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Washing Up
Aug 8, 2010
Again depending on the time of year, your location and amount of light available you can keep the plants on you windowsill, in the greenhouse or under artificial lighting. Pepper plants love light, so the more they get the faster and stronger they will grow. If space is an issue inside then I can highly recommend one of the many mini greenhouses available. You can pick these up for only a few pounds and while they may not last forever they will certainly protect you chilli plants in early spring.

Depending on the variety you will most likely need to re-pot the chillies on again in a few weeks time. It is a good idea to avoid potting on to early as there are many theories that potting on too early into too big a pot focuses the plants growth on growing the roots rather than stems, leaves, flowers and ultimately chillies. A general rule of thumb is to only do this when roots are appearing through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pots.

Once the risk of frost passes you can put the plants outside. Initially you might want to harden them off by placing outside for just a few hours a day. This will get the plants used to the direct sunlight and wind that they may not have experienced so far during their indoor life.

During these early stages of growth your plants can be particularly susceptible to pests like aphids. Aphids you can spray the beasts using 50/50 milk and water. The fat in the milk suffocates them.

When to feed chilli plants
One of the most asked questions is how often to feed them and what with? In the early stages and while the weather is quite mild I just give them a bit of tap water every 2-3 day or whenever the soil is looking dry on top. As the summer temperatures increase I will increase this to once a day.

Once the flowers start to flower I introduce a few drops of liquid tomato food into their water during every other watering. I use half the dilution strength recommended for tomato plants. Doing so gives the plants the extra energy required to keep producing fruit over the summer months.


Chilli plant flowers and fruit
As your pepper plants begin to mature you will start to notice flowers appearing on your plants. This is the sign you have been waiting for as it means that your first chillies are not that far off. All that stands between you and fresh chilli pods is pollination.

Be aware that as was the case with germination if you are growing cayenne peppers the plants will flower and fruit much earlier than varieties such as Habanero, scotch bonnet or Naga. These slower varieties require much more heat and light and our best kept in a conservatory or greenhouse to ensure they fruit as soon as possible.

Pollination will be taken care of naturally by bees and other insects if you plants are kept outside. If grown inside your plants may suffer from flower drop in which case you may want to consider hand pollination. Don’t worry, this is not as sordid as it may sound. All you need to do is wait until you have a few flowers on your plants then lightly rub your little finger inside the flower heads on your plants. Alternatively use a small artists paint brush or a cotton bud. This will do the bees job of moving pollen around from flower to flower.

Eventually you will see that some of the flowers will go brown and drop off. This is usually no need for alarm as the cause will be a chilli pushing its way through the flower. All you need to do now is to keep up the water/food and wait for your chillies to ripen.

Chillies - Part 1

Every year we grow something different. Last year we tried chillies and, they were a small success so I decided to grow them again because we eat a lot of Asian food. Hot food. Mmm - chillies! Packed also rich in Vitamin C.

Most of the pics are sourced. More of our own will be added shortly

Growing chilli plants is associated with growing in the hot climate of South America and Asia, but growing peppers can be done successfully in the northern hemisphere. To get a decent harvest the plants will need to be started off either indoors or under glass. Or, grow in a pot on a sunny windowsill, like I did. Now, they are outside and thriving well. The best time to plant your chilli seeds is early in the year (Jan/Feb) and nurture the seedlings indoors or under glass. The plants can then be put outside once the threat of frosts pass. Then hopefully once the temperatures rise your plants will have a nice head start and will go on to produce a good harvest of chillies all summer long! You can cheat and begin growing them now, providing when the autumn comes you bring the plants back in and keep on that same sunny sill.




Chillies can be germinated much as any other seed. To jump start your seedlings, pace the seeds in between two sheets of damp kitchen roll and put into a either a sealed freezer bag or plastic container. Place the bag somewhere warm such as in an airing cupboard. This method will help keep the heat and the moisture around the seeds, speeding u the germination process. An important thing to do at this stage is to label the seeds so you know what is what when it is time to plant them!

After 2-5 days you will probably notice some of the seeds will have swelled up and may be even be starting to sprout. Now is the time to plant the seeds. Ideally you need a propagator but in reality they can be planted in any kind of container.

Of course you can take the easier approach and simply plant your chilli pepper seeds straight into the compost as described below. Remember that different varieties take different times to germinate. If you are growing Habanero peppers for example, you can expect them to take up to 3 or 4 weeks to germinate, where as annum varieties such as cayenne will sprout much quicker.

When planting chilli seeds, try to space them about 2 in /5cms apart in normal multi purpose compost, ideal mixed with some vermiculite. Then lightly cover the seeds with about ½ inch /0.5cm of compost and spray the tray lightly with water. Check them every day and spray with a little water if they look a bit dry. The aim is to prevent the compost from drying out rather than keeping it wet.

The two main requirements that the seed has at this stage are heat and moisture. The optimum temperature for germination varies from species to species but roughly speaking can be said to be in region of 70 degrees.

Probably the best advice is to try and keep the temperature of the seeds constant. This can be done in a number of ways such as by using a heated propagator or old electric blanket under your seed trays. What I do is simply place the trays either on a window sill above a radiator or on top of the refrigerator which will keep them slightly warmer than room temperature.

The time taken for germination varys greatly between varieties. More common variety such as Apache or Jalapeno usually germinate in anything between 1-3 weeks. Other more fickle varieties such as Habenero may take up to 6 weeks or longer. The key is to be patient!


Potting out
Once the seedlings have developed their second set of leaves it is time to re-pot them. I usually opt for pots about 4 in /10cm in diameter. You should be careful not to damage the seedlings during this process. One good tip is to avoid toughing them altogether by re-potting the area of compost around the seedlings roots. By doing this hopefully you will avoid damaging the roots of the plant.
My few chili plants in containers here are recovering from the extreme heat of July... I got a few chilies early in the month, then nothing... too hot!
But my jalapenos are producing again!

Nice articles, thanks!
I really ought to bring my habanaros in, as there's been a cold wind outside. If I can room for it, mind!

As soon as it gets sunny again, I'll get some pics off of the chillies. They do look lovely, must say. :)
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