(Capsicum annuum) These long, bright red, pencil-thin peppers pack the heat!
Cayenne peppers are great to use fresh in hot sauce and chili or dried to use all winter long. We love to dry them in the dehydrator then grind them in the food processor for homemade/homegrown red pepper flakes.
Vigorous and prolific producers.
30,000-50,000 Scoville Heat Units (hot).
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Start pepper plants indoors about 6-8 weeks before your last frost date. Sow 1-2 seeds 1/4" deep into individual containers filled with seed starting formula. Keep moist. Heated germination mats can help keep soil warmer for better germination. Transplant after seedlings have shown several sets of true leaves and only once you are sure the outside soil temperature is consistently above 65.
To get an early start with your peppers, cover the prepared bed with a dark colored polyethylene mulch or tarp at least a week before transplanting. This will heat the soil beneath and provide a better growing condition for young pepper plants.
Peppers are easily damaged when heavy with fruit. For support, tie the plants to stakes.
Harvest when mature size, and firm. Most peppers can be harvested at an immature stage when they are still green, or left to develop to yellow or red. Hot varieties are hottest just when they begin to turn from green to red. When harvesting hot peppers, take care to avoid touching the interior of any broken peppers, as the capsaicin is an extreme irritant, especially to the eyes. Wash hands thoroughly after harvesting, or wear gloves to harvest peppers.