July 24, 2024

How to grow chillies from seeds | Step-by-step guide

Do you love the spicy taste of chillies but don’t always have time to go out and buy them? It’s no secret that fresh chillies can add a delicious kick to any dish, but they can be hard to find in some areas.

Why not grow your own chillies from seeds? It’s easy and fun, and you can customize your plants by choosing different varieties. In this guide, we’ll show you how to grow chillies from seeds.

How to grow chillies from seeds
How to grow chillies from seeds

How to grow chillies from seeds

Below is a list of steps you can take to grow chillies from seeds:

1. Choose your chillies

Before you start growing chillies from seeds, choose the types of plants you want to grow. There are a variety of different types of chillies available, from the very hot Scotch Bonnet to the milder Jalapeno. There’s a perfect type of chilli for any type of dish.

2. Prepare your potting mix

Place two tablespoons of vermiculite into a large mixing bowl. Add a tablespoon of perlite to the vermiculite. You can also add a pinch of gypsum, which will help prevent your plants from getting waterlogged.

Add a tablespoon of calcined clay to the vermiculite/perlite/gypsum mixture. Mix the ingredients together until they’re well combined, and then place one tablespoon of dolomite lime into the bowl.

3. Sterilize the seeds

Before you plant your seeds, they need to be sterilized. Fill a small saucepan with a quart of water and place it over high heat. Add a teaspoon of bleach to the water and allow it to dissolve. Place your seeds in a heatproof container and submerge them in the water for one minute.

4. Prepare your seedlings

Start by filling each cell of your seed tray with potting mix, leaving about a quarter-inch between the surface of the soil and the lip of the tray. Water your seeds and then place them on top of their cells, being careful not to injure the roots.

5. Grow your seedlings

Your seeds will germinate between 7 and 14 days, depending upon the variety of chili you’re growing. They need plenty of sunlight and warm temperatures. Keep them in a warm, sunny location for at least six hours a day. The soil should be kept moist, but not soggy.

6. Transplant your seedlings

After they’ve sprouted, the seedlings need to be transplanted into individual pots filled with potting mix. Water them well after you transplant them to settle the soil around their roots. They should love water, so keep their soil moist throughout the growing season.

7. Look after your plants

Your plants will need regular watering and should be fertilized three times per month using a tomato fertilizer. Pinch back the tips of your plants to increase their density and discourage flowering. You can stop pinching the plants when they’re about six to eight weeks old, once they begin flowering. Don’t forget to water your plants regularly and fertilize them!

8. Harvest your chillies

Your plant will begin flowering between eight and 10 weeks. Once they’ve begun flowering, pinch off the flowers to encourage new fruits to grow instead of flowers. Continue to water and fertilize your plants regularly throughout the growing season to encourage new fruit growth.

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How to grow chillies
How to grow chillies

How to grow chillies indoors

Growing chillies indoors is a relatively simple process.

1. Choosing the type of chillies

You will need to start by choosing the type of plant you want to grow and determining its optimal planting time.

Once you’ve done that, prepare your growing medium by mixing potting mix with vermiculite , perlite and calcined clay .

2. Sterillize the seeds

Next, sterilize your seeds by placing them in a saucepan and covering them with water. Add one teaspoon of bleach to the water and allow the seeds to simmer for one minute before removing them and placing them in a heatproof container until they’ve cooled.

3. Prepare the seedlings

Prepare your seedlings by filling each cell in your seed tray with the potting mix, leaving about a quarter-inch between the soil and the lip of the tray. Water your seeds and then place them on top of their cells, being careful to avoid injury to the roots.

4. Grow your seedlings

The next step is to grow your seedlings. Your seeds should germinate within seven to 14 days, depending on the variety of chilli you want to grow. To ensure your plants have enough sunlight and warmth, keep them in a warm sunny location for at least six hours every day. They will also need to be kept moist but not soggy.

5. Transplant your seedlings

After your seeds have grown, they need to be transplanted into pots filled with potting mix. Water them well after transplanting them to ensure the soil settles around their roots comfortably. They should love water, so keep their soil moist throughout the growing season.

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How to grow chillies in pots

Growing chillies in pots is a way to add some spice your garden. Once you’ve chosen the type of plant you want to grow, you can start learning how to grow chillies indoors.

Step 1: Prepare the soil

Start by preparing your soil. Mix potting mix with vermiculite, perlite and calcined clay.

Step 2: Plant the seeds in small containers

Place seeds in small containers and cover them with soil. Water the plants and keep the soil moist, but not soggy.

Step 3: Water the seeds

Once the seeds have germinated, water them regularly and allow the plants to grow.

Step 4: Place the pot under sunlight

Keep them in a warm location for six hours every day.

Step 5: Transplant the seedlings

Once your seeds have sprouted, transplant them into pots filled with potting mix. Water the plants after transplanting to ensure the soil settles comfortably around their roots.

How to dry your fresh chillies

Once your plants have stopped flowering, allow the chillies to fully mature. Your plants will produce between 10 and 20 chillies per plant, depending upon the variety of pepper that you’ve chosen and how you’ve looked after your plants.

Once the chillies turn red, green or yellow, they’re ready to be harvested and dried. Cut the stems of each chilli and hang them in a dry location for three to five days. Your chillies will be dry once the skin cracks.

Store your dried chillies using airtight containers or zipper freezer bags and use as required or prepare them for storage by freezing, pickling or using other preservation methods.

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How to sow and germinate chillies

The optimal time to sow and germinate chillies is within the last three months of the year. Once you’ve decided when to sow your chilli seeds, choose the variety that will grow in your area.

You’ll need to begin by preparing your growing medium. Mix potting mix with vermiculite, perlite and calcined clay to give your plants the healthy start they need.

