Jalapeño and Other Hot Pepper Varieties for Florida1

Monica Ozores-Hampton and Gene McAvoy 2

The jalapeño (Capsicum annuum) is derived from the Capsicum genus of the family Solanaceae (Rhodes 2009). Jalapeños are members of a diverse group of hot peppers, which also includes the ancho poblano, cayenne, serrano, Anaheim, banana, Asian, habanero, and Hungarian wax peppers. Hot peppers are classified by their heat and shape. The heat of the pepper comes from the chemical compound capsaicin, which is measured by the Scoville scale (Kaiser and Ernst 2013). Pure capsaicin has a Scoville unit between 15,000,000–16,000,000. Bell peppers have a Scoville unit of zero, while the hottest peppers have a Scoville unit greater than 1,000,000. The jalapeño is considered relatively mild, ranging from 1,000 to 8,000. Jalapeño peppers are native to Mexico and are the most popular type of Mexican hot pepper. The name comes from Xalapa, which is the Mexican state capital of Veracruz. The majority of jalapeño production in Mexico and the United States is picked for canning or fresh markets. Jalapeños can be used as an ingredient in cooked or raw sauces, or charred and peeled to be stuffed with cheese, meat, or fish. Chipotle is the term used for jalapeños that are allowed to ripen on the plant to a deep red color and are then dried.

The US demand for jalapeño and other hot peppers rises every year due to the growing popularity of ethnic cuisine (Naeve 2015). Consumption has increased from 5.2 lb/person in 2001 to 7.2 lb/person in 2016 (Wells 2016). The production of hot peppers in the United States was valued at $135 million dollars in 2015 with 18,100 acres harvested [United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) 2016]. The average yield is 762 bushels/acre with an average price of $10 per bushel (10-year average). California and New Mexico produce most of the hot peppers grown in the United States, but many Florida farmers grow hot peppers as a niche crop. The growing conditions are similar to bell peppers (Stephens 2015). Seeds or transplants should be planted after the danger of frost has passed in north and central Florida, and from September to March in south Florida. Plants should be spaced 12–18 inches apart in full sun on well-drained, fertilized soil. The soil should be fertilized two to three times during the growing season. Most hot peppers take 65–75 days to mature after transplanting. Jalapeño and other hot peppers are sold during an approximate 10-month period throughout the year.

Jalapeño and Other Hot Pepper Varieties—Here is a list of jalapeño and other hot pepper varieties used in Florida (Tables 1 and 2).


Figure 1. Compadre.
Figure 1.  Compadre.
Credit: Syngenta

Figure 2. Jalafuego.
Figure 2.  Jalafuego.
Credit: Sakata Seed America, Inc.

Figure 3. Lexus
Figure 3.  Lexus
Credit: Seigers Seed Co.

Figure 4. PS 11435810
Figure 4.  PS 11435810
Credit: Seminis Vegetable Seed, Inc.

Figure 5. PS 11435807
Figure 5.  PS 11435807
Credit: Seminis Vegetable Seed, Inc.

Figure 6. Condor.
Figure 6.  Condor.
Credit: Seigers Seed Co.

Figure 7. Don Matias.
Figure 7.  Don Matias.
Credit: Seigers Seed Co.

Figure 8. Masivo.
Figure 8.  Masivo.
Credit: US Agriseeds

Figure 9. San Ardo.
Figure 9.  San Ardo.
Credit: US Agriseeds

Figure 10. Cheyenne.
Figure 10.  Cheyenne.
Credit: Sakata Seed America, Inc.

Figure 11. Iberia
Figure 11.  Iberia
Credit: Seedway

Figure 12. Mesilla.
Figure 12.  Mesilla.
Credit: Seminis Vegetable Seed, Inc.

Figure 13. Altiplano
Figure 13.  Altiplano
Credit: Seigers Seed Co.

Figure 14. Camino Real.
Figure 14.  Camino Real.
Credit: Harris Moran Seed Company

Figure 15. Devil.
Figure 15.  Devil.
Credit: US Agriseeds

Figure 16. Don Picoso.
Figure 16.  Don Picoso.
Credit: Seigers Seed Co.

Figure 17. Charger.
Figure 17.  Charger.
Credit: US Agriseeds

Figure 18. Chichen Itza.
Figure 18.  Chichen Itza.
Credit: Seminis Vegetable Seed, Inc.

Figure 19. Inferno.
Figure 19.  Inferno.
Credit: Seminis Vegetable Seed, Inc.

Figure 20. Rio de Oro.
Figure 20.  Rio de Oro.
Credit: Seigers Seed Co.

Figure 21. Rio Tesoro.
Figure 21.  Rio Tesoro.
Credit: Seigers Seed Co.

