This spring I again sowed one of the most beautiful varieties of hot peppers – Explosive Ember. When growing vegetables in the room conditions, you should not expect a big harvest, but in addition to the external data, it was able to surprise me with abundant fruit bearing.
About the variety
Most Explosive Ember peppers are grown for ornamental purposes because of their bright fruit and almost black foliage color. The neat, compact shape and low height of just 25-35 cm are perfect for container gardening.
The fruits are edible, although they do not stand out as particularly tasty. And it is quite spicy – from 30 to 50 thousand points on the Scoville scale, which is equal to the spiciness of cayenne pepper and 4-12 times higher than that of jalapenos. As it ripens, the purple pods pale to a yellowish hue, then turn orange, turn pink, and finish their development with a dark red color. As they do so, they gradually acquire a sweet, fruity flavor, but do not lose their spiciness, which is most noticeable in the core and seeds.
For sowing, I used nutritious soil for vegetable crops. Each seed at once took a separate plastic cup of 100 ml, so as not to be engaged in unraveling the roots when picking. Sprouts of hot peppers appear on average within 7-14 days. I saw sprouts a week after sowing. The whole process of plant development took place on a southern window sill without additional light. Since the pepper was sown in March, there was no lack of light.
By mid-April, at the age of a month and a half, the plant has not yet reached 10 cm in height, but it has already outlined several future branches in its axils. The leaves initially grow green, but as the first flowers appear, the vein network begins to darken. At this point, the coloring of the leaves is hard to call attractive, but after another 2-3 weeks they become uniform and rich.
The beginning of blooming
The buds appeared at the age of 2 months and 1 week. As is often the case with peppers, the first few ovaries did not develop, but they were replaced by entire tufts of flowers at the ends of numerous branches. The bright purple, small flowers are simple in shape and are referred to in various sources as unsightly. Well, they are really small six-pointed stars that are nothing special except for their beautiful hue.
There is no need to take any action for successful pollination, peppers will cope by themselves. But attention should be paid to the neighborhood with other varieties: over-pollination is also possible without direct plant contact – it is enough to open a window and let air flow into the room. As a rule, over-pollination of cultivated pepper varieties worsens the taste quality of the harvest, it is better to avoid it.
The first fruits began to develop at the end of May, and already at the age of 3 months I counted 12 pods of different sizes on the bush. All of them were a rich purple color, but the largest of them by that time had already reached the stage of technical ripeness. To stimulate the fruiting it is better to collect the fruits at once. I left them to ripen to admire the change of color.
Explosive Ember peppers are bushy and produce up to 6 buds per shoot – you can imagine the magnitude of this splendor when grown outdoors! On a windowsill, fruiting was more modest, but at least one ovary from a bunch of buds was steadily maturing. Therefore, the harvest can still be called quite good.
The pods are no more than 3 cm long. The walls are rather thin and not particularly juicy. There are a lot of seeds inside – there are 26 in the one shown in the photo.
Since the harvest was to be tasted, I did not use any chemical fertilizers. To prepare a nutrient solution for two days soaked in a liter of water the peel of a banana – such fertilizer resorted to only twice during the whole season. In addition, as the bush grew, I transplanted it twice into a larger container and sprinkled the ground surface with coffee grounds several times to neutralize the alkaline reaction of tap water.
The bush is compact, develops harmoniously, branches willingly, and is beautiful with or without flowers, with or without fruit, due to the foliage alone. The leaves are not large at all, but thanks to the variety’s tendency to branch abundantly, it looks organic. Even on a windowsill by the time of active fruiting they already have a dark purple, almost black shade. The changing color of the pods of a beautiful teardrop shape gives the variety a special effect.
The yield and aesthetic characteristics of Explosive Ember peppers are top notch. The only thing it cannot stand out is its unique taste. But I would not classify this as a minus, because first of all, the variety is designed for cultivation for decorative purposes. Explosive Ember is not demanding, grows well at home and can act as a medium sized houseplant.