Capsicum frutescens grow and care – shrub of the genus Capsicum also known as Frutescens peppers, Capsicum frutescens perennial evergreen but can grow also as annual plant and also used as ornamental plant, can grow in tropic, subtropical, mediterranean, temperate or desert climate and growing in hardiness zone 10b+ as perennial 2+ as annual.
Leaves color green in oval to elliptic shape.
Flower color white cream or purple with 6 petals, the flowers small grow in clusters of 2-3 flowers.
Warm weather, Moderate moist (depend on the variety there is species that like les or more) if the plant infected by aphid in the lower branches in the shadow, should cut the infected leaves, and clean
How to care: Put fertilizer with small content of nitrogen (delay bloom), add mulch especially in the summer and winter, and in hardiness zone 10b as perennial the plant suffer or die due to the cold of the winter, better to protect the plants and there are varieties that can survive the winter and will bear some fruits in the winter, vegetative reproduction can maintain high quality of cultivar indoor or greenhouse to next season, trellising and support for the plant (sometimes the fruit are heavy and without support the fruits will touch the soil and will be damaged).
Tips: Rotten base – When the base of the plant rotten, usually happened in mature plant, better to cover the base with soil until the health part plus 2cm (1 inch) and cover it with soil and even better release the plant from the attachment and make it lay down and reduce 10cm (4 inches) bury and cover it with soil keep it moist and cover with mulch, possible to bury until the green leaves (possible more but no need), in this method the plant will survive more time with new roots.
Problem that the fruits don’t get enough sun – main problem that the fruits grow inside the leaves and because of the weight of the fruits and gravity the fruits will grow down possible to cut the leaves that hide the fruits, but better not to cut the leaves, another option (usually useful for vine shrub cultivars and not small bushy) to grow the plant with angel of 30-45° in this method the leaves won’t prevent from the fruits to get sun, be aware that in hot climate with strong sun the fruits will be burn by sun.
What is the best way to start growing? Plant / Seedling / Seed / Vegetative Reproduction – by cutting possible by water or by soil (explanation bellow) or bending a branch over and covering it with soil
Is it necessary to graft or use vegetative reproduction? No, but it’s possible to use in vegetative reproduction and it’s easy the same as to start by seeds, when start by cutting its ensure the quality of the fruits and from seeds not always can ensure what kind of fruits will be
Possible to start overwinter from seeds use fertilizer with nitrogen (to prevent bloom and increase the growth of the stems) and use the plant to make cutting and in this method can get few plants from one seeds
Keep the stems for next year indoor and take them out in the spring after the last frost by this method possible to grow in hardiness zone 2-10 as perennial by using the cutting over winter.
Difficulties or problems when growing: Burn above 44 C (111F) in full sun, some Pepper plants are dangerous to eat, Frost sensitive
Planting season: Spring as annual after the last frost in hardiness zone 2-10a , spring to summer in hardiness zone 10b-11a, spring to autumn in hardiness zone 11b, all year in hardiness zone 12+
How to plant: Dig a bigger hole than the root ball at least 50-100%, add to the hole organic matter, dead leaves and humus put back some soil and mix it, after this put the plant cover lightly but strong enough that won’t fall put support for the plant and give it place to trellising on it, consider to prune week branches, water it twice in the first day and every day for two weeks, better to plant them few centimeters (inches) under the soil level in order that if there are problem in the base of the plant easy to cover the base and create new root for the plant and not lose all the fruits
Pruning season: All season as annual plant and as perennial better after the fruits if it’s bear fruit all the year
How to prune: Dead or Infected branches, branches that grow in cross ways, stems without flowers possible to cut and use them for cutting, pruning in order to expose to light the fruits
Size of the plant? 0.3-2 m, 12-80 inches (1-6 feet)
Growth speed in optimal condition: Fast growing / Medium growing, when the plant grow slowly as annual plant better to add fertilizer and organic matter to increase the growth speed
Water requirement: Average amount of water / Big amount of water, depend the drainage of the soil, temperatures, winds, mulch and watering hours
Light conditions in optimal condition for growing: Full Sun and in warm climate almost full sun, in desert the fruits and the leaves will burn in the sun reduce the amount / Half Shade – possible but only as perennial and it will bear less and in high summer temperatures
Is it possible to grow indoor as houseplant? No, but keep the plant small to grow on hedge of window and in this method the plants and the fruits will get enough sun, also important to take care that won’t be too much cold in the winter
Growing is also possible in pots, planter, flowerpot or containers: Yes, when grow in container better size 10-30 liter (2-6 gallon) depend if grown as annual or perennial, the plant require average amount of water and put mulch to keep the soil moist and makes enough holes that the water go out of the pot, when it’s grow as perennial every few years better to switch soil, and prune part of the roots and the plants, soil need to be well ventilated with good drainage, put fertilizer at least once a year, rich with organic matter, can use in potting mix or peat soil with perlite or vermiculite.
