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Pepper, Hot, Kung Pao Hybrid

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Short Description

Secret stir-fry ingredient

Full Description

Direct from Asia, this hybrid pepper revolutionized Chinese stir-fry dishes because of its fantastic flavor and pungent aroma. Vigorous plants produce loads of 4 ½", slender red fruits.
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Item # Product
Item#: 53038A
Order: 1 Pkt. (30 seeds)
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Product properties

Days To Maturity The average number of days from when the plant is actively growing in the garden to the expected time of harvest.

85 days

Fruit Size The average size of the fruit produced by this product.

4 inches

Sun The amount of sunlight this product needs daily in order to perform well in the garden. Full sun means 6 hours of direct sun per day; partial sun means 2-4 hours of direct sun per day; shade means little or no direct sun.

Full Sun

Spread The width of the plant at maturity.

16 inches

Height The typical height of this product at maturity.

18-24 inches

Sow Method This refers to whether the seed should be sown early indoors and the seedlings transplanted outside later, or if the seed should be sown directly in the garden at the recommended planting time.

Indoor Sow

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Container Vegetables - Tomato, Pepper & Eggplant
Container Vegetables - Tomato, Pepper & Eggplant
Growing tomatoes, peppers and even eggplants in containers on your deck, porch or patio!
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  • Peppers

    Start Indoors Start Indoors Starting seeds indoors is called Indoor Sow or Indirect Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds indoors in the spring or summer
    Transplant Transplant When to transplant bulbs or roots in the garden for spring
    Start Outdoors Start Outdoors Starting seeds outdoors is called Outdoor Sow or Direct Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds outdoors in the spring or summer
    Start Indoors Fall Start Indoors Fall Starting seeds indoors in the fall called Indoor Sow or Indirect Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds outdoors in the fall
    Transplant Fall Transplant Fall Transplant Fall-When to transplant bulbs or roots in the garden for fall
    Start Outdoors Fall Start Outdoors Fall Starting seeds outdoors in the fall is called Outdoor Sow or Direct Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds outdoors in the fall
    First Date: Feb-22 - Last Date: Mar-07
    First Date: May-02 - Last Date: May-30

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 after the 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 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 a 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 Maturity
85 days
Fruit Size
4 inches
Full Sun
16 inches
18-24 inches
Sow Method
Indoor Sow
Planting Time
Pepper, Hot, Kung Pao Hybrid is rated 4.3 out of 5 by 8.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Nice Pepper Grew this pepper in 2013 from seed and ended up planting 12-15 plants. Huge producer....waist high plants and tons of peppers. I enjoy doing ristras and these are perfect. Usually would let them mature to a beautiful red color but when we were due to get our first hard freeze I picked all peppers green and red. Used them both on several ristras and was surprised to find the green ones held their bright green color after drying. It has been 4 months now and no change! This makes for a nice festive holiday ristra. Happy gardening.....
Date published: 2014-02-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great pepper I grew this pepper in South Dakota in 2011 from seed. It did very well in my garden. The plants are healthy and were loaded with fruit. We used both the red and green to make Kung Pao chicken and in salsa. I will definitely grow these again next year, God willing.
Date published: 2011-09-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from MMMMMM!!!---Hurts So Good!! These asian Kung Pao peppers are very similar to the brand of heirloom cayenne family "cowhorn" hot peppers that my grandparents used to grow. My grandfather would have either myself or one of my cousins go out to the garden and pick him two or three of these blazing hot peppers (usually while they were still green), my grandmother would wash them and bring them to him wrapped in a paper towel, and he'd just crunch and munch these bad boys right along with his cabbage or greens or beans & peas like it was nothing!---WOW!!---THESE ARE SOME HOT PEPPERS Y'ALL!! Not as up there in heat as say habaneros, scotch bonnet or ghost chilies, but SHO NUFF SET YO STUFF ON FIRE HOT!! When I use these in stir-fry, I like to let them ripen on the vine until they're bright red and they get a pungent smokey yet kinda back note of fruitiness to them that is very delicious. But make no errors, they still pack a punch! If you're a fan of chinese food which is cooked fresh in your favorite restuarant, then you are familiar with these in dried form added to General Tso's Chicken, Hot Sweet Beef, Firecracker Chicken or Firecracker Shrimp,etc. They grow well in well drained and cultivated soil full of organic matter, a little lime and blood meal and a good 10-10-10 slow release fertilizer.....a little epsom salts added in doesn't hurt either. They like that seaweed spray too every 2 or 3 weeks....makes them go into bumper crop overdrive! Can be used either green or red. Also makes great hot pepper vinegar to spritz over things like greens, cabbage, beans, BBQ, fried foods or anything you'd use hot sauce on.
Date published: 2010-10-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Smokin I have grown these peppers for 5 years. Start them every year with grow lights make sure to harden them off. But they love all temps. Normally it is hot and humid here but last year we had a storm in late june that stripped all my plants down to stems. I was sad but let the garden have a chance to regrow. Every other plant was only so so or poor last season. But these pepper were real troopers. They grow chest high and and bent with its harvest. Spicy and amazing in about every dish. We smoke them and dry them. This pepper, smoked has help my husband win 2 of 2 chilli cookoffs.
Date published: 2009-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from will buy again This was my first time trying these peppers..I started them in the basement under lights, and then transplanted into the garden...The plants have done very well, they are HUGE, some up to my chest!! They are loaded with peppers, many 6 inches long....I have given some away, as I have so many..Going to dry some and freeze some as well....
Date published: 2008-09-18
Rated 1 out of 5 by from This will be the first year i'm growing these peppers. i have started them indoors with the 72 cellgrowing trays and the super growing cubes. I only got 4 plants so far out of 12 cells. I'm not sure how well they will do in the garden. Does anyone have any tips for me?
Date published: 2008-04-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I like them I grew these in 2005 in my North Eastern Ohio garden, Seven plants. Had so many of these peppers didn't know what to do with them. Great dried and used in General Tao's. Also blended them with Thai Dragon and Cayenne peppers for crushed red pepper. Been out for awhile now going to try again this year.
Date published: 2007-04-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from what did I do wrong? the plants have not come close to what I expected. I'm searching for high yeilding and great taste. It's as if they were planted too late. John and I used composted cow manure and miricle grow.
Date published: 2006-08-19
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