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Types of Peppers – Pepper Varieties

Best Pepper Varieties to Grow at Home​

Peppers come in all sizes, shapes, and colors, ranging from sweet to fiery hot. Learn about the different types of peppers, and then plant a few varieties to spice up your garden. Can’t decide which ones to add? This article shares over 15 of the best pepper varieties to grow at home.


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Pepper Varieties - Types of Peppers

How hot are these pepper varieties?

This post about pepper varieties begins with the sweetest at #1 – no heat at all – and ends at #15 with the hottest pepper I’ve grown in my own garden, a former world record holder for the hottest pepper. 

Types of Peppers

A pepper’s heat is often compared with the heat of a jalapeño – “it’s hotter than a jalapeño” or “it’s not as hot as a jalapeño”. Jalapeños come in on this list at #9.  The Scoville scale is used to measure how hot peppers are.

Types of Peppers

Scoville heat units (SHU) measure the concentration of capsaicinoids, a chemical compound responsible for the spicy flavor in peppers and other foods. The jalapeño ranks between 2,500 and 8,000 SHU on the Scoville scale. This means a pepper must be at least eight times hotter than the jalapeño to be considered much spicier.

Types of Peppers

The hottest peppers on the Scoville scale are the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion and Carolina Reaper, reaching over two million SHU. That means these peppers are more than 250 times hotter than the jalapeño! However, some peppers have been tested that have reached over 2.2 million SHU, making them potentially even hotter than the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion and Carolina Reaper! For reference, police-grade pepper spray is about 500,000 to 5.3 million SHU.

Types of Peppers

Of course, it’s not just the Scoville scale that measures spiciness in peppers. Different peppers contain different types of capsaicinoids, which is the chemical compound responsible for the heat. The levels of capsaicinoids in a pepper will determine how hot it is, regardless of its Scoville rating.

Types of Peppers

Which pepper variety should you choose?

Types of Peppers

Want to grow peppers in your garden? My advice is to pick a sweet pepper, a hot pepper, and maybe one or two in between. Adding peppers to your garden is a great way to give variety and flavor to the other vegetables you harvest from your garden. 

Peppers are easy to grow and maintain, making them the perfect choice for a beginner gardener.

If you are looking for seeds for the varieties of peppers listed, click on the link attached to each pepper’s name and it will take you to trusted seed sources. Want some tips for growing peppers? This article explains how to grow peppers in your garden. 


Pepper varieties to grow at home #1: mini bell pepper​

What does a mini bell pepper look like? ​

The colors of mini bell peppers cover the rainbow, ranging from green, red, yellow, orange and even purple, depending on the variety. Mini bell peppers are about 2 or 3 inches long. 

What does a mini bell pepper taste like?​

Besides looking different, the different colors of bell peppers actually have differences in flavor. Green bell peppers are the least ripe or sweet. As the bell pepper ripens from green, to red, then yellow, and finally orange, the sweetness and flavor increases. The flavor of a purple pepper can be compared to a green pepper. If left on the plant longer, the purple pepper will normally ripen to yellow and then orange. 

How hot is a mini bell pepper?

SHU (Scoville Heat Units): 0


Types of peppers to grow at home #2: bell pepper ​

What does a bell pepper look like? ​

Bell peppers are a bell-shaped large pepper. They range from 4 inches up to 8 inches for the largest peppers. The colors of bell peppers cover the rainbow, ranging from green, red, yellow, orange and even purple, depending on the variety.  

What does a bell pepper taste like? ​

Similarly to the mini bell pepper, the different colors of bell peppers have differences in flavor. Green bell peppers are the least ripe or sweet. As the bell pepper ripens from green, to red, then yellow, and finally orange, the sweetness and flavor increases. The flavor of a purple pepper can be compared to a green pepper. If left on the plant longer, the purple pepper will normally ripen to yellow and then orange. 

How hot is a bell pepper?​

SHU (Scoville Heat Units): 0


Pepper varieties to grow at home #3: banana pepper

What does a banana pepper look like?

Banana peppers are a medium-sized pepper, 4 to 6 inches long. Usually yellow or green, but can ripen to orange or red. 

What does a banana pepper taste like? ​

Mild, almost no heat. A little bit sweet and tangy taste. 

How hot is a banana pepper?​

SHU (Scoville Heat Units): 0 – 500


Types of peppers to grow at home #4: Carmen pepper

Types of peppers to grow at home #4: Carmen pepper

Carmen peppers are a bull-horn shaped pepper about 6 inches long and 2 inches wide. For best flavor, pick when peppers are a deep red color. Thick-walled and meaty.

