When To Pick Hungarian Wax Peppers | Harvesting a Ripe Crop

The Hungarian Wax Pepper is a low-maintenance annual plant, perfect for both indoor and outdoor growing.  There are several sub-varieties each with slightly different coloring and subtle differences in flavor.  

This all combines to make them a versatile addition to your vegetable garden that will reward you with a plentiful supply of delicious, waxy cavity peppers across the season, perfect for stuffing, pickling, and pepping up a chili con carne!   

Once you know what you want to use your crop for and the level of heat you wish to achieve you will be able to pinpoint exactly when to pick Hungarian wax peppers. 

Harvesting Hungarian Wax Peppers Outdoor Vs Greenhouse

The Hungarian Wax Pepper originates from the warm climes of Central Europe so has excellent tolerance to heat and drought.  To truly thrive outdoors the seedlings should be planted in a south-facing vegetable bed with fertile and fast-draining soil once the danger of the last frost has passed. 

If you have a greenhouse you can get a head start sowing seeds as early as February, with peppers then potentially ready by late Spring.  Alternatively, you can opt to plant later and extend the season into the Fall.

When to harvest goes back to the question of what you plan to use your peppers for but you can expect to see a good crop of yellow, mild-tasting peppers around 70 days after planting the seedlings.  If you want to achieve a more fiery taste then waiting another 10-20 days will reward you with a flavorsome and fiery red-colored pepper.  

By the way, our site is supported by visitors like you. Some links on this page may be affiliate links which means if you choose to make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support! You can find out more here.

When Are Hungarian Hot Peppers In Season

Hungarian Wax Peppers are considered to be one of the earliest peppers in the summer season.  Assuming you planted them outside after the ground temperature was above 65F you can expect your first crop to be ready around July, approximately 70 days later.  

Yields can be copious with the Hungarian Wax Pepper so if you keep picking them once they reach the yellow stage you should get peppers throughout the summer months. 

 I always plant more than one plant so I can harvest a good proportion of the mild yellow peppers through the summer to keep me in a plentiful supply, but I always leave some to mature to red to enjoy their spicier flavor and to harvest seeds from for my next crop.  

Hungarian Wax Hot Peppers Growth Cycle

Hungarian Wax peppers should be planted in Spring once all danger of frost has passed.  They need to be spaced 18-24 inches apart in well-drained light, sandy soil.  I often spread a layer of mulch between each plant to suppress weeds and keep the soil moist.  Once established you should water deeply but infrequently to best replicate their warm native climate.  

Don’t be afraid to let them dry out between waterings to fully imitate the summer Hungarian climate.  The plant itself will grow to around 24 inches tall so be sure to plant the seedlings with enough room to accommodate this height.  

Once they start to bear fruit, around 2 and a half months after planting, you can decide when to harvest your peppers.  Picking them early when they are yellow and waxy will give a great product for pickling or stuffing and will allow you to get 2 to 3 harvests from them.  

If you want to produce a vivid red pepper full of spice and flavor then leave them up to 3 months to increase the level of capsicum.   

How Long For Hungarian Wax Peppers To Turn Red

To achieve a rich red color you can expect to wait around 80-90 days after planting.  Depending on exactly which Hungarian Wax Pepper variety you have planted they will start to bear fruit around 2 months after planting the seedlings and will then work their way through a spectrum of colors.  

The most common variety will start as a greeny-yellow shade and then move through the color spectrum to a creamy yellow through to red.  The Black Hungarian Pepper will start black and go through the same process again ending in red.  

What Do Ripe Hungarian Wax Pepper Pepper Look Like

The clue with Hungarian Wax Peppers really is in the name.  Originating from the warm summer climes of Hungary these peppers have a thick, waxy textured skin.  They are typically 6-8 inches in length and 2 inches at their widest part near the stem which gives them an excellent cavity making them perfect for stuffing and baking.  

They are a sweet tangy pepper with a Scoville rating of between 5000 – 10,000 units depending on exactly when in the growth cycle they are picked.  This puts them in the moderate heat category, akin to a jalapeno.  

There is one main variety, known simply as the Hungarian Wax Pepper, but various sub-categories that can be grown which all yield slightly different colored unripe peppers and subtle differences in flavor.

Green Hungarian Wax Peppers

Also known as the Boldog Hungarian Spice Pepper this pepper originates from the Hungarian town of Boldog.  It is a deep green when unripe and a vivid red when ripe and the plant bears beautiful white flowers.  It has a rich color and flavor after ripening and is often referred to as the ‘Hungarian Paprika’

Black Hungarian Hot Peppers

This is a more traditional variety of Hungarian Wax peppers.  The peppers are black when unripe and again, turn red when fully ripe.  They are much more mild pepper pods with a deliciously rich flavor perfect for use in Hungarian Stews. 

White Hungarian Wax Peppers

This is a much sweeter variety that yields a white to cream color pepper in the initial ripening stage. Another paprika substitute is great for use in salads and is a key ingredient in traditional Hungarian cooking.

How To Harvest Hungarian Wax Peppers

When you are ready to harvest you should cut around ¼ inch above the pepper on the stem using sharp scissors or sheers.  This will protect the plant by ensuring a clean cut.  Always wear a glove when picking and handling a Hungarian wax pepper of any variety.  They contain capsicum which is an irritating compound to the skin but is what gives them their kick and flavor

Leaving a small stem on will preserve freshness and make way for new growth without damaging the plant.  Like most other experts, I advise you to keep harvesting if you want to encourage new growth and the Hungarian Wax Pepper really will reward you with a plentiful crop all summer long if picked at the yellow stage.  If you leave some to achieve full ripeness and beyond you will be able to get seeds to propagate for next year’s crop.

Will Hungarian Wax Peppers Turn Red Off The Vine

If stored in a cool and dry place with access to sunlight the Hungarian Wax Pepper may ripen an extra shade once cut from the plant but you should not expect it to turn from green to red once cut.  

Of all the many pepper varieties. it really is one that is best left to reach the level of ripeness you desire on the plant then cut it.  The pepper becomes more pungent and a deeper red the longer it is left on the plant as the capsicum levels in the fruit increase.  If you are wanting to achieve this rich red color you are far better to leave it on the plant to achieve it, then cut and use it within a few days rather than picking it early and hoping they ripen in your kitchen.  

FAQ’s When To Pick Hungarian Wax Peppers