Summer is a great time to grow peppers from seed. They’re easy to grow and will produce an abundant harvest in just 90 days! Add them as toppings on your pizza or use them as the main ingredient in some homemade salsa for a fresh taste of summer. Peppers also freeze very well, so you can save your summer harvest for times when your garden is bare. If you are ready to grow peppers from seed this summer for harvests full of flavor, check out these 11 tasty pepper varieties!
This pepper is a wonderful choice for the home gardener who is just starting out. The Habanada pepper is gorgeous and looks JUST like a habanero pepper, with none of the heat. Seriously, the first time I ate one of these peppers, I braced myself for the heat that never came. I wouldn’t necesarily call these super “sweet”, but since they don’t have any heat I include them here. They are a beautiful orange color when ripe, and are so productive. You could pick a handful a day off 2 plants. They do reach a good size, so you may want to support them with stakes or a cage.
The Nadapeno is similar to the Habanada in that it is a heatless pepper. This pepper looks and tastes just like a jalapeno with no heat. My daughters loved to make “jalapeno poppers” with these. We cut off the stem, cleaned out the seeds, and stuffed cream cheese and cheddar cheese into each pepper. Then we wrapped them with bacon and grilled them. They were so excited to have an appetizer that the grown-ups ate! Just like with the Habanadas, I wouldn’t call them overly “sweet”, but they certainly aren’t hot. If you want to branch out from bell peppers to enjoy different types of pepper flavor with no heat, you should try these.
Jimmy Nardello is a long sweet pepper that has a reputation for being a delicious frying pepper. I only ate them raw from our garden, and they were absolutely delicious. They have a more concentrated pepper flavor than a bell pepper in my opinion. If you love growing interesting peppers that others in the neighborhood likely won’t be growing, try the Jimmy Nardello!
Sheepnose Pimento Pepper
The Sheepnose Pimento is probably the cutest pepper I’ve ever grown and they taste as good as they look. They are another sweet pepper, similar in flavor to the Jimmy Nardello, but they are short and squat with thick walls. This makes them an EXCELLENT stuffing pepper because they will keep their shape and most of their texture after canning. You could stuff these with a cabbage mixture, pickle them, and they would be amazing.
I had 3 of these plants last year, and each plant had over 200 blooms + fruit on them at all times. They are purple when they are immature, and ripen to a bright red when they are ripe. There is a hint of bitterness in the pepper when eaten while purple, but the overall flavor is still quite nice. They really shine when eaten ripe, so be sure to let them ripen!
The Doux D’Espagne pepper is a mammoth sweet pepper that I grew just for the novelty of it. I grew large peppers and small peppers and everything in between, well, because I could. This pepper is large. It is the width of a bell pepper, but it’s much longer than a bell pepper. It’s mammoth. If you don’t have space to grow all the sweet peppers here, I do suggest you try Doux D’Espagne for all it’s versatility. You could make massive stuffed peppers, freeze a ton of pepper strips for cooking with in winter, all while having enough for fresh eating. You will definitely need to support this baby, because it gets tall and heavy with fruit.
Mini Bell Mix
This mix was an absolute hit with the kids. Each pepper was the perfect single bite, and I don’t even think my kids cleaned the seeds out before crushing them. I saw my daughter walking around with a napkin full of peppers constantly, and I didn’t mind because I wasn’t paying $3.99 a container like I would have if I’d bought them at the store. I probably spent $5 for seeds, potting mix, and fertilizer at the most for these 4 plants altogether, and they gave me peppers daily from 3rd week of July until the frost finally killed them in December. That’s 20+ weeks of daily peppers for a grand total of $5 (a dollar a month), and my kids never got tired of them. Neither did I. I can’t tell you how many times I walked past the pepper bowl and grabbed a handful to snack on if I was hungry and couldn’t immediately stop to eat a meal. I will grow these every year, no question.
This mix was similar in flavor to the Mini Bell mix, only the peppers were bigger. Still not the size of a bell pepper, though. These are identical to the mini-peppers you see at the supermarket for $3-$4-$5 per container. These are like the Mini Bell Mix in that I will always grow these. The cost savings, flavor, and accessibility of these peppers are impossible to beat. If your goal is to grow delicious food that will save you money, you HAVE to grow these peppers. Note: at the time of publishing, these seeds are pretty hard to come by. Johnny’s and Harris seeds are backordered, and I found one supplier on Amazon charging almost $10 for 10 seeds. Totallytomato.com did have some at a better price, so check them out.
Orange You Sweet
The Orange You Sweet pepper is a great choice for gardeners looking to add some sweetness to their harvest. This variety grows up to four inches long and features smooth, thin skin that ranges in color from yellow to orange. These peppers are gorgeous in the garden. The sweet flavor of these peppers makes them perfect for eating fresh or using in recipes. We ate these fresh from mid-July until the frost got the plants in December. They were delicious and absolutely beautiful on salads. The plants are also prolific producers, so you’ll have plenty to share with your friends and neighbors.
Right on Red
The Right on Red sweet pepper is one of the prettiest varieties that you can grow in your garden. This pepper is a beautiful red color and it has a sweet flavor that everyone will love. It is flatter than a bell pepper, with thick walls. It looks very similar to the Sheepnose Pimento that we grew. This is a hybrid variety, just like the Orange You Sweet, so it has above average resistance to pests and is pretty productive. While I purchased my seeds from Hoss Tools, many companies carry this seed. It is a hybrid, though, so if you want to seed-save, you’ll need to plant an heirloom like the Sheepnose Pimento instead. Or, you could be as hopeless as I am and grow both!
When I started my pepper seeds last year, I was obsessed with the idea of growing peppers that I’d never seen or grown before. I specifically sought out varieties that were unique and interesting to me. With that said, the California Wonder bell pepper still made the cut. These babies are big, reliable, and just look like summer to me. I didn’t eat many of them because I was more focused on my “unique” varieties, but my friends and neighbors definitely got to enjoy them.
One of my favorite things about seeds is how much they inspire me. Every year I try to add something unique and interesting in my garden, but every year there are seed varieties that I’ll grow again because we loved them so much before. This summer will be no different! While I will grow new varieties in this summer’s garden, I will absolutely grow most of these 11 varieties again.
What pepper varieties do you want to grow this season?