Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Hot Peppers & Cross Pollination.

http://www.anoregoncottage.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/jtgpfinal.pngToday I'm linking up with Tuesday Garden Party at An Oregon Cottage.  This series has people post on a variety of garden topics including what's growing/blooming, tips, ideas, progress, harvests, recipes, before/afters or how-tos.  I  love connecting with other gardeners and seeing what is happening.  I find it very motivational.  You should check some of the posts in the series this week. (click on the button to the left).
On to the POST:  

Ok so I will be the first to admit that I over planted hot peppers this year.  We are getting tons of hot peppers coming off all the plants though!  Can't wait to make my own hot sauce!  They are definitely too close together.  But I have read that to avoid cross pollination different plants need to be 100's of feet apart.  So I guess I should just get used to this because I don't have that much space and I want to keep planting different kinds of peppers.  This year I planted 6 cayenne plants, 2 habanero plants, 1 cherry bomb, 1 cajun bell and 2 banana pepper plants.  I know that's a lot of plants in a small area (as you can see below).
The first to produce fruit were the cherry bomb then the cajun bell and the banana peppers, then the cayenne peppers and finally the habanero.  We noticed a couple weeks ago that one of the cayenne pepper plants is growing 2 distinctly different shaped peppers.  The normal long skinny sometimes curled cayenne pepper (B), and what looks very much like a jalape├▒o pepper (A).  We think the cayenne has cross pollinated with the cherry bomb creating a hybrid shape.

Here is a picture of the cherry bomb, as you can see it is short and wide with a darker skin colour than the cayenne.  We think this is the best candidate for what has cross pollinated.  In the background you can see the cajun bell plant.
 We also have a very short and stumpy cajun bell on our hands.  Seen in the centre of the photo below. It started to turn colour fairly quickly and was actually eaten yesterday bright red (this photo was taken about a week ago).  The stumpy pepper tasted like a cajun bell.   We are not sure this one is result of cross pollination or just a runt of the plant?  Any ideas?

The last issue we are having with our peppers is curling leaves on the habaneros.  It's just the top leaves and I'm not sure why this is happening.  There was one week where the weather fluctuated quite a bit from really hot to very mild.  This could be the cause but we are not sure.  The plants are still flowering and fruiting so were not overly worried but just curious.  

Has anyone else had interesting cross pollination in their garden?  
Have you had curling leaves on pepper plants, and what do you think the cause is?


  1. I didn't even know that cross-pollination could make weird different peppers. So cool.

  2. One thing that I learned when I was new at gardening - plant peppers in 'groups' by type and never combine more than 1 type in the same area. they always try to cross pollinate, and if you have sweet and hot planted together you're more likely to get all hot instead. that's why I have them in two separate areas - sweet in front garden, and hot on the back of the house on patio.

  3. Cross pollination does not affect the current generation of peppers - it affects the seeds of those peppers. So if you were to plant the seeds, you might end up with some weird crosses (e.g., a pepper that looks like a sweet bell but is as hot as a habanero). In a nutshell, cross pollination only matters if you're saving seeds.

    1. That's interesting could it be that the plant was grown from cross polinated seeds from the nursery? The two types of pepper look so different: colour, skin thinkness, shape.