‘Chilly Chili’—The Most Popular Pepper

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Mild ‘Chilly Chili’ is safe for getting up close and personal

As far as ornamental peppers go, we find that ‘Blue Ribbon Chilly Chili’ is the most popular. There are multiple reasons why and chief among them is the fact that this particular pepper is extremely mild in flavor, much closer to a bell than a jalapeño. Unlike the majority of ornamental varieties it’s child-friendly, or just friendly in general, with no atomic surprises if anyone takes a taste—and someone always does. It can be used up close in both indoor and outdoor displays with no worries.

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Fruits may be mild but the colors are hot

Thankfully, when breeding the heat out they were able to maintain the beautiful coloring that’s a hallmark of the plant. ‘Chilly Chili’ puts on a brilliant season-long show, with clusters of fruit morphing from pale green-yellow to bright yellow, to orange, and then to dark red. At any given moment all these shades can be present on the plant, with a gallery of peppers at varying stages of maturity.

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Now color alone makes ‘Chilly Chili’ an eye-catcher, but what’s truly attention-grabbing is the way these peppers stand straight up and point toward the heavens, as if they’re about to blast off into space. Sleek and slender, the fruits measure 2–3 inches long and the fact that they appear in bunches simply adds to the intrigue. This is a natural choice when you need to add some bold vertical interest to a design.

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Peppers stay vibrant even in full sun

Ornamental peppers are important this time of year because they keep the show going during the hot days we still experience as we’re heading into fall. ‘Chilly Chili’ stays vibrant even when faced with unrelenting heat and sun—it’s color we can rely on to take us from summer right on through the fall.

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Versatile yellow and red help transition from summer to fall

Versatility is another reason we value this pepper. Plants reach only about a foot and a half tall, so they’re great for adding a bright pop of color at the front of a border, to a window box, or in all kinds of containers. ‘Chilly Chili’ acts as a showy centerpiece, plus the yellow-to-red palette makes it a useful plant for transitioning color from late summer to fall décor.

Quite simply, it’s a beautiful, hard-working plant with a lot of character.