Pepper, Hot, Caribbean Red
Improved version of habanero that ripens to a beautiful deep red and is even hotter.
Days To Maturity
8-12 weeks BLF
How to Sow and Plant
- Only home gardeners who enjoy long growing seasons in the Deep South should attempt to sow pepper seeds directly in the vegetable garden. Most of us must start our own pepper plants indoors about 8-10 weeks before transplanting, which should be done 2-3 weeks after the expected last frost.
- Sow seeds ¼ inch deep in seed-starting formula
- Keep the soil moist at 75 degrees F
- Seedlings emerge in 10-21 days
- As soon as seedlings emerge, provide plenty of light on a sunny windowsill or grow seedlings 3-4 inches beneath fluorescent plant lights turned on 16 hours per day, off for 8 hours at night. Raise the lights as the plants grow taller. Incandescent bulbs will not work for this process because they will get too hot. Most plants require a dark period to grow, do not leave lights on for 24 hours.
- Seedlings do not need much fertilizer, feed when they are 3-4 weeks old using a starter solution (half strength of a complete indoor houseplant food) according to manufacturer’s directions.
- If you are growing in small cells, you may need to transplant the seedlings to 3 or 4 inch pots when seedlings have at least 3 pairs of leaves before transplanting to the garden so they have enough room to develop strong roots
- Before planting in the garden, seedling plants need to be “hardened off”. Accustom young plants to outdoor conditions by moving them to a sheltered place outside for a week. Be sure to protect them from wind and hot sun at first. If frost threatens at night, cover or bring containers indoors, then take them out again in the morning. This hardening off process toughens the plant’s cell structure and reduces transplant shock and scalding.
Planting in the Garden:
- To get an early start with your pepper plants, particularly in the North, cover the prepared bed with a dark colored polyethylene mulch at least a week before transplanting. This will heat the soil beneath and provide a better growing condition for young pepper plants. The mulch will also help the soil retain moisture throughout the season as the pepper plants grow.
- Select a location in full sun with good rich moist organic soil. Make sure you did not grow tomatoes, peppers, eggplant or potatoes in the bed the previous year to avoid disease problems.
- Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 8 inches. Level with a rake to remove clumps of grass and stones.
- Peppers should be set 18 inches apart in a row with the rows spaced 2-3 feet inches apart.
- Dig a hole for each plant large enough to amply accommodate the root ball.
- Carefully remove the plant from its pot and gently loosen the root ball with your hands to encourage good root development.
- Fill the planting hole with soil to the top and press soil down firmly with your hand leaving a slight depression around the plant to hold water.
- Use the plant tag as a location marker. This is particularly important if you are trying different varieties. It is very difficult to tell which variety is which from the foliage.
- Water thoroughly, so that a puddle forms in the saucer you have created. This settles the plants in, drives out air pockets and results in good root-to-soil contact.
- Peppers may also be planted in containers. Use a container at least 18-24 inches wide and deep and use a commercial potting mix rather than garden soil.
How to Grow
- Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating.
- Mulches also help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. This is especially important for peppers as their roots may be easily damaged when weeding, and this can lead to blossom end rot.
- Keep plants well-watered during the growing season, especially during dry spells. Plants need about 1-2" of rain per week during the growing season. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. It's best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at low pressure at the soil level. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Keep the soil moist but not saturated.
- Note that hot peppers tend to be hotter when they have less water and fertilizer. If they receive plenty of water and fertilizer they may be more mild than expected.
- Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.
- Try planting pepper plants near tomatoes, parsley, basil, and carrots in your home vegetable garden. Don't plant them near fennel or kohlrabi. Peppers are very colorful when in full fruit and combine well with green herbs, okra, beans and cucumber fences in the garden bed.
Harvesting and Preserving Tips
- Like cucumbers and summer squash, peppers are usually harvested at an immature stage. The traditional bell pepper, for example, is harvested green, even though most varieties will mature red, orange, or yellow. Peppers may be harvested at any stage, but their flavor doesn’t fully develop until maturity. Fully ripe peppers in multi-colors are delightful in the garden as well as in salads.
- Cut the fruit from the plant with a sharp knife or pruners leaving a small part of the stem attached.
