We are all used to seeing huge bell peppers, jalapeños, and banana peppers at the grocery store. However, chile peppers weren’t always so large.
In fact, all of the wild species of chiles are still small, often no more than the size of a berry. As a result, in many cases, peppers will grow upright on a plant instead of slumping over like a pendant.
In this article, I’ll share 17+ peppers that grow upwards. There is a stunning variety of pepper types with upright fruits, so let’s get into it!
- Chinese 5 color. This small cone-shaped chili originates from China and is typically grown for its beautiful array of colors as it ripens. Often, the plants will have chiles at all different stages simultaneously.
- Thai. These varieties come in red, orange, and yellow and originate in Thailand. Thai chiles have a sharp, spicy flavor and are commonly used in Southeast Asian curries and stir fries.
- Laotian. Similar in appearance to other Southeast Asian chilies, the Laotian pepper also grows in an upright pattern.
- Suryankhi cluster. Named for the clusters of chiles these plants produce, this Indian pepper is traditionally used in spicy curries and chutneys.
- Santaka. This Japanese pepper is spicy, delicious, and productive, making it a perfect cooking pepper to use year round.
- Yatsufusa. Also known as ‘Chiles Japones,’ this variety is commonly used to make shichimi, or Japanese seven-flavor chili, a popular spice blend.
- Takanotsume. This upright growing hot pepper variety is one of the most popular chile types in Japan. Takanotsume chiles are used in countless Asian cuisines.
- Mirasol. This group of pepper varieties is actually named for the fruits upright growth pattern. Mirasol translates to “look at the sun,” as the peppers point upwards on the plant. Some popular varieties within the mirasol group are ‘Bahamian,’ ‘goat’s weed,’ ‘yellow bedder,’ and ‘purira.’
- Candlelight. This variety is most often used as an ornamental plant in flower borders or potted arrangements. Tons of peppers poke through dense foliage, resembling little red flames.
- Chilly chili. Named for its lack of heat, the chilly chili has an upright growth pattern.
- Brazilian starfish. This C. baccatum variety has starfish-shaped fruits that sometimes grow upwards off the branches.
- Christmas. This variety was brought to us from the NMSU as a gorgeous ornamental plant. The pods change from green straight to red, showing off beautiful Christmas colors.
- NuMex Twilight. Another NMSU variety, this plant has upright fruits that change from yellow to purple and finally to orangey-red.
- Tabasco. This C. frutescens variety was made popular by the delicious Tabasco Brand hot sauce. These peppers are very hot and take a long time to fully mature on the plant. Fun fact: Tabasco peppers are still considered somewhat ‘wild’ as the pods easily fall from the plant when ripe.
- Halloween. Yet another ornamental named after a holiday, the NuMex Halloween pepper ripens from dark purple to orange. Since the pods grow upwards, the spooky colors are on full display.
- Piquin. This group of peppers almost exclusively grow upwards and tend to have a small berry shape. Some varieties include the ‘chiltepín,’ ‘bird dung,’ and ‘sport.’
- Quintisho. This C. chinense plant produces loads of ~1 cm berries that mostly grow upwards. They are quite spicy and have a juicy, citrusy flavor. Similar pod shape as ‘aji charapita,’ but larger.
Other upright growing peppers
- Alma paprika. This Hungarian pepper has mild heat and a cherry-like shape. The pods cluster and grow upright on the plant, ripening to red.
- Guam boonies. This small C. frutescens species pepper comes from Guam and is used for powders and hot sauces.
- Piri piri. Hailing from Africa, the ‘piri piri’ or ‘pilli pilli’ chile is used dried or for making hot sauce.
- Capsicum eximium. This wild species has upright growing, tiny pods that are spicy. This species has not yet been cultivated, but has gorgeous, purple flowers.
There are many, many other pepper varieties that grow upwards, so feel free to go down the rabbit hole in searching for seeds. Here are some great seed sellers that carry unique pepper seeds:
I hope this article helped you learn more about peppers that grow upwards. If you are having trouble identifying a particular pepper, leave a comment below!