Purple Bell Sweet Pepper

These purple peppers are guaranteed to spark conversation in the garden and on a dinner plate. Colored a rich, deep purple, they have terrific sweet bell flavor to go with their good looks. Peppers start green, shift to white, and then develop purple stripes that eventually cover the whole fruit. The purple skin contrasts beautifully with lime green flesh. It’€™s a stunning combination that really dresses up fresh veggie trays, sandwiches, salads, and other dishes.

This pepper tolerates high heat and humidity and thrives in Southern gardens. Plants grow 18 to 24 inches tall and bear fruit until frost. Space plants 20 to 24 inches apart. Merlot is resistant to tobacco mosaic virus and bacterial leaf spot races 1, 2, and 3.

  • Light Full sun
  • Matures 65 to 70 days
  • Fruit size 4 1/2 x 3 1/2-inch blocky fruits
  • Plant size 18 to 24 inches tall, 18 to 20 inches wide
  • Plant spacing 18 to 24 inches

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.

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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 large purple bell pepper:
  • Calories: 50
  • Carbohydrates: 12g
  • Dietary fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Vitamin A: 7% DV
  • Vitamin C: 569%
  • Vitamin B6: 16%
  • Folate: 12%
  • Manganese: 11%
  • Potassium: 11%
  • Copper: 10%

Nutritional Information

The purple varieties of bell pepper bring all the same range of nutrients in other peppers such as healthy amounts of vitamins A and C, B6, and folate, along with important minerals, all in a high-fiber, low-calorie package. The purple color comes from anthocyanins that are known reduce the risk for high blood pressure and low HDL (or “good”) cholesterol.