Black Pearl Pepper Guide – Colors, Uses, and More


If you’re a pepper connoisseur, you’ve probably heard of the beautiful, ornamental, Black Pearl peppers. These peppers are incredibly unique and loved by many for various reasons ranging from their look to taste.

Black Pearl peppers are a unique pepper from the Capsicum annuum family. These plants have black leaves and fruit, and the peppers themselves have a heat level of up to 30,000 Scoville heat units. They originated in the U.S. and require minimal effort to grow, making them a favorite of many.

The rest of this article will detail what Black Pearl peppers are, what they look like, their heat level, if they’re edible, and where to find them. We’ll also discuss various tips on how to grow the Black Pearl pepper plant, so that you can grow healthy peppers and have plants that last as long as possible.

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Close up photo of a Black Pearl pepper ripening on the vine
A close up photo of a Black Pearl pepper ripening on the vine. Photo by Junko Barker

What are Black Pearl Peppers?

While these peppers aren’t the most common, they’re not that rare either. However, many people might not have heard of them.

Black Pearl peppers, part of the Capsicum annuum family, are known for their black-colored leaves and peppers. These peppers aren’t the hottest out there, but still boast a heat level of 30,000 on the Scoville heat scale. They are grown both for their beauty and for consumption.

Not only is the pepper itself a beauty, but the name also does the pepper justice. Calling it a Black Pearl pepper makes it sound like a gem, which is accurate because of how it looks.

What Do Black Pearl Peppers Look Like?

Black Pearl peppers, while tasty to many, are mostly known because of their looks. In fact, many people grow Black Pearl peppers just because of their looks and not to eat them. These peppers are not only beautiful, but they also have many interesting characteristics.

Black Pearl peppers look like cherries and unsurprisingly are often compared to black pearls. The peppers are small, about 3/8 inches (0.95 cm) in size, and turn from purple to black to red when ripened. The plants are characterized by their black peppers and leaves.

This plant also often sprouts vivid purple flowers, giving it some more color.

The Black Pearl pepper plant won the All American Selections Award in 2006 for its flowers and is popular among both plant enthusiasts and novices for its beautiful black foliage and its ease of growing.

Black Pearl Pepper Size

While the peppers’ size themselves is typically around 3/8 inches (0.95 cm), the size of the plant ranges from 14 to 18 inches (35.56-45.72 cms) in height. The purple flowers that often grow in clusters on the plant are also very small. Black Pearl pepper plants are considered average to fast-growing, taking around six to eight weeks to develop completely.

Black Pearl peppers look very similar to Black Prince peppers, both being very small and black. However, the two differ in taste, with the heat level of a Black Pearl pepper is stronger.

Jalape_o_Pepper_Lines (4)
Jalape_o_Pepper_Lines (4)

Black Pearl Pepper Shape

The shape of a Black Pearl pepper plant is typical. The plant grows upright and appears bushy.

While the Black Pearl pepper plant can be indoors as long as it gets enough sun (which I’ll get into later), it will need to be trimmed to keep its shape.

The Black Pearl pepper takes on a bulb-like shape. They’re small and mostly circular, which is a different shape than most peppers.

Black Pearl Pepper Color

The colors of the Black Pearl pepper plant are what make the plant unique and alluring. The leaves themselves are typically black.

The leaves start off as green and turn into a deep purple or glossy black color in the sun. This is why the sun is so essential for this plant, as it can’t thrive without it.

The small clusters of flowers that bloom will be a vivid purple color, similar to that of a syringa, or lilac flower.

The Black Pearl peppers start as black and become a bright, vivid red color as they ripen, turning similar in color to a Cayenne pepper.

How Hot are Black Pearl Peppers?

Black Pearl peppers are not the hottest peppers in the world, but they still pack some heat. Of course, the pepper’s spice level will depend on the person’s heat tolerance, but they are known to be on the hot side.

Black Pearl peppers ranks between 10,000-30,000 on the Scoville heat scale, falling in the lower-mid section of the scale. Its heat level is similar to the Serrano pepper, and it is considered 4-12 times hotter than a Jalapeño.

The riper that peppers get, the hotter they become. Therefore, when the peppers are a black color, they are less hot. However, they gain heat when they ripen, reaching up to 30,000 Scoville heat units.

Can You Eat Black Pearl Peppers?

As ornamental pepper plants are usually only grown for their attractive look, many people may not think, or even want, to eat the peppers that grow on this plant. Black Pearl pepper plants can a nice addition to your garden or patio, and you can also use the peppers in the kitchen.

You can eat Black Pearl peppers. They are a hot pepper, so you’ll need to keep your heat tolerance in mind. These peppers have a citrus flavor at first taste and a slow burn that will creep up on you, like a Ghost pepper.

When dried and ground, the pods of the peppers taste like an intense paprika, and the peppers themselves are great to use in dishes such as goulash and chili sin carne. You can also replace your regular red pepper sprinkle with some ground Black Pearl pepper if you’re looking for an added kick to your dish.

