Growing the Carolina Reaper

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Introduction: Growing the Carolina Reaper

The Carolina Reaper sometimes wrongly known as the Californian reefer is the worlds hottest chilli/pepper and holds the world record for its immense heat. On the scovil rating it is a eye watering 2.2 million. I purchased my very own reaper only a few months ago and was supprised to find no help or guidance on growing them; as such I have made this instructable for all you budding chilli growers. This plant can be difficult to grow so my best advice is do your research :) Thanks

I appologise for my terrible spelling but im sure you know what I mean :)

Step 1: Growing From Seed or Small Sprout??

Now have you bought seeds or have you got a sprouting plant? If you have a sprouting plant skip to step 3

The Carolina reaper needs heat and light when germanating so I would highly suggest starting them in a mini incubator on a window ledge as you will get the most heat and plenty of sun. You could also grow them in a glass permanant green house provided it is hot enough and has plenty of light; however I would NOT recommend trying to grow them from seed in a mini plastic green house as I do not believe they would be ideal. The Reapers will need damp soil (NOT SODDEN), I would suggest using a mist gun when watering.

PLANTING

Prepare your container, makesure there is some drainage in the bottom and sit it a recepticle to catch excess water (especially if on a window sill). Get some compost and fill your container to the relevant level (do not use large pots to start with an incubator tray is the perfect size). Wet the soil through with some water and poor the excess from the receptical away. If you have a single seed try to plant it as centraly as possible, if you have multiple seeds space them evenly. For a standard size incubator use four seeds in one incubator. Place the seeds atop the compost, push them in half way and cover them. If using an incubator place the lid on top and leave in your chosen place; otherwise place in your green house.

Step 2: Maintainance

Your seeds are now getting ready to sprout, keep misting the compost well and keep it in the sun as much as possible. DO NOT FEED YOUR PLANTS AT THIS POINT! Try to resist repeatedly removing the lid as it will reduce the temperature in the incubator, you should remove the lid oocassionaly to allow fresh air inside (only once every two days). If the compost looks dry apply more water but not too much, if the compost looks too wet allow to evaporate. Not too much, not too little is the key.

Step 3: Your Sprouting Plant

So all has gone well so far and the seeds have sprouted. Allow them to get to a largish size before transplanting to a pot. When you have your plants get a small pot and fill it with compost; get your plant from the tray making sure not to damage the root and put it in one hand. Use your other hand to make a hole in your compost and slide the plants roots in. Cover the bottom of the plant and press (or firm) it in with your thumbs so that your compost is lightly compacted, now water your plant plenty and leave it. Put your plant in a green house glass or otherwise; your plant needs to go in one eitherway.

This chilli is damaged by sudden changes in temperature and will wilt. If you are using a pop-up or push together greenhouse then make sure you weight it down and put it somewhere with lots of sun e.g a patio. Apply water when neccesary (every two days or so) but dont allow to go dry or sodden, I personaly recommend buying a green house thermometer as it will help you look after you plant. This chilli likes temperatures around 80 degrees tops and 60 minimum; although the plants wont die below 60 they wont be comfortable and will struggle to grow and fruit. Try to keep it in this temp range as it will aid growing greatly.

Step 4: Growing

Your plants are now growing bigger and bigger, they will need bigger and bigger pots or they will become pot bound. You can generaly tell when it is neccesary to change containers but if you are unsure hang on a bit longer. Keep your growing plant inside the greenhouse and keep watered. It wont be long until your chillis flower and fruit. DO NOT FEED YET!! it is very important not to feed yet as I will explain next.

Step 5: Flowering and Fruiting

Once your plant has flowered it will begin to fruit, ONLY AFTER the plant has flowered should you feed it as it will help to produce a greater healthier yield. Use a fruit and veg feed, tomatoe feed will do fine. Soon you will have some strange looking fruit forming, the fruit will look disgusting when grown but thats just how they look and no you havent grown some mutant killer pepper that will take over the earth. Once red harvest your peppers. If peppers are nearly ripe but not quite take them inside and leave them on some tissue infront of a window with sun and they will self rippen. Your plant will keep producing so make sure you can use them as youll soon have lots.

WARNING: THESE HOLD THE WORLD RECORD FOR A REASON, THEY ARE EXTEREMLY HOT AND WHEN PUT IN FOOD ARE JUST AS FIREY. PEOPLE WITH ULCERS AND OTHER CONDITIONS PARTAINING TO HOT FOODS AVOID AVOID AVOID!

