On Gardening: Ornamental peppers spice up fall

October 06, 2014

The Salsa Deep Orange pepper if perfect for a festive fall season whether you use it in the landscape, mixed container or as a table top decoration.

Whether you decorate for Oktoberfest, a local Scarecrow Festival, or just want to create a dazzling fall display, then Salsa Deep Orange is a must plant. This is one of several great ornamental peppers that can add spice to your landscape, mixed containers or fall decoration whether it is street side or on the dining room table.

Salsa Deep Orange comes to us from Takii Seed and is one of four single colors in the Salsa series, along with two additional mixes. There are also Salsa Orange, Salsa Red and Salsa Yellow. These are small, compact plants that reach 6 to 10 inches and load up with more colorful peppers than you would ever imagine for that size of plant. They spread to about 12 inches so they make great border plants.

While some gardeners have a tendency to plant these in a straight line, know that an informal drift or sweep will also look absolutely stunning. The Salsa Deep Orange or Salsa Yellow will make an incredible partner with some of the new black violas like Sorbet Blackberry or Sorbet Black Delight. They would also combine wonderfully with Purple Flash ornamental pepper.

Ornamental peppers like these and others you may find at your garden center not only work for your decorative displays but they also make perfect companions for your fall blooming asters, mums, sunflowers and zinnias.

In warmer parts of the country garden centers are loaded with ornamental peppers. But if your region demands planting next spring know that you will have a ton of options. Try partnering them for the long summer with lime green selections of coleus or gold lantana, or use them in a tropical setting, where they look right at home with bananas, cannas and elephant ears.

Whether you plant now or in the spring, grow the ornamental pepper much as you would the bell pepper. Before removing the peppers from their containers, dig their holes in the garden soil. Gardeners know they can plant a tomato deeper than it grew in the container, but you must plant the pepper at the same depth it is presently growing.

Feed your peppers with a complete garden fertilizer, preferably one that is higher in phosphorous, such as a 10-20-10. Apply 2 tablespoons per plant at three- to four-week intervals. You can use dilute, water-soluble fertilizer every other week if you prefer or if you’re growing them in a container. Keep your plants watered and mulched and they will give you an unfailing performance all season.

A lot of gardeners do eat the Salsa peppers, and like the name says they are using them in a variety of salsas. They are definitely on the hot side. If you want peppers that are more child friendly, then look for Chilly Chili and Sweet Pickle. Both of these have been outstanding in trials in which I have had the opportunity to participate. Ornamental peppers are among the plants that leap off the garden center shelves this time of the year. If you love them in the fall, I promise you’ll treasure growing them all season long.



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