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 :)

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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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326 Discussions


Question 2 months 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.


1 year 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!!!

1 reply
pissed offc

8 months ago

For best Instrutctions on growing
Go to pepper butt pepper co.
They are the creator of the pepper
Has step by step how 2s on growing.
Have a great day!


1 year ago

I have a carolina reaper plant that has produced over 30 nice peppers. I thought it was done for the season but am now getting more flowers that arent falling. Is this normal and will it yeild more peppers once i take it inside in a couple of weeks as the night time temps begin to fall here in Illinois. Thanks in advance

1 reply

Reply 1 year ago

My plants have about 100 peppers on them a piece right now bro. As long as the heat is there for your peppers, they just keep going. My plants stalls are so thick it's like wood. The wind doesn't do anything to harm it. Freaking Reaper Trees!


1 year ago

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

3 replies

Reply 1 year ago

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.


Reply 1 year ago

Epsom Salts and then a week later water it with some baby aspirin.


Reply 1 year ago

Mine did the same black almost purple but all ripened to a nice fiery red. Dont know if thats normal as this is my first yeild with this plant but all turned out great.


3 years ago

Grew these in a wallmounted greenhouse in Copenhagen, Denmark. Are the red ones ready to harvest, or do I need to leave them on for some time?

6 replies

Reply 1 year ago

Harvest them. If they are not as dark red as you would like just set them in the window for a few days

Boba JettPepperchop

Reply 3 years ago

Hello and thank you for your comment!! Sorry for the late reply. Hope you are happy with your reapers and well done with your growing success!!! Happy Growing Boba

PepperchopBoba Jett

Reply 3 years ago

I am very happy with them. Got 60 reapers out of it. Have made powder and tabasco out of it. Tried one whole and I am never going to do that again :)


Question 1 year ago on Introduction

My Carolina reaper plants are a little over 3 months old and about 14 inches tall. I’ve just transplanted into a 5 gal pot. I have about 4 plants in the pot. Do they need separate pots once bigger? Hopefully we haven’t stunted their growth before repotting. Can I expect them to grow for another 3 to 4 months before fruiting. We live in Kansas and are wondering how to protect them for the winter? Should we bring inside? Just learning how to grow them for a hobby so I can enjoy them with my friends. Thank you from a wanna be green thumb!

1 answer

Answer 1 year ago

You need separate pots. Don't leave then outside when it gets under 70° if you can help it. And they don't really like anything over about 94 degrees. Hopefully you haven't stunted them. If it's flowering at all, sprinkle some Epsom Salts in the soil. I swear it works buddy.

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