Sandia Hot Pepper

Heirloom. Grow Sandia when you want a pepper that offers mild heat and versatility in use. This chile-style pepper has medium-thick walls that add a nice crunch to salsa. A favorite for roasting, the peppers are also often dried to create decorative strings, or ristras.

Introduced by New Mexico State University in 1956, Sandia plants bear heavy yields of green peppers that ripen to red. Heat increases as fruits redden. Harvest up to an average of 20 fruits per plant. Sandia is sometimes labeled as NuMex Sandia.

Only available in the following states, in limited quantities: AZ, CA, NM

  • Light Full sun
  • Fruit size 6 inches long, 1.5 inches wide
  • Matures 77 to 80 days
  • Plant spacing 18 to 24 inches
  • Plant size 24 to 30 inches tall, 18 inches wide
  • Scoville heat units 500 to 2,500 (mild)

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 dried hot chile peppers:
  • Calories: 120
  • Carbohydrates: 26g
  • Dietary fiber: 11g
  • Protein: 4g
  • Sugars: 15g
  • Vitamin A: 196% DV
  • Vitamin C: 19%
  • Vitamin E: 6%
  • Vitamin K: 50%
  • Riboflavin: 26%
  • Niacin: 16%
  • Vitamin B6: 15%
  • Manganese: 15%
  • Potassium: 20%
  • Iron: 12%

Nutritional Information

These little hot peppers have it all: a lot of flavor, heat, and big doses of the antioxidant vitamins A and C. Vitamin A-rich foods promote lung health, and both A and C are antioxidants that neutralize free radicals in our body, important for the prevention of cancer. A phytonutrient called capsaicin, which is found in the seeds and ribs of hot peppers and is responsible for their heat, has been found to be a strong anti-inflammatory agent, helpful in digestion of fats, and effective against sinus infections.