We made a decision last year to fill the courtyard at Raincatcher’s garden in 2022 with lots of pepper plants. Some of the peppers will be grown to use in our very popular pepper jellies but several of the ones we selected are for ornamental purposes. Ornamental peppers are safe to eat but they are typically used for their attractive color or ornamental quality rather than their flavor. They are often considered too hot to eat by most people.
A favorite ornamental pepper that you will see growing in the courtyard is the Fish pepper. Last summer, we fell in love with this pepper plant growing in the edible garden. In fact, most visitors to the garden asked us about this plant because it is so unusual and beautiful. The Fish pepper is an African-American heirloom variety that dates back to the 1800’s. It is a large plant and the leaves range from fully white to part green and fully green. I can testify to the fact that the peppers on this plant pack a lot of heat as I was asked to try it in preparation for the pepper class that was taught at the garden last summer!!!
Fidalgo Roxa is a pepper plant from Brazil and is considered to be “one of a kind.” The flowers are white and purple and the plant will eventually be loaded with purple, pink and apricot colored peppers. It is described to have a fruity flavor that is in the upper mid heat range.
Cherry Bomb (AKA Hot Cherry Pepper) is another variety that we chose to grow this year. It is a beautiful compact plant with brilliant red cherry-like peppers. Despite its name, this pepper is described as having a heat level close to a mild jalapeno – medium heat with a sweet taste. The pepper is fleshy and juicy and can be used as a substitute for jalapenos, in vinegars and is good for stuffing and pickling.
Shishito pepper is a Japanese pepper variety that is very trendy right now. They are easy to grow and yield a lot of fruit in a short period of time. The plants are compact and do well in containers. They have thin skin which makes them perfect for quick frying, roasting and grilling. The pepper is considered to be mildly spicy but occasionally you might find one that really packs a punch!
And back by popular demand, we have grown more of the Aji Dulce peppers for the sale this year. This is a fun plant with red and green lantern shaped peppers. They are sweet and can be used in many recipes. If you read the article I wrote for this blog last year, you will remember that the seeds came from Puerto Rico from my good friend Paco. We have had several requests for this “Paco” pepper plant from people who bought and grew this plant last year!!!
The Raincatcher’s plant sale is on Thursday, May 19, 2022 from 10 AM – 3 PM at Midway Hills Christian Church (11001 Midway Road, Dallas 75229). You won’t want to miss out on this opportunity to fill your yard with beautiful and useful pepper plants. Other pepper varieties will also be available along with many annuals, perennials, herbs, shrubs, yuccas, ground covers, etc. Hope to see you there!!!
Jackie James, Dallas County Master Gardener Class of 1993