So, if you’re feeling adventurous, don’t be afraid to give them a shot!

Where Can You Find Black Pearl Peppers?

Black Pearl peppers won’t be easy to find at your local grocery store. If you want to taste this pepper, you’ll have to get them another way.

You might be able to find Black Pearl pepper plants at landscape stores. There aren’t many places that sell the peppers, so buying the seeds for Black Pearl pepper plants and planting them yourself is the best way to acquire them.

Finding a landscaping store that sells Black Pearl peppers may be challenging, depending on where you live, so you might have more luck buying them online.

Amazon.com sells Organic Black Pearl Pepper Seeds. There are 40 high-quality seeds in each pack, so you’ll be able to grow as many Black Pearl peppers as you want.

Photo of a Black Pearl Pepper flower in bloom
Photo of a Black Pearl Pepper flower in bloom. Photo by Tikhonova Vera

How Do You Take Care of a Black Pearl Pepper Plant?

If you’re considering buying a Black Pearl pepper plant or growing it from seeds, there are many things you need to know. Black Pearl pepper plants are a beautiful addition to your garden, but the plant won’t reach its full potential if you don’t know how to care for them properly.

Black Pearl pepper plants need plenty of sunlight and warm temperatures to grow, so you should plant the seeds indoors during the cooler months. You shouldn’t plant the seeds outdoors until the temperature is around 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius) at night. It’s best to plant the seeds outside in April or May.

One of the great things about the Black Pearl pepper plant is that it’s easy to care for. This plant is known for requiring minimal effort when it’s in season.

In fact, the Black Pearl pepper plant requires minimal fertilization and water during the summer season. Like most hot pepper plants, it also has its own pest-deterrent system, so you don’t have to worry about pests ruining your plant or having to buy any pesticides.

How to Plant Black Pearl Pepper Seeds

If you want to plant your own Black Pearl pepper seeds to grow, you’ll want to know exactly how to do it to ensure you get the best plant possible. Growing a plant from seed is an exciting and rewarding experience. The good news is that with a Black Pearl pepper plant, you won’t have much work to do.

Consider the Season

Black Pearl pepper plants need constant sunlight to grow. In fact, the leaves will begin as a green color and won’t turn to their black color until they are in the sun. Therefore, before planting, make sure it’s the right season.

As already mentioned, it’s best to plant seeds in April or May if you live in the Northern Hemisphere. The Fine Gardening blog recommends planting the seed indoors about three weeks before the last frost date and moving it outside when the soil reaches the correct temperature (at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit or 15 degrees Celsius).

Where do Black Pearl Peppers Grow Best?

Like all peppers, Black Pearl peppers grow best in warm, sunny climates. Without sunlight, the plant won’t thrive. Black Pearl peppers will grow best outside during the summer months.

Despite this, Black Pearl peppers can be grown in other climates as long as they are properly cared for. Heating mats and growing them indoors with plenty of natural light or with the help of grow lights are good options to grow Black Pearl peppers in cooler climates.

Plant the Seeds Indoors

It’s a good idea to start your plant indoors for the first two to three weeks. However, you’ll want to make sure you don’t do this until you know the temperature outside is going to start warming up in that time. Planting too early could hurt the Black Pearl pepper plant because it won’t get the sunlight and warmth it needs early on.

(Optional) Move the Plant Outside

When the temperature reaches 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius) outside, you’re ready to move the plant outside. Make sure to place them in a nice, sunny spot because sunlight is essential for the plant’s development and growth. Be sure not to move the plant outside too soon as that could cause the plant not to grow properly.

Water the Plant

Black Pearl pepper plants require minimal water because it’s a hot pepper plant. However, it does need the occasional watering, especially if you live in an area with little rain.

You should water the pepper plant biweekly. You may need to water more often if you live in areas of extreme heat. As the plant won’t need pest-deterrent treatments and requires little in terms of fertilization, watering the plant will be your biggest concern.

How Long do Black Pearl Pepper Plants Last?

Although Black Pearl peppers bloom in the summer, they can last longer than just the season. With the proper care, Black Pearl peppers can thrive through multiple seasons.

Black Pearl peppers are considered annual because they typically last an entire summer season before needing to be replaced. However, if you overwinter them by moving the plant indoors and keep it in a container before the temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius), it can live much longer.

Final Thoughts

Black Pearl pepper plants are unique plants because of their stunning color. While the peppers are edible and pack a punch of heat, they are most popular as ornamental plants.

Taking care of a Black Pearl pepper plant is relatively simple, with minimal watering required. However, planting at the right time is essential to growing the optimal plant and ensuring it lasts the whole season and beyond.

Supriya

Hi! I'm Supriya. I'm a home cook, bulldog mom, spicy food lover, and founder of The Spicy Trio. I have been a home cook for about 15 years and have been growing plants for the past six years.

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