Capsicum annuum
Common Name: cayenne pepper 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Solanaceae
Native Range: Tropical North and South America
Zone: 9 to 11
Height: 1.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: Flowers not showy
Bloom Description: White, yellow
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual, Vegetable
Flower: Insignificant
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Tolerate: Drought


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.

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.

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

Specific epithet means annual.


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.