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343 Comments

0
Nitro
Nitro

Tip 1 year ago on Step 5

Hi, my name is AL, im from the Philippines. I purchased ripe C. Reapers and grow them from seeds. Right now, they are running from 3 inches to 20 inches tall. About 3 months old, but they are all flowering and have fruits. Im thnking this is not normal as i was expecting them to flower at atleasr 3 feet tall. ( About 500 plants total) see pics. As u can see they are very small but already bearing fruits. I was spraying foliar feetilizer by the way and npk/urea/14.14.14. alternate every week. Could this be the reason?

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Nitro
Nitro

Reply 1 year ago

Here are the other pics. Thats how small my reapers are but 80% are flowering and bearing fruits. I already have ripe ones

They shoudnt be flowering in the next 2 months time, as what I have read. So correct me if i am wrong. 1st time plating reapers.

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Jljacobs123
Jljacobs123

Question 1 year ago on Step 5

So my son loves hot peppers. He did the devil’s as%*%\#…or some other word. Sorry I don’t recall if I made it something explicit or that was what it is called? Anyway he told me this Reaper is the hottest pepper and asked could I grow them for him. So we purchased young plants just because it was too late for seeds and I have zero experience. While trying to harden them off and after following repotting instructions many of the 15 various pepper plants he and his father brought home for me. We discovered the 3 Reaper plants all had been overwatered. I did my worst and somehow saved them and even got them to produce peppers and to my shock they were hot. Now my plants seem to be suffering again and I am at a loss. We had rains that caused flooding and none of the plants have dried yet. Should I try repotting again in dry soil? Or just cross my fingers and wait? Also what is the best fertilizer? Because my leaves are becoming pale or is it more likely the 95 degree days? Also my ph is 7.5 how can I get it to 6.5? My reaper plants are about 3 ft tall in 3 gallon containers.
Thank you for all the wonderful information and advice.

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Judgemug
Judgemug

Tip 1 year ago

Use a clean paint brush from inexpensive Childrens water color paint set to pollinate by hand. Higher than normal temperature did. make some blossoms drop.

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hghyami56
hghyami56

Question 2 years ago on Step 5

Hi,

I bought a baby plant from amazon around last year and I followed all the recommended steps. First time around the chillis came out perfectly fine, they were right size and also super hot. However this year they are:

1. Tiny (dark red)
2. No heat at all and very sweat

Can any one recommend what I should do or has any one experience this before?

0
backwoods1971
backwoods1971

Answer 1 year ago

Probably cross pollinated with sweet peppers is my guess

0
ComArthur
ComArthur

Question 1 year ago on Step 1

60°-80° what? C? F?

0
upik893
upik893

Answer 1 year ago

Dude 60° C it's like hell..

0
upik893
upik893

Question 1 year ago

Hello, I've grow my two Carolina Reapers untill 5 months and they stucked in one phase. My plants so big, 53sm high and about 70sm wide, they have normal green colour but they don't have any flowers, just leafs. What wrong I do? I've feed them by fertilizer(N-18%, P205-18%, K2O-18%, So2-9,8%, B-125mg/kg, Fe-325mg/kg, Cu-94mg/kg, Mn-400mg/kg, Zn-287mg/kg), I put less than half teaspoon on 3 liter of water, and watering 0.5 liter twise per weak. Reapers are located in the room under 20W LED lamp, the temperature is about 78,8°F. Can i do something to have a progress? If you need more photos I can post it.

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Jeannetteisred
Jeannetteisred

Question 2 years ago

Is it normal for my Reaper to be this big, (approx. 3 feet high 2feet wide) has had some flowers but never any peppers? It is early September in Toronto and I don’t have many good days left. Can anybody help? Last pic shows dark circles on shoots does this have something to do with it?

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Agent43
Agent43

Answer 1 year ago

Lots of great vegetative growth there. Sounds like you overfed with nitrogen and the plants put their energy into producing leaves instead of flower buds. That plant next year will be a beast.

