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Havana Scotch Bonnet Peppers

Learn about the misconceptions around the Havana pepper and how to best grow them if you’re brave enough to take the heat.

| August 2019

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Are the different names for this species confusing? Does the chili come from China or from Cuba? Neither! The scientific name is a mistake made by a Dutch physician at the end of the 18th century, who believed the chili originated in China, and named it accordingly. Instead, like all chilis, the species comes from South America and is very popular in the Caribbean Islands. It got its Swedish name from the Cuban capital, but also after the species’ most well known variety, the habanero.

C. chinense is homogenous in its growth pattern. The plants grow quite low and compact—they’re often around 12/3'–2' (50 cm–60 cm.) tall and they’re sometimes wider than they are tall. They have beautiful dark green foliage, and the leaves are slightly dented. One of their recognizable features that is common to almost all varieties is that the leaves grow in pairs with the leaves opposite each other, and the next pair of leaves grows at 90 degrees from the pair below. The plants flower abundantly, and it is not uncommon that they drop flowers due to non-pollination. Doesn’t seem to matter, since a lot of fruit is still produced. These plants love heat and high humidity!

This species has many varieties, and most of them are very hot—they are often around 8–9 on the SHU, even though there are a few very mild varieties, such as Bellaforma and Habanero Apricot, for example. Apart from the heat, the varieties in C. chinense often have a fruity flavor that makes them very appreciated and useful in cooking, especially in different types of sauces. 



Habanero Peach is one of the many habaneros. The plant has the typical growth pattern, with rather sturdy growth and slightly dented leaves.

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