The Q&A Archives: Growing Firecracker Pepper Plant Outside

Question: I was given this non-edible plant as a gift & told it was a houseplant, but it would die after the first bloom died away, & NOT to bother transplanting. It is merely ornamental. That was two years ago or so. It is pretty & thriving. I transplanted it three times. Now I read in a plant book that it belongs outside & the hummingbirds love it! Does it? And what care does it need?

Answer: In our consumer culture people often think of houseplants as temporary decorations - poinsettias, chrysanthemums, etc., which are seasonal ornamental plants, can be kept thriving, but they're only "fashionable" while they are colorful and in the height of growth. Your pepper can continue to be a happy houseplant, or you can plant it outdoors in a rich garden soil in sun. Mulch around the plant will help maintain soil moisture. If it gets very hot in summer, it may cease to bloom for a time, but just keep it well watered, and it should start blooming again when the temperatures cool. If your winters are frosty, bring the plant in for the winter. You may simply want to plant the whole pot in the ground, then dig it up and move it inside for the winter months. Feed with compost and a mild fertilizer while in active growth and during bloom/fruiting. Enjoy!

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