How to Grow Chillies

After you learn how to grow chillies here, go to the nearest library and get a book on how to ward off their most destructive pest, chilli lovin Jamaicans. As soon as any chilli fruit ripens on my plants, it's picked, chopped, and thrown straight into Winston's cooking pot. I wouldn't mind if he was a great cook!

How to Grow Chillies Successfully Indoors

Cayenne pepper specimen to show how to grow chillies

Are you looking to grow chillies during the winter months indoors?  Take note then that you must keep the temperature regulated. Any sort of central heating will do the trick.

My seeds were taking so long to germinate during February's cold snap, but when I moved them into a warm centrally heated room, they started sprouting in only a few days after the move.

Cayenne chilli pepper seedlingChilli seedling

Also take into account when sitting your chilli plant on a south facing windowsill temperatures can soar very high in a short period of time when the sun comes up, be it spring or summer. We know chilli plants like the heat but when the temperature is erratic it will trigger the plants flowering mechanism to switch off and the flower will drop off before it can be pollinated and produce a fruit bud.

Cayenne pepper flower

The beautiful Chilli flowers are self-pollinating so if you are growing indoors on a windowsill or greenhouse where neither wind nor insects are present, aid them to pollinate. Use a cotton bud to dust off the pollen and gently brush it on the stigma. That`s the central pistil stem with stigma at the end where pollen is germinated, and the stamen (filaments with anthers ), they are stalks with swinging heads on them that are covered in pollen. They surround the pistil and stigma.

Choosing the Best Growing Media

My chilli plants at 3 months old

Peat is not good for chillies so choose compost that is peat free. If your pots are clay, mix some perlite in to retain some water or the compost will dry up quickly. Clay pots with cacti in them sit on my bedroom windowsill. I have noticed that water droplets collect on the underside making the paint strip off the sill. The clay is actually drawing the water to the outside of the pot.

A chilli plant likes to be warm and moist. A good old spray bottle is a handy thing to have around to create the humid environment. But don't have the soil wet constantly. A good watering periodically every few days will keep the soil moist enough, whereas watering too little too often will drown it.

Pests to look out for indoors are whitefly, fungus gnats and spider mites Outdoors chillies fair pretty well, so no worries there.

How to Grow Chillies Outdoors

Planting indoors in pots is the best thing to do to give them a flying start in colder countries. Mexicans know how to grow chillies their way there in the hot soil because Mexico is where the herb originated from. They love warmth and sun not dull and cold. We though in the colder hemisphere must introduce them gradually from mid spring onwards, transplanting them into fairly large pots or planting them about 25 to 30cm apart if they are being re-potted into a long windowsill planter. Grow them under tall cloches and bring the plants in during winter months.

If you live in a warmer country mix compost, manure, and garden soil for a nutrient rich bed. Space your young plants 25 to 30cm apart and feed with a fertilizer (tomato feed) periodically once the fruit starts to appear. But don't leave them to the harsh hot elements. Mulch your crop with gravel, dried leaves, or dry grass to help keep the moisture in and water in the cool parts of the day, early morning or evening when the sun is at its lowest.

No need to feed your chilli herbs until they are about 3 months old or producing fruit. When it's time, use a tomato feed which is high in potash.

Did you know! The longest chilli in the Guiness Book of Records for 2017 was 17.716 inches.

My chillies were  ripening by July 23rd 2018 and most are about 3 inches long which is good enough for me. Chilli con carne on the menu soon!

chillies dryingMy chillies drying on a string

Here are some common varieties of chillies you may like to try growing.

Capsicum, annuum – Cayenne, bell, jalapeños, chiltepin.

Capsicum, fruescens – Tabasco, piri piri, malagueta, Thai

Grow A Herb Today – Chilli Peppers
Activity for kids

Here are simple instructions for our young participants taking part in the Grow A Herb Today Activity. This is how to grow chilli peppers.

  1. Open your compost and fill a plant pot.
  2. Make holes about half a centimetre deep.
  3. Drop a seed in each hole.
  4. Cover over the seeds and water well from the bottom of the pot
  5. Cover with cling film and prick a few holes to regulate the temperature.
  6. Place on a warm windowsill, facing south if you can so they get the sun all day.
  7. When the young chilli plants pop through the soil remove the cling film.
  8. Do not water too much. Chilli peppers don`t like to sit in water.
  1. HerbHints
  2. How To Grow
  3. Grow a Chilli

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