Rocotillo Pepper Seeds, (Capsicum chinense) Rare, Medium heat
- Scoville heat units (SHU): 1,500 – 2,500 SHU
- Median heat: 2,000 SHU
- Origin: Peru
- Capsicum species: Baccatum/Chinense
- Jalapeño reference scale: Equal heat to 5 times milder
- Size: Approximately 1 inch long, squished shape
- Flavor: Sweet, Tropical
Sort of like a habanero or scotch bonnet pepper in shape, the rocotillo pepper comes in way lower in overall heat. It’s really a mild pepper − just a wee bit hotter than the poblano on the Scoville scale, but with a bit more sweetness. The rocotillo is an excellent (though harder to find) alternative to those spicier peppers. And there’s a bit of confusion out there surrounding this chili, making it a strangely intriguing stopping point on the pepper scale.
This pepper has "traveled" a great deal to many different countries over the years. It is said to have originated in Peru, but was "discovered" in Puerto Rico years later. Rocotillo peppers start off green, turn orange and are ready when they are fire engine red.
The plant has white flowers and reaches about 40" in height. Rocotillos are 1" long wide 1 1/2" wide and resemble an old fashioned spinning top. Easy to dry. Excellent for cooking and great in salsas.
Rocotillo peppers are 1,500 to 2,500 on the Scoville scale.
Sow seeds indoors ¼" deep. Peppers germinate best in warm soil, so gentle bottom heat may be helpful until seedlings emerge. Wait to transplant outdoors until soil is warm.
Pepper varieties come from tropical humid regions. The temperature, moisture, and air circulation all play a role in growing plants from seeds. Too little heat, too much moisture, and lack of air circulation will cause poor results. Do not use jiffy peat pots, plugs, or potting soil as the soil becomes too dry or too wet, which can lead to disease and fungus. We have experienced disease and low germination when using these types of products. Use Organic Seed Starting Material for best germination results.
Peppers often like to take their sweet time germinating. They can be up in a week, and some will take almost a month. Even with paper towel germination testing, they can take long. I am not sure why, but it is a normal occurrence. So plan and make sure you start them early enough! Also, remember they like heat to germinate so make sure you have a heating mat or something to keep the soil warm. Placing them up on top of the fridge often works too since it is normally warmer up there.
Peppers, like tomatoes, grow in well-drained fertile soil. Almost all peppers have the same requirements for successful growth. Plant them in good, well-drained, fertile soil – and make sure they get lots of sunlight and a good inch of water per week. In many ways, they mimic the same requirements needed for growing great tomatoes.
At Planting Time:
We plant all of our peppers with a good shovel full of compost in the planting hole, and then give them a good dose of compost tea every few weeks for the first 6 weeks of growth. We also mulch around each of our pepper plants with a good 1 to 2″ thick layer of compost.
Growing Hot Peppers in Containers
Peppers can be grown all year long in containers. It is suitable for apartment dwellers and gardeners who live in cool regions where the number of growing days are limited. Many pepper enthusiast grow peppers in pots so they can have fresh peppers all year long. It’s best to use 5 gallon containers so the roots do not get too over-crowded
Requires fertile soil in a well drained location in the garden. Apply much and grass clippings, or straw around base of plant.
Water well with soaker hoses during dry and hot spells.
Use RootBlast, Vegetable Alive, and Slow Release Fertilizer when transplanting outdoors. Apply Miracle Gro every two weeks.
Harvest hot peppers when they are fully mature using a garden scissor so you don't damage the plant. Pick peppers as they mature to encourage new buds to form