How To Grow Salsa in Pots – Very Hot Peppers

How To Grow Salsa in Pots – Very Hot Peppers

As a general rule, hotter peppers will do better in cooler climates. The heat of a pepper fruit is strongly influenced by its growing conditions, including humidity, and genetics. Some professional hot pepper growers use sulphur (sulfur) to condition the soil for hotter and healthier peppers. Sulfur is available at most drug stores, or you can simply place a spread out book of matches at the bottom of the pot or planting hole. When handling hot pepper pods to cook, wearing thick rubber glove is advised since the juices can soak into your hands and burn. For Tips, see How to Grow Peppers in Pots

Thai Hot Heirloom Peppers are a tiny fruit that is cone shaped and hot. It makes an ornamental houseplant and matures in 45 to 70 days on a 2 to 3 feet tall plant. Cooks Garden sells seeds and Thai Hot Pepper plants in the spring, shipping them in time to plant at the proper time in your USDA temperature zone. (1,2)

Jalapeno Heirloom Peppers are a favorite for making salsa, and are used in most brands purchased from grocery stores. These peppers a quite hot, and are excellent for stuffing with cheese and baking or frying. They are usually harvested green, but are also beautiful and delicious when allowed to mature to red. Jalapenos mature in about 75 days on a plant that gets about 1 1/2 to 2 feet tall. Cooks Garden sells Jalapeno seeds, and Jalapeno Heirloom Pepper plants in the spring, shipping them in time to plant at the proper time in your USDA temperature zone. 3,500 to 8,000 SHU. (1)

Hot Hungarian Wax Heirloom Peppers are fairly hot, and are very similar in appearance to the banana pepper. (The banana pepper is can be either somewhat hot or very mild.) This pepper is usually harvested when it ripens to yellow, but if allowed to ripen it will turn orange and then red. It is good used fresh or canned, and does better than most peppers in cooler locations. 5,000 to 15,000 SHU. (2)

Serrano Heirloom Peppers are a Mexican favorite that is four to five times hotter than a jalapeno, with a pungent flavor many prefer to jalapenos. Serranos are best fresh, and make excellent salsa. These plants get 2 to 3 feet tall, and will benefit from staking and being grown in a larger pot. The plants are very productive, and are the fruits are ready to harvest in about 75 days. 10,000 to 23,000 SHU. (2)

Cayenne Heirloom Hot Pepper is originally from Guyana, a country on the Caribbean on the northern South American coast, and is named after a river there. Cayenne peppers are hot, about the same a jalapeno. The pungent pepper is good for many uses, especially for drying and making into cayenne powder or flakes. The fruits are long, 4 to 6 inches, and thin, and one of the easiest peppers to dry for a spice with a multitude of uses. Simply string them up and hang them in a warm, dry area. Cayenne peppers are also good fresh, pickled, canned, or steeped in vinegar or oil for condiments. The plants are very productive, beginning about 70 days after transplant, and grow to 2 to 3 feet tall. The plants will benefit from a large pot and being staked. 30,000 to 50,000. (2)

Hot Lemon Heirloom Peppers are from Ecuador, and are comparable in heat to Cayenne peppers, but uniquely flavored. Hot Lemon Peppers can be harvested when they are green, but if allowed to ripen they will turn pure lemon yellow. Use the 3 to 4 inch long, wrinkly, pure lemon yellow peppers fresh or in sauces. It matures in about 80 days on 1 1/2 to 2 feet tall plants. Burpee sells seeds or Hot Lemon plants in time for spring planting. (2)

Tabasco Heirloom Peppers are originally from Mexico, and are used for the heat in the famous hot sauce. The original sauce from Avery, Louisiana, company which ages its Tabasco pepper sauce for 3 years in a wooden barrel as part of its recipe. This pepper is a favorite in many areas of the US. These pepper plants get tall and will benefit from a large pot, at least 7 gallons, and staking. The small fruits ripen from light green to red, and are ready to harvest in about 80 days. 30,000 to 50,000 SHU. (2)

McMahon’s Bird Heirloom Peppers are a medium hot pepper that Thomas Jefferson, a very accomplished and advanced plantsman, grew. The fruits are tiny, round and flavorful. The plants grow to only 1 foot tall, making them perfect for containers indoors or outdoors. Ready to harvest in about 90 days, these peppers can be strung and dried, and the plants will overwinter indoors. 50,000 to 100,000 SHU. (2)

Hot Habanero Heirloom Peppers are from the from the Caribbean, and are very hot. “Habanero” translates in Spanish to “from Havana,” Cuba. The habanero is closely related to the Jamaican Scotch Bonnet, and has a smoky, pungent flavor that is unique to habanero peppers. Dry habaneros, or make salsa or sauces from these beautiful, wrinkly, orange peppers starting in about 95 days. The productive plants grow to 1 1/2 to 2 feet tall. 100,000 to 350,000 SHU. (2)

Sources for information, seeds, and/or plants:


Scoville Heat Unit information source:, retrieved November 24, 2011.

About Olympia

My name is Olympia Paz, and I am a graduate of Kansas State University.with extensive studies in soil science (agronomy), horticultural science, and biology. I have continued my own studies in these areas, especially soil science, and applied my knowledge to growing nutritious organic food in my home gardens, containers, and inside.

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