What is an aji panca pepper? Aji peppers are native to the Caribbean, where they were probably grown by the Arawak people many centuries ago. Historians believe they were transported to Ecuador, Chile and Peru from the Caribbean by Spanish explorers. Aji panca is a popular pepper – the second most common of many Peruvian aji peppers. Read on to learn about growing aji panca peppers in your garden.
Aji Panca Chili Information
Aji panca pepper is a deep red or burgundy-brown pepper grown primarily in Peru’s coastal areas. It is a mild pepper with a fruity flavor and very little heat when veins and seeds are removed.
You won’t find aji panca peppers in your local supermarket, but you may find dried panca peppers in international markets. When dried, aji panca peppers have a rich, smoky flavor that enhances barbecue sauces, soups, stews and Mexican mole sauces.
How to Grow Aji Panca Chilis
Start aji panca chili seeds indoors, in celled containers or seed trays, eight to 12 weeks before the last frost of the season. Chili pepper plants need plenty of warmth and sunlight. You may need to use a heat mat and fluorescent lights or grow lights to provide the optimum growing conditions.
Keep the potting mix slightly moist. Provide a weak solution of a water soluble fertilizer when the peppers get their first true leaves.
Transplant the seedlings into individual containers when they’re big enough to handle, then move them outdoors when you’re sure frost danger has passed. Allow at least 18 to 36 inches (45-90 cm.) between plants. Be sure the plants are located in bright sunlight and fertile, well-drained soil.
You can also grow aji panca chili peppers in containers, but be sure the pot is large; this pepper can reach heights of 6 feet (1.8 m.).
Aji Panca Chili Pepper Care
Pinch the growing tip of young plants to promote a full, bushier plant and more fruit.
Water as needed to keep the soil slightly moist but never soggy. Usually, every second or third day is adequate.
Feed aji panca chili peppers at planting time and every month thereafter using a balanced, slow-release fertilizer.