Capsicum annuum 'Purple Flash'
Common Name: ornamental pepper 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Solanaceae
Zone: 11 to 12
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: June
Bloom Description: Purple
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Colorful
Fruit: Showy


Annual. Easily grown in moist, organically rich, fertile, well-drained soils in full sun. Pinch young plants to promote bushiness. Start seed indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost date. Set seedlings or purchased plants out in the garden after last frost date.

‘Purple Flash’ may be grown from seed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Although grown in vegetable gardens for many years, peppers are becoming increasingly popular as ornamentals. Plants of this species are quite varied but generally grow in shrubby mounds to 1-4’ tall and feature star to bell-shaped white or yellow flowers and lance-shaped to oval medium green leaves. Flowers give way to edible peppers, ranging from extremely hot chili peppers to sweet bell peppers. Many cultivars have been developed with a view toward ornamental use, featuring attractive peppers in bright shades of red, yellow, purple, orange and brown. This species has been organized into five botanical groups: Cerasiforme group (cherry peppers), Conioides group (cone peppers), Fasciculatum group (red cone peppers), Grossum group (sweet bell peppers) and Longum group (chili peppers and cayenne peppers).

Genus name comes from the Greek word kapto meaning to bite.

Specific epithet means annual.

‘Purple Flash’ is a herbaceous ornamental pepper that is most noted for its near black foliage accented with occasional flashes of bright purple or white and its tiny jet black fruit. It grows vigorously in an upright bushy mound to 15” tall and 20” wide. Leaves retain good color throughout the growing season. Small dark purple flowers appear in clusters in early summer. Flowers are followed by small, round, glossy, jet black fruit. Fruits are technically edible but extremely hot.


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, edging, containers, window boxes and houseplants.