The majority of cultivated bell pepper plants produce immature green fruits that eventually ripen into their destined yellow, orange, or red colors. While this genetic coding holds true a lot of the time, there are exceptions! One of the varieties to differ just so happens to be the Purple Beauty Bell Pepper plant. While the foliage and flowers look like any other, the fruits on this unique plant grow purple and ripen to a deep maroon color. With such an odd growth trait, it's no wonder why purple beauty bell peppers make for exciting container garden additions!
Purple Beauty Variety -
It took me a bit of trudging around the web to find information on the genetics of this variety. Though there is a bit of conflicting information out there, purple beauty bells are an open pollinated variety. These plants are characterized by their squat growth and heavy production of purple fruits. From transplanting, it takes 70-80 days for the first peppers to fully ripen. This is a truly unique bell pepper variety that grows purple peppers from the start. When cooked, the purple flesh instantly turns green.
Basic Care for Purple Beauty Bells -
As far as these purple bell pepper plants are concerned, you can pretty much treat them as you would any other pepper plant! The plants do not require much more than the basics listed below. Providing all of the necessities will keep you plants healthy and fruitful throughout the season.
- Full Sun - In order to sustain proper fruit production, Purple Beauty bell peppers will require at least six hours of daily sunlight. Strong sunlight during the morning hours is ideal, with the plants being partially shaded during the hottest parts of the afternoon.
- Fertile Soil - Pepper plants, including the purple beauty, need soil that is rich with composted organics in order to supply nutrition during their vegetative stage. For in-ground gardeners, till in compost or aged manure into the top six inches of soil. Container gardeners should seek an organic potting soil that has compost at its core.
- Ample Soil Drainage - Slow draining soils can retain too much water, causing many problems for bell pepper roots. As soils become waterlogged, the oxygen available to the roots is reduced to dangerously low levels. This loss of oxygen can choke out roots and cause root rot to set in. If your soil is draining slow, amend with perlite or porous lava rock.
- Slow Release Nutrition - While this step is not absolutely necessary, it will definitely come in handy for the plant when it starts to flower. By mixing in a few tablespoons of homemade bone meal at the time of transplanting, you'll be adding a slow release nutrition that will last throughout the season. The bone meal will release steady quantities of phosphorus, nitrogen and calcium. All of these will help boost flower and fruit production.
Did You Know?
When Purple Beauty bell peppers are cooked or exposed to heat that they will turn back to a green color? That's right, it's like a magic trick! The only time that they will not turn green when cooking is when they have already reached their ripe red color.
Tips for Growing -
Like other bell pepper varieties, Purple Beauty bell peppers will grow best when the temperatures do not exceed 85°F. Temperatures above this point can cause stress, wilting, and sometimes even sunburn on young fruits. If you wish to minimize the stress associated with hot temperatures, give these tips a try:
Purple Beauty Bell Pepper Planting Schedule -
6-8 Weeks Before Average Last Frost
Begin Planting Purple Beauty Bell Pepper Seeds
Week of Average Last Frost
Begin Hardening off Pepper Plants for Transplanting.
1-2 Weeks After the Date of the Average Last Frost
Transplant Purple Beauty Bell Peppers Outside.
30-60 Days From Transplanting
Harvest Immature Purple Bell Peppers.
75-80 Days From Transplanting
Harvest Ripe Purple Beauty Peppers. They will be Red at this point.
First Frost of Autumn
At this point, you can either cut back the whole plant for the season, or bring it indoors to live during the winter months.
- Large Container - For those who wish to grow these bell peppers in containers or on a patio, choose a planter with a volume of at least three gallons. This size will allow the plants to grow, flower, and fruit properly, without becoming overly root bound. Be sure that your container has plenty of drainage holes for excess water to escape. Moisture and temperature levels also fluctuate less in larger containers, providing a more stable root environment for your pepper plants!
- Grow Together - If your plant must take the full brunt of the afternoon sunlight, grow a couple pepper plants and place them close to each other. By having them nearby, the intense afternoon sunlight is now dampened by an increased foliage canopy. This will keep your plants cool and happy throughout hot spells. If you don't want to grow more peppers, place your purple beauty plant in the partial shade of a nearby larger crop.
- Mulch - Peppers grown in the ground will benefit from a one to two inch layer of mulch. By using lawn trimming, high quality compost, straw or wood chips as mulch, the garden soil will stay much cooler and retain moisture much better.
- Stakes/Cage - Growing to two or more feet tall, and supporting a bunch of medium sized fruits, these bell pepper plants will do best when supported with stakes or cages. By helping to support weak or loaded branches, the plant will be able to focus more of its energy on fruit production. By helping your plant, you'll be helping your overall yields!
- Compost Tea Foliar Spray - About twice monthly, spray the upper and undersides of Purple Beauty bell pepper plant leaves with a compost tea spray. This organic spray will help deliver nutrients directly to the foliage. Besides a little nutrient "pick me up", the compost tea will also create a thin film on the foliage. This is beneficial in protecting against any unwanted pests, and is especially good against hungry aphids!
Purple Beauty Bell Pepper Review -
While this variety does live up to its aesthetics value, I'm on the fence as to whether I'd grow them again. The plant that I grew during the 2013 season yielded much less than expected. The five peppers that managed to grow also fell short on flavor and culinary use. In my opinion, this specialty variety should be grown by those who want to add a "wow factor" to their landscaping. If you're looking for exceptional taste and yields, consider other varieties before looking to the Purple Beauty Bell Pepper.
Although I wasn't all that impressed with this specialty variety, it doesn't mean that I don't want to hear about your experience with the Purple Beauty Bell Pepper! Whether it's good or bad, please let me know what you think. Thanks for reading this article on Purple Beauty Bell Pepper plant care. As always, please leave any comments or questions that you might have!