Growing the Carolina Reaper





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.


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.


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307 Discussions

hi boba, do my reapers look healthy to you? when should i replant them in a big pot? what soil mixture do you recommend? also i haven't noticed any pepper buds yet. great post.. thank you, mike


Hi Boba, the force isnt strong with my Carolina Reaper plant, the Chili's are really small on it and aren't growing to their proper size. Please can you advise what im doing wrong. I'm watering it twice a week and feeding it once a week with chili focus plant food.


Our reaper plant is loaded with peppers but some are starting to turn black around the top...any suggestions? Is this normal?

1 reply

Yes, this is known as blossom end rot. It happens a lot in the first yield, and is a sign that the plant is not receiving enough calcium. Feed them with some low nitrogen organic fertilizer. Fish bone meal is great or a tomato fertilizer.

how often do you fertilize reaper plants once they start to flower or form buds?

I have been trying to grow my reapers for awhile. How can you tell if the seed is good or bad?

This is my first year germinating reapers, scorpions, moruga, kraken seed, etc. I am germinating the seed for my son who is growing 50 plants this year. He previously purchased plants online. I set up two mini-greenhouses in a spare bedroom in my home. I used heat pads and grow lights on each of the four shelves. I was told it would take 4 to 6 weeks for these seeds to germinate but within 14 days mine sprouted. So far, 99.8% germinated and I now have 250 plants growing. I will harden them off when warm weather arrives, then wait for the right time to plant. I have uploaded a small sampling.


My pepper's flowers keep popping off!? I don't know what's going wrong, I put them in buckets, put them outside on a calm day to soak up the sun but the flowers keep dying a popping off. Help me boba, you're my only hope <----- Starwars reference.... ;3 But really, what's going on?

11 replies

Hello again!! Hahahahaha I apprieciate any star wars reference. That's is strange, when I first grew reapers I had the same problem however with mine the problem solved itself before I got to troubleshooting. How often do you feed and water the plants? If the plant is lacking either then the plant will activate its survival response and stop production. I hope this helps and look forward to your reply!!!!! Happy Growing!!!!!

I fertilize them about every week and water every time the top of the soil gets dry, I try to keep the soil moist.... Also, now leaves are falling off!?!

Old topic, but I think you are overfeeding them. Rinse it thru with water to get all the added nutrient out.

Hello and thank you for comment!!! Did you put any holes in the bottom of your buckets? If not your plants maybe saturated in the bottoms and could be the cause. I hope this helps!!! Happy Growing!!!!

I stabbed a couple of holes in the buckets, are these big enough? The buckets seemed to pour quite a bit of water when I did...


"Thats not a knife ..... This is a knife !"

Crocodile Dundee quote :)

But seriously ... you could certianly kill alot of buckets with that thing :)

Btw, thank you for being so helpful! You've saved my peppers!

Hello again!!! Its great to hear that it has worked!! Enjoy your peppers!!! Happy growing!!!!

how are they doing now? Being 11 days ago when you posted this. I am curious, my 1st carolina reaper grow, I dont know what to expect