How to grow Chili Peppers from seeds
Chili Peppers are fantastic food and surprisingly not that difficult to grow. There are several varieties that are all delicious and are used in different styles of cooking. The method for growing chili peppers from seeds can be used for each of the varieties. In this article, we will first go over how to grow chili peppers from seeds and then go over a few of the most popular varieties of chili peppers that you can grow.
How to Grow Chili Peppers from Seeds
Chili peppers will need sunlight in the later stages of growth, but not in the very beginning, so it is a fine idea to start the process indoors. The best time to start is in January or February. Many places around the world do not receive sunlight at this time of year, but that is okay. You can start the process indoors!
Getting started early in the year means that your chili peppers will be in their prime in summer when there is more light which is vital for them to ripen. You will have wonderful chili peppers ready to eat by the end of summer if you follow the steps below.
1. First of all, you will need to obtain the chili pepper seeds. You can look at the end of this article for some of the best types of peppers to grow. You can either get some seeds at the store or from inside the pepper itself. If handling a chili pepper in order to obtain your seeds, always be sure to use caution and do not touch your eyes after cutting the pepper open. If you are using different kinds of seeds, do not forget to label each type of pepper's seeds as they mostly look the same.
2. Fill a small container with some multipurpose compost, or some other type of multipurpose soil. Next, place a seed into the soil and cover it with a little bit of the soil. For each type of pepper you want to grow, place about 4-6 of its seeds in the soil and repeat the process, covering the seeds with a very light amount of soil. Again, remember to label each pepper type if you are growing multiple types.
3. Water each container or pot lightly. Do not overwater, just enough to get the soil moist. Now place your container or pot inside in a nice warm and cozy place. Cover the container to allow the soil to remain moist.
4. Continue to monitor your seeds and bear in mind that you should not overwater them. Daily watering is fine, but nothing more than that. Even every other day should still work. In about a 5-7 days you should begin to see your seedlings start to germinate.
5. After two weeks or so, the seedlings should be strong enough that they can be transplanted to a larger pot. For each plant, fill a single pot with multipurpose compost or some other type of soil and dig a hole about an inch deep. Then carefully use a spoon and dig out your seedling making sure not to interfere with any of the roots, and be as delicate as possible when transitioning the plant. Place the plant into the hole in your new pot and make sure all the roots are in. Rearrange the soil so it is level again and then water the plant. Watering the plant will also help level the soil and fill in any air pockets that are below the plant. Keep your chili pepper label intact and transfer it to your new pot. Repeat this transfer process for each of your seedlings.
6. Keep your individually potted peppers indoors as it is still cold outside. You can put them near a window where there will be daylight sun that hits them. There is no need to water the plants daily, every other day or so will work. Continue to monitor the plants for the next few weeks, and after about 6-8 weeks there should be significant visible growth with sizable leaves.
7. By now, the winter should be over, but you want to make sure the last frost has occurred before this step. At this stage, the chili pepper plants need direct sunlight, and they should be transplanted outside or to a greenhouse. Carefully transplant each pepper plant by carefully digging up the plant and keeping the roots intact. Transfer each plant to a larger pot with nutrient-rich soil. Place the plants in a sunny spot because the light is important at this stage.
8. Fertilizers such as liquid fertilizers can be used to feed the plants through the spring and summer. Just check up on the plants and make sure they are still healthy and growing. You should begin to see chili peppers growing on the plants in early summer. By late July and early August, the peppers will be ready for harvesting.
9. Once the harvest season is over, the plants can be kept for several years and continue to produce peppers. The important thing here is that the plants must be taken inside when it starts getting cold outside. Repeat this process for growing peppers and you will have a harvest of chili peppers each summer!
Popular Chili Pepper Varieties
Now let's go over some of the most popular varieties of chili peppers to eat and to grow. All of these chilis have the same growth process, so reference the guide above for any questions.
1. Capsicum annuum
Capsicum annuum is the most common and widely cultivated of the five main types of capsicums. This species contains a large variety of peppers, both mild and hot, including bell peppers, jalapeños, New Mexico chile, and cayenne peppers.
2. Capsicum chinense
Capsicum chinense is more commonly known as the "bonnet pepper" and it is native to the Americas. These chili pepper varieties are famous for their extreme heat and diverse flavors. The hottest peppers in the world are in the Capsicum chinense species and have Scoville Heat Unit scores of more than 1.5 million.
3. Capsicum frutescens
Capsicum frutescens is a type of chili pepper that is considered to be a branch of the species Capsicum annuum. The pepper is similar to the wide variety of peppers in this main species and capsicum frutescens is derived from capsicum annuum, but has flowers to differentiate it. The flowers are white with a greenish white or greenish yellow pistol.
4. Capsicum baccatum
Capsicum baccatum is one of the five prime pepper species. The pepper tends to be very pungent, and have a rating of between 30,000 and 50,000 on the Scoville Heat Unit scale.
5. Capsicum pubescens
Capsicum pubescens grows in Bolivia and Peru and has a rich history involving the Incans. The cultivation of Capsicum pubescens was documented by ancient ancient Incan, Nazca, and Chimu cultures.