If you love the ghost pepper (Bhut Jolokia), this will definitely interest you.
Let's talk colors!
You might be surprised to find that this hot chile comes in so many different shades.
I mean you can always grow the traditional red, but why not add more variety?
You have the option to grow ghost peppers in peach, purple and even white. And that's just the start...
You'll find each variety has other differences, such as heat level and taste, that may sway you towards one over another.
Red Bhut Jolokia
This is definitely the most widely-known ghost pepper. Other names for this variety include Naga Jolokia and Bih Jolokia. (You can read more about this Guinness World Record breaking chile on our hottest peppers in the world page.)
Topping the Scoville scale at 1,041,427 SHUs, this chile typically grows between 2.5 to 3 inches long.
The red ghost grows long pendant-shaped pods with a bumpy texture. They start off green before officially turning red.
The flavor is somewhat smokey with a slightly fruity aftertaste. This pepper is one of the hottest bhuts.
Yellow Bhut Jolokia
The yellow bhut is an organic relative of the red variety.
In fact, here's an interesting tidbit... the yellow variation was discovered as a natural variant in the US. It's not a hybrid!
As far as taste, it's similar to the red. And pods ripen from green to yellow.
Some say the yellow is not as hot as the red. Despite this, you'll find it's hotter than other spicy chillies like the fatalii.
Peach Bhut Jolokia
The peach ghost is another natural mutation of the red ghost pepper.
This plant grows longer pendant pods than other bhuts. The average length is usually around 4 inches, and the largest gets to be about 6 inches.
Pods start off green and then end up a beautiful pinkish, peach color. If you leave them on the vine, they have the potential to turn orange.
And while peach ghost peppers are just as hot as the red, you'll discover they tend to have a balanced, fruity aftertaste.
Purple Bhut Jolokia
The purple ghost pepper grows smaller pods than other bhut jolokia varieties.
Some chillies may start off as a deep purple and eventually turn red if left on the vine. Others may start off green and then turn purple before going red.
Here's a couple of things to note about the purple color:
- The pods have to be exposed to direct sun to turn purple.
- Some pods may never be purple. They'll start off green and turn red like a traditional, red bhut jolokia.
Although these peppers carry the same flavor profile associated with bhuts, they are not as hot. The purple ghost is said to be comparable to the heat of an orange habanero.
Chocolate Bhut Jolokia
The chocolate (brown) ghost pepper is another organic offspring of the red bhut.
This variety has a notoriously long germination time (in some instances 6 weeks), but it's worth it due to it's delicious, smoky flavor. They are also very aromatic!
You'll find the chocolate has the same heat as red, but it has a distinctively sweet aftertaste.
Orange Bhut Jolokia
Of all the ghost peppers out there, the orange bhut is the most prolific.
This particular variety is great for container growing because the plant tends to grow smaller.
Another distinctive feature is that these bhuts produce smoother pods. In fact, they tend to have the appearance of long habaneros.
This is a very popular bhut variety for making hot sauce.
White Bhut Jolokia
This intriguing white variety is another prolific producer.
The white ghost pepper ripens to an off-white color, and the pods are smooth without the usual bumps on the skin.
These plants have the potential to grow over 3 feet tall.
Despite its hints of citrus, it contains the same heat and flavor profile you've come to expect with bhuts.
This is another highly-sought after variety for making white hot sauce.
And depending on where you get your seeds, some pods go from creamy white to red, while others will stay white.
Growing the Ghost Pepper
When you're ready to start growing the bhut variety of your choice, I'd recommend that you have supplies ready (e.g., propagator, heat mat, indoor plant lights).
We have a specific page on growing ghost pepper plants that has more information.
And don't forget patience!
These peppers have some of the longest germination times. When you get them to grow, you'll find these plants are strong and prolific!
A Word of Caution
As with all popular hot peppers, be sure to purchase your seeds from a reputable seller. People trying to make a quick buck like to peddle the more "exotic" chillies and basically lie about the seed varieties they're selling.
Who has time to grow out seeds only to find out they didn't get what they paid for?
Good luck and happy growing!
And for those of you looking for complete, how-to steps on all indoor growing phases, from germinating your seeds to getting your seedlings to the point where they can safely go outside… Make sure to check out the updated and expanded Pepper Seed Starting Guide. I personally use this resource to start my abundant pepper garden each season, and I’m always here to answer questions!