Growing Chilli peppers, also Hot peppers

Capsicum sp. : Solanaceae / the nightshade family

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
        T T            
        P P            

(Best months for growing Chilli peppers in USA - Zone 5a regions)

  • S = Plant undercover in seed trays
  • T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings
  • P = Sow seed
  • Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 18°C and 35°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 40 - 50 cm apart
  • Harvest in 9-11 weeks. Wear gloves to pick 'hot' chillies.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Best grown in a separate bed as chillies need plenty of light and air circulation.

Your comments and tips

27 Oct 08, Mick (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Hi. I have my own chilli breeding program going on, and am planning to use a combination of Thai chilli, birdseye chilli, Chilli Diablo, some stock chilli (generic, little spice, huge fruit, and Habanero. All these plants are growing in a full-sun position in neutral soil with some compost and old manure mixed in, making it slightly more acidic, but they seem to love it. I have noticed growth of up to an inch a week if Worm Castings and seasol are mixed with some water and sprayed onto the leaves of the stock chilli and diablo. As the leaves of these two are very large, foliar feeding goes down a treat. The birdseye and thai chillies have smaller leaves, so I just add it into the irrigation water, with equal results. The habanero I have left alone, as a bit of an experiment to see how maintenance-free this part of the veg garden is. All the plants (apart from the diablo) were started from seed in the middle of winter, indoors, and the Thai chilli and Birdseye chillies have been topped as half the crop from them will go into our special family chilli sauce. All plants have abundant flowers, some of which are ready to open, and average about 60cm tall. I hope this helps and inspires some peopleto get into chillies.
02 Nov 08, Murray (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
After picking up some seeds at the garden show, I have added chilli to my seed trays in order to liven up the dinner plate this summer! Unfortunately, the chilli seeds are not striking. I must be doing things half right, as my lettuce, spinach, etc, are all shooting well. I have noticed my chilli packets are all Italian in variety..... Why wont they strike? What am I doing wrong?
03 Nov 08, mick (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
I can't say for sure what you are doing wrong, but I always plant the seeds is some loamy, sandy soil so that the root can penetrate quickly, and keep alot of water up to them, then let it go dry-ish for a day or two, then soak, and soak and soak the soil. After a week or so, I have lovely little Chilli seedlings looking up to the sun.
09 Nov 08, Darren (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Ha Ha Ha, i just grew the chilli in my backyard, without seedling trays, without potting mix, without bug repelents and my chillis are growing everywhere, and the red ones are really really hot.
15 Nov 08, mick (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Red Chilli fruits are spicy as they are mature, while green ones are not. Chillies will grow most anywhere, but a little extra TLC goes a long way.
11 Dec 08, michael (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Hi, any suggestions for fertilising chilli plants to get the best crop?
16 Dec 08, Simon (Australia - temperate climate)
Tammi - could be mice or rats, they can do this also. Its happened to me in Perth. Megan - Chillies will only grow vigourously during the warmer months, depending on where you are, they will either slow down, go dormant, or die altogether, depening on how cold it gets, a severe frowst will kill them. Wait until summer, they will flower all over, and give you lots of fruit. If you want a hotter chilli, water them less, let them dry out a little (but not all the way). A stressed plant will give hotter fruit. If you want hotter fruit still, get a different variety. Look for a chinense variety. Gareth - Most people raise chillies in punnets/starter pots, then into medium pots (10-15 cm across at the top), then onto final larger pots or garden beds when they have outgrown the medium one. You can tell when they are ready to be moved as they will have roots coming out the bottom. Julie - feed them with tomato food, probably in liquid form, is pretty good for flowering chillies, also, mulch and compost the soil if you can. Murray - depending on the variety, chillies can take up to 6 weeks to germinate, and they also need warm humid conditions to do so. Chillies are originally grown in warmer humid places, so they better you can recreate this, the happier they are. Keep them moist, (but not wet or soggy), perhaps put half a coke bottle over them to keep the humidity up, put them somewhere warm, they dont need sunlight to germinate, so the top of the fridge will do. When they do germinate, move them to a sunny windowsill or similar until they are ready to be hardened off to go outside. Michael - an NPK ratio of 10-5-10 for when they are growing works well, then 5-10-10 for flowering, if using bought fertilizers. Otherwise, a well composted mix of garden waste should work well, with some animal manure thrown in. Dont forget to mulch the soil to stop evaporation.
01 Jan 09, jaime (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi! This is the first time we have grown jalapeno chillies and they are growing fine while they are green, but as soon as the colour starts to turn purple/red, the chilli is going soft, almost like they are rotting from the inside out. Can you give me any advise?? Thanks :)
18 Feb 16, John Robertson (Australia - tropical climate)
Well, I'm not really in Australia; I'm in Thailand, but I was not allowed to put that in. Anyway, I have the exactly the same situation you describe. I cut open several and found some kind of grub or maggot inside. A couple of the peppers had small holes, but on many, I could find no holes or anyway these things could have gotten inside. I do not know what they are, but would like to find out what to do about them. It's pretty disappointing to have a nice crop going, then all of a sudden, they look like they are rotting form the inside and drop off. They are similar to the pepper maggot in the US. But as far as I know, those have never made it to this part of the world.
12 Jan 09, Lucy (New Zealand - temperate climate)
hi, I am growing chillis in a 75cm round pot, there is 1 chilli plant and 1 capsicum plant in there, will they grow well in a pot?
Showing 11 - 20 of 428 comments

I'm actually in Thailand but your site doesn't list that. Having a hard time growing chilies here and looking for any hints. Soil has plenty of nutrients but does not dry out due to the rains and clay underlayer. At this point I'm thinking of adding sand to the soil to aid in drainage. I've dug a hole in the garden down to the clay layer and filled it with water. It drained within 5 minutes so it's really about my topsoil quality. Thanks!

- Eric Nelson

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