Mex Easter ornamental peppers won the All-America
Selections award for its outstanding performance
it comes to new varieties, I feel like I am on top of
things-but occasionally there are those Rip Van Winkle
moments. This is the case with NuMex Easter ornamental
pepper. Holy cow, what a beauty and the embarrassing
part for me is that it was a 2014 All-America Selections
Winner and I am just now growing it.
apologies and my accolades to the breeding program at
New Mexico State Chili Pepper Institute. Las Cruces, New
Mexico home of the best Mexican food in the country is
also home to some of the best pepper breeding. NuMex
Centennial and NuMex Twilight are also drop dead
gorgeous peppers from the program that have garnered a
lot of attention, but it is NuMex Easter that captured
love judging consumer satisfaction of plants via talks,
photos and even in person. Itís fun hearing the oohs
and aahs which tell me a flower or in this case a
fruiting pepper has winner written all over it. Such was
the case a recently when one of our horticultural staff
created a -container with blood-leaf bananas, Intenz
celosia, Hot Pak marigolds and NuMex Easter peppers.
a Nikon man when it comes to cameras, but this day I
pulled out the old iPhone 6 plus and shot a couple of
photos of the container. The photo appeared on our
Facebook, and it took off like a proverbial rocket and
by the time the weekend was over it was sitting in
position as our number one photo of all time.
Iíll admit the combination is unique I know itís the
NuMex Easter pepper thatís stirring the pot so to
speak. The clusters of peppers on the tips of each
compact branch are an ever-changing array of Easter
colors. Youíll see shades of lavender, yellow and
orange all born on a plant that is heat and humidity
tolerant and persevering in rain or drought. It is truly
an All-America Selections Award Winner. The question is
how did it slip by me?
Easter peppers are small compact plants that reach up to
12 inches tall and as wide, but they load up with more
colorful peppers than you would ever imagine for that
size of plant. They make great border plants for the
traditional landscape and will dazzle in the herb
garden, or tropical garden.
garden centers are loaded with peppers this time of the
year, and they are sensational grown alongside mums,
marigolds, asters, and goldenrods. They bring a festive
atmosphere. The oblong peppers are spicy but edible and
will probably fire up a pot of red beans or corn salsa.
So be warned to sample sparingly at first.
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
your peppers with a complete garden fertilizer,
preferably one that is higher in phosphorous, such as a
10-20-10. Scatter 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 youíre
growing them in a container. Keep your plants watered
and mulched, and they will give you an unfailing
performance all season.
peppers like NuMex Easter are among the plants leaping
off the garden center shelves this time of the year. If
you love them in the fall as I do, I promise youíll
treasure growing them all season long.