A short-lived evergreen perennial in the tropics, though the plants are grown as annuals in temperate zones.
Sweet pepper plants are good companions for basil and okra. They should not be grown near apricot trees, however, because a fungus that the pepper is prone to can cause a lot of harm to the apricot tree.
Requires a very warm sunny position and a fertile well-drained soil. Prefers a light sandy soil that is slightly acid.
Fruit - raw or cooked. Some varieties are very hot (the chilli and cayenne peppers) and are normally used as a pungent flavouring whilst milder varieties (the sweet peppers) have a very pleasant flavour with a slight sweetness and are often eaten raw in salads etc. The dried fruits of chilli and cayenne peppers is ground into a powder and used as a pungent flavouring called paprika. The powder from the dried ground fruit of some cultivars is added to food as a colouring. The fruits range widely in size and shape, from a few centimetres long to more than 30cm.
Young leaves are said to be edible but some caution is advised. They are steamed as a potherb or added to soups and stews. The leaves contain about 4 - 6% protein.
Seed - dried, ground into a powder and used as a pepper.
Flowers - raw or cooked.