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A picture of a Pepper


Capsicum annuum

Also known as

Bell Pepper, Chilli Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Red Capsicum, Sweet Pepper, Red pepper, Ornamental pepper

Starr 070112-3413 Capsicum annuum by Forest & Kim Starr (CC BY 3.0)

Full Sun
Moderate care
Light watering


RHS hardiness


Minimum temperature

Expected size








1 years to reach maturity


  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

Harvest when the fruits have ripened to red, orange, yellow, brown or even brownish-black or leave to dry on the shrub. Protect against intense sun expose especially during hot summers when the fruit is maturing. Fruit can be collected during the Autumn

More images of Pepper

A close up of a fruiting and flowering Capsicum annuum plant
A close up of a green Capsicum annuum plant with a flower
Some colouorful Capsicum annuum peppers
A pile of green and red Capsicum annuum peppers
A photo of Pepper

Pepper Overview

Capsicum annuum is a perennial plant from the Solanaceae family. It originates from southern North America and is grown around the world, many cultivars have been bred from this species and it is highly variable. Commonly known by the names Bell Pepper, Pepper and Sweet Pepper, amongst others. These names refer to the fruits produced after flowering. They are scientifically fruits but known more commonly as vegetables and have many uses in cooking. Capsicum has the highest diversity of shapes and is the most common and extensively grown of the Capsicum species. It includes a variety of shapes and sizes of peppers, they may be mild in taste, ranging to very spicy. For example Bell Peppers, Jalapeños and Cayenne Peppers. Although annuum means annual it is actually a perennial in areas where the temperature remains between 15-30 degrees Celsius all year. This tender plant won't cope with freezing temperatures and so is often grown as an annual plant in frost-prone climates. Flowers are white to purple in colour, appearing on branched stems. Peppers typically grow to around 60cm in height. The flowers lead onto colourful, edible fruits, they can be red, orange, yellow, green or purple. Wild ancestors of this species are believed to have evolved in Southern Brazil and Bolivia but were cultivated by man around 6,100 years ago. In the UK this species has been classified as follows: the hot varieties are called chillies and the sweet varieties are called red or green peppers. But modern breeding has confused this with the introduction of hot Bell Peppers and sweet Jalapenos.

Common problems with Pepper

Blossom end rot. Leaves can be prone to scorching when wet in bright sunlight.

Pepper Companion Plants

Peas And Beans and good companions, both of these vegetables fix nitrogen in the soil, cover bare ground to control weeds, and enhance the flavour of peppers. Alliums are good; cultivating onions, chives or leeks around the perimeter of your pepper patch enhances flavour and helps deter aphids and other garden insect pests. Chives are a perennial plant, so planting once will provide flavorful chives year after year. Chives also attract bees and butterflies to the garden. Basil repels aphids, ants, mites, slugs, flies, certain beetles, and a host of other garden pests. Peppers and tomatoes are “good neighbours” as tomatoes help keep the soil free of harmful soil nematodes and ward off beetles. In addition to adding a splash of brilliant colour to the garden, marigolds, nasturtiums, and petunias help deter beetles, aphids, whiteflies, squash bugs, and other common garden pests.

How to propagate Pepper


Sow during spring and summer and space of 30 - 40 cm apart. Sowing depth between 10 - 15 mm. Germination takes 10 - 18 days.

Special features of Pepper

Crop rotation

Capsicums are heavy feeder, follow with legumes.

Pot plant

When grown as an ornamental, planting in a container is a good choice. Repot every 2 years or when the current pot is too small for your plant.

Repels harmful insects

Paprika is good in insecticide recipes.

Attractive fruits

Other uses of Pepper



Huge chillies that have a sweet flavour, good for drying and grinding into Paprika powder. Use fresh for salads with a more intense flavour than ordinary salad peppers.


Can be eaten raw in salads or cooked in a variety of dishes from soups to stews


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