Chilli & Sweet Pepper Varieties

Chilli & Pepper Varieties

Read an introduction to chilli and pepper varieties here.

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About Chilli & Pepper Varieties

Peppers can be divided into two main types:

  • Sweet Peppers
    There are many shades, sizes, and shapes of sweet peppers, but they are not classified by colour. The green, orange, and red colours seen in shops are simply different stages of ripening. Some peppers are bred to be eaten green, and others red, but all peppers will change colour as they mature. When peppers ripen, their flavour becomes increasingly sweet. Green peppers are great for adding a sharp taste to sauces and casseroles, whilst sweet red peppers can be enjoyed in salads and stir fries.

  • Chilli Peppers
    Like sweet peppers, there is a great variety of chilli peppers to choose from. Chillies are often classified by their heat level using the Scoville scale. The scale ranges from zero to over a million, with most chillies scoring within the 1K to 100K range. The more mature the chilli – with chillies commonly ripening from green to red – the more spicy it becomes. Most of the heat is found within the pith and seeds, rather than the flesh.

When growing sweet peppers and chilli peppers in the UK, it is difficult to achieve the maximum levels of sweetness and spiciness. Both types require plenty of heat and sunshine to fully ripen, and this is most likely to be achieved by growing in a greenhouse, polytunnel, or conservatory. Some southern parts of the UK, with longer and hotter summers, have a distinct advantage. If growing in more northern areas, or on an exposed site, it is worth looking for fast growing varieties bred for the British climate.

Peppers are particularly well suited to growing in containers and pots, allowing them to be moved to the hottest parts of the greenhouse or patio. To provide the best chance of success, the seeds should be sown indoors in late winter, and grown on in a protected environment, to make the most of the long hot summer days when they arrive. The plants should only be moved to an unheated greenhouse, polytunnel, or sunny spot on a patio, once the weather has become warm during the day and night.