How to Grow Jigsaw Peppers

The Jigsaw pepper is one of the prettiest hot pepper plants, with multi-colored leaves tinted purple and silver. This superhot variety produces lots of tiny peppers that pack a punch and is easy to grow!



Jigsaw Pepper

The Jigsaw pepper is one of the prettiest hot pepper plants!

It has multicolored leaves in a variegated pattern of cream, pale green, deep violet and forest green. The plants are short and stocky, but produce tons of small peppers with a similar heat level to jalapeños.

Because they’re so pretty, Jigsaw pepper plants work great as an ornamental plant in small pots and containers. Grow them indoors, on a patio or as a decorative border plant! 

Here’s everything you need to know about growing jigsaw hot peppers.



How to Grow Jigsaw Peppers

Jigsaw peppers are a very easy hot pepper to grow.

Start them indoors at least 8 to 12 weeks before the last frost date. Peppers can sometimes be tricky to germinate, as they want warm conditions, but I had no trouble starting these directly from seed.

If your place is cold, use grow lights and a heat mat to warm the soil and speed up germination. Seeds germinate relatively quickly (for peppers), around 10 – 14 days.

Jigsaw peppers are such a fun pepper to grow because they’re both ornamental and edible.

The heat level varies, but I found the tiny peppers to have a smokey sweet heat that ranged from jalapeño level in the immature purple stage to habanero level at their mature fiery red stage.

Buy seeds: Amazon, Etsy



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Jigsaw Pepper Grow Guide

Botanical Name Capsicum Chinense
Common Name Jigsaw pepper
Heat Level 1,500,000–2,200,000 SHUs
Mature Size 3 to 4 feet tall
Days to Harvest 90 days from seed
Light Full sun
Soil Type Rich, well draining soil
Soil pH Neutral (6.5 – 7.0)
Hardiness Zones USA Zones 9-11
Native Area Unknown, likely Central + South America
Pests Aphids, flea beetles, cutworms
Diseases Bacterial spot, phytopthora


After the danger of frost has passed, it’s time to transplant.

Set transplants 18-24″ apart, in rows 24-36″ apart. Make sure the plants receive enough water, and top up regularly with extra fertilizer to encourage continuous fruit production.





Jigsaw peppers start out dark green, then turn deep purple and finally a bright red.

You can harvest the tiny peppers at any time, but just make sure they don’t become overly mature. The more you harvest, the more fruit the plant will produce. 

Once the pepper plants have started fruiting, it looks really striking!

The silvery tri-colored leaves and colorful peppers are so distinctive. These are one of my favorite peppers to grow, because the plant is so pretty to look at and easy to identify.



Growing Jigsaw Peppers Hydroponically


I’ve grow Jigsaw peppers indoors many times now.

I planted a couple in both my Aerogarden Bounty and Aerogarden Farm. The peppers do well in both, but with the extra room in the Farm 12xl, they spread out and can get quite massive!

At full size, the plants reach about 2.5 feet tall, which make them great for growing indoors hydroponically or on a small patio.



Hot peppers can be somewhat finicky to grow. But out of all the hot peppers I’ve tried, the Jigsaw variety is one of the easiest to grow indoors!

I started it directly in the Aerogarden, in winter. One of the great things about growing hydroponically is you can grow all year round. No need to plant by a certain date or worry about killing your plants by starting them too early.

I use this Grow Anything kit so I can use my own seeds in the Aerogarden.

Each year I’ve grown Jigsaws, I’ve had a very high germination rate (which isn’t always the case with peppers!). If you’re having trouble getting pepper seeds to germinate, you can also try the paper towel method.



Paper Towel Method for Germinating Peppers

  1. Moisten a small paper towel with warm water
  2. Place a couple seeds in a row on the damp paper towel.
  3. Fold up the paper towel so the seeds are nicely tucked in, then place it inside a plastic bag.
  4. Place the plastic bag in a cool dark place (like a kitchen cupboard) and check on it every couple days or so until the seeds sprout. 
  5. Then, move the tiny seedling into an Aerogarden pod and sponge.





This year, I started my hot pepper plants extra early, in November. The Jigsaw was one of the fastest to grow and I had hot peppers in February, which would never happen if I grew them outdoors! 

The Jigsaw produces really pretty purple flowers.


Pollinating Peppers

Pollinating hot peppers can be tricky. Last year, I had a really hard time getting the flowers to pollinate and form peppers but this year, I had no trouble at all. Instead, I had problems getting the seeds to germinate (go figure).

To pollinate, you can try simply shaking the plant gently. But if you’re having trouble and the flowers keep dropping, you can try hand pollinating with a vibrating tool like this one.





Nutrition + Maintenance

I do find that pepper plants require steady watering and nutrition.

If I go out of town for a couple days, or forget to top up nutrition regularly, the leaves will immediately drop. So to help combat that, I use a separate water tank to make sure the gardens always have lots of water.

And I recently started adding extra bloom nutrition, to help the plant create even more flowers (and therefore, peppers).



Best Indoor Gardening Products to Grow Jigsaw Peppers

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How Hot is a Jigsaw Pepper?

When I bought the Jigsaw pepper, the seed packet mentioned they have a similar heat level to jalapeños.

But, I think the actual heat level depends on when you pick the peppers and their growing conditions!

Personally, I didn’t think they were very hot.

But after giving them out to friends and family, I got a whole bunch of different opinions. Some felt they were way spicier than cayenne and habanero peppers and others thought they didn’t pack enough heat.

I’ve also seen conflicting information online. Some claim mature Jigsaw peppers have a Scoville heat rating of 1.5 to 2.2 million (ghost peppers are around 1 million SHU). 

If you love spicy food, I think you should give these a try!

To me, they’re similar to Thai bird’s eye chilis – small, fiery and prolific.



How Big Does a Jigsaw Pepper Get?



Jigsaw peppers are compact and bushy. The plant reaches about 2 feet tall, so it’s a great pepper variety to grow indoors or in a small balcony or patio.

The plants also take very easily to pruning, so you could grow them in small hydroponic systems like the Aerogarden Bounty

Once the Jigsaw starts fruiting, it produces tons of peppers!

Not only does the plant take up very little space, it produces lots of small 1/2″ peppers all over, so you get a lot of yield.



Where did the jigsaw pepper come from? 

It’s unclear exactly where the Jigsaw pepper originated, but like most hot pepper plants it likely came from South America and Central America.


How long does it take for a jigsaw pepper to grow?

Jigsaw peppers are fast growing pepper plants. The seeds take 10 to 14 days to germinate, and grow quickly. You can expect peppers to appear ~80 days if growing outside.

I grew these indoors in winter in my Aerogarden.

Since I grew them in hydroponic gardens, they did really well! I started getting dark green pepper fruit about 30 to 45 days in, which then took about another month to turn purple and red.



How to Use Jigsaw Peppers


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Jigsaw peppers are more of an ornamental plant (grown for their looks, not taste) but the peppers are edible and add a nice kick!

The tiny peppers only grow about 1/2 inch large. Despite the small size, you get tons of yield!

I find the Jigsaw adds a nice bit of heat, but not much flavor. Last year I mainly used the whole peppers fresh, but this year I’m planning to dry them and try creating both a spice seasoning blend and a hot sauce.

Jigsaw peppers are quite small, compared to other hot pepper varieties. The fruit is only 1/4 to 1 inch tall, so think bite sized!

They add a nice kick if you want to use them in a stir fry or salsa. 

Add a tiny dash to soups, sauces or whatever you want to create a slow build of heat. Or, you could dry them to create a spice blend.



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