Jalapeno Hot Pepper

Named for the town of Jalapa, Mexico, this is the most popular chile pepper in the United States. Jalapeño produces 3-inch, thick-walled, moderately hot pods with deep green color that matures to a bright red. The skin may show a netting pattern as fruit ages, but it does not affect flavor. Often, the heat of the peppers will vary, even those from the same plant. If peppers grow fast, get plenty of water, and are harvested soon, they may be milder than peppers that stay on the plant a long time, or that develop slowly and under stressful conditions.

Widely adapted, jalapeño plants yield a bountiful harvest in dry or humid, hot or cool climates. The compact plants grow well in containers. Use jalapeño on nachos or in salsa, or smoke the mature red ones over mesquite chips to make your own chipotle sauce. Jalapeño became the first pepper in space when a bag full of pods accompanied astronauts on the shuttle Columbia in November 1982!

  • Light Full sun
  • Fruit size 3 inches
  • Matures 72 days
  • Plant spacing 18 to 24 inches
  • Plant size 24 to 48 inches tall
  • Scoville heat units 2,500 to 5,000 (medium)

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
Nutrition Information

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.

Nutrition Facts

1 cup sliced raw jalapeño peppers:
  • Calories: 27
  • Carbohydrates: 6g
  • Dietary fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 1g
  • Sugars: 3g
  • Vitamin A: 14% DV
  • Vitamin C: 66%
  • Vitamin K: 11%
  • Thiamin: 9%
  • Vitamin B6: 23%
  • Folate: 11%
  • Manganese: 11%
  • Potassium: 6%
  • Copper: 6%

Nutritional Information

The hot little jalapeño is packed with vitamins A, C, K, B6 and a long list of important minerals. Of course the heat of the jalapeño may keep you from eating too much of this nutrient-filled vegetable, but even a little provides a lot of capsaicin. This is the natural compound in the ribs and seeds of hot peppers that provides the burn and has been found to be an excellent anti-inflammatory agent as well as a help in burning fat and in preventing sinus problems.