If you’re looking for a little purple pop for your landscaping or garden, purple peppers are an excellent option. They draw the eye not only with their rich royal color, but also with their unique shapes. And, of course, there’s that heat that makes chilies such a fun growing option. Let’s dive into some of the best purple peppers on the Scoville scale.
Important note: Many purple peppers age from purple to red and can turn green when cooked. If you’re looking to keep these beautiful shades alive from garden to plate, serve them raw, chopped in salads, salsas, and sides.
Table of Contents
- Purple Cayenne
- Pretty in Purple Pepper
- Purple Jalapeño
- Purple Marconi
- Purple Beauty Pepper
- Purple UFO
- Explosive Ember
- Cheiro Roxa
- Explore more colored pepper guides
While these chilies are tapered and slim like the typical cayenne pepper, purple cayenne tend to be a little smaller with a slightly bigger bite (40,000 to 50,000 Scoville heat units). They won’t be hotter than the hottest possible cayenne, but their floor is not as low as the regular cayenne either, starting at 40,000 SHU. The size of these cayenne chilies makes them a terrific ornamental pepper option, and they are an excellent choice for container gardening.
Pretty in Purple Pepper
This is truly a stunning plant. It’s not only the fruit that showcases purple, but it’s also the plant stems and the leaves. The leaves take on varying hues between green and purple (with some being mixes of the two). The peppers themselves have a low-medium heat (4,000 to 8,000 Scoville heat units), similar to the purple jalapeño, but their heat floor is a little higher. In terms of flavor, there’s a bright crispness here, but they aren’t as nuanced as other chilies. Most ornamental peppers grown primarily for looks aren’t, as they are grown for appearance, not flavor.
With a very eatable medium-kick (2,500 to 8,000 Scoville heat units), purple jalapeños provide that perfect balance of looks and flavor. They have that typical jalapeño bright flavor, with a little extra sweetness. Note these chilies start off green, then age into purple, and finally turn red at full maturity. Their size makes them useful both in gardens and as landscaping.
You don’t find the purple marconi (0 Scoville heat units) as often as the red and yellow variants of this pepper—that is, unless you are growing them yourself. They are one of the larger sweet Italian frying peppers you’ll find, with the fruits themselves growing up to eight inches in length and the bush up to three feet tall. There’s the sweetness you’d expect here, along with an undertone of smoke. Obviously, with the size of these peppers, they are best used for gardens and not landscaping.
Purple Beauty Pepper
Richly-hued Purple Beauties (0 Scoville heat units) are a lovely and family-friendly addition to your garden. It’s a variant of the bell pepper, so expect no heat. But there’s that delicious crispness and sweetness here that you’d expect. The plants are compact, but bushy, so they are better suited for your garden (or a container garden) than landscaping.
With a strong medium kick and a unique look, the Purple UFO pepper certainly makes a statement in any garden or kitchen. Its spiciness is comparable to that of a cayenne (30,000 to 45,000 SHU) and the look…well, think 1950s kitschy UFO and you’ve got it. It’s one of the more unique chilies on the Scoville scale. There’s a sweetness here, too, that brings more to the table than just heat.
These jewel-toned beauties range from purple to a rich purplish-red in color and pack a punch (30,000 to 50,000 SHU, the same as a cayenne pepper.) As a bonus, the flowers on the Explosive Ember are also purple, adding to the rich tones of this plant. It’s a terrific ornamental chili, but while edible, there isn’t much to their overall flavor.
The Cheiro Roxa is slightly similar to the Purple UFO in looks—broad at the top and slightly narrowing with beautiful purple hues. But careful, there’s big heat here, 60,000 to 80,000 SHU. That’s a similar heat level to Thai chilies, often double the heat of a cayenne. These chilies have a delicious citrusy sweetness to them, so they are excellent culinary chilies as well.
Explore more colored pepper guides
- Yellow: Looking for chilies with shades like the sun? These yellow beauties should be on your radar.
- Black: Want to create a sense of drama in your garden? Black peppers do just that, and these are some of the best options to create the effect.
- Colorful (Multi-Hued): Want a rainbow of colors for a festive look? These colorful pepper plants are all stunning.