Banana peppers, also known as yellow wax peppers, are popular vegetables known for their mild heat and distinct flavor. They are native to Central and South America and are widely used in various culinary dishes.
Banana pepper plants have a bushy growth habit and elongated, tapered fruits resembling bananas. The peppers typically mature to a bright yellow color but can also be orange or red.
Banana peppers thrive in full sun, requiring at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily. They prefer well-drained soil enriched with organic matter and a pH between 6.0 and 7.0.
Start banana pepper seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before the last frost date or purchase young seedlings. Transplant them outdoors when the soil has warmed up and there is no risk of frost. Space plants 12-18 inches (30-45 cm) apart.
Water banana pepper plants deeply and regularly, aiming to keep the soil evenly moist. Avoid overwatering or allowing the soil to become waterlogged. Fertilize with a balanced vegetable fertilizer according to package instructions.
Pinch off the first flowers that appear to encourage the plant to focus on vegetative growth. Remove any damaged or diseased leaves or fruits. Stake taller varieties for support if needed.
Harvest banana peppers when they reach their desired size and color. They are typically harvested when they are 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) long and have turned yellow. Use clean scissors or pruning shears to cut the peppers from the plant.
Store harvested banana peppers in the refrigerator, preferably in a perforated plastic bag, for up to one week. They can also be pickled or preserved for longer storage.
Watch out for common issues like aphids, mites, or fungal diseases. Inspect the plants regularly and take appropriate measures, such as using organic insecticides or fungicides, if problems arise.
Banana peppers are considered a mild chili pepper, with a Scoville heat rating ranging from 0 to 500. They are versatile in the kitchen and can be used fresh, pickled, or cooked in various dishes.