What does a Carmen pepper taste like? ​

Carmen peppers are a sweet tasting type of Italian pepper with little to no heat. They are delicious roasted. 

How hot is a Carmen pepper?​

SHU (Scoville Heat Units): 0 – 500


Pepper varieties to grow at home #5: pepperoncini

What does a pepperoncini pepper look like?

Pepperoncini peppers are a thin-walled 2 to 3 inch tapered pepper, most often harvested when green, although they ripen to red on the plant.

What does a pepperoncini pepper taste like? ​

Pepperoncini peppers are most often pickled and have a tangy, sweet heat. Raw pepperoncini peppers have a mild, sweet heat. 

How hot is a pepperoncini pepper?​

SHU (Scoville Heat Units): 100 – 500


Types of peppers to grow at home #6: Anaheim pepper​

What does a Anaheim pepper look like?

Anaheim peppers are a medium-sized pepper about 6-10 inches long. They ripen from green to red. 

What does a Anaheim pepper taste like?

Milder than a jalapeño. One of the most common peppers – mild flavor and heat. Favorite for roasting and chile rellenos. 

How hot is a Anaheim pepper?

SHU (Scoville Heat Units): 500 – 2500



Pepper varieties to grow at home #7: poblano pepper​

What does a poblano pepper look like?

Poblano peppers are thick-walled and heart-shaped. The peppers are  3 to 6 inches long and very dark green in color.  

What does a poblano pepper taste like?

Poblano peppers are mild with just a bit of heat and earthy tasting. They are often roasted and peeled. Dried poblano peppers are called ancho chilis.

How hot is a poblano pepper?

SHU (Scoville Heat Units): 1,000 – 2,000 


Pepper Varieties - Types of Peppers

What does a Hatch chili pepper look like?

Hatch chili peppers are very similar to the Anaheim pepper. These peppers have an elongated shape that ranges from 6-10 inches long. Hatch chilis most often refer to the type of chili grown in Hatch, New Mexico. 

What does a Hatch chili pepper taste like?

Similar taste to Anaheim pepper; earthy flavor with varying levels of heat depending on ripeness. 

How hot is a Hatch chili pepper?

SHU (Scoville Heat Units): 1,000 – 8,000


Pepper varieties to grow at home #9: jalapeño pepper​

Pepper Varieties - Types of Peppers

What does a jalapeño pepper look like?

Jalapeño peppers are a thick-walled medium sized pepper. Most are 2-3 inches long, but some jalapeños are as long as 6 inches. Usually harvested when green, but ripens to red. 

What does a jalapeño pepper taste like? ​

When jalapeños are left to ripen to red on the vine, the flavor is less hot and sweeter than the green ones. Jalapeño peppers are thought by many to be just the right amount of heat. The peppers are hot, but not uncomfortably so. 

How hot is a jalapeño pepper?​

SHU (Scoville Heat Units): 2,500 – 6,000


Pomegranate Jalapeño Cream Cheese Dip

Looking for a great way to use your fresh jalapeños? This Pomegranate Jalapeño Cream Cheese Dip is a family favorite.


Types of peppers to grow at home #10: Fresno pepper​

What does a Fresno pepper look like?

Fresno pepper is about 2 to 3 inches long, slightly curved, with smooth skin. As it matures, it changes from green to a deep red. It has thinner walls than a jalapeño.

What does a Fresno pepper taste like? ​

Medium hot, and slightly sweet. When green, a Fresno pepper looks and tastes similar to a jalapeño. As the pepper matures, it turns red and develops a smokier and fruitier taste that is slightly hotter than a jalapeño.

How hot is a Fresno pepper?​

Scoville heat units (SHU): 2,500 – 10,000


Pepper varieties to grow at home #11: Jaloro pepper​

Jaloro pepper Pepper Varieties - Types of Peppers

What does a Jaloro pepper look like?

Jaloro (sometimes called caloro) peppers are a thick-walled hybrid of the jalapeño and look like a yellow jalapeño. Most are 2-3 inches long, but some are as long as 6 inches. The Jaloro pepper turns red if left on the vine longer. 

What does a Jaloro pepper taste like?

The Jaloro pepper tastes like a fruitier version of a jalapeño.

How hot is a Jaloro pepper?​

SHU (Scoville Heat Units): 5,000


Pepper varieties to grow at home #12: Serrano pepper​

What does a Serrano pepper look like?

Serrano peppers are smaller than jalapeños. They start green, and ripen to orange and finally red. These peppers are 2-4 inches long and about 1/2 inch wide. Serrano pepper plants are easy to grow and productive. I’ve had plants last for several years in the garden, producing hundreds of peppers each year. 

