Originally from California, and commonly grown in the south western United States, this variety was named in honour of the city of Fresno, California.
The fruit of the Fresno Chili is borne on a short, upright growing plant 60 to 75cm (24 to 30in) tall. It resists cracking and reaches maturity in approx 89 days after transplanting. The conical shaped fruits are 6cm (2½in) long with a diameter of 3.5cm (1½in). The flesh is medium thick at around 2mm (1/8in) and ripens from light green to deep scarlet red. Prolific and easy to grow, it can also be grown in patio pots.
Red Fresno peppers are similar to jalapeños, they are sometimes labeled "red jalapenos", which they aren't, one difference is that they are less meaty and have thinner skin, but they are of similar size and hotness.
This mild / hot chili, with a heat rating of 5,000 Scoville has a great flavour; it is an exceptional chilli for pickling and salad making. For a great Mexican salsa - light year’s away from the mass produced stuff in the supermarket’s, it is definitely worth a try!
Chili Pepper 'Fresno' has been awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
Storage of Seeds:
Store seeds away from children, sealed in their packaging in a cool, dry, dark place, or in a fridge. Never store them in a freezer as the sudden temperature drop is likely to kill them. Don't leave the seeds in direct sunlight as the heat generated may kill them.
Sowing: Sow from mid February to mid July
Fill small cells or trays with a good sterile seed compost and sow the seeds on the surface. “Just cover” with a fine sprinkling (3mm) of soil or vermiculite.
Keep the compost moist - don't let the top of the compost dry out (a common cause of germination failure) If you wish, spray the surface with a dilute copper-based fungicide.
Cover the pot or tray with plastic film or place in a heated propagator, south facing window or a warm greenhouse. The ideal temperature is around 18 to 20°C (65 to 72°F)
When the seedlings have produced their first pair of true leaves they can be potted on into individual 7-10cm (3-4in) pots. Use good quality potting compost and mix in some organic slow release fertiliser. Pot the chilli on again before it becomes root-bound.
Water the seedlings regularly, but don't let them become waterlogged as this encourages rot. Don't let them dry out as they rarely recover at this stage. Water the soil, not the foliage. Once the plants have established, it is better to water heavy and infrequently, allow the top inch or so to dry out in between watering.
Seedlings should be grown in good light, but should not be exposed to direct sunlight from late spring to early autumn. Weaker sunlight from autumn to spring is unlikely to do them harm. Once seedlings have put on some growth they need lots of light. Growing them under a grow-light produces excellent stocky plants, as will a warm sunny windowsill. Adult chilli plants need lots of light. However, more than 4 hours or so in hot direct sunlight will dry them out quickly.
Acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 2 to 3 weeks before they are moved permanently outside. Plant them into rich moist soil. Flower do not form and fruit will not set if the temperature is much below 17°C (62°F) for most of the day, so wait until June/July for best results with outdoor planting.
After the first flowers appear, feed every one or two weeks with a half-strength liquid tomato feed. You could also add some Seaweed extract to the water once a week.
Pollinating Flowers: (optional)
Chilli plants are self fertile and will generally pollinate themselves. However, if you want to give them a helping hand to ensure that lots of fruit are set indoors, use a cotton wool bud to gently sweep the inside of the flowers, spreading the pollen as you go. The flower's petals will drop off as the green middle part of the flower starts to swell slightly. This is the chilli pepper beginning to grow.
Chillies will take a few weeks to develop and a further couple weeks to turn from green to red. You may pick them off the plant any time after they are fully developed but the longer you leave them on the hotter they will become. Do not leave them on for too long, as delaying after the chili is ready for harvest will result in a decline of further yields.
After picking, if you aren't going to eat them fresh, dry the peppers by putting them into a mesh bag, hang the bag up in a dry, airy, but not sunny spot. When they are completely dry, you can make paprika by grinding the peppers. Don't grind the stalks. You can regulate the spiciness of the result by including more or less of the seeds and veins.
Be careful handling chilli seeds as they can cause a painful burning sensation: wash your hands thoroughly .
DO NOT rub your eyes after handling chilli seeds!!!
Pronounced: frez noh.
Chilli terminology is confusing; pepper, chili, chile, chilli, Aji, paprika and Capsicum are used interchangeably for chilli pepper plants in the genus Capsicum.
The word Capsicum comes from the Greek kapto, meaning "to bite" (a reference to pungency or heat). In Mexico a Capsicum is called a Chile pepper - Chile enthusiasts around the World often use the spelling Chile.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 20 Seeds Common Name Mild to Hot - 5,000 SHU. Other Common Names Peppers, Capsicum, Chilli, Chile or Chilli Family Solanaceae Genus Capsicum Species annuum Cultivar Fresno Hardiness Tender Perennial Fruit Conical shaped fruits are 6cm long with a diameter of 3.5cm. Height A short, upright growing plant 60 to 75cm (24 to 30in) tall Position Grow in good light, but should not be exposed to direct sunlight Soil Rich moist soil. Time to Sow Sow from mid February to mid June Harvest Pick them off the plant any time after they are fully developed Time to Harvest Matures approx 89 days after transplanting.