Troy Primeaux has led an interesting life. From thrashing out in the 90s as part of the Deep South psychedelic rock band Santeria, to breeding one of the world’s hottest peppers, the 7 Pot Primo pepper.
Primeaux shifted to horticulture in the early 2000s, reportedly in need of a more family-appropriate lifestyle. While studying at the University of Louisiana, he carefully cross bred pepper varieties to produce the distinctive and super-spicy 7 Pot Primo.
Known to be a cross between the Naga Morich and the Trinidad 7-Pot pepper, the 7 Pot Primo is, of course, seriously hot.
7 Pot Primo Pepper Facts:
- Scoville: Up to 1.5 million
- Diameter: 1-1.5″
- Length: 1-2″
- Color: Red
- Species: Capsicum chinense
- Seeds: Primo’s Peppers
There is also some controversy about the 7-Pot Primo pepper. It has strikingly similar look and heat level to the Carolina Reaper, and some speculate that may not be a coincidence.
7 Pot Primo Pepper Scoville Scale
We know that the 7 Pot Primo is a cross between 2 very spicy peppers, but even Primeaux was surprised with the result. It is certainly among the hottest peppers in the world.
Simply put Troy Primeaux has stated that the 7-Pot Primo pepper comes in around 1,500,000 SHUs, making it one of the hottest peppers ever officially tested. By comparison, a habanero pepper has around 250,000 SHUs, and a jalapeño has just 5,000.
The pepper is bright red and resembles a nuclear explosion’s mushroom cloud. The unusual, gnarly shape pairs well with the overwhelming heat level.
The original 7 Pot pepper got its name from the local Trinidadian legend that each pepper could spice up 7 pots of stew. All 7 Pot peppers are seriously hot, and Primeaux’s cross is the king of them all.
This leads us to an important topic. Which is hotter, the Carolina Reaper or the 7 Pot Primo? The pods look similar, have very high heat levels, but one is much more famous.
Carolina Reaper vs 7 Pot Primo Controversy
Internet discussions have put into question the similarities between the Carolina Reaper and the 7-Pot Primo. The 2 varieties look very similar and both have extreme heat.
In this adorable phone interview from 2015, Troy Primeaux hints that he may believe that the two varieties stem from the same pepper, though he doesn’t say anything definitive. He also states that the 7 Pot Primo holds the record for the hottest pepper tested at NMSU’s Chile Pepper Institute.
There are some test results circulating on the internet comparing the SHU levels of the two peppers, with the Primo sometimes edging out the Reaper. However, I cannot personally verify that they are official results.
Ed Currie has said that the Carolina Reaper is a cross between a Pakistani Naga (ghost) pepper and a Caribbean habanero pepper called La Soufrière. The 7 Pot Primo is a cross between the Trinidad 7 Pot and Naga Morich peppers.
Troy Primeaux began developing the 7 Pot Primo cross in the early 2000s at University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Horticulture Department. He details his story of creating the pepper in this article (recommended read).
Primeaux obtained a Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Agriculture and Horticulture from ULL. He also worked with his professors while creating the pepper cross.
Primeaux has openly talked about selling seeds during early development of the 7-Pot Primo, before the pepper cross was fully stable. This has led some to speculate whether Ed Currie was one of the early seed buyers or not.
In 2012, the Carolina Reaper became the official world’s hottest pepper, and Primeaux was shocked. He posted in ‘The Hot Pepper,’ a pepper forum, about his concerns that the pepper was very similar in appearance to his 7 Pot Primo. His plants were in their 7th generation of development at the time.
Some fellow pepper growers have claimed that the 7 Pot Primo is a very consistent pepper plant. Consistency means that the plants produce reliable peppers in shape, size, yield and heat levels.
This Puckerbutt affiliated grower claims that the Reaper is also highly consistent, with less than 2% of plants growing inconsistently-shaped pods. He also says that he has grown 7 Pot Primos, and that they were different peppers.
Much of the crop consistency is determined by growing conditions and plant care, but when these are kept consistent, how do the plants compare?
We recently ordered official 7 Pot Primo seeds and official Carolina Reaper seeds to run some casual testing between the two plants. We’ll report back with any interesting results to share here in this article.
Reaper vs Primo – Overall Thoughts
Owning the rights to the world’s hottest pepper likely comes with big financial benefits. Though this is impossible to prove, it seems possible that Smokin’ Ed Currie got seeds for the 7 Pot Primo early on. However, we’re definitely not making any claims.
It is also perfectly plausible that Currie worked independently of Primeaux to create what turned out to be a very similar-looking pepper to the 7 Pot Primo. Smokin’ Ed certainly has a passion for growing and cross breeding peppers.
Either way, the Carolina Reaper has become the more famous pepper by far. It is the pepper variety that every super spicy hot sauce maker wants to use in their hottest products. In our opinion, they’re both pretty awesome plants.
7-Pot Primo Seeds
If you would like to grow the 7 Pot Primo pepper, we recommend getting them directly from the source. This will ensure that your seeds come from isolated plants. Some seed suppliers may have open pollinated plants, meaning there is a risk of cross-pollination with other pepper varieties.
Get 7 Pot Primo pepper seeds from Primo’s Peppers here.
Other 7 Pot Primo Varieties
Since the 7 Pot Primo was introduced to the world of chiliheads in the 2000s, many variations have been discovered and isolated. These mostly include color variations on the original pod shape.
7 Pot Primo Orange – Seeds
With a similar shape to the original 7 Pot Primo, the orange variant has a more vibrant orange/yellow color. The flavor is said to be delicious, and heat is still scorching.
7 Pot Primo Chocolate – Seeds
Another color variation, the chocolate pods are usually more flowery in flavor. Chocolate pods are always fascinating to watch ripen in the garden. These pods look truly sinister!
Primotalii – Seeds
Some popular chiliheads claim that the Primotalii pepper is the hottest pepper they have ever tasted. It is a cross between the 7 Pot Primo and the Yellow Fatalii pepper. The long, slender pods with extremely long tails certainly look evil.
More cool pepper varieties:
I hope you enjoyed reading about the 7-Pot Primo pepper. We are fascinated by this result of Troy Primeaux’s work and love for peppers. We’ll continue to ask questions as time goes on, updating this post as we learn more. Stay tuned!