Oriental peppers add both color and flavor to food.

How to Take Care of Oriental Peppers

by Nannette Richford

Oriental peppers (Capsicum Chinese) include several varieties of hot or spicy peppers used primarily as seasoning in Asian cuisine. Varieties such as "Habanero," "Scotch Bonnet" and "Red Savina" are known as some of the hottest peppers in the world. Other varieties of oriental peppers, such as "Shishito" and "Fushimi" are sweet. Like other members of the pepper family, these plants prefer fertile, well-drained soil in a sunny location. With attention to proper watering and fertilizing you can grow these peppers in your home garden.

1 Plant oriental peppers after all danger of frost has passed in your area. Choose a location that receives at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight a day. These plants thrive in the heat and need copious amounts of sunlight to produce an abundant crop of peppers.

2 Space oriental peppers 24 inches apart in rows spaced 36 to 48 inches apart to allow room for cultivation. Oriental peppers can also be grown in containers, as long as you provide room for the roots to grow. Peppers require a 2-gallon container 14 to 16 inches deep.

3 Mulch under the plants with a 2- to 3-inch layer of grass clippings, straw or black plastic to prevent the soil from drying excessively and create a weed barrier. Black plastic provides the added benefit of keeping the soil warm.

4 Water your oriental peppers deeply to saturate the soil to a depth of 6 inches when the soil feels dry to the touch 1 inch below the surface. Typically, deep watering once a week provides the moisture they need to thrive, but they may require more frequent watering during hot, dry spells.

5 Fertilize your oriental peppers every 14 days with water-soluble fertilizer designed for vegetables, such as 24-8-16, mixed at a rate of 1 tablespoon per gallon of water. Using a sprayer or sprinkling can allows you to apply this foliar feeder to the foliage. Leaves absorb nutrients directly through their surfaces, while excess fertilizer drips onto the soil and becomes available to the roots.

6 Harvest the peppers by clipping or cutting them from the vine as soon as they mature. The color at maturity ranges from green or yellow to shades of red and orange, depending on the variety. Frequent harvesting prolongs production because the plant will respond as though it has not produced enough peppers to set seed and reproduce. It sends out new blooms to replace those that have been harvested.

Items you will need

  • Grass clippings or straw
  • Back plastic
  • Water-soluble fertilizer, 24-8-16
  • Watering can or sprayer
  • Knife

Tip

  • Oriental peppers can be grown inside in containers in a sunny window or under grow lights.

Warning

  • Keep hot or spicy oriental peppers out of the reach of toddlers and babies -- these bright peppers are tempting, but the juice may injure sensitive skin, eyes and mucous membranes.

Photo Credits

  • Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images