NuMex Twilight: Colorful Hybrid Hot Pepper With A Kick

numex twilight pepper plant
The NuMex twilight (Capsicum annuum cultivar) is an edible hybrid of Thai ornamental peppers with 30,000-50,000 SHUs. Since it has a flat but spicy flavor, it’s usually grown as an outdoor or indoor decorative plant.

What Are NuMex Twilight Peppers?

The NuMex twilight pepper is a Thai ornamental pepper hybrid the Chile Pepper Institute created at the New Mexico State University.

NuMex stands for New Mexico State University, as many chili pepper varieties were developed there (for example, NuMex sunrise and NuMex sunset peppers).

This pepper variant is called twilight due to the way it matures. The chilies have rainbow colors as they ripen. Unripe peppers are purple and then transition from yellow to orange and red.

A NuMex twilight pepper plant is about 18 inches (45 cm) tall and produces many small, conical, colorful fruits that grow upright in clusters. They’re usually around 0.75 inches (1.9 cm) long and 0.5 inches (1.2 cm) wide, similar in size to pequin peppers. The flavor profile of these chilies is salty and hot with a bitter undertone.

Are NuMex Twilight Peppers Edible?

NuMex twilights are edible but don’t have an appealing flavor.

Like other ornamental peppers, they’re characterized by a salty, spicy, and bitter taste, and their primary purpose is to be a garden decoration.

How Hot Are NuMex Twilight Peppers?

The NuMex twilight pepper ranges from 30,000 to 50,000 SHUs (Scoville heat units). Hot peppers in this range grown for their culinary use include tabasco peppers and cayenne peppers.

NuMex twilights can be up to 25 times hotter than the average jalapeno pepper.

What Are Some Uses For Twilight NuMex Peppers?

NuMex twilight pepper plants are known for eye-catching, colorful, cone-shaped fruits. Moreover, they have green leaves and white flowers, so they’re a great addition to a vegetable or porch garden. They’re also excellent indoor plants. This is a pepper for you if you want a rainbow in a pot.

If you do want to eat your NuMex twilight peppers, know that they will add a medium heat level and flat, bitter and peppery taste. You can balance the lack of flavor by adding ingredients that add sweet, savory, or sour notes. You can also use a combination of other peppers that provide a more complex flavor profile.

numex twilight pepper
While not very tasty, NuMex twilight peppers put on a beautiful show in the garden.

Where To Buy NuMex Twilight Peppers

Since NuMex twilights are primarily grown for looks, you won’t find dried peppers, bottled sauces, and similar products in your local supermarket.

However, you can purchase NuMex twilight seeds from online vegetable seed shops selling various non-GMO heirloom herb seeds and hot pepper seeds.

Substitutes For NuMex Twilights

Cayenne peppers and tabasco peppers are suitable replacements for NuMex twilights. They both have similar heat levels to NuMex twilight peppers but with a considerably tastier flavor profile.

Cayennes are fiery and mildly fruity, while tabascos are sweeter and fruitier. Bottled tabasco sauces range from mild and sweet to tangy and fiery hot, so there’s something for everyone.

How Do You Grow NuMex Twilight Peppers?

Growing NuMex twilights at home is relatively easy. Each plant is highly prolific when grown under the right conditions, making them a beautiful addition to your garden.

NuMex twilight pepper seeds have a high germination rate of up to 95%. They germinate from 7-21 days and completely mature in up to 120 days.

Plant seeds 0.25 to 0.5 inches (0.63 to 1.27 cm) deep 8-10 weeks before the last frost and keep them inside to begin germination. You can use small pots, styrofoam cups, or egg cartons. The soil should be moist but well-drained. The ideal temperature is 75 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (23.8 to 32.2 degrees Celsius).

Seedlings are ready for transferring outside once they have a couple of sets of true leaves. Transplant them during early spring. Plant spacing should be 18 to 24 inches (45.72 to 61 cm).

NuMex twilight plants require full sun exposure. However, if you have extremely hot days in the summer, the plants will need partial shade in the afternoon to avoid sunburning.


Alexandra is a passionate foodie who loves to cook and try out various spicy foods. Experimenting with chilies is her new way of pushing the limits in the kitchen. Here at PepperDodo, she shares her recipes and cooking tips.

Recent Posts