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Lesya Peppers – An Incredibly Sweet Bell Alternative

If you’re looking for a sweet and delicious pepper to grow, you may want to try the lesya pepper. This large, heart-shaped variety is known for having incredibly sweet flesh.

Bell peppers are much more popular here in the US, but in the Ukraine, the lesya pepper is cultivated and well known. Thankfully, we can buy seeds and grow our own lesya peppers to experience the rich, sweet flavor for ourselves.

So in this article, I’ll share everything we know about the lesya pepper, including its origins, flavor, growing info, and where to get seeds. Let’s get started!

Lesya pepper
Lesya pepper.

Get lesya seeds:

About Lesya Peppers

If the look alone doesn’t intrigue you, maybe a bit of backstory will. The lesya variety was bred in Ukraine in the early 2000s. Nadiya Filimonivna Bilous is credited with breeding the lesya for 9 years before the variety was considered stable.

The goal was to create a thick-walled, juicy and sweet pepper that had a teardrop shape. This is exactly what we got with the lesya, and the resulting fruits are stunning in the garden.

Now, there is even an orange lesya variety that you can grow for a different look and flavor in the garden. If you don’t like the deep richness of red pepper, try growing the orange variety.

Lesya Pepper Flavor

If you’re looking for one of the best tasting peppers, the lesya should be on your grow list. This incredibly sweet, juicy pepper is packed with natural sugars.

The taste is very similar to a red bell pepper, but elevated in terms of sweetness. There is almost no bitterness, especially with the inner pith and seeds removed.

It is best to allow your lesya peppers to turn red before picking for the best flavor. This takes longer, but the wait is well worth it!

Lesya pepper uses:

  • Stuffing
  • Roasting
  • Eating fresh or in salads
  • Mild salsas
  • Fermentation and pickling
Lesya pepper
Fresh lesya pepper (next to biquinho pepper).

Growing Lesya Peppers

One drawback of the lesya is that we ran into some issues growing them. Namely, the fruits would often split, and several had blossom end rot. This may not be an issue for all, but keep it in mind when considering this variety.

Otherwise, the lesya plant was relatively easy to grow and had no problem supporting the weight of its fruits, even without support. The plants are compact, about 2′ tall, and typically hold 6-8 full-sized fruits at a time.

With a long enough growing season, a single plant could produce several dozen peppers under ideal conditions. This makes the lesya a fairly low maintenance and highly productive variety, assuming you don’t run into the issues we had.

Lesya pepper in garden with sunflowers
Lesya pepper.

The lesya pepper is is a gorgeous variety that is certainly a head-turner in the vegetable garden. If you have a spot for an extra pepper this year, the lesya pepper may be the perfect pick for you.

Calvin Thumbnail


One of the original Pepper Geeks! When Calvin isn’t gardening or learning more about peppers and botany, he might be traveling new places or playing some music.


Sunday 11th of June 2023

Fantastic peppers! I’m growing them in my conservatory, they are thriving and each one has 4 or 5 large peppers ripening on it and it’s only early June in the UK. The plants look super healthy, I’ve had no problems at all. Have already tasted a ripe one and they’re delicious; sweet and crunchy with thick walls. Amazing when roasted with olive oil and a good balsamic vinegar.


Sunday 21st of May 2023

This is the first year I've attempted to plant peppers from seed with the Lesya being one of 3 varieties I selected. Bought mine from Baker Creek. After germinating I'm growing them outdoors in a hydroponic set up a container, and a raised bed. They all appear to be doing well and starting to flower.They do seem to be rather short compared so other varieties I'm growing. It's still rather cool in SF Bay Area after an usually wet winter.


Thursday 20th of April 2023

I found these on Baker Creek’s site a year or two ago and thought they looked cool but this year will be the first time I grow them. I’ve read only positive reviews including this one.


Wednesday 26th of April 2023

@Jim, It's an excellent variety. I've grown them for 3 years now and have never had an issue with blossom end rot or anything. They set lots of fruit close to the main stem. When they are young the first fruits are on the ground. I always let them turn red. I think you'll love them.

Jack D Curson III

Wednesday 5th of April 2023

I'm going to grow these for the first time this year. I started some from seed and have way too many plants. I am sure I can give some away.