By 2020, the Exotic Pepper Project will release 3-6 unique new varieties of exotic/hot peppers to New Jersey growers for production. These varieties will combine the best fruit quality and horticultural characteristics from selected Capsicum annum, C. chinense, and C. frutescens breeding lines.
Release #1: Capsicum chinense Pumpkin Habanero
Good source of Vitamins A & C; high in fiber; sweet, flavorful and crunchy fruit wall; moderate heat in seed and placenta (<50,000 SHU); high fruit yield (100-220/plant); small plant size (12-18” tall); small/medium size fruit (9-12 g, about ½ oz/fruit).
Cultivation: Seed flats in nursery (70-85oF) 8-10 weeks before transplanting (seeds germinate from 10-30 days under this condition); transplant seedlings into well prepared seedbed (sandy loam to loamy sand; pH 6.0-6.8; OM >1.5%, medium to high CEC) between May 15 and June 10 in NJ and the Mid-Atlantic (transplanting into plastic mulch is recommended); apply fertilizer as needed based on soil test results (NPK 20-20-20 or 10-10-10 works well); control weeds as recommended by your Agricultural Extension County Agent, irrigate as needed (trickle irrigation is recommended); currently no known pest or disease problems in New Jersey.
Harvesting: For ripe fruit start harvesting every 2-3 weeks from early September until the first frost in October; for green fruit start harvesting end of August. Ripe fruit durability on the plant is >4 weeks, so harvesting may be delayed up to 4 weeks after fruit ripens.
See Pepper Availability page for where to find Rutgers NJAES Pumpkin habanero pepper plants (released Spring 2017).