The cayenne pepper is also known as the Guinea spice, cow-horn pepper, aleva, bird pepper, red pepper (especially in its powdered form). This pepper is used to flavor dishes in its powdered form especially. It is also used for medicinal purposes.
The name comes from the city of Cayenne in French Guiana. It is a cultivator of Capsicum annuum. The powder is made from the dried and ground pepper seeds. These are also pulped and baked into cakes which are later ground and sifted.
It is generally rated at 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville units. This pepper is also used as an herbal supplement.
Cayenne pepper is high in vitamin A and also contains vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin C, riboflavin, potassium and manganese.
Cayenne pepper is also known as a male aphrodisiac as it contains capsaicin, which increases blood flow to all parts of the human body. This pepper is used in its fresh form, dried and powdered, and as dried flakes.
Growing/Caring conditions for Cayenne pepper
- Sow seedlings indoors.
- Sow them late spring to early summer.
- The plant requires full sun.
- Sow those eight to ten weeks before the last frost date for your area.
- They are a difficult in germination and seedlings grow slowly at first.
- Provide bottom heat or heat lamps to raise the soil temperature to 80 degrees.
- This will promote better and quicker germination.
- A heated germination mat works well.
- While your seedlings are growing, get your garden ready.
- Add plenty of compost, manure, and a general fertilizer.
- Peppers like hot weather.
- Transplant young seedlings outdoors after the last chance of frost.
- If the weather is still cool, delay transplanting a few days.
- Keep them in a cold frame, indoors.
- Space 18-24 inches apart, in rows 24 to 30 inches apart.
- Mulching around the peppers to keep down weeds, retain moisture, and help to feed the plant.
- As the peppers develop, use a fertilizer higher in Phosphorous and Potassium.
- Providing too much nitrogen will result in a great looking bushy, green plant, but few fruits.
- Peppers can be picked as soon as they reach a size which is edible.
- Continuous harvesting encourages the fruit to produce new flowers.
- Spider mites and aphids are the most common problems.
- An occasional borer insect is also known to attack this plant.
- Try an organic insecticide or dust.
- Fungal infections can be treated with fungicides. Apply treatment as soon as you see it.
- Potential pests include aphids, white flies, cutworms, pepper maggots, and Colorado potato beetles.
- Diseases include Verticillium wilt and mosaic virus.
- Frost will stunt or kill the plants.
- Cold weather can cause the plant to slow down or stunt it.
- Use a hot cap in on cold and frosty spring nights.