Peppermania turns up the heat in Newport Beach with an awesome array of chiles

Peppermania brings a wide variety of chiles to Roger's Gardens in Newport Beach.
(Courtesy of Roger’s Gardens)

For chile pepper enthusiasts who can take the heat and stay in the kitchen, Peppermania at Roger’s Gardens is the place to be.

The annual event kicks off on Friday and runs through May 5 with an array of pepper plants to choose from, gardening tutorials and even a designated “pepper of the year.”

“It’s where you’ll find the biggest assortment of peppers anywhere,” said Sarah Smith, lead horticulturalist at Roger’s Gardens. “During the week, there’s going to be around a hundred varieties of peppers.”


With that range, Peppermania’s offerings span the globe with chiles that originate from Asia to Europe to Latin America.

Some chiles are sweet without much heat like the Carmen pepper. Others scorch up the Scoville Scale like the small but mighty Chiltepin and the Carolina Reaper, which previously held the Guinness World Record for being the hottest pepper on earth until last year.

And if pepper enthusiasts want to get a jump start on New Mexico chile harvest season, Peppermania also offers pots of Hatch and Big Jim peppers.

But only one pepper at Peppermania holds the distinction as “pepper of the year” for 2024, and that’s the Carmen pepper.

“It’s a sweet Italian roasting pepper,” Smith said. “The Carmen has become a favorite of all of us here.”

Other event highlights include a presentation by David Rizzo, Roger’s Gardens edible gardening expert, on May 4, when he will give tips on how to cultivate chiles in person and livestreamed on the home and garden store’s social media accounts.

Roger’s Gardens rewards members will also enjoy exclusive offers and can enter for a chance to win a $500 gift card if they buy gardening products during Peppermania.

For everyone, all the available peppers come in 4-inch plant pots and are alphabetized with Scoville Scales for heat checks.

There’s also a chile catalog on Roger’s Garden’s website where people can study up before coming in to peruse the peppers.

“It’s a great way to find something a little different from your traditional chiles,” Smith said. “Of course, we’ll have jalapeños, too.”

True to Peppermania’s name, those jalapeños come in different colors and sizes from green to purple, big and small.