My misadventures in not growing any Bolivian rainbow peppers this year…

bolivianrainbowI think I ordered them from Ebay or so: a small bag of seeds labelled ‘Bolivian rainbow peppers’. A beautiful variety of hot peppers, a dwarf type that has purple flowers and small hot peppers that go from purple to white to yellow to orange to red. A very ornamental and useful edible plant that I looked forward to growing to very much.

But alas, fate decided otherwise for me.

There was something wrong with the seeds from the beginning: I planted 20 seeds hoping to have a lot of plants so I could share some with other people in springtime.

Alas, only one seed germinated. I wouldn’t call a germination rate of 5% a big success. But at least one plant came up, a dwarf pepper plant that seemed to grow quite well on the balcony in the weird summer of 2013. And then it flowered…

Alas, it did not flower with the expected purple flowers, but with regular white ones. The plant was healthy though, and not ugly at all. whatever it was, it was a dwarf pepper plant which would give me some hot peppers, no matter how they’d look. I still hoped for the spectacular colors, but knew it wasn’t likely that this plant was indeed the variety I bought it for.

And the flowers turned into peppers…

Alas, no purple-white-yellow-orange-red peppers, but a plant with long peppers that pointed upwards, like small very hot pili-pili types. Not that ugly either, with the peppers going from pale yellow over orange to the classic red of a lot of hot peppers. I might not have had my five color peppers, but still I did have an interesting variety of hot peppers that was both ornamental and useful to spice up my dishes. At least, that was what I thought…

…until this week…

since most peppers were tupili pili plantbewrning red I thing it was time to start using them. So I used one, assuming it would be quite hot, to spice up my vegetarian (vegan even, we had a guest who’s a vegan) chili-san-carne with tomatillo and fresh shelled scarlet runner beans… But alas, the chili dish was a big success and one of my better dishes I made lately according to those who ate it, but that was not at all because of the hotness of my peppers, since they had no effect at all, no hotness, no pungency.
Yes, the last of my illusions about the the mystery very non-‘Bolivian rainbow’ peppers had to be shattered too: My small red peppers which I though to be something like pili-pili had actually no hotness at all…

I couldn’t believe that there was no hot chili taste at all in my dish, so I tried one of the peppers that was still on the plant. I even ate one of the peppers as a whole, raw, with seeds and all. And indeed: it wasn’t hot at all.

Yes, instead of the 20 multicolored hot rainbow pepper I sowed I got one dwarf pepper plant with ‘sweet pili pili’. Most probably ‘medusa‘ peppers or something of the like. Which is indeed both ornamental and edible, but besides that nothing that I expected or wanted.  I suppose growing sweet ornamental chili peppers is safer if you have small kids (My three-year old daughter finds them fascinating) but I don’t know what uses I would have for sweet peppers this size, except for decorating dishes for special occasions, or doing a prank pretending to eat a whole hot pepper…

Not that I do not like this variety, but next year I’ll try again to grow me some real hot five-color peppers…

Sigh

Bram

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