Pepper, Hot, Fish
An African-American heirloom pepper that's one of the prettiest, tastiest peppers you'll ever meet.
Days To Maturity
8-12 weeks BLF
Plant Shipping Information
Item 26317 cannot ship to: AA, AE, AK, AP, AS, CN, FM, GA, GU, HI, MH, MP, PR, PW, VI See all Burpee plant shipping restrictions for your state
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 Maturity80 daysFruit Size2-3 inchesSunFull SunSpread24 inchesHeight32 inchesSow MethodIndoor SowPlanting TimeSpringSow Time8-12 weeks BLFThin24 inchesLife CycleAnnual
Pepper, Hot, Fish is rated out of 5 by 7.Rated 4 out of 5 by MississippiGardener from A lot of peppers...looks nothing like the pictures The plant did produce a ton of peppers..great tasting as well but the appearance was disappointing just looked like any other green then red peppers but I would order againDate published: 2015-07-31Rated 5 out of 5 by Balch from Pretty plant The plant has lots of blossoms on it so far. The leaves are starting to split and become variegated.Date published: 2015-04-13Rated 5 out of 5 by okdeb from Prolific! I purchased a few pepper plants from Burpee and this was one of them. Both the Fish pepper and the Zavory pepper plants were strong, healthy and extremely prolific. We loved the flavor of the Zavory sweet habanero peppers and used them for months in everything from salads to stir fry. Both pepper plants were still loaded with peppers and blossoms when we had a freeze a few nights ago. The Fish peppers were fairly hot. We used a lot of them thinly sliced or diced in various meals. The majority were strung to dry . I used a sharp paring knife to slash each pepper lengthwise and just used a needle and thread to string them. They were hung from hooks on my pot rack and have dried really well with no mold. I will definitely grow both of these peppers again whether I purchase plants from Burpee or start my own from seed.Date published: 2014-11-02Rated 4 out of 5 by BHP1 from A lot of heat in a small package I was surprised with the number of peppers on the plant and they "packed a punch." A nice addition of heat to what ever you add the hot fish to. I've added it to my permanent pepper list.Date published: 2014-09-21Rated 4 out of 5 by Community from Great flavor I ordered only one Hot Fish Pepper plant; it grew well and produced (and still is as of Sept 4) many peppers. After watching the plant grow, and noting only minor color striations, I looked into the history of the plant. Apparently, the amount of variegation is highly variable from plant to plant, ranging from no variegation to nearly white. Burpee might want to note this in the description. The green peppers were mild-to-medium heat and very good flavor, when the peppers were bright red the flavor was even better and the heat was very high.Date published: 2013-09-04Rated 4 out of 5 by katenyc from which pepper I ordered three varieties of pepper plants last year from Burpee and the African Fishtail heirloom was one. They all arrived in very good shape and grew well. The plant sent as African Heirloom did not have variegated leaves nor did the fruit have variegated color - striped or not. I would love to be able to review the flavor in terms of African Fishtail heirloom but, since this was the first time I had ever seen it, I can't. The plant that was sent had a pretty standard hot pepper taste. The plant that was sent, whatever it was, was extremently sturdy. I garden in a Grreen Thumb garden which can be a difficult environment but this pepper was extremely prolific under the most trying of circumstances (including Superstorm Sandy). I brought it in for winter and will probably set it out in the garden again this Spring to see how it will do. There is a lot of interest in African products and heiritage in this area and I'm disappointed. I know that pepper plants can throw sports (with good results) but it seems to me that in advertising a distinctive heirloom variety with characteristic leaves it wouldn't be a lot of trouble to check on the plant as it goes out the door. I gave this 4 stars - it should have gotten 5 stars for the general excellence of the plant and 2 stars or less for not being what was advertised.Date published: 2013-01-20Rated 5 out of 5 by robbie from Got these up to soon to report on but looks good so farDate published: 2012-05-09