Peppers – Growing Hybrids

Q: Last fall I picked a couple of long ‘Key Largo’ peppers. My grandson and I did an experiment. We removed some pepper seeds and planted them in peat pellets. We also planted some tomato seeds. All ten of the tomato pellets have produced seedlings but nary a one of the pepper pellets has sprouted. What have we done wrong?

A: My suspicion is that the pepper wasn’t mature when you picked it. ‘Key Largo’ turns red when it is ripe; seeds are most viable when the pepper is almost rotten when you harvest it. Remember too that ‘Key Largo’ is an F1 hybrid plant. This means that the seed from which your initial pepper grew came from highly specialized parents. Even if you got viable seeds from an F1 hybrid fruit, the resulting plants might not resemble the parent and grandparents of the plant.