“Waialua” is a great little chile developed by the University of Hawaii. It is ideal for the southeast US as well, where humidity and heat rule in the summer months. Waialua is said to perform better in humid climates than the jalapeño, and is also stated to have resistance to bacterial wilt and root-knot nematodes. I will grow it in the ground next time to see if this is true for my garden. The fruits are about the size of a regular jalapeño, but to me the shape and flesh thickness is more like a Fresno chile. I find the flesh to be sweeter than the jalapeño, but there is definitely heat, which increases if the fruits develop in hot, dry conditions.
There is some speculation that the Waialua is the same cultivar as what is called the Sweet Hot or Hawaiian Sweet Hot pepper. I can’t say if it or is not. My original seeds came from the University of Hawaii and are labeled as “Waialua.”
According to a 1996 article in HortScience, “’Kaala’ and ‘Waialua’ were the result of a cross between ‘Chabai Merah’ and ‘Keystone Resistant Giant’. ‘Chabai Merah’ is a standard cayenne-type pepper grown in western Malaysia and is highly resistant to bacterial wilt and to root-knot nematode [Meloidogne incognita (Kofoid & White) Chitwood]; it is a very pungent fruit that averages 7.5 to 10 cm in length and 2 cm in diameter. ‘Keystone Resistant Giant’ is a bell- or sweet-type pepper., and slightly pungent.” The work to produce this BW resistant cultivar took 15 years.
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