- Author: Erin Mahaney
I've had fun experimenting with growing smaller pepper varieties such as jalapeños, padrons, cherry peppers, and Japanese shishito peppers. In my windy garden, I can't grow large peppers that require hotter weather and longer growing seasons, but the smaller peppers with shorter growing seasons are always worth trying. The shishito pepper (Capsicum annuum) is one of the more reliable producers in my garden.
The shishito pepper is a small, 3-4” wrinkly, bright green pepper that grows on a modestly sized plant of about 2' tall and 1.5' wide. The skin is thin, which makes it easy to cook quickly. The peppers are very mild, although occasionally a hot one will offer a fiery surprise.
Like most vegetables, shishitos take full sun (although they may appreciate some afternoon shade in hot weather), well-drained soil, and regular watering. The plants should be spaced about 2' apart. The time from planting a transplant to harvest is about 60 days. The plants are prolific, producing about 20 peppers per plant.
The peppers will eventually turn red, but I like to harvest them when they are green. They are a tasty appetizer when flash-sautéed with olive oil until they blister and then sprinkled with sea salt.