plants bear heavily, producing green peppers that change to white and then shades of orange, crimson, magenta, lilac and purple.

'Chinese 5-Color' Pepper

These peppers may be small and cute, but they pack a powerful punch of heat. 'Chinese 5-Color' peppers, which are fine for growing in a large container, are ready to harvest in about 70 days. Try them in salsa for a flavorful kick.

'Cherry Bomb' Peppers

'Cherry Bomb' is as decorative as it is delicious. The disease-resistant plants bear vigorously, producing green fruits that ripen to bright red. The peppers are great for pickling; they're mild to medium hot, with a slightly smokey flavor.

'Cajun Belle' Peppers

An All-America Selections winner, 'Cajun Belle' is a great culinary pepper with a sweet, mildly hot flavor. It also dresses up the garden as the fruits mature from lime green to orange and red.