I kept the seeds of some paprika type peppers that I had purchased and enjoyed. I planted them and they grew until winter, when they died down. Summer came and they've grown into about metre high trees with lots of fruit. The fruit is smaller than what I originally had and they have started turning red. That's all great, except they are hell fire hot! How is that possible? The originals were sweet! Any ideas?
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
It sounds like you are experiencing the joy of cross pollination. The plant you see is not the original. Likely one of the fruits from last year's fell where the old plants were and in the spring the seeds from that plant grew. It is common for this to happen. The seeds, however, were the result of your original plants crossing with a nearby hot pepper plant. The hot pepper may have been in your garden or a neighbor's and a friendly bee helped carry the pollen. These articles may help explain more: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/vgen/cross-pollination.htm, https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/propagation/seeds/controlling-cross-pollination.htm, https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/vgen/preseeding-vegetables.htm