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The 2009 ASHS Annual Conference

Ornamental Peppers for the Gulf States

Sunday, July 26, 2009
Illinois/Missouri/Meramec (Millennium Hotel St. Louis)
William Evans, Mississippi State Univ., Crystal Springs, MS
Yan Chen, Louisiana State University, Hammond, LA
Crofton Sloan, North Mississippi Research and Extension Center, Mississippi State University, Verona, MS
Susan Harkness, Mississippi State Univ., Verona, MS
This study investigated the garden performance of ornamental pepper (Capsicum sp.) cultivars at Hammond, Louisiana, and at Crystal Springs and Verona, Mississippi over two years.  Over thirty entries were evaluated in replicated plot at each location, with more than twenty-five entries common to all three locations.  The trial was of smaller fruited peppers, not C. annuum bell-type peppers.  Each plot was rated on a one to five scale monthly over the three to four month growing season for plant shape, uniformity, attractiveness of fruit, attractiveness of foliage, and overall garden performance.   Cultivar performance varied across sampling dates within location.   Across locations, cultivars often received similar ratings.  Among the higher rated cultivars, ones that performed well at all locations and were rated highly in most or all categories were: Bolivian Rainbow, Black Pearl, Sweet Pickle, Super Chili Hybrid, Chilly Chili, Explosive Ember, Numex Centennial, and Marbles.  These appear to have garden merit, performed well in three environments, and are likely to please most gardeners in the region.  Several other cultivars in the trial were also of merit but were either not planted at all three locations, rated lower in one or more categories across the three locations, were more variable in ratings within or among locations than others, or were rated among the best cultivars at only one or two locations.