Five Purple Peppers For Extra Pop: PepperScale Roundup

Draw the eye with a royal hue…

If you’re looking for a little purple pop for your landscaping or garden, purple peppers are an excellent option. They draw the eye not only with their rich royal color, but also with their unique shapes. And, of course, there’s that heat that makes peppers such a fun growing option. Our PepperScale Roundup covers five purple beauties, from mild to fiery, to help you consider your best ornamental pepper options.

Important note: Most purple peppers age from purple to red, and they’ll turn green when cooked. If you’re looking to keep these beautiful shades alive from garden to plate, serve them raw, chopped in salads, salsas, and sides.

Purple Beauty Pepper

Purple Beauty Pepper

Scoville heat units: 0
Best for: Gardening

Richly-hued Purple Beauties are a lovely and family-friendly addition to your garden. It’s a variant of the bell pepper, so expect no heat. But there’s that delicious crispness and sweetness here that you’d expect. The plants are compact, but bushy, so they are better suited for your garden (or a container garden) then landscaping.

Purple Marconi Pepper

Purple Marconi

Scoville heat units: 0
Best for: Gardening

You don’t find the purple marconi as often as the red and yellow variants of this pepper – that is, unless you are growing them yourself. They are one of the larger sweet Italian frying peppers you’ll find, with the fruits themselves growing up to eight inches in length and the bush up to three feet tall. There’s the sweetness you’d expect here, along with an undertone of smoke. Obviously with the size of these peppers, they are best used for gardens and not landscaping.

Purple Jalapeño Pepper

Purple Jalapeno Pepper

Scoville heat units: 2,500 – 8,000
Best for: Gardening, Container Gardening, Landscaping

With a very eatable medium-kick, purple jalapeños provide that perfect balance of looks and flavor. They have that typical jalapeño bright flavor, with a little extra sweetness. Note these chilies start off green, then age into purple, and finally turn red at full maturity. Their size makes them useful both in gardens and as landscaping. Want to learn more? Read our PepperScale profile on the chili.

Pretty In Purple Pepper

Pretty in Purple pepper

Scoville heat units: 4,000 – 8,000
Best for: Landscaping

This is truly a stunning plant. It’s not only the fruit of this chili plant that showcases purple, but it’s also the plant stems and the leaves. The leaves take on varying hues between green and purple (with some being mixes of the two). The peppers themselves have a low-medium heat, similar to the purple jalapeño, but their heat floor is a little higher at 4,000 SHU. In terms of flavor, there’s a bright crispness here, but they aren’t as nuanced as other chilies. Most ornamental peppers grown primarily for looks aren’t as they are bred for appearance, not flavor.

Purple Cayenne Pepper

Purple Cayenne Pepper

Scoville heat units: 40,000 – 50,000 SHU
Best for: Container Gardening, Landscaping

While these chilies are tapered and slim like the typical cayenne pepper, purple cayenne tend to be a little smaller with a slightly bigger bite. They won’t be hotter than the hottest possible cayenne, but their floor is not as low as the regular cayenne either, starting at 40,000 SHU. The size of these cayenne make them a terrific ornamental pepper option, and they are an excellent choice for container gardening.

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on February 5, 2020 to include new content. It was originally published on March 27, 2016.
  • Oh my goodness! I was coming online to identify these upwards growing purple peppers too! Bonnie brand from Home Depot!

    • I have the same plant. Sold as a cayenne but has upward growing dark purple peppers. Have you been able to find out what type it is?

  • Was surprised to find a purple pepper in my garden today. Did not know the type (must have been mixed when I purchased my plants), searched the internet and believe it is a purple Marconi pepper. Now I do not know how to use it.

    • Joe. Did you buy a bonnie brand plant? I bought “hot cayennes” from home depot and it is not that. I got purple peppers which are large and grow upwards. They are over 3 inches and thick. Not smoothe like a jalepeno, more tje texture of a poblano. Bonnie admits the have some screw ups this year but cannot identify the pepper. They suggested a burrito pepper, but i grow those and this is not one.
      Where did you get yours? Does it sound like mine?

      • Have you figured out what your pepper plant is? I purchased the same Bonnie plant as you and are having the same results. Gorgeous upgrowing purple peppers.

      • This happened to me, too. They were supposed to be red chilies but they’re the weird upward growing purple peppers I can’t identify. They’re tasty, but I wanted red chilies.

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