Santa Fe Grande

  • Sun: Full Sun
  • Harvest Size: 3.5 inches long, 1.5 inches wide
  • Days to Harvest: 75 to 80
  • Plant size: 24 to 30 inches tall, 18 inches wide
  • Scoville units: 2500 to 5000 (medium)*

Give your garden a shot of color with Santa Fe Grande chile peppers. This is a popular type of pepper also known as guero, the word for blonde in Mexico. Fruits are yellow when ready to harvest, but later turn bright orange red, decorating plants with brilliant shades. These peppers blend sweetness with heat. This chile pepper is prolific, yielding 25 to 50 small fruits per plant, and it’s capable of more (and getting taller) where the growing season is long. Plants also grow well in containers.

Plant in spring to early summer starting anytime about two weeks after the last spring frost. To plant a little early and harvest earlier, be prepared to protect plants from possible frost and keep them warmer with a row cover.

Disease resistance: Tobacco mosaic virus. 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; 3 to 4 for pickling or making sauce.

Secrets to Success »

Water regularly. Peppers need steady watering to develop to full size. To help soil retain moisture, mix compost into planting holes, and mulch soil around plants. Fertilize when planting and during the growing season with Bonnie Herb & Vegetable Plant Food. Pepper branches are brittle. Even though these fruits are small, the stems can get heavy with lots of peppers and break in wind or rain. Tie pepper-laden branches to stakes, or place small tomato cages over the plants when you set them out for support later.

Harvest and Use »

Cut peppers from the plant with a sharp knife or clippers, leaving a short stem on the fruit. Rinse and dry peppers; store in the refrigerator. The more peppers you pick, the more you’ll get. Pick at any stage—from yellow to red. The most mature peppers (red) contain the most heat, but these peppers are usually eaten before they turn red.

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

Capsaicin, the hot compound in a hot pepper, is mostly in the veins, ribs, and seeds, but sensitivity to it varies. Use care 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, eat ice cream, yogurt, or milk to counteract the burn. Don't re-use wash cloths or towels that may have capsaicin on them; wash them first to avoid spreading the heat.

Peppers are packed with Vitamins A and C—twice the vitamin C of an orange. With its colorful flesh, Santa Fe Grande peppers are a great choice for adding to salsa and salads, or sprinkling over nachos and pizza. This is a great chile for pickling or making hot pepper sauce.

* If you noticed a difference between the heat level given above and what is said on our tag, you're paying close attention! Our tag is being corrected. In the meantime, know that this is a medium hot pepper, not a mild one.

Try These Garden Companions »

  • Cilantro, tomatoes, and onions—all the ingredients you need for creating a spicy garden fresh salsa.
  • Onions, sweet banana peppers, and basil to whip up a savory pickled pepper blend.
  • Habanero pepper, Hot Banana, Chili Red, Poblano/Ancho, or other hot pepper, onions, and tomatoes to blend a signature hot pepper sauce.
  • Petunias and marigolds—colorful-fruited peppers look great tucked into flower beds.

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