Chilli Peppers

Family: Solanaceae

Countries: Americas, Central America, Guatemala, Mexico, North America, Peru, South America

Chilli peppers (also known as chillies, chile peppers, and by their botanical names of Capsicum annuum, Capsicum frutescens, Capsicum baccatum, Capsicum pubescens, and Capsicum chinense) are a group of tender vegetables that flourish in warm and sunny conditions.  Gardeners can grow green, white, red, yellow, orange, purple, black, and indigo, coloured chillies.  Chilli peppers are decorative and handsome plants that can enhance your garden as well as producing peppers to compliment your meals.

Sweet peppers are related to chilli peppers, but sweet peppers do not have the heat or spicy qualities that many chilli peppers boast.  A vast number of chilli pepper cultivars are available; you’ll find chilli pepper varieties with no heat, as well as very mild heat chilli peppers, medium heat chilli peppers, and insanely hot chilli pepper varieties!  Look out for chilli peppers that produce fruity and more complex, interesting flavours.  Dangerously hot chilli peppers are available, these chilli peppers can cause anaphylactic shock; so please choose your chilli pepper varieties carefully when buying seeds and plants, and sample chilli peppers with great caution!  When eating chilli peppers, remember that the tip or end of each pepper will be the mildest flavoured part of the pepper.  Therefore, the first bite could fool you into believing that the chilli pepper has a gentler flavour than the pepper has in reality – please take care!

Chilli pepper seeds can be sown from January to the end of March in a warm, protected environment (inside a glasshouse, polytunnel, a conservatory, heated propagator, or a very bright and sunny window sill), where temperatures remain warm and stable at around 20-25C (68-77F), at all times.  Make sure your chilli pepper plants can enjoy bright light, but protect your plants’ leaves from harsh or intense sunlight using blinds or shade paint, which will soften the light; as harsh light can scorch chilli pepper leaves.  If you’re growing chilli peppers on a window sill, choose the brightest window sill you have, as chilli peppers need bright light.  These plants do better when they’re grown with sunlight shining down from above them, as chilli pepper plants grown in glasshouses and conservatories enjoy.

Sow chilli pepper seeds in small pots (choose containers with holes at the base – to allow water to run through and out of the bottom of the pot) of peat-free compost.  I incorporate grit and sand into my peat-free compost mix, to create a free draining peat-compost.  I prefer to water my chilli pepper plants early in the morning, so the plants are drier in the evening.  Chilli pepper plants don’t like to sit in water overnight; these plants thrive when they’re grown in a free-draining peat-free compost, in a bright and sunny area.

Pot your plants on at regular intervals – every four or five weeks or so.  Choose a pot that’s one or two sizes larger than your chilli pepper plant’s current container.  When all risk of frost has passed, (usually between the end of May and the middle of June, in the UK) chilli pepper plants can be moved into the garden, if you wish.  Before you consider moving your chilli pepper plants outside, you must harden your plants off (move the plants outside in the morning and bring your plants in again in the evening) for at least two weeks.

Chilli peppers make superb container plants.  They’re an ideal choice of vegetable to grow in planters, on a sunny patio garden, but chilli peppers also make attractive houseplants, and fantastic conservatory, and glasshouse plants.  To see more houseplant pages and information on growing a wide range of indoor plants, please click here.

For more articles about edible gardening, please click here.

To see my plant pages and view pictures and information to help you grow a wide range of vegetables, please click here.

To see all my plant pages and discover pictures and advice on growing a vast variety of plants – from plants for pollinators, climbing plants, ferns, orchids, houseplants, scented plants, container plants, roses, perennials, trees, shrubs, annuals, vegetables, fruit, and herbs, please click here.

Articles that mention Chilli Peppers:

Other articles you might like:

Comments are closed.