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Growing Chilli peppers, also Hot peppers

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
                S S T T

(Best months for growing Chilli peppers in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

S = Plant undercover in seed trays T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings

September: After risk of frosts

  • Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 18°C and 35°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 40 - 50 cm apart
  • Harvest in 9-11 weeks. Wear gloves to pick 'hot' chilies.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Best grown in a separate bed as chillis need plenty of light and air circulation.
  • Small, hot, chilli

Small bushy plants. Dark green ovate leaves.

Chilli need warm frost free weather, so protect with glass or plastic covers if planting outside in cooler areas.

Most varieties need a long growing period to produce many fruit.

There are many types of chilli. Some are more fiery than others. As a general rule, the smaller the pod the hotter the taste.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Chilli peppers

Chillis freeze very well. Wash, dry, and free whole. Use them direct from the freezer (no need to defrost).
Wear plastic gloves or wash your hands thoroughly after handling and cutting to avoid accidentally rubbing chilli juice onto your mouth or eyes!

Your comments and tips

27 May 20, Retief (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
I've sown my chilli seeds in may.. & they are now 30mm high I'm in the garden route where we have mild winters & sun .. do I plant them out or not risk the labour. I want to pot them for summer sales.
28 May 20, Anonymous (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
Why did you plant in MAY, read when to plant them.
11 May 20, Gavin (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I bought a chilli plant, very small, and it grew into a lovely plant, heaps and heaps of chilis. My question, will it flower again each year and produce new fruit each year? Or do I throw it away, and plant a new one?
12 May 20, Anonymous (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Best to google it and read up. Can be annual or perennial.
30 Apr 20, Edward de Bruin (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hello, I would like to grow rocoto chilli as I have heard that they grow better here in NZ than other varieties. can you let me know when to sow the seeds and when to transplant into the garden or pots please. I reside in Nelson on the south island. Kind regards Edward
05 May 20, Anon (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
The advice here covers all chillies. Look at the notes here it tells you when to plant. When seedlings are about 75-125mm high transplant.
20 Apr 20, Jim (USA - Zone 8a climate)
Just my observations. I am in zone 8a. I built my first lasagne bed in the fall of 2018. Then planted n spring of 2019. I experimented with a variety of chiles. Poblano, Thai, Cayenne longs, Pasillas, Italian sandwich, Sweet Bells, and Jalapeño. The bed got full sun, I planted closely, and harvested 472 mature chiles. Every variety produced heavily. This would seem to contradict your data, that chiles need growing room, and good air circulation. The “ stems” were more like trunks of a two year old fruit tree. Almost 2” in girth and very sturdy. I submit this data not to gloat, but for further consideration. Thank you!
04 May 20, Colleen (USA - Zone 9b climate)
Hey Jim, How many plants did you plant in the bed? One of each? I'm doing a variety of chili peppers in containers this year and your comment gives me hope that two plants could fit in one 7 gallon grow bag. Thanks! Best, Colleen
02 May 20, Melinda Schwab (USA - Zone 8a climate)
Thanks for sharing!! I have had huge trunks before on ours as well because we planted them in front of our hen house [bedding was tossed out in that garden area all year] and they were HUGE by October and loaded to the point of cracking a few "branches" from the weight... LOL! I think the same thing... They just like a lot of sun and nitrogen and water at least once every week or two.... Didn't seem to matter much about spacing and the closer they were the less breakage it seemed to have. :-)
05 Apr 20, Diane (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
It's April. Summer is over. My chillie bush has produced many chilliest. Now leaves are showing signs of withering. Does not look healthy. Is this normal as Winter approaches? Or is my plant being affected by some kind of fungus or disease?
Showing 1 - 10 of 374 comments

What fertilizer are people using in New Zealand? I see a lot of sites recommending a 10-10-10 or a 5-10-5, most of NZ fertilizer seem to be high nitrogen.

- Guy

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. GardenGrow is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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