Hot Red Cherry

  • Sun: Full sun
  • Harvest Size: 1.5 inches round
  • Days to Harvest: 75 to 80
  • Plant size: 24 to 36 inches tall, 18 inches wide
  • Scoville heat units: 5,000 to 15,000 (medium)

Hot Red Cherry peppers offer full-bodied flavor and moderate heat with sweet undertones. Plants bear profusely, yielding cherry-shaped green fruits that ripen to red if left unpicked. Cooks consider the small, fleshy peppers to be extremely good for pickling, preserving, and eating out of hand.

Take care to avoid garden mix-ups of Hot Red Cherry and Sweet Red Cherry peppers you may grow. Plants grow well in summer, continuing to yield and ripen fruit even in heat.

Plant in spring to early summer starting anytime about two weeks after the last spring frost. Peppers are very cold-sensitive. If you like to plant a little early to start harvesting earlier, be prepared to protect plants from possible frost and keep them a little warmer with a row cover.

Plant spacing: 18-24 inches apart in rows 30 inches apart; 12 to 18 inches in intensive gardens. One plant per 18-inch container. Plants per person: 2 for fresh use; 4 to 6 for pickling or canning.

Secrets to Success »

Peppers will produce best if you water them regularly. To help keep the soil moist, mix compost into planting holes, and mulch soil around plants. Use small tomato cages to support the plant and its brittle branches.

Harvest and Use »

These little peppers are held on short, stout stems. Clip them from the plant with a sharp knife or flower snips. Rinse, dry and store in the refrigerator. The more peppers you pick, the more you’ll get. Pick them when bright red for fullest flavor.

Handle hot peppers with care; wear disposable rubber or plastic gloves when handling fruit. To avoid burning, don’t touch your eyes, mouth, or nose while working with the peppers. Wash your hands before using the bathroom, even if you’ve been wearing gloves.

Capsaicin, the hot compound in a hot pepper, is concentrated in the veins, ribs, and seeds. Sensitivity to it varies. Use caution until you know how you’ll react. If pepper juice gets in your eye or nose, flush immediately with cold water. When the fire is in your mouth, grab milk, ice cream, or yogurt to counteract the burn. Do not re-use washcloths or towels that may have capsaicin on them; wash them to avoid spreading the heat.

Use Hot Red Cherry peppers to spice up salads, chili sauce, or relishes. Harvest at any stage for pickling or creating spicy hot pepper vinegar. To make spicy pepper poppers, stuff these fruits with prosciutto-wrapped provolone cheese.

Try These Garden Companions »

  • Cilantro, tomatoes, and onions—all the ingredients you need for creating hot and spicy salsa.
  • Onions, sweet banana peppers, and basil to whip up a savory pickled pepper blend.
  • Sweet onion, Thai basil, squash, and cherry tomatoes to put spicy stir-fry on the family menu.
  • Low growing flowers such as petunias and marigolds—colorful-fruited peppers look great tucked into flower beds.

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