How to Extract Seeds from Ornamental Peppers

So what can you do while it’s under 20 degrees outside and you are stuck inside but still want to do something garden related? Extract seeds from ornamental peppers! That probably wasn’t the first thing on your mind but it works for me! Extracting the seeds from these ‘Black Pearl’ ornamental peppers was one of those small items on my to-do list that I kept intending to do but just never got around to do it. (I moved my Black Pearl pepper plant indoors in a pot to overwinter for next year so I wasn’t in a big hurry*.)

The other day I was looking in a catalog and saw the seeds for Black Pearl going for around $5 per pack. It didn’t tell me how many seeds were in each pack but in other catalogs I’ve seen the seeds with at most 10 in each package. The seeds should come true but since I haven’t raised it from seed before I can’t claim to have verified that with my own eyes.

Extracting the seeds is easy but take caution because these peppers can be hot! In the past I’ve burned the skin on my fingers while trying to chop fresh cayenne peppers – I had no wish to replicate that experience! To extract the seeds I used a paring knife and a fork. I held the ripe red pepper** down with the fork and cut each pepper in half. Then I used the tip of the paring knife to scrape out the pepper seeds onto a plate. Easy and fast! the inside of each little cherry sized pepper is almost all seed.

Then I let them dry overnight. You can see how saving a few seeds can really aid your gardening budget. I didn’t count the seeds but there could be from 75-100 that came from 7 Black Pearl peppers. Now if you divide that up into the package above then pay what the catalogs ask you come up with a $35-$50 price tag! (10 seeds per pack at $5 a pack) Saving seed is well worth the time to keep your favorite plants from year to year.

Did you save seed this fall?

* Peppers are perennials but are not cold hardy and may be overwintered indoors in pots like houseplants.
**Black Pearl Ornamental Peppers turn from an extremely dark purple to a red color when ripe.

11 thoughts on “How to Extract Seeds from Ornamental Peppers”

  1. Dear Dave
    You have a great method here and it looks like you are going to have plenty of seeds to plant that very pretty pepper plant .. I might just buy one for the deck next year because they are so gorgeous : )

  2. several years ago my father gave me some peppers from his garden, i dried them and then i opened them to get the seeds. they kept very well, i've made three plantings from seeds i got from the dried pods and i only kept them in a little plastic container on the counter, never in the fridge like my others.

  3. Yes sir you know I save seeds.. It does add up doesn't it? I left my containers of habanero and rooster spur peppers outside for 3 years now and they have returned…I was a little nervous this year so I gathered some peppers to extract seeds from…and boy oh boy does the hottness hang on your fingers…

  4. Yes, I have saved some seeds for next yr. Good thing as I've lost some plants from this awful cold.
    I have an ornamental pepper that is pointed at the end {sorry I don't know it's name}. It has come back for 3 yrs. now. I did have the a small round type but unfortunately I lost it. I would like to replace it as they are so pretty.

  5. Joy,

    They are great! I love the dark foliage. they might look great among some silver foliage plants…hmmm.


    Peppers do seem to be rather easy to keep! It's great you could keep those peppers going!


    Yep I'm thrifty! Or I try to be!


    Hot Hot Hot! That burning sensation is not a pleasant one. No wonder pepper spray is so effective!


    It can easily get away from you!


    They are edible but I've been told are very hot – I've not tried it yet as I'm too chicken!


    They are very neat! You're climate in Florida is probably great for returning peppers. We can only have them as annuals here.

  6. Those look so hot my eyes are stinging! I love saving seed, but didn't bother with my chillies. They weren't worth it. So now I have to hunt out some varieties that will not just look pretty, but taste good too. Then I will save seed. And wash my hands thoroughly afterwards! Nothing worse than forgetting and then rubbing your eye…

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