September 11, 2012
A popular trend in landscaping is including vegetables with ornamental interest. Probably my favorite group are the ornamental peppers. Today I'm in the trial garden at the MSU South Mississippi Branch Station in Poplarville looking at great examples of ornamental peppers. There's a wide variety of foliage colors and fruit shapes. The overall impact and adaptability of ornamental peppers was recognized in 2010 when Purple Flash pepper was named a Mississippi Medallion winner. With its purple and white variegated leaves, it is one of the showiest peppers available on the market. The fruit start as dark marbles and mature bright red. The showy fruit are displayed in different ways. The variety Sangria holds its slender fruit pointing upward boastfully, its range of color from lavender, orange, and red. While Chenzo pepper has elegant arching branches, the fruit, ranging from green to black to red, hangs vertically underneath. For most ornamental peppers, the plant will begin setting fruit as the temperatures begin to heat up, and will keep producing through the fall season. These plants offer great ornamental value, featuring considerable numbers of fruit, all at different stages of color development. When planted in the full sun, ornamental peppers will not let you down. Their bright colors and vigorous growth will continue throughout the hot and dry summer season and beyond. However, be cautious if you actually want to eat these peppers, because they're really hot. Shishi Gashira! Whooo.....I'm Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.