Capsicums vs. Chillies

We have a bit of a conundrum on our hands. We are having identification problems in the vege garden. It all began when two of the mixed capsicum ‘Colour Salad Selection’ plants that I grew from seed turned out to be chili plants. I’m sure I didn’t mix up my capsicum and chili seedlings, but I was pregnant or with young baby at the time, so there’s a distinct possibility that I could have…Ā The other capsicums all resemble those pictured on the ‘Colour Salad Selection’ seed packet.

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I have yellow capsicums, purple capsicums, over-ripened purple capsicums that are green/red, conical capsicums and chili-like capsicums or chillies. The little red one is a hot one. I think…

After harvesting chillies from all the chili-looking plants, we arrived at the current problem. Some of the chillies are hot and some are not; they taste just like capsicums. Now, you would think that the two ‘actual’ chili plants are the ones bearing the hot chillies, but they’re not. I grew them from seed saved from ‘sauce chillies’ that we bought at a Farmer’s Market last year. They were hot, mildly hot I think, but the ones in our garden seem to be lacking in heat. Well, some of them anyway. One of the ‘capsicum’ chili plants has fruit that look just like the aforesaid chillies, and the other has smaller chillies that are rather hot. But then some of the longer ones are hot too. We didn’t realise until we had amassed a bunch in the fridge. It is very confusing. Yup. I am losing my marbles.

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The conical capsicums: weird-looking but expected from what is pictured on the seed packet. They start off a disturbing snot-green colour and ripen to bright red.

We were planning to make sweet chili sauce and dehydrate some chillies for grinding into chili powder but now we don’t know what to do. We have a fridge vege compartment full of chillies and not-so-chillies. And we can’t tell what’s hot or not without tasting each one! Blagh. And so, the chillies wait and gather. Something must be done…

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The fridge vege compartment. There are a lot of chili-like things underneath the other capsicums. And there are even more since this photo was taken. The draw is going to explode soon.

3 thoughts on “Capsicums vs. Chillies

    1. I have just done a little bit of research, and you might be partially right! Sweet capsicums and chillies are the same species so can quite easily cross-pollinate when grown near each other. But the results will only show up in the fruit of the following generation. So while I shouldn’t be growing my capsicums and chillies next to each other (oops!), it won’t have any effect on the current fruit, but if I save seeds from them the resulting plants could be all over the place. So, perhaps the chillies that I collected my seeds from for this season’s plants had been cross-pollinated. I have no way of knowing since we bought them at the Farmer’s Market. I’m still mystified about the two ‘capsicum’ chili plants though. Obviously, I shall have to be more careful next year by sowing, growing and planting the capsicumcs and chillies far away from each other. No more fraternising! šŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah, nothing worse than fraternising capsicums and chillies :). Lol! Thanks for sharing your research. I remembered reading something about it but couldn’t remember the details. Your capsicum/chilli plant mystery still isn’t solved, though. Wonder if anyone else knows why….?

        Liked by 1 person

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