Shishito peppers are a unique, thin skinned pepper known for their wrinkly skin and mild taste. If you don’t love super hot peppers, try growing shishitos! They have a savory, mild flavor and are extremely easy to grow indoors or in hydroponic systems.
If you’ve ever had shishito peppers as an appetizer in a Japanese restaurant, then you know how tasty these little green peppers are!
Shishito pepper plants are very easy to grow so it’s worth planting some to create your own harvest! These thin skinned peppers have a savory, non-spicy flavor and are the perfect pepper to grow for those who can’t tolerate spice.
The pepper plants produce early, at just 30-45 days in, and are heavy producers, creating tons of slender peppers on compact 1-2′ foot tall plants.
Here’s everything you need to know about growing shishito peppers!
Growing Shishito Peppers
Shishito peppers originated in Japan and are called togarashi (唐辛子) peppers.
They’re so named because the tip of the chili pepper looks like the head of a lion (獅子, or shishi) in Japanese.
They’re a popular variety in Japan because their 3 inch long wrinkly fruit is mildly flavored, with a hint of sweet and savory. Shishito peppers have a thin skin that make them great for grilling, frying and tempura deep frying.
Unlike other pepper varieties, shishito peppers are typically harvested and eaten in their immature green stage.
They’re a very mild pepper without much heat, but 1 in every 10 or so shishito peppers will occasionally be hot.
Shishito Pepper Grow Guide
|Botanical Name||Capsicum annuum|
|Common Name||Shishitōgarashi, shishito peppers|
|Scoville Heat Units||200 SHU|
|Mature Size||18-24 inches tall|
|Days to Harvest||45 days from seed|
|Soil Type||Rich, well draining soil|
|Soil pH||Neutral (6.0 – 6.8)|
|Hardiness Zones||USA Zones 8-11|
|Diseases||Blossom end rot|
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Growing Shishito Peppers Indoors
Shishito pepper plants are easy to grow indoors!
I grew several in small hydroponic gardens and they took off. The seeds were a little tricky to germinate, so I recommend a heat mat and grow lights if you also have trouble getting the seeds to start.
Peppers prefer warm temperatures (75 to 85 °F)
Shishito seeds should take roughly 7 to 10 days to sprout.
Since I grew them from start to finish indoors, I didn’t have to worry about frost dates.
But if you plan to grow outside, make sure to start seeds 8-12 weeks before the last frost date, so the peppers are mature enough to survive the transplant outdoors.
Shishitos thrive in full sun and have a long growing season, but will want some shade in peak afternoon sun.
How Easy Are Shishito Peppers to Grow
Out of all my pepper plants, shishitos were some of the easiest to grow! I started seeing white flowers and little peppers about 45 days in – months ahead of any other pepper plant.
And, pollination was extremely easy compared to my other pepper plants.
I barely did anything to pollinate – the shishito plants grew peppers practically on their own.
If you find your pepper plants are having trouble maintaining their flowers and forming fruit, you can try to hand pollinate using a vibrating tool like this one and also adding extra bloom nutrition.
I gave all my shishito plants a very mild prune.
These are compact, bushy pepper plants that grow just 12 to 18 inches tall, so they thrive in indoor hydroponic environments. You could also easily grow them in containers and pots on a small patio or apartment balcony.
I found that they thrived in my Aerogarden bounty! I got tons of peppers off of each plant, all along the length of the stem.
Shishitos are also very productive! The shishito peppers were rich, savory and not hot at all.
Harvest these peppers when they’re still green for the best taste. The stems are quite strong, so I found it best to use kitchen scissors or garden shears to cut the peppers.
Otherwise, if you tug too hard at a pepper you can break off an entire branch. The more frequently you pick peppers, the more the plants will produce.
You can also try them when they’ve matured and turned red, for a more umami like flavor.
These are a pepper plant that I plan to grow every year, based off of how easy they were to grow and how great the peppers taste!
Best Indoor Gardening Products to Grow Shishito Peppers
How Long Does It Take to Grow Shishito Peppers
Shishito peppers are one of the fastest maturing varieties of peppers.
I started to see white flowers bloom in just 30 days and had early shishitos in 45 days!
I was honestly amazed at how quickly shishito pepper plants grow. I had more peppers on these tiny plants than I had on some of my other pepper plants that I had started months earlier!
Are Shishito Peppers Hot?
Shishito peppers are very mild. On average, they’re only about 50 to 200 Scoville heat units (so about 160 less spicy than a jalapeño).
But, about 1 out of every 10 shishito peppers will be spicy!
When growing them indoors, I found that almost all of mine were more savory than spicy. The heat level of a pepper plant can vary depending on its growing conditions (sun exposure, environmental stress, watering frequency, etc).
In general, shishitos are a great pepper plant for those who don’t like heat!
What is special about shishito peppers?
Shishito peppers are a thin skinned pepper with a unique, wrinkly flesh.
Unlike most peppers, they’re harvested in their immature stage when the peppers are still green!
And they’re prized for their savory, mild flavor. Shishitos aren’t a traditionally hot pepper – in fact, only 1 in 10 is spicy!
Can you eat shishito peppers raw?
Yes, you can eat shishito peppers raw in a salad.
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What is the best way to eat shishito peppers?
Poke a hole in the pepper. This helps prevent the shishito from bursting when cooked.
Then place them on a grill. The thin skin of shishitos helps them to easily blister and char. Toss them in olive oil and salt and serve on a plate with a drizzle of lemon juice. Eat each shishito pepper whole and discard the stems.
You can also stew them in soy sauce or dashi, broil them over a grill or deep fry them in tempura batter.
Shishito Pepper Recipes
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