Tip when grow in container: When grow in container better to fill the container with 10% of soil when the roots fill the soil increase the amount of the soil until the container is full
Bloom season: In sub/tropics climate can bloom all year in temperate climate the Spring / Summer. In 45-70 it’s start to bloom
General information about the flower Small flowers grow in groups of 2-3 flowers, with 6 petals, can be in the colors: white, cream or purple
Thinning the bloom: When the plants is not fully grow recommend to thinning
Pollination is done by: Bees and other pollinators
Fruit harvest season: In sub/tropics climate can bloom all year in temperate climate the Spring / Summer
Fruits pests or diseases: Aphids, fungal, Sun burns
What can be done with big quantities of Capsicum frutescens fruits? Salad, Used for cooking, Medical uses, Herbs, Used for spreads, Pickle, Spices
Work requirements on the fruit: Prune, if the plant attacked be aphids the fruit should be more exposure to the sun
How long does it take to bear fruit? 60-90 days
Malagueta – red pepper, 50,000-100,000 shu Tabasco – red, yellow, green, orange, pepper 30,000-50,000 shu Malawian Kambuzi – orange small peppers African Bird’s Eye (piri piri)- Is a bushy chili pepper that is grown both domestically and in the wild with a pod color that turns from green to bright red. 50,000-110,000 shu
How to grow Capsicum frutescens from seeds
Sowing requirement: Easy to sow, brown-yellowish seeds, full sun, moist soil, high humidity, better 21-26C (70-79F) and possible 10-32C (50-90F)
Saving seeds until sowing: Wash the seeds from organic material, fully dry them and require to check that the seed are ripen before saving them (if not might won’t be viable) location dark and dry and better in the refrigerator when keep the seeds more than one year
Sowing season: End of the winter indoor, start of the spring will be better as annual, possible all year as perennial depend the temperature, in hardiness zone 10b-11a better in the spring
Planting spacing: 20*40 cm (8*16 inches) depend the cultivars, for transplant 2*3cm (1*1 inch) better 4*5cm (1.8*2 inches) and better to transplant after 5 leaves
Depth of Sowing: 5-10 mm (0.25-0.5 inch)
Conditions for seeds germinate: Full sun, better 21-26C (70-79F), moist soil, high humidity
Watering requires for Seeds: Average amount of water, the soil should be moist and if it’s higher temperature increase the amount of watrer
Germination time: 5-20 days, might be longer
Condition of seedling: Full sun, more than 10C (50F), the sprout is very delightful to bug need protection in the beginning, moderate moist soil, transplant the seedling after 5 leaves
Vegetative Reproduction Method: Stems, Cutting
Preferred time for vegetative reproduction: Spring / Autumn (in warm places) but can be all year
Time to grow roots in vegetative reproduction: 2-3 weeks sometimes less
Treatment for vegetative reproduction: Put the cutting in water or in the ground