How to Grow CHILLIES at Home!

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This is a simplified step-by-step photographic instructable on how to grow your own chilli peppers at home!
Chillies are extremely simple to grow at home, and don't require any fancy gardening equipment. Since a single plant can give you upto a hundred chillies, they're a perfect addition to the kitchen garden, especially since they grow really well in containers and planters!

Supplies:

Materials required:

  • Chilli seeds
  • Paper towels/napkins
  • Planter
  • Soil

How to get Chilli seeds:

If you're not able to go the plant nursery and get your hands on a packet of chilli seeds, worry not! Take your favourite type of chilli pepper, slice it and remove all the seeds. Spread the seeds on a paper napkin and let them dry for 2-3 days. Once they've dried up, follow the steps below.

(Please make sure that you're always wearing gloves while handling chillies and their seeds. Avoid touching your eyes, face and any sensitive skin, and always wash your hands afterwards.)

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Step 1: Prep the Seeds

Spread open a paper towel, place all chilli seeds evenly on it. Then spray some water on them and fold the paper towel close. Now keep this aside for about a week while making sure that the paper towel is regularly sprayed with water to keep it moist and damp. Keep it in a warm and humid place.

Alternatively, you can skip this entire step. First, wet the seeds nicely and sow them in soil at a depth of about 2-3 cms. The chilli seeds will germinate in about 1 week. Water them every alternate day, keep the soil moist and make sure they are not exposed to harsh winds or strong sun.

(Please make sure that you're always wearing gloves while handling chillies and their seeds. Avoid touching your eyes, face and any sensitive skin, and always wash your hands afterwards.)

Step 2: Soil and Germination

Chilli plants usually require an airy soil which is well drained. Add a little bit of compost to it and give it a good mix. Keep the soil moist but don't overwater it. Water every alternate day or every 2 days depending on the weather. Make sure there is a wet-dry-wet-dry cycle of watering.

The seeds will germinate and you'll see two small leaves on the surface of the soil within 7-10 days of planting the seeds.
Keep watering them every alternate day and make sure they're exposed to 4-6 hours of sunlight daily.

Step 3: Flowering

Once the plant is about 8-10 inches in height, it'll bring out small buds which will blossom into cute little white flowers about 1-1.5 months after planting them.
The flowers will remain on the plant for about 7-10 days, then fall off. Then you'll see a cute little baby chilli growing in it's place.

Step 4:

Regularly water and nourish the plant and the chillies will grow bigger and bigger. The bigger they are the more potent their spiciness is.
Once the chill is about 5-7 cms long you can pluck it to cook with it. However, If you want it to be spicier you can leave it on the plant itself. If you leave them long enough on the plant, the green chilli peppers will eventually turn red. The redder it gets, the hotter it the chilli is!

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    8 Discussions

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    Joerg Engels

    6 weeks ago

    After growing chili plants for more than 20 years I have to add some information here:

    Chilis are NOT "extremely simple" to grow unless you take "very simple" types with a low capsaicin level and don't care about the taste.

    You don't go to a local plant nursery, you go online and order seeds on ebay or chili shops.

    If you use a chili fruit to get seeds then PLEASE warn the readers of your ible to use disposable gloves. If you touch very hot chilis and then have to go to the bathroom you might end up in the ER.

    Don't dry the seeds in the sun.

    If you don't use LED grow lights then you have to plant the seeds between January to March, you can't seed them in the winter when daylight is too weak for the seedlings.

    Chili plants do not require manure, especially not saplings, it will burn them.

    If you use compost, you have to sterilize it in your stove for 20min at 200°C or in the microwave for 10 minutes at highest setting. Your kitchen appliance might smell afterwards, better ask your local plant nursery. Your plant can get TMV otherwise.

    If you keep your plants indoors, then the flowers will not pollinate themselves. Do this with a clean brush. If you don't want cross-pollination then glue the petals together and just shake the plant.

    The size of the fruit has nothing to do with spiciness, that is in the genes only. The type of chili plant and the generation (F1, F2, etc) influence the spiciness. Only if you keep your plant close to drying out and only first year plants can achieve the maximum spiciness for the specific type of plant, it is usually decreased in the secound and definetely in the third year.

    There are several types of chilis that stay green, become brown, yellow, orange, purple and black, which are all spicy. The red colour only gives you a hint about their vitamin C.

    I will end here or further additions exceeded the size of your instructable. Good luck in the challenge.

    5 replies
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    RaitisJoerg Engels

    Reply 5 weeks ago

    Hi!

    I've been growing multiple varieties for a while and you got me to wonder.

    Why are chillis milder the 2nd year and beyond? That's the first time I've heard this.

    0
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    Joerg EngelsRaitis

    Reply 5 weeks ago

    Evolution has made plants perfect managers of their resources. The bigger and the more fruits the less capsaicin is produced. In the first year it is important for the plant that the seeds in the few fruits are spread by birds and contain a lot of capsaicin. You can get the most in spiciness if you let the plant dry out when the fruits are ripe. But if you keep it, in the secound year the plant produces more fruits and thus can reduce the production of capsaicin.
    If you grow plants with low levels in capsaicin you will not feel the difference, but none of the million scoville records has been achieved with a 2nd year plant.
    There is no agriculturally used chili variety that is used for more than 3 years, the majority is regrown yearly.

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    RaitisJoerg Engels

    Reply 19 days ago

    Thank you for taking the time to write this in detail!

    It makes perfect sense now that you've explained it. My older plants are still hot enough for me, so it's not like I feel anything is lacking. :)

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    CapnChknJoerg Engels

    Reply 4 weeks ago

    I was about to say! I sell seed, and have been growing various hot chilies for 30 years. This is an oversimplified method, just to start with, you need to start your seed at between 80 and 90 degrees F (27 to 32 degrees C.)

    Sunshine is the best for getting the stuff at it's peak. The second year, you will find your peppers milder and so on until about August, when they've managed to gather enough energy to get the flavor and spicy going.

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    advaymJoerg Engels

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    Thank you so much about all these helpful points! Especially about using gloves while handling chillies!
    I definitely don't have as much experience as you do, and as an amateur I just used seeds from my favourite chilli at home without having deep knowledge about their species type. I'll definitely educate myself more.
    Also since I'm from a tropical country with more than adequate sunlight, I've never had problems with my chilli plants sprouting any time of the year. But I realise that everybody may not be so, so your tips about grow lights and seeding season are also well appreciated.

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    jessyratfink

    6 weeks ago

    Nice! Do you wait for the peppers to come easily off the stem or do you just go by the size? :)

    1 reply
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    advaymjessyratfink

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    Once the respective chili species reach their optimal size (which is different for different chillies species), they can usually be twisted off the plant easily.