Tangerine Dream Pepper: Sweet Edible Landscaping Chili

tangerine dream
The tangerine dream pepper is a sweet ornamental pepper with a Scoville index of 0 to 100. It was first released in 2004, following a cross between Tennessee Cheese and the sweet Cadice bell pepper.

What Are Tangerine Dream Peppers?

Sweet with a hint of heat is the best way to describe tangerine dream peppers. This member of the capsicum annuum was developed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Burpee Seed Company.


Tangerine dream peppers are ornamental peppers, also known as Christmas peppers, native to the United States. They were first released in 2004 after selective breeding of sweet bell pepper (Cadice) and a squash-type pepper (Tennessee Cheese). It took five generations to develop this sweet pepper.


Like the parents, tangerine dream peppers are sweet, non-pungent, and flavorful. They have a hint of heat, but it is not overpowering. The amount of heat is determined by the growing conditions, but generally, the peppers are mild.


These sweet peppers are cone-shaped fruits that are about three inches long. They have shiny skin, green when young but bright orange-red when mature. Under the bright skin are tiny cream seeds and pale orange flesh. The cone shape and the color make them look like shiny red-orange rockets.

Nutritional Value

Tangerine dream peppers are more than just sweet. They are a good source of:

  • Vitamin A, C, K, and B complex
  • Fiber
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • Iron

Are Ornamental Tangerine Peppers Edible?

These shiny red-orange peppers are edible and have a sweet taste that makes them ideal for salads and stir-fries. While many other ornamental chili varieties are hot peppers, some tangerine dreams have zero heat.

How Hot Are Tangerine Dream Peppers?

The heat level of the tangerine dream pepper is 0 to 100 Scoville heat units. This heat range makes these peppers family-friendly and a great addition to your kitchen garden.

These pepper plants are up to 80 times milder than the red jalapenos (2,500-8,000 SHUs) and are nowhere near the heat level of ornamental super chili peppers (40,000-50,000 SHUs).

How To Use Tangerine Peppers

Tangerine peppers can be used for culinary and landscaping purposes. For culinary purposes, you can use them fresh or cooked.

Cooked applications include roasting, grilling, and stir-frying. Stuffing them with cheese and meat is another excellent way to use tangerine peppers in your cooking. You can also use them fresh in salads, sandwiches, and salsas.

Pickling tangerine peppers is another excellent way to preserve them for future use. Pickled peppers are a delicious garnish to sandwiches, burgers, and wraps.

For ornamental purposes, you can grow these plants for their beautiful green foliage and bright orange fruit. They are great for home gardens, container gardens, and even hanging baskets. You can also grow them on your patio or plant them amongst other ornamental peppers for a rainbow in your garden.

Where To Buy Tangerine Dream Peppers

Tangerine peppers are not sold commercially in the United States. You may find them in local farmers’ markets during the growing season, but they are rare produce items.

Your best chance to get your hands on tangerine pepper plants is to grow them yourself. They are easy to grow, and seeds are available online at reputable seed stores such as Burpee and Home Depot.

How To Grow Sweet Tangerine Dream Peppers

Growing tangerine pepper means you’ll have a beautiful addition to your garden, but more importantly, you’ll have sweet fresh peppers that you can use in your favorite recipes.

These peppers are a warm-season crop that grows best in full sun and hot weather. They can tolerate nighttime temperatures in the 60s, but they need warm, sunny days in the 80s and 90s for robust growth.

How to plant tangerine pepper seeds

Start by planting your seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost. Ensure the seeds are buried at least 1/4 inch below the soil surface. With proper care, germination can take place in 10 to 21 days.

Your tangerine pepper plants need full sun and warm, well-drained loamy soil. Once the plants are 6-8” tall, you can transplant them into a larger pot or directly into the garden.

Water regularly, especially during the hot summer months. The plants need plenty of water, but you should avoid getting the soil too wet. Too much water can cause root rot, which will kill your plants.

Fruits will appear in upright clusters with three to four fruits.

What kind of peppers grows best in containers?

Most peppers grow well in containers as long as they have enough room to spread their roots and get enough water and nutrients.

14-inch compact containers are suitable for tangerine peppers, but larger plants may need up to a 24-inch pot. If growing a plant that needs support, you can prevent crop damage by installing support after planting.

Most planting media contains two weeks of nutrients, so you don’t need to fertilize immediately. If you want to use a slow-release fertilizer, wait until two weeks after planting before adding it.

When to pick Tangerine Dream peppers

After 70 days, tangerine peppers should be ready to harvest.

If the peppers are green, they are still immature and need more time to ripen. For the best flavor, wait until the peppers have reached full maturity. Orange-red color is a good indicator that the peppers are ready to harvest.

Timely harvest ensures the plant continues to produce, and you will get the best flavor from your peppers.


Tabitha's passion for gardening didn't begin until she was in her twenties. She was always interested in plants, but it wasn't until she moved to a rural setting that she realized how much fun it could be. Peppers are part of her edible landscape, and she is constantly looking for new and interesting varieties to try. When she is not gardening, she spends her time reading and writing.

Recent Posts