Plant of the Week
This pepper is a real beauty in the summer garden. It's a lovely little annual that can actually live much longer, if you keep it in a container and bring it indoors before temperatures drop into the 40's. But it's also easily replaced each year, and has a sculptural, almost shrubby growth habit.
Black Pearl is a deep, glossy black, which is truly unique, and it makes a striking addition to any landscape. Pair it with silvery plants for a real show-stopper! The fruits do indeed look like black pearls, but as they ripen, they turn a surprisingly bright red.
It gets about 2 feet tall and wide and thrives in full, blazing sun but can take some shade. Good drainage is important, so if you have heavy clay soil, be sure to add lots of compost and don't overwater.
Although the fruit is edible, Black Pearl is an ornamental species, and most people don't use the fruit for cooking. But if you do, be forewarned, they are very hot: over 30,000 Scoville units! A better use of the fruit might be to let it ripen on the plant, then harvest it and let it dry completely before removing the seeds and saving them to plant next year.
Plant the seeds indoors in February or March, for planting outdoors in late April or early May, once the night-time temperatures are reliably in the 60's. Black Pearl will start to flower in early summer and will be covered in fruit all the way through fall.