Ornamental Pepper Plant Care: How To Take Care Of Pepper Plants Indoors

(Image credit: Anna Skvortsova)

Growing peppers indoors is not common, but it can be done. These heat loving plants are also ornamental once they produce fruit. The Chili Pepper Institute has even developed several varieties of brightly fruiting plants to coincide with the winter holidays. The popular indoor pepper plant is easy to grow as a houseplant with a few special instructions. 

Plants in the Solanaceae or nightshade family need plenty of sun and heat to produce fruit. Peppers are one such group. The indoor pepper plant can provide you with hot peppers if they enjoy enough sun and heat. An ornamental pepper plant needs sunshine eight hours per day to promote fruiting. Some tips on how to grow peppers indoors will help gardeners produce the bold tasting fruit, all while enjoying their rainbow of colors. 

What is an Ornamental Pepper Plant?

Capsicum annum is the ornamental pepper. These are usually smaller than landscape peppers and their fruit ripens in a swath of colors, often at the same time on the plant. There may be red, gold, green, orange, and even dark purple peppers decorating the indoor pepper plant. Fruits are slightly elongated and terminate in a point. The plants may be grown outside in summer but are sold in fall and early winter as cold season color for the interior. They aren't just ornamental, however. The fruits can be eaten but are very spicy. Chilly Chili is a milder variety, while Sangria is extremely hot. 

How to Grow Peppers Indoors

Many varieties of pepper may be grown as houseplants. Select smaller varieties that will easily fit into a container when mature. You may purchase plants or try growing peppers indoors from seed. Sow seeds in a good seed starting planting mix in flats. Cover moistened soil with plastic or clear covers to act as a greenhouse and keep moisture in, while enhancing heat. Faster germination will result with the use of a soil heating mat. Transplant seedlings after they have a couple of sets of true leaves. Sanitize any previously used containers to prevent the spread of disease. Keep plants in a warm location where temperatures do not get below 60 degrees F. (16 C.) at night. 

Ornamental Pepper Plant Care

Peppers need at least eight hours of bright sunlight per day. Place containers in a southern window to provide them with enough light. Keep container plants moist but not soggy. Fertilize them a couple weeks after transplant with plenty of nitrogen. As the plant matures, it will need a food with a higher amount of phosphorus. Peppers also need calcium and magnesium to fuel production of healthy fruit. Ornamental pepper plant care is simple, but container plants do need a consistent supply of nutrient supplements. Indoor plants do not get as many problems with pests but keep an eye on them and combat with horticultural soap or oil.

Bonnie L. Grant

Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.