Common name: ‘Black Pearl’ ornamental pepper
Botanical name: Capsicum annuum ‘Black Pearl’
Virtues: Black foliage makes a good backdrop for other annuals with brightly colored flowers or leaves. Round, shiny red fruits persist for many weeks.
Foliage: Young leaves are greenish; they quickly mature to all black.
Flowers/Fruit: Small purple flowers appear in summer and give way to shiny black fruits that mature to cherry red. Fruits are held in clusters of 6 to 8.
Habit: Herbaceous annual to 18 inches tall and 12 inches wide. May reach twice that height in warmest regions.
Season: Summer. Fruit display lasts 2 to 4 months.
Origin: Introduced by the United States National Arboretum in 2006. ‘Black Pearl’ was developed by Dr. John Stommel of the USDA Vegetable Laboratory and Dr. Robert J. Griesbach of the USNA. They crossed purple-leaved and green-leaved ornamental peppers and selected for vigorous plants with dark leaves, good growth habit and clusters of upright, round fruits.
Cultivation: Grow in full sun, in well-drained soil. Tolerates high heat and humidity and a wide range of soil pH. Annual appropriate for USDA Zones 4–10.
Image courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder