The Cultivation and Raising of Chili Plants - When to Plant Chili Peppers
Plant Chile Peppers
Peppers are great to add in any garden. Every year I make sure to pot a few different plants, so that I can have fresh peppers with my dinner.
Personally, I cheat, and purchase chili pepper seedlings from the store, instead of growing them from seeds. This is easier for me, as I usually grow many different vegetables around the same time. Plus, because the seedlings at the store are already started, I don't have to worry about germination, which means no waiting.
However, you want to grow your pepper plants- whether by seed or by seedling plants- you'll find that they can make a great addition to your garden. There are many different types of chili pepper plants that have different color peppers and flowers, which can make for quite a decorative addition.
Below, I've listed pepper seeds for many of the popular chili pepper plants. These come in a wide variety of colors from red to yellow to white to purple. Just remember to pick them when they're still green. If you want more of a bite, wait until the peppers have colored up.
Grow Chile Pepper Seeds
There are many different types of chili peppers, so you may find that the exact method of planting and growing chili pepper seeds per species of plant may vary. In general though, you'll find the below steps for planting chili pepper seeds quite helpful when you're first getting started.
- When you get your chile pepper seeds, you need to turn them into small plants, by letting them germinate. You want to start this process about 8 to 10 weeks before your last average day of frost.
- It's easiest to germinate the seeds indoors, where you can guarantee warm soil. Use a heating pad if you need to, as heat is a main requirement for germination.
- Plant the seeds in a container of soil just below the surface. Make sure there are drainage holes in the bottom of the container. Water just the surface of the soil; do not soak it.
- Wait anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for the seeds to start to germinate. Different species have different germination periods.
- When the seedlings are ready to be planted, use small pots to transplant the seedlings into. Depending on the species of chili peppers, you may want a pot as small as a 6" pot.
- You can mix a little bit of fertilizer if you want to, but as long as your soil is healthy and the seedlings get plenty of sun and proper heat, they should be fine. Mixing fertilizer can be tricky, as if you have the wrong ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (which are the active ingredients in most fertilizers), you will have a bushy plant without any fruits.
- When the seedling starts to grow and flower, you should begin to expect the fruits. When insects pollinate the flower, or when you pollinate the flower, the petals will fall off, and the fruit will grow from the middle.
* How to pollinate a flower- If you choose to pollinate the peppers yourself, rub your finger around the middle part of the flower to pick up the pollen. Repeat this a few times with each flower on the plant. This process moves the pollen around to the stamen, initiating the chemical reaction to make the fruit.
Other tips for growing chile peppers:
- Well-drained soil is the best. You want to make sure that your pots have drainage holes.
- Maintain the soil around 6.7 to 7.0 pH.
- Make sure to provide support for pepper plants that grow tall.
- If you live in an area with hot temperatures, you'll find it easier to grow peppers with 'tam' or 'NuMex' in their names,' as well as 'Long Slim,' 'Hungarian Wax Hot,' and 'Gypsy' peppers.
- All chili peppers grow well in pots.
- Hot peppers can inflict burns if they touch cuts or if they get in your eyes.
- If you're planting hot peppers and sweet peppers, keep them at least 900 feet a part, as insects will cross-pollinate them.