Capsicum annuum 'Black Pearl'
Common Name: ornamental pepper
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Solanaceae
Zone: 4 to 10
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: Flowers not showy
Bloom Description: Purple
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual, Vegetable
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Colorful
Fruit: Showy


This ornamental pepper is grown as an annual in St. Louis. It performs best in moist, organically rich, fertile, well-drained soils in full sun. Best black foliage color occurs in full sun. Plants have good tolerance for high heat and humidity. ‘Black Pearl’ may be grown from seed. Start seed indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost date. Set seedlings or purchased plants out in the garden after last frost date. Space plants 8-12 inches apart. Avoid planting where peppers, tomatoes or eggplants previously grew. Plants may also be grown in containers. Plants generally need little pruning.

Noteworthy Characteristics

‘Black Pearl’ is a herbaceous ornamental pepper that is most noted for its glossy black foliage and its black-maturing-to-red fruit. It grows vigorously in an upright bushy mound to 18” tall and 12” wide. Ovate leaves (to 3” long) emerge green but quickly turn shiny black. Leaves retain good color throughout the growing season. Small purple flowers appear in clusters in summer, but are not particularly ornamental. Flowers are followed by small, round, pearl-like, black fruit (3/4” diameter) that matures to cherry red. Fruits are pointed at the base. Fruits are technically edible but extremely hot. 2006 All-America Selection winner.


No serious insect or disease problems. Fungal and bacterial leaf spot, wilt, mosaic virus and stem/root rot may occur. Potential insect pests include aphids, white flies, cutworms, pepper maggots and Colorado potato beetles.

Garden Uses

Bedding, borders, backgrounds, containers.