Figure 22. Balada.
Figure 22.  Balada.
Credit: Grit Newsletter


Kaiser, C. and M. Ernst. 2013. Heirloom vegetables. Coop. Ext. Serv. Univ. Ky., College of Agr. 10 Aug. 2016. http://www.uky.edu/Ag/NewCrops/introsheets/heirloom.pdf

Naeve, L. 2015. Bell and chili peppers. AgMRC (Agr. Mktg. Resource Ctr.), Iowa State Univ. 10 Aug. 2016. http://www.agmrc.org/commodities__products/vegetables/bell-and-chili-peppers/

National Garden Bureau. 2007. Horticulture update: classifying chile peppers. Texas Coop. Ext. 10 Aug. 2016. http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/newsletters/hortupdate/hortupdate_archives/2007/Jul07/ClassifChilePeppers.html

Stephens, J. M. 2015. Pepper, chili—Capsicum annuum L. and Capsicum frutescens L. Gainesville: Univ. of Fla. Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. 10 Aug. 2016. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mv112

US Department of Agriculture. 2016. Statistics of vegetables and melons. 29 Aug. 2017. https://www.nass.usda.gov/Publications/Ag_Statistics/2016/Chapter04.pdf

Wells, H. F. 2016. Vegetables and pulses yearbook data. U.S. Dept. of Agr. 29 Aug. 2017. http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/ers/VEGANDPULSESYEARBOOK/2016/VegetableandPulsesYearbook2016.pdf


Table 1. 

Jalapeño and other hot pepper varieties for Florida.





(Relative Maturity)

Plant and Fruit Characteristics



Jalapeño Peppers

Shape: Short and stubby (National Garden Bureau 2007)

Heat: Low to Medium



Reimer Seeds, Siegers Seed Co., and Stokes

Mid-late season

Plants are vigorous and produce uniform and consistently smooth fruit. The high quality fruit is large.

R to PVY, TM, and Xcv 2, 5.

Fruit can be continuously picked with high yields, even under low temperatures. Fruit has no purpling and low cracking and has good tolerance to extreme temperatures.


Sakata Seed America, Inc.

Johnny's Selected Seeds, Organic Seed Supply, and Tomato Growers Supply Company


Plants are large, vigorous, and strong with excellent yield. The extra-large and smooth fruit is very dark green to red. Fruit has a super high pungency and is extremely hot with excellent length.

R to Xcv 1–3, 7, 8, and PVY 0.1.2.

The extra length of the fruit makes it perfect for growing conditions that may cause fruit to shorten.

Relative Scoville rating: 4,000–6,000


US Agriseeds

Seedway and Seigers Seed Co.

Early season

Plants are large and vigorous. Concentrated fruit set, and uniform, dark green, pungent fruit.

R to Xcv 1-3.

Adapted for both fresh and processing markets.

Relative Scoville rating: 1,700–2,500.

PS 11435810

Seminis Vegetable Seed, Inc.

Siegers Seed Co.


Tall plants with a concentrated fruit set, smooth exterior and dark green color.

R to PVY and TE. IR to Ma/Mi/Mj and Pc.

Relative Scoville rating: 2,001–2,500

PS 11435807

Seminis Vegetable Seed, Inc.

Siegers Seed Co.

Early season

Medium tall plants with a concentrated fruit set. Fruits have a smooth exterior, dark green color and an average size of 4.1 × 1.4 inches.

R to PVY and TE. IR to Ma/Mi/Mj and Pc.

Consistent performance across different regions.

Relative Scoville rating: 1,501–2,000.

Ancho Poblano Peppers

Shape: Flat and round with a blunt end (National Garden Bureau 2007)

Heat: Low


US Agriseeds

Seedway and Siegers Seed Co.

78 days

Mostly two lobed, dark green, uniform fruit. Resembles San Ardo.

IR to Xcv 1-3.

Similar fruit size from beginning to end of harvest.

Don Matias

Seminis Vegetable Seed, Inc.

Siegers Seed Co. and Ahern Agribusiness, Inc.


Very large fruit, maturing dark green to chocolate.


Mexican type suitable for chili rellenos.

Relative Scoville rating: 2,500–4,000.


US Agriseeds

Ripen Seeds and Siegers Seed Co.

70–75 days

Plants produce fruit 7.5 × 3 inches. The dark green, extra-large, and high-quality fruit has two smooth veins that are flat and uniform in shape.

R to TM.

Relative Scoville rating: 1,500–4,000

San Ardo

US Agriseeds

Reimer Seeds and Ripen Seeds

70–75 days

Plants are vigorous, with high yields of 6 × 3 inch fruit that turns from green to red when mature.

PVY, TM, and Tobamo P0.

Relative Scoville rating: 1,500–4,000

Cayenne Peppers

Shape: Long and curved (National Garden Bureau 2007)

Heat: Medium to High


Sakata Seed America, Inc.

Harris Seeds, Johnny's Selected Seeds, Organic Seed Supply, Reimer Seeds, and West Coast Seeds

Early season

Plants are compact and vigorous and produce wrinkled and pungent fruit. The 8- to 9-inch long fruit has a great aroma.


