The peppers are named after the Mexican state of Tabasco. The initial letter of tabasco is rendered in lowercase when referring to the botanical variety, but is capitalized when referring to the Mexican state or the brand of hot sauce, Tabasco sauce.
Tabasco peppers start out green and as they ripen, turn orange and then red. It takes approximately 80 days after germinating for them to become fully mature. The tabasco plant can grow to 60" tall, with a cream or light yellow flower that will develop into upward oriented fruits later in the growing season. As they are native to the Mexican state of Tabasco, seeds require lots of warmth to germinate and grow best when the temperature is between 80–85 degrees F. If grown outside of their natural habitat, the peppers are planted 2 to 3 weeks after the last frost when the soil temperatures exceed 50 degrees F and the weather has settled. Peppers are temperamental when it comes to setting fruit if temperatures are too hot or too cool and even if nighttime temperatures fall below 60 °F it can reduce fruit set. A location that receives plenty of light and heat, with soil that is fertile, lightweight, slightly acidic (pH 5.5–7.0) and well-drained is ideal for growing the plants. Peppers need a steady supply of water for best performance. Growers are careful to make sure that fertilizers and soil are rich in phosphorus, potassium and calcium and reduced in nitrogen as it can deter fruit growth.