August 2005

Thai Hot Peppers aka "Thai Dragons" – Capsicum frutescens

Origin: Asia



Hot peppers have gained in popularity over the past few years, due in part to the fact that even marginal gardeners can successfully grow them. Another selling point is many varieties, including Thai Hots, don't need to be confined to your vegetable garden. These attractive plants can be tucked into an herb or flower garden or even potted up individually on a patio or deck. They flower profusely, often bearing blooms and colorful fruit at the same time.

Growing no taller than 2 to 3 feet, Thai Hot peppers are prolific plants that are great for containers. They enjoy full sunlight and light fertilization. Their many branches can support 150 to 200 small fruits that mature from green to red in approximately 65 to 70 days. These peppers work well either fresh or dried. But be forewarned, they are very hot (almost as hot as habaneros) so wear gloves when you harvest or handle them.

If you have more Thai Hot peppers than you know what to do with, do try drying them right on the plant. When peppers are dried slowly, they will retain their color and flavor. Do keep in mind that dried Thai Hots are close to ten times hotter than fresh ones. No wonder, they are nicknamed "Thai Dragons".