Count Dracula Pepper: Dramatic Ornamental Hot Pepper Plant

count dracula pepper flower
Count Dracula hot peppers double as ornamental peppers and are cultivated for their heat and beauty. Like other ornamental peppers, they perform dismally in terms of flavor, although they are edible.

What Is A Count Dracula Pepper?

A Count Dracula pepper is a rare Capsicum annuum hot pepper grown for its dramatic beauty and heat rather than flavor. 

The stunning beauty of the peppers stems from the combination of purple, black, and red colors that are typically present on one plant simultaneously.

Count Dracula peppers have striking black stems, leaves, and pods, and purple flowers.

The black sometimes appears dark purple, which is why you’ll find the plant described as having dark purple to black stems, leaves, and flowers.

The peppers also have a touch of green since the black stems and leaves have green undertones. The undersides of the leaves are typically greenish.

The same dramatic beauty of Count Dracula is seen in other ornamental peppers like black pearl peppers, which have deep purple to black leaves and glossy black berry-shaped fruits.

Their other ornamental counterparts, black cobra peppers, have fruit that dramatically ripen from green to black to red at full maturity.

ornamental peppers count dracula
Ornamental pepper garden.


The peppers of the Count Dracula plant go from jet black when unripe, to green, to blood-red at full maturity.

Size And Shape

Count Dracula peppers resemble purple jalapenos in shape and size. They are conical peppers with a tapering profile that ends in a blunt tip on the non-stem end. The pods are about two inches long on average.


Despite their dark color, Count Dracula chile peppers have glossy skin. The shiny skin contributes to the showiness of the peppers, making them more conspicuous against the other dark colors of the flowers, leaves, and stems.

What Do Count Dracula Peppers Taste Like?

Count Dracula chili peppers have a spicy, peppery flavor with no other discernable tastes. 

They are beautiful plants in your garden, but their flavor is nothing to write home about.

Can You Eat Count Dracula Peppers?

Yes! Count Dracula peppers are edible.

For most people, the fear of eating these peppers stems from their unusual colors. We are used to green-stemmed pepper plants with green leaves and peppers that ripen to red, yellow, or orange from green. Count Draculas mature dramatically from dark black or jet black to blood red.

How Hot Are Count Dracula Peppers?

With an expansive heat range of 5,000-30,000 Scoville Heat Units on the Scoville Scale, Count Dracula peppers are mild to medium-hot peppers. 

For reference, the purple jalapeno peppers they resemble in shape and size have a Scoville rating of 2,500-8,000 SHUs. The least hot Count Dracula pepper is twice as hot as the least spicy jalapeno.

White-flowered black cobra peppers score 20,000-40,000 SHUs, meaning they are much hotter than Count Dracula peppers.

Generally, Count Dracula peppers fall in the same heat range as cayenne peppers (30,000-50,000 SHUs), manzano peppers (12,000-30,000 SHUs), and arbol chiles (15,000-30,000 SHUs).

Ghost peppers, Apollo peppers (2,500,000-3,000,000 SHUs), Trinidad Moruga scorpion peppers, and Carolina reapers (1,400,000 SHUs) are super hot peppers compared to Count Dracula chili peppers.

How To Use Count Dracula Peppers In Cooking

To add spiciness and peppery flavor, you can use fresh Count Dracula peppers in salads and salsa.

When added to sauces, salsas, or salads, Count Dracula peppers contribute heat rather than flavor. You’ll have to combine them with other super-hot or medium-heat peppers like habaneros and cayennes to enhance the flavor profile.

If you like your peppers pickled, pickle your fresh Count Dracula peppers in vinegar to add tanginess to their spicy flavor. The pickled peppers make a good snack or side for barbecues.

Red Count Dracula chili peppers can be dried and ground to produce a deep red chili powder ideal for enhancing the heat level of cooked dishes like stews and soups.

Where To Buy Count Dracula Peppers

You’ll hardly find fresh Count Dracula peppers, their hot sauce, or deep red powder in the United States. Your best bet will be growing your own peppers and making hot sauce or ground chili powder at home.

Can You Grow Count Dracula Peppers?

Even though they aren’t as popular as other hot peppers, many pepper enthusiasts have had success growing them in their home gardens for subsistence. 

You can grow the peppers from Count Dracula hot pepper seeds bought online from Amazon and other trustworthy heirloom and specialty seeds retailers. The seeds are rarely available in local landscaping and gardening centers.

Germination takes 14-28 days, depending on the variety of the Count Dracula seeds you buy.

You’ll need to sow the seeds indoors before the last frost and transplant them outdoors in the spring planting season into containers or the garden when they form two pairs of leaves.

The open-pollinated pepper plants require full sun and a garden spacing of 18-24 inches to reduce competition. You can reduce the spacing if you plan to use the plants as ornaments rather than pepper producers.

Count Dracula peppers are slow to mature. It takes 110 days after planting for the black peppers to ripen to their blood-red color.


Peppers have become the meeting point for three of Alex's greatest passions—gardening, cooking and writing. He is happiest watching small plants grow big and heavy with produce, and he can't wait to harvest self-grown fresh produce for his kitchen. When he is not taking care of his pepper plants, you'll find him busy cooking and sampling different peppers as he seeks the next hotter pepper.

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