- Sweet bell, pimento and cherry peppers are delicious eaten green but are sweeter and higher in vitamins if allowed to turn bright red before harvest. Some varieties are yellow at maturity or may mature from green through yellow and red.
- Hot peppers may be harvested at any stage. Anaheim is usually picked green and cayenne types red.
- Bell peppers may be chopped and quick frozen for use in many recipes; sweet cherry and banana peppers and hot cherry peppers are perfect for pickling.
- A popular and trouble-free way to store hot peppers is to dry them. String mature red peppers by piercing the stem with a needle and heavy thread. Hang the string in a warm, dry, airy place (not in the sun!) to dry. They can make a colorful kitchen accent. Pull a pepper from the string when you need one. Hot peppers remain hot even after they are dried. Remember that in recipes a little hot pepper can go a long way.
- Please note that hot peppers can burn sensitive skin on contact and fumes from grinding or cooking them can irritate the lungs and eyes. When working with hot peppers use rubber gloves and wash your hands before touching your face or eyes.
Days To Maturity90 daysFruit Size1-2 inchesSunFull SunSpread16 inchesHeight28-30 inchesSow MethodIndoor SowPlanting TimeSpringSow Time8-12 weeks BLFThin24 inchesLife CycleAnnual
Pepper, Hot, Caribbean Red is rated out of 5 by 8.Rated 5 out of 5 by Mason from Great Hab I grew these last year, and despite moving around quite alot, these habaneros grew great. In fact, much better than i expected. Not to mention the flavor and heat. Im no stranger to growing "Super Hots", so when i say this pepper is hot, its HOT. Strong, robust plant, medium sized fruits that really ripened to a beautiful red and had a very sweet flavor without the typical habanero aftertaste. I used these peppers in alot of recipes, like, Buffalo wings, hot sauces, Jamaican Jerk chicken. I even used these on some Bbq ribs i made. I cant say enough good things about this pepper. 9/10 Germination rate for me. Growing these again.Date published: 2014-11-13Rated 1 out of 5 by gerry from seeds don't sprout After 3 weeks and a few days in moist warm soil in darkness, not one seed sprouted. I used a warming mat and seed starter kit. I put the seeds under the soil about 1/4 inch. I covered the unit and kept it in darkness and kept the temperature at at least 70 degrees. After waiting three weeks and a few days, I dug into a few and found nothing but seeds which had not sprouted. I can only surmise that seeds that Burpee sent me were no good.Date published: 2009-04-17Rated 5 out of 5 by Bamboo from WOW it's HOT I grew these in a big container and they preformed well better than I thoght they would. It grows to be a big plant with tons and tons of HOT HOT peppers. Althogh I picked most of them when they were still green, they still beat any other hot pepper I've tried. It does take a while for them to turn red.Date published: 2008-08-10Rated 5 out of 5 by IllinoisGardener from Caribbean Red Love it! These plants are georgeous and the yield is abundant. A little goes a long way - be sure and keep the kids away.Date published: 2007-02-16Rated 5 out of 5 by dooberheim from carribean red HOT peppers Grew a few this year. The fruit are HOT - noticeably hotter than the orange habaneros I have. Good yield - I'll get 30 peppers per plant (in central Missouri) easily. They are bitter compared to the orange habs though - still a good taste, but I would use these for heat only while I would use the orange habs for both heat and flavor. I'll do some next year too - good job!!! MarkDate published: 2006-08-19Rated 5 out of 5 by abc123 from SO HOT IT'S SCAREY You know the guy who can eat anything??? The guy who proudly declares, "Nothing is too hot for me" WELL... This pepper will make him run home crying to momma. Delicious peppers ranging from very hot (100,000 Scoville units) when green, to insanely hot (250,000 - 550,000 Scoville units) when redDate published: 2006-08-17Rated 5 out of 5 by sam from taste and aroma!! this is by far the best pepper i have ever grown! out of hundreds of varieties i've tried, this is my favorite, mostly because of it's awesome flavor and smell......and heat! you will never experience such a sweet smell as you will from caribbean reds dehydrating on the dehydrator! my plants are 6 years old and the trunks are woody like an oak but the peppers are still awesome!Date published: 2006-06-24Rated 5 out of 5 by verdog from Master Gardener This is the best of the best! They are so hot I thought my knife I used to cut one open was going to melt. Great when dried and ground upDate published: 2006-02-25