ornamental peppers

Prairie Fire Peppers

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If you’re looking for a versatile, aesthetic pepper perfect for small spaces, look no further than the prairie fire pepper!

Prairie fire peppers are ornamental plants that look like colorful Christmas lights. They are a perfect addition to your garden if you want to add a touch of heat and color to your space. Despite their small size and ornamental appearance, they are quite spicy — and unlike most ornamental peppers, they have a fruity undertone and pack a flavorful punch in addition to their heat.

These peppers can grow in a variety of colors, including green, purple, cream, yellow, orange, and red, which makes them a prime option for colorful landscaping and container gardening.

Facts about
Prairie Fire Peppers

Heat level:
70,000 - 80,000
Capsicum annuum
North America

What are prairie fire peppers?

Prairie fire peppers are a type of Capsicum Annuum, the same species that gives us jalapeño and bell peppers. However, unlike those mild peppers, prairie fire peppers are much hotter, with a Scoville heat range from 70,000 to 80,000 SHU. This heat is comparable to spicy Thai peppers, with a fruity flavor that sets them apart from your typical ornamental pepper.

How hot are they?

For those who are not used to spicy food, the heat of prairie fire peppers may be too much to handle. These chilies are nine to thirty-two times hotter than jalapeño peppers. They fall in line with two other smaller chilies: Thai peppers and chiltepin, both with heats that range from 50,000 to 100,000 SHU. Although prairie fire chilies never reach the maximum heat potential of Thai chilies, they typically have a similar spiciness.

Facts about prairie fire peppers

Apart from their unique appearance and spiciness, prairie fire peppers have other notable characteristics that make them a popular choice for gardens and landscaping. These peppers are annual plants that grow up to 20 cm tall (Gray & Michaud, 2008) and have a sprawling growth habit.

One plant can have dozens of each color visible at any time, creating a beautiful and eye-catching display. Their fruits are edible and have a bright, fruity, and hot flavor that you can add to your favorite dishes. Prairie fire peppers are often used in floral designs, and their cut branches can last for weeks when placed in water.

Can you eat prairie fire peppers?

Yes, you can eat prairie fire peppers. Although these peppers are typically grown for ornamental purposes, they are edible and have a bright, fruity, and hot flavor. This contrasts with most other ornamental peppers, which are typically spicy but without any other flavor.

Ornamental uses

Prairie fire peppers can be used to decorate both indoor and outdoor spaces. The fruits are unique in appearance because they stand out above the foliage, creating a colorful and eye-catching display. Because the plants only grow to be 20 cm tall, you can easily grow them in containers, on patios, or even in your kitchen window. The cut branches are also used in floral designs.

You can also use them as edging in your garden. They make excellent bedding and border plants during the summer and prefer to be in a warm environment.

Are prairie fire peppers the same as Christmas light peppers?

“Christmas light peppers” is a nonspecific term used to describe colorful ornamental peppers that resemble Christmas lights. There is no other specific criteria, so because of their colorful appearance, prairie fire peppers can be called Christmas light peppers! These small plants bear upright chilies in various colors from yellow to orange, red red, and eventually purple at full maturity.

Where to get prairie fire peppers

You can often find prairie fire peppers at local nurseries, garden centers, and sometimes even the flower section of your local supermarket. If you want to grow them at home from seed, they are relatively easy to find in online seed catalogs and even on Amazon.

How to care for your pepper plant

Prairie fire peppers require full sun and moist, well-drained soil. The plant is relatively disease-free but are susceptible to the normal insects like aphids and potato beetles. Water your peppers regularly when the soil starts looking dry, but be sure not to overwater.

These peppers are an annual, so they will naturally die off in the winter. You can also grow them indoors as long as you have abundant natural lighting (or use artificial “grow lights”).

Prairie fire peppers are not just ornamental plants but also edible and flavorful. They are easy to grow and require minimal maintenance. Because of their compact size, they’re perfect for container gardening and small spaces. Whether you want to add some color to your garden or spice up your food, prairie fire peppers are a perfect choice.