Fruit can be harvested 10–14 days earlier than most standard varieties on the market with no sacrifice in fruit quality. Fruit is harvested early for fresh markets and processing.

Relative Scoville rating: 2,000–4,000


Lark Seed


71 days

Plants are strong and medium to tall in size. Plants produce dull green or red fruit that grows 11 × 2 inches.


Plants produce very early fruit. Fruit is similar to Mesilla in heat but has a thicker flesh.


Seminis Vegetable Seed, Inc.

Chile Plants.com, Harris Seeds, Organic Seeds Supply, Reimer Seeds, Ripen Seeds, Siegers Seed Co., Stokes, and Tomato Growers Supply

85–90 days

Plants produce hot and very long fruit, which is about 9–11 × 1.5 inches.

R to Tobamo P0and PVY 0. IR to TE and PepMo.

Fruit can be used either green or red.

Relative Scoville rating:2,000–4,000

Serrano Peppers

Shape: Slim and slightly club-shaped (National Garden Bureau 2007)

Heat: Medium to High


US Agriseeds

Seigers Seed Co.

Main season

Vigorous plant with uniform, green fruit.


Widely adaptable.

Camino Real

Harris Moran Seed Company

Clifton Seed Company, Harris Seeds, and Seedway


Plants produce large, green fruit.

R to PVY 1. IR to TE.

Plants have excellent yield across all growing areas. Organic seed available.


US Agriseeds

Chile Plants.com, Reimer Seeds, Siegers Seed Co., and Totally Tomato

72–75 days

Plant produces 3- to 4-inch-long fruit that is dark green.

R to PepMoV, PVY, TE.

Relative Scoville rating: 3,500­–6,000

Don Picoso

US Agriseeds

Seigers Seed Co., Reimer Seeds

70 days

Dark green fruit which is about 25% to 30% larger than Tuxtlas.


Continuous set.

Anaheim Peppers

Shape: Long and tapered

Heat: Low


US Agriseeds

Seedway and Siegers Seed Co.

Main season

Plants are erect and vigorous with excellent foliage. Plants produce fruit that grows 7.5 × 1.5 inches and matures from green to red.

R to TSW.

Fruit is flavorful with mild heat.

Habanero Peppers

Shape: Small and lantern-shaped

Heat: Extremely High

Chichen Itza

Seminis Vegetable Seed, Inc.

Chili Pepper Seeds, Tomato Growers Supply Company, and Reimer Seeds

115–120 days

Plants are strong and produce an excellent fruit set. Fruit matures from green to orange and measures approximately 2 × 1 inches.

R to Tobamo P0.

Relative Scoville rating: 15,000–18,000

Hungarian Wax Peppers

Shape: Long and conical (Texas A&M University 2007)

Heat: Low


Seminis Vegetable Seed, Inc.

Reimer Seeds, Stokes Seeds, Seigers Seed Co., Totally Tomatoes

60–65 days

Fruit measures 8.5 × 11 inches. Large and thick-walled; good for fresh market or pickling.


Hungarian wax peppers are also known as banana peppers.

Relative Scoville rating: 500–1000.

Santa Fe/Caribe Peppers

Shape: Tapered and conical (Texas A&M University 2007)

Heat: Low to Medium

Rio de Oro

Seminis Vegetable Seed, Inc.

Osborne Seed, Stokes Seeds, Seigers Seed Co.

65–70 days

Plants are vigorous with a good set. Fruits measure approximately 3.5 ×2 inches.

R to TM.

Relative Scoville rating: 500–600.

Rio Tesoro

US Agriseeds

Holmes Seed Co. and Seigers Seed Co.

70 days

Plants are vigorous with a good set. Fruits measure approximately 3.5 ×2 inches.


Relative Scoville rating: 3,000–5,000.

Asian Peppers

Shape: Small, slender and thin-walled (Texas A&M University 2007)

Heat: High to Extreme




Late season

Tall, bushy plant. Fruits measure 4 to 6 inches in length.


Relative Scoville rating: above 30,000.

Note: While this list includes a number of varieties currently popular with Florida growers, it is by no means a comprehensive list of all varieties that may be adapted to the state.

Table 2. 

Disease key to abbreviations.


Root-knot nematode


Phytophthora blight


Pepper mottle virus


Potato virus Y


Tobacco etch virus


Tobacco mosaic virus

Tobamo P0

Tobamo virus (Tobamo virus P0)


Tomato spotted wilt virus

Xcv 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Bacterial leaf spot (Xanthomonas campestris pv. Vesicatoria)




Intermediate resistance (shows less severe symptoms than susceptible varieties)


1. This document is HS1241, one of a series of the Horticultural Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 2013. Revised October 2014 and October 2017. Visit the EDIS website at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.
2. Monica Ozores-Hampton, associate professor, UF/IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center, Immokalee; and Gene McAvoy, county director and agent, UF/IFAS Extension Hendry County; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.