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cdkelso79
cdkelso79

1 year ago on Step 4

Hello! My name is Chris and I'm new into growing plants. I built a small garden and I grew numerous peppers. Thai chili, jalapenos, habaneros, and bell peppers. They all turned out great. Next year I plan on introducing more kinds of peppers into my garden. Such as: Ghost pepper, red Caribbean habaneros and the Carolina Reaper. I did some research and I didn't realize how tedious it is in growing the reaper pepper! I purchased some reaper seeds from Wayland Chiles out of Loxahatchee, FL. The seeds came in a count of 10. I separated them and planted 5 seeds into two pots. The two pots are placed on a heating mat along with a plant light. They have sprouted and are growing! They're about 2 inches tall now. There isn't much natural light where I have them placed in my house. I turn the light on before I go to work and turn it off shortly after dinner with the heated mat on 24/7. It seems to be doing the trick! They haven't reached the to top of the pots yet so when I turn the plant light off, I'll place a napkin over them since I do not have a greenhouse lid to put over them. I'm not sure if this is helping or not. This isn't something I researched. Just my own idea. My concerns are needing to know when to transfer them into larger pots and what should I do to create a greenhouse effect when I do. I have a feeling I'm going to have to purchase another plant light and more heating mats to accommodate the plants as they get bigger. Any helpful advice is much appreciated! Thank you!

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D.j.H2
D.j.H2

4 years ago on Introduction

I have two plants and I have harvested over 100 peppers off of the two plants. They are bout about 4 feet and 3/4 inch tall and one plant has 126 pepper on it right now and the other has about 80 on it. Both are still blooming with flowers and I've been cross pollinating everything. I've created 4 hybrids so far. But I think I've grew some of the hottest reapers on Earth. I've not found one better. I think I can grow these things better than anyone I've ever met. They just keep producing. And my Ghost Peppers are producing at about the same rate. Each plant is full to the top with peppers. I think I figured out my technique. DJ Higgins from Henagar Alabama. And I've developed an insane hybrid of Reapers and Ghosts. I call the ghost reaper. Here are the parents and their child, the mighty Alabama Ghost Reaper!!!

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Jeannetteisred
Jeannetteisred

Reply 2 years ago

Ok what’s your technique I can’t even get 1 pepper?

1
pissed offc
pissed offc

Reply 3 years ago

Kinda arrogant huh. Lol

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Growyourthrones
Growyourthrones

2 years ago

I started a pack of 5 seeds last year here in the uk,2019, they all managed to grow to a foot in height, 2 died due to drying out under hot sunshine, I had 3 left, many buds and flowers were produced but fell off when touched, wasn't sure why but eventually 2 of the plants produced 1 pepper each and boy was that little thing hot.
I thought they had it after that and were reduced to just stems but with my persistence I kept them indoors throughout winter and to my amazement, they started sprouting new growth.
Now it is and the weather is getting better, 2020, I have then on the window sill and they have grown more in the last few weeks than they have the whole of winter.
I'm hoping on their second year of summer these plants will show better maturity and grow a bundle of carolina reaper peppers. The picture of the plants on the chair was what i achieved growing the the plants through summer, 1 pepper each, quite dissapointing, but i kept going, i kept them near my windows all winter again, the picture where you see the plants outside is the next summer, thats 3 years now and the plants have well over 30 peppers each on them and are thriving this time around 2021 is a good year, the pandemic gave me time to take care of the plants. It just shows how hard growing is, never expect big yeilds straight away, plants are just like us, they need time to mature, in hot countries, the plants get longer growing periods and have alot more time to mature where's here in the uk, you have a few months and that ain't enough to fully mature, so when winter is upon us, trim those plants, keep them indoors near a source of light and give them a go the next year.

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jothefu5
jothefu5

2 years ago

I'm in Kenya, East Africa and mine germinated though I don't know whether they'll survive

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PeterDude
PeterDude

2 years ago on Step 5

I wish I would have find your guide 6 months ago. It is spot on! Took me 4 seeds to grow 1 that is still not flowering (tho I think it is not far off).
A slight handicap that was growing it without sun in the UK. In the winter...

0
ChrisW674
ChrisW674

Question 2 years ago on Step 1

When you are germinating the seeds on a window sill do you need to cover them or not

0
kissfanalive
kissfanalive

Question 3 years ago

I bought and planted a Carolina Reaper plant at the start of summer. It is mid August now and it hasn't grown much and has not produced any flowers at all.What could I be doing wrong or what can I do to get it to grow more? I originally planted it in the garden but later transplanted it to a pot. It's green and looks healthy at least to me anyway.

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