Today we are going to talk about only one type of vegetable that is widely consumed throughout the world and has a large number of varieties. We are talking about piquillo peppers. It is a hollow fruit that comes from a herbaceous plant that is known by the name of pepper. It belongs to the Solanaceae family and to the Capsicum genus. The plant is a producer of toxic alkaloids such as belladonna, mandrake and henbane. Few plants in the Solanaceae family are edible, which is why peppers are quite famous.
In this article we are going to tell you all the characteristics, cultivation and properties of piquillo peppers and the differences with common peppers.
It is a type of pepper that is native to Mexico, Bolivia and Peru. It is one of the most popular vegetable crops for both outdoor and greenhouse crop production. Not only can it be consumed in different ways, but there are multiple varieties that allow us to find different tastes and flavors to satisfy culinary pleasures. The piquillo peppers are characteristic red in color and have a conical shape. They are smaller in size than common peppers and have a triangular shape. It measures approximately 7 centimeters in length and its skin is tough.
They are usually prepared in the oven, roasted, peeled and preserved. The plant from which the piquillo peppers come out is a perennial herbaceous plant whose cycle is annual cultivation. It has a bearing of approximately 0.5 meters in length if grown outdoors. On the other hand, if we sow this plant in greenhouses we see that it can reach a size of more than 2 meters. This plant stands out for having a very slow foliar growth.
As for its root system, it is quite deep and has numerous adventitious roots. Each root can reach a length of 50 centimeters to 1 meter in length with the horizontal. From the main stem is where several branches start and has unlimited growth. Each branch produces only two leaves and ends in a flower that is divided into two second-order branches. From there, it branches out dichotomously until the cycle ends. The blade can be easily distinguished since the beam is smooth and soft to the touch. It has an intense and bright green color.
Finally, its flowers are hermaphroditic and have 5 stamens and a pistil. The flowers appear solitary at the nodes of the stem and have an insert in the axils of the leaves.
Piquillo peppers cultivation
We are going to learn what are the climatic and soil requirements that piquillo peppers need. In order to learn how to plant piquillo peppers, we need to know the climatic factors and the type of soil that we must have so that they can grow in good conditions. The cultivation requires high temperatures, so the area where they are grown must be in a warm or temperate climate. We can sow the summer to take advantage of the high temperatures. It can also be produced in the fall and winter time, but you will need to do it in a greenhouse.
Optimum development temperatures for piquillo peppers are between 15-32 degrees. You must be careful if the area where you live has high temperature variations between day and night. And it is that these sudden temperature jumps come to cause vegetative imbalances in the growth of the plant. If the production of piquillo peppers is in an area prone to frost or there are large differences in temperature between day and night, the cultivation is likely to be difficult.
Regarding humidity, the optimum is between 50-70%. One is higher humidity favors the development of aerial diseases and makes reproduction difficult. We will see these diseases later. The piquillo pepper is demanding in terms of luminosity, especially in the first stages of development and during the flowering season. The soil that this plant requires is a type of deer soil and deep. As we have mentioned before, its roots are quite long, so it needs deep soil. In addition, soil drainage is essential to avoid flooding.
The humidity level should not be too high and the soil should always be well drained. The organic matter content should be around 3-4% in clay-loam soils. Optimal pH values range from 6.5-7, therefore, they are relatively acidic soils, tending to neutral.
Pests and diseases of piquillo peppers
We mentioned earlier that if the humidity is too high, you are more prone to pests and diseases. The pepper crop can be affected by different pests and diseases. The most important are the following:
- Aphids: aphids tend to have a greater presence if the piquillo peppers are grown under a greenhouse. They usually form colonies and are distributed in few.
- White spider: It is the most specific pest that attack peppers. The first symptoms to see if our crops are being attacked by the white spider is a curling of the nerves in the most apical leaves and in the shoots. It is also usually distributed by fungi inside greenhouses.
- White fly: the whitefly attack mainly the younger parts of the plant. They usually lay eggs on the underside of the leaves. The direct symptoms are yellowing and weakening of the leaves.
- Thrips: adult individuals colonize plant tissues in leaves, fruits and flowers preferentially. It is in these areas where you will find the hatched larvae and the largest population of adults. To know if our piquillo peppers are being attacked by thrips, it is best to observe the silvery appearance that the affected organs give, which subsequently become necrotic.
I hope that with this information you can learn more about piquillo peppers, their cultivation and their characteristics.