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Rocoto Red Chilli Peppers

There is no mistaking the Rocoto family of chillies from the Capsicum Pubescensspecies. Said to have originated from the high lands of South and Central America it was one of the first plants to be domesticated by early civilisations, and favoured by the Incas.

All Capsicum Pubescens (such as the Rocoto Reds pictured below) have three unique characteristics that distinguish them from other species of chillies:

  1. They have beautiful purple flowers
  2. They have particularly hairy foliage
  3. Inside they have unusually black coloured seeds

If you’re looking for a beautiful looking chilli plant to grow, then a rocoto is a great variety to choose.

Rocoto Red Pepper Flower

Rocoto Red Chilli Flower

Rocoto Red Pod

Rocoto Red Pod Ripening

Of all the species of chili peppers, C. Pubescens are most tolerant of cold weather making them ideal to grow in cooler climates such as here in the UK. That said, they need a fairly long growing season so if you can it’s best to start them off early.

These Rocoto Red’s I’ve been growing have been prolific, growing to a height of about 1m and producing hundreds of flowers and setting well over 40 pods per plant. They’ve been particularly vigorous as they’ve been in my self watering planters all summer.

Rocoto pods generally have a pretty average heat level. Combine this with their thick juicy flesh and they are ideal to be eaten in salsas or cooked fresh. Their thick walls mean they’re not that easy for drying so if you do have to preserve them then consider pickling or freezing them.

Another great benefit of Capsicum Pubescens is that they will not cross pollinate with any of the other species of capsicum. This means that you can grow them amongst other varieties of chillies and can save seeds for the following year. For more information, check out our guide to saving chilli seeds.

There is no mistaking the Rocoto family of chillies from the Capsicum Pubescens species. Said to have originated from the high lands of South and Central America it was one of the first plants to be domesticated by early civilisations, and favoured by the Incas.
All Capsicum Pubescens (such as the Rocoto Reds pictured below) have three unique characteristics that distinguish them from other species of chillies:

  • They have beautiful purple flowers
  • They have particularly hairy foliage
  • Inside they have unusually black coloured seeds

If you’re looking for a beautiful looking chilli plant to grow, then a rocoto is a great variety to choose.

Of all the species of chili peppers, C. Pubescens are most tolerant of cold weather making them ideal to grow in cooler climates such as here in the UK. That said, they need a fairly long growing season so if you can it’s best to start them off early.

These Rocoto Red’s I’ve been growing have been prolific, growing to a height of about 1m and producing hundreds of flowers and setting well over 40 pods per plant. They’ve been particularly vigorous as they’ve been in my self watering planters all summer.

Rocoto pods generally have a pretty average heat level. Combine this with their thick juicy flesh and they are ideal to be eaten in salsas or cooked fresh. Their thick walls mean they’re not that easy for drying so if you do have to preserve them then consider pickling or freezing them.

Another great benefit of Capsicum Pubescens is that they will not cross pollinate with any of the other species of capsicum. This means that you can grow them amongst other varieties of chillies and can save seeds for the following year. For more information, check out our guide to saving chilli seeds.




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