Ají Limon (or Limo) or the Lemon Drop pepper is native to Peru. In fact, the name “Limo” pays homage to the city of Lima, where the pepper is said to have originated.
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Table of contents
How hot is Ají Limon?
It is a fairly hot little thing, measuring at anything from 40 000 – 60 000 Scoville units with a distinct fruity, citrus flavour. As a comparison, the humble jalapeño weighs in at an average of 5 000 units, although that can go up to 20 000.
Known in Peru as Qillu Uchu, ají limo also comes smoked. These lemon drop peppers go so well with just about anything, with their strong lemony flavour.
How to use Ají Limo?
I love using them raw in salsas and ceviches, as I think their fruity flavour is savoured best that way. But I also make them into a paste too, yellow, just like the ají amarillo paste, which is traditionally made with ají amarillo peppers.
Ají Limo peppers are fantastic with seafood, sprinkle some finely chopped ones over oysters next time you have them.
How to grow Ají Limo in the UK
It really is super easy, and you don’t need a greenhouse to get lots of lemon drop peppers! The following instructions are for growing them outdoors. If you have a greenhouse or a conservatory you can start in February.
This is the first year I’m growing the Ají Limo (summer 2016) and they’ve proven to be very easy to grow, producing lots and lots of chillies. We’ve had an awful summer so far (in the UK) and the lack of sunshine has played a part in how long it’s taken the chillies to turn yellow.
They start off a dark, lime green, and as you can see, mature to a bright yellow.
This is how to grow the Lemon Drop Pepper
- Sow the seeds in March in a warm place.
- As soon as the seedlings appear, uncover them, and leave them somewhere bright, so they’ll get sturdy.
- Pot these little seedlings up in small 7cm-9cm (3″-4″)pots with compost meant for seedlings. Place them in a bright place. Get grow lights if you haven’t got a handy windowsill.
- Then, you just wait for them to outgrow their pots before repotting them. I usually do this twice more. When you repot the chilli plant, a lot of energy is spent on growing the roots, so planting up into a large pot too soon, can result in unhappy plants, as the much needed energy goes downwards instead of upwards.
- Plant out in May, when the evenings are not too cold.
(EDIT 2020) I moved last winter, and my new house has a smaller conservatory, that is also home to our gym. So this year, I placed all my chilli plants in the garden, for the first time ever.
They all did fairly well, but not as well as when they’re indoors. This is despite being in the sun for almost 12 hours in mid summer.
If you have a conservatory, it really is the best place for your lemon drop peppers. Those plastic greenhouses that you can easily buy, are pretty good for this purpose too.
Do you grow , or are thinking of growing them? I’d love to hear about your experience!
And this is what I used them in the first summer I grew them (2016)
Swordfish, Raspberry and Ají Limo Ceviche
If you like the tutorial, don’t forget to leave me a comment and that all important, 5-star rating! Thank you!
And if you make the recipe, share it on any platform and tag me @azlinbloor, and hashtag it #linsfood
How to grow Ají Limo (Lemon Drop Pepper) in the UKPrint Pin Add to Collection Go to Collections
- seed tray
- pots as needed
- saucers for the pots
- Ají Limo seeds
- compost for seeds
- Sow the seeds in March in a warm place. (February if you have a greenhouse/conservatory). Water lightly with a fine spray or mist generously.
- As soon as the seedlings appear, uncover them, and leave them somewhere bright, so they’ll get sturdy. Water, if needed, as above. Don't overwater as they will become mouldy.
- Pot these little seedlings up in small 7cm-9cm (3″-4″) pots with compost meant for seedlings. Place them in a bright place. Get grow lights if you haven’t got a handy windowsill.
- Then, you just wait for them to outgrow their pots before repotting them. I usually do this twice more. When you repot the chilli plant, a lot of energy is spent on growing the roots, so planting up into a large pot too soon, can result in unhappy plants, as the much needed energy goes downwards instead of upwards.Water regularly.
- Plant out in May, when the evenings are not too cold anymore. Water and feed regularly. I love Chilli Focus, just do a Google search.
5 thoughts on “Lemon Drop Pepper (Aji Limon)”
I’m not rating the recipe, just the false information. I’m a Botanist/ Horticulturist with a lot of experience with Peruvian crops and have spent a lot of time there. Aji Limo is certainly NOT Lemon Drop. It’s a lie that has a lot of web echo. Aji Limo isn’t even the same species as Lemon Drop. Limo has nothing to do with Lima or lemon. Aji Limo is a squat, shiny Capsicum chinense. Lemon Drop is C. baccatum.
Hi Rob, you are, of course, right. Instead of answering you myself, I thought I’d seek the help of a plant expert friend who develops his own strains of chillies. This is what he said:
The thing about chilies is there is no absolute. It is rather complicated to explain. There are two different chilies that are called Aji Limo even in Peru. So you are both correct. In Peru the farmers in the market don’t know scientific names, they simply know Aji Limo. There is one type that is Capsicum chinenese, it tends to be longer and ripen fully to red. Then there’s the baccatum type that English speakers alone call Lemon Drop. It’s original name is
To determine which type you have is easily determined by looking at the flowers. Baccatums have a yellow almost star patten on the inside. You are absolutely not wrong in what you wrote and him getting technical and scientific isn’t wrong, but he could have been more polite about it.
Sorry man, I have to disagree with you. I’m Peruvian and I can tell you that I grew up calling this aji limo, the same pepper as lemon drop in English. Unless you’re local, you just never truly know the culture in different parts of Peru.
I’ve grown one lemon drop plant this year, started off under lights in January and harvested early October, I put my chilli’s outside in April and left them there watered and fed regularly and they did ok, best crop was from Apache but got about 60 lemon drops which I ripened in a paper bag with a ripe tomato in about 3 days, I’ll definitely grow again next year if the lord spares me.
That’s good to know, Tony. I tend to grow mine indoors, as they do much better. But I did place them in the garden this year from June onwards. Just brought them back in a couple of weeks ago.
I’ve done the plastic bag thing before but with the aji amarillo. Those take a really long time to ripen.