Hot Cayenne Pepper

Can you take the heat? If you love hot peppers, then add Hot Cayenne to your garden. A famously fiery pepper from South America, Hot Cayenne provides the perfect punch of heat in dishes, while also adding flavor and spice when used fresh, canned, or pickled. Add a Hot Cayenne pepper to a bottle of your favorite oil or vinegar to infuse it with flavor. With high yields, you’ll have plenty of thin-walled, bright red peppers to string into a ristra, an easy way to dry your garden surplus for future use. Beware: these peppers pack a punch, with a Scoville Rating of 3,000-6,000. Wear gloves when handling.

  • Light Full sun
  • Fruit Size 3 to 5 inches
  • Matures 85 days
  • Spacing 18 to 24 inches apart
  • Plant Size 18 to 24 inches
  • Scoville Rating 3,000 to 6,000

Some Bonnie Plants varieties may not be available in your local area, due to different variables in certain regions. Also, if any variety is a limited, regional variety it will be noted on the pertinent variety page.

At a glance

Light requirements: Full sun.

Planting: Space 12 to 48 inches apart, depending on type. (See information above for specific recommendations.)

Soil requirements: Peppers need well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. Amend soil with 3 to 5 inches of compost or other organic matter prior to planting. Soil pH should be 6.2 to 7.0.

Water requirements: Keep soil consistently moist throughout the growing season. Mulch soil to reduce water evaporation.

Frost-fighting plan: Pepper is a hot-weather crop. A light frost will damage plants (28º F to 32º F), and temps below 55º F slow growth and cause leaves to look yellowish. If a surprise late spring frost is in the forecast, protect newly planted seedlings with a frost blanket.

Common issues: Plants drop flowers when daytime temps soar above 90º F. Few pests bother peppers, but keep an eye out for aphids, slugs, pill bugs, and leafminers. Humid weather (especially in gardens with heavy soil that doesn’t drain well) can invite fungal diseases like leafspot.

Harvesting: Check image on plant tag (or at the top of this page) to learn what your pepper looks like when mature. Some peppers turn red, yellow, or other colors at maturity. Others are ready in the green stage, but will turn red if left on plants. Use pruning shears or a sharp knife to cut peppers with a short stub of stem attached. Pulling peppers by hand can cause entire branches to break off. Fruits store longer for fresh use if you don’t remove the stem, which can create an open wound that’s ripe for spoiling.

Storage: Store unwashed (or washed and dried) peppers in the refrigerator in a loosely closed plastic bag. Moisture is a pepper’s enemy and hastens spoiling. For peak flavor and nutrition, use within a week.

For more information, visit the Peppers page in our How to Grow section.