Next, sterilize your seeds by placing them in a saucepan and covering them with water. Add one teaspoon of bleach to the water and allow the seeds to simmer for one minute before removing them and placing them in a heatproof container until they’ve cooled.

Make sure your growing medium is also cool before sowing your seeds. Fill each cell in your seed tray with the soil, leaving about a quarter-inch between the soil and the lip of the tray. Water your seeds and then place them on top of their cells, being careful to avoid injury to the roots.

They should germinate within seven to 14 days, depending on the variety of chilli you want to grow.

Once they have grown, keep them in a warm sunny location for at least six hours every day. They will also need to be kept moist but not soggy.

15 Tips to grow chillies
15 Tips to grow chillies

15 Tips to grow chillies

1. Remember to water your plants on a regular basis – especially in the hotter months of the year.

2. Chilli plants prefer a well-drained soil.

3. Keep your plants mulched to avoid the weed growth in the area surrounding it.

4. Chilli plants need a lot of sunlight.

5. Make sure your chilli plants have enough space to grow, so you might want to keep in containers.

6. When you place the plants in your garden, make sure they’re not near to any fruit-bearing plants or trees that will affect the taste of your chilli.

7. Remove the flower once it appears to redirect the plant’s energy into the growing fruit instead.

8. Always watch out for any insect attacks and get rid of them quickly before the problem becomes bigger.

9. Pinch out the growing tips of your plants to encourage the growth of bushy plants with lots of branches.

10. Stop fertilising chilli plants when they have started fruiting to save the plant from any kind of stress.

11. Regularly check for pests and diseases. Your plants might get affected by aphids, mites, whiteflies and other insects.

12. After the chillies have been harvested, you can add fertiliser into the soil for a better growth next year.

13. It’s beneficial to leave the chillies on the bush for a while after they have been harvested, but if you don’t have the space or time, store them inside a paper bag or wrap them in newspaper as they need to breathe.

14. Chillies are best dried by air, so try to hang them in an area where they can receive different flow of air.

15. If you’re planning to store your dried chillies for a while, keep them in an airtight container or zipper freezer bag.

How to Feed Chillies

The best time to start feeding your plants is once they have been transplanted into the ground. Use a fertiliser high in nitrogen and potassium.

A good way to feed your plants is by using a compost tea or worm juice. You can also use comfrey liquid after the leaves have begun to grow.

You can also feed your chilli plants with Epsom salt once a month, but make sure you’re not over-feeding them as this can cause more harm than good.

Chilli-specific Feeds:

There are many specialised feeds that can be used and these generally contain a lot of potassium and phosphorus to promote fruit development and size.

1. Fish emulsion: diluted form of fish that can be added weekly.

2. Seaweed fertilizer: can be added every 2-3 weeks during growing season.

3. Bat Guano: 11-8-2 NPK ratio, can be added weekly.

4. Chicken manure: 4-3-2 NPK ratio, can be added weekly.

5. Biozome: can be added weekly, has 13% nitrogen and 11% phosphorus.

6. Chilli Feeds: If you want to use a generalised feed, use one that has high nitrogen and calcium content.

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How to get Chilli seeds

Remember to soak your seeds in warm water for at least 24 hours before planting them.

Plant the seeds into the seed tray, making sure they are spaced out properly. The seeds can be planted 1cm deep in the soil.

Place plastic wrap on top of the seed tray in order to create a greenhouse effect. Lift up the plastic wrap when it becomes too hot, and sprinkle water onto the soil when the top layer begins to dry out.

Remove the plastic wrap once the seeds have germinated and place them in a sunny area outdoors.

It takes about five weeks for the seeds to germinate.

If you have planted your seeds in a greenhouse, then they should be ready for transplanting outdoors once they have four sets of leaves.

Prepare a hole that is 10cm deep and place the seed inside. Cover the seed with soil and water around its base.

Space your plants out evenly, allowing a minimum of 50cm between each plant.

Benefits of chillies
Benefits of chillies

Benefits of adding chillies into your daily meal:

Why we have to add chilli into our daily diet? Because chilli is a good source of vitamin C, A and B complex. Below are some benefits of adding chilli into your daily meal:

1. Curbing Appetite

Because it helps to loses weight, you do not want to eat a lot of food. (4)

2. Preventing cancer

Vitamin C is able to neutralise free radicals that cause various forms of cancer. Vitamin A is also able to reduce the risk of lung and oral cavity cancer, and it is a powerful antioxidant that can fight damage caused by free radicals. (1) (2)

3. Rasing metabolic rate

The capsaicin in the chilli is a thermogenic, so it can help you burn extra calories and produce more heat by raising your metabolic rate.

4. Rich in Vitamin C

They are also very high in vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that can help protect your cells from damage. It also benefits the healthy function of your immune system.

5. Good for your heart

Capsaicin can help widen blood vessels, which is good for your heart as your blood can flow more easily. (3)

Pest & Diseases for Chillies

Pest & diseases control for chillies is very important as chillies are very sensitive to pests and diseases. Below are some common problems for chillies.

Aphids: Use a soapy water mix mixed with garlic or chilli oil to wipe them away.

Slugs: Prevent them from attacking your plants by sprinkling egg shells around the base of your plants.

Flea beetles: Soapy water can help you remove them, but if they are persistent then try neem oil.

White fly: Mix garlic or chilli oil with water and wipe them away.

Leafminers: Apply neem oil.

Bottom Line

Chillies are easy to grow and relatively low maintenance. Just remember to keep the soil moist but not wet, give them plenty of sunlight and feed them! Only follow this guide once you feel comfortable with growing chillies.