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Peppers That Grow Upwards: 21+ Upright Varieties

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We are all used to seeing huge bell peppers, jalapeños, and banana peppers at the grocery store. However, chile peppers weren’t always so big.

In fact, all of the wild species of chiles are still small, often no more than the size of a blueberry. 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 21+ peppers that grow upwards. There is a stunning variety of pepper types with upright fruits, so let’s get into it!

Chinese 5 color peppers
Chinese 5 color peppers growing upwards on the plant.

Asian peppers

  • Chinese 5 color. This small, cone-shaped chili originates in China and is typically grown for its beautiful array of colors as it ripens. Often, the plants will have chiles of all different colors simultaneously.
  • Thai. These varieties come in red, orange, and yellow and originate in Thailand. Thai chilies have a sharp, spicy flavor and are commonly used in Southeast Asian curries and stir fries.
Thai red chili peppers
Thai red peppers.
  • 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. This is one of our favorites, which is why we included seeds with our Pepper Growing kit.
Santaka pepper plant with ripe peppers
Santaka chile plant with peppers growing upwards.
  • Yatsufusa. Also known as ‘Chiles Japones,’ this variety is commonly used to make shichimi togarashi, or Japanese 7-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.

The Americas

  • 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.’
Goats weed peppers black
Goat’s weed pepper plant with unripe chilies.
  • 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.
Brazilian starfish peppers
Brazilian starfish peppers sometimes grow upright on the plant.
  • 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.
  • Medusa. This non-spicy dwarf variety matures at just 8-10 inches tall and produces dozens of upright-growing red chilies!
Medusa pepper plants in raised bed
Medusa pepper plant with upright chilies.
  • NuMex Twilight. Another NMSU variety, this plant has upright fruits that change from yellow to purple and finally to an 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.
Tabasco peppers growing on plant upright
Tabasco chiles growing upright on the plant.
  • Halloween. Yet another ornamental pepper 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.
Quintisho pepper plant in fabric pot
The ‘quintisho’ pepper grows upwards on the plant.

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 dried for powders and spices, 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.
Capsicum eximium CAP 500 fruits
CAP 500 is a Capsicum eximium variety with upright, berry-shaped fruits.

There are many, many other pepper varieties that grow upwards, so feel free to go down the rabbit hole in searching for unique seeds. Here are some great seed sellers that carry unique pepper varieties:

I hope this article inspires you to grow some of the beautiful peppers that grow upwards. If you are having trouble identifying a particular pepper, leave a comment below!

Calvin Thumbnail

Calvin

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.

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10 Comments

  1. I enjoy looking at the different peppers I love the beautiful plants looking to add more to my peppers Thanks a lot for all the plants I want to get more seeds to plant soon may/ 12/ 2024

  2. Where can I get Medusa pepper seeds? Checked Botanical interests and Rareseeds but they do not have them. Thanks

  3. Calvin,
    Years ago I came across this little pepper on a vacant lot and rescued it. My coworker said it was Rooster Spur. I kept it alive for years by bringing in the house in the winter. I also planted seeds from it and so on, but I have let it die out. I’ve looked all over the internet, some are close but do not look exactly as mine did. They were about 2″ long, many were upright, light green with pale light purple splotches and would turn red when fully mature. They had a heat level similar to jalapeno about 20,000 scoville units.
    I can’t find any, do you have any suggestions?
    Thanks, David

  4. A common pattern is for peppers to start out growing up while they are small and light, and to end up pendant (growing down) as they get larger and heavier. There are a few varieties (like Mirasol and Alma Paprika) that grow upwards despite considerable mass, by having a very strong thick stem. But most pepper pods that grow upwards are small to medium in size.

    One other fairly famous pepper that grows upwards is Fresno, which is about the same size and shape as a Jalapeno but thinner walls.

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