This is a gorgeous pepper plant with spicy little peppers, and beautiful purple flowers. It clocks in at 50,000 Scoville, the same as Cayenne Peppers. The colorful flowers are a nice change from the standard white pepper flowers, and when the sun shines through the leaves you can clearly make out the drops of nectar surrounding the filaments. After purple they change to cream, then yellow, then orange, and finally red.
The plants are on the sturdier side, not requiring any support, grow to 2.5 feet tall and the peppers are less than 1.5 inches long. I’m growing this indoors in my self watering container setup.
I have so many Serrano Peppers in my freezer, I may have to start giving some away, and the plant just keeps making more (~160 fully grown and counting). Triggering the new growth is not automatic, once the plant is done producing its fruit, you have to prune it back and that will trigger brand new growth in a few weeks. In the first photo you can see the branches from the prior two rounds of growth and harvest and the nodes where new growth emerges. The third photo shows the current growth with all the new flowers.
Previously with the last pruning, the plant was outdoors in the cold (nowhere near freezing), with winter light. This time I left it indoors, it was late spring, and it came back just fine, so I’m inclined to believe pruning is the only contributing factor.
This means that by the time the one year anniversary of planting this seed comes around on 17 Sept 2015, it should have completed three full cycles of growth. That’s really impressive. I wonder how long, with adequate fertilization, this process can continue.
I started this plant late in the season from seed – September. Despite the late start, it produced 80 2.5″ pods, which is great. Then in December my indoor garden was infested with whiteflies, and they loved the serrano plant. There was no way to salvage the plants, so I harvested what I could, moved it outside, and pruned it down to 3 nodes, completely leafless, and let it sit dormant in the cold for 3 weeks before moving it back inside.
I’ve read about some species of peppers growing really well as perennials given the right conditions, so I was hoping this would be the case.
Little leaves started appearing on the trunk, and at the nodes, then branches started appearing, and a month later, flower buds were visible, and it became clear that the second season was going to be much better than the first.
This is the first pepper plant I have ever grown, and they are really cool, I’m excited to grow more varieties this season.
My second pepper is a cayenne started around the same time, but I wanted to grow it outside to see how it would fare. It didn’t do that great. It was supposed to be a 4′ plant, it grew to half of that. It produced 10 mature pods that were completely funky and gnarly. They are drying right now. Once the really cold wet rain hit, I pruned it down as well. I’m going to let it go another season, let it experience some San Francisco summer and see how it does.
May 1, 2015 Update:
The second batch of peppers from this plant have been harvested. Over 100 fruits grew this time. Total time from when I brought it back indoors and its first leaves started to harvest: 4 months.