What does a Serrano pepper taste like? ​

Fresh flavor but hotter than a jalapeño. Adds a spicy kick to salsa. Delicious roasted or fresh. 

How hot is a Serrano pepper?​

SHU (Scoville Heat Units): 10,000 – 23,000 


Types of peppers to grow at home #13: Thai chili pepper​

Thai chili pepper Pepper Varieties - Types of Peppers

What does a Thai chili pepper look like?

There are many varieties of Thai chilis, but they are often small-sized, thin-walled tapered pepper that is 1-2 inches long. Typically harvested when ripened to red, but can be used any time. 

What does a Thai chili pepper taste like? ​

There are many different types of Thai chili peppers, and they range from hot to very hot. 

How hot is a Thai chili pepper?​

SHU (Scoville Heat Units): 50,000 – 100,000


Types of peppers to grow at home #14: habanero pepper​

What does a habanero pepper​ look like?

Habanero peppers are thin-walled, waxy pepper that is about 2 inches long and 1 to 2 inches wide. Color ranges from yellow to orange and then to red depending on when it is harvested. 

What does a habanero pepper taste like?

Good mix of heat and flavor. Very hot but also a little citrus flavor. 

How hot is a habanero pepper?

SHU (Scoville Heat Units): 200,000 – 300,000


Pepper varieties to grow at home #15: Bhut Jolokia​

What does a Bhut Jolokia (ghost pepper) look like?

Bhut Jolokia peppers are 2 to 3 inches long, and range from red and orange to purple and brown. They have thin, dented skin that tears easily.

What does a Bhut Jolokia (ghost pepper) taste like?

The flavor comes in stages – first a very sweet chili flavor, followed by intense heat that intensifies for about 15 minutes. Use caution when handling and using. 

How hot is a Bhut Jolokia (ghost pepper)?

SHU (Scoville Heat Units): 850,000 – 1,463,700 


Bonus type of pepper: Chiletipin

Types of Peppers - The Chiltepin pepper, "chile tepin", or "Chiltepine"

Chiletipin peppers are a type of chili pepper native to Mexico. They have an intense heat and are often used in Mexican cuisine, such as sauces, salsas, or stews. If you’re brave, try one raw. It’s HOT!!!

What does a Chiletipin look like?

Chilteipin is a small, round chile pepper with bright red skin and a unique smoky flavor. The color ranges from light green to bright red when fully ripe.

What does a Chiletipin taste like?

Chiletipins have a distinct flavor that can range from fruity and smoky notes to intense heat. 

How hot is a Chiletipin?

SHU (Scoville Heat Units): 50,000 to 100,000 

Types of Peppers - The Chiltepin pepper, "chile tepin", or "Chiltepine"

How to grow peppers - 7 tips for growing peppers #growingpeppers #howtogrowpeppers #gardeninginarizona #peppers

Peppers come in all sizes, shapes, and colors, ranging from sweet to fiery hot. In this article, learn how to grow peppers and plant a few varieties to spice up your garden.


How & When to PRUNE PEPPERS in mild winter climates growing in the garden

Knowing how and when to prune peppers in mild-winter climates is essential to keeping them healthy and productive for many years. Learn how in this blog post.


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P-A Stanbury

Thursday 20th of July 2023

Do you recognize a NEW black pepper about 4in/4cm long, HOT, called Zuk Head???? (name faded on plant label, so not sure of correct name) Brought as baby plant at a garden show, and was told it was a new variety this year, seeds came from a recognized seedsman such as Suttons etc. although cannot remember which brand.

Angela Judd

Thursday 20th of July 2023

Hi, I'm not familiar with that type. It does sound interesting!

Rick

Tuesday 31st of January 2023

Just read Joyce’s comment on the problems that she has had with her bell peppers. With any pepper over watering can cause this problem ...The soil or soil/ compost mix only needs to be moist & never drenched. Remember that peppers grow extremely well in dryer warm climates. Reduce the amount of peppers from the blossom stage to the fruit stage per plant. As most are aware pepper plants flower extremely productively. Once the peppers start to form feed the plant just once seasonally with a liquid based fertiliser. I use a liquid tomato fertiliser that is cheap as chips & is widely available at various outlets.

Joyce Brown

Saturday 24th of July 2021

Angela, I've grown about 12 bell pepper plants in the last 18 months here in Chandler and here are my problems: they NEVER get any bigger than 2 1/2 inches long, the walls are very thin and most end up getting a brown, withered blemish near the blossom ends, not ON the blossom end.

They are all in 10 gal grow pots and are watered automatically. I LOVE bell peppers but I want the big, thick bell peppers I get in the store. What am I doing wrong?