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

20 Jul 20, Jyoti (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Best is to plant a new chillie plant.i had a plant which survived winter but did not gave as much fruit as it did before.
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.
30 Apr 19, Aaron Love (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I have a Chilli Peter bush that I have had a lot of peppers off, can I keep it growing for another season? Thanks Aaron
11 Aug 19, Peter (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
I have a chocolate Habanero plant which I brought inside to over winter and I'm amazed to say it actually flowered and I see it has fruit developing now (mid August). These chilli plants need a long growing season and I'm optimistic that I'll get masses of fruit from this plant in the coming months for my hot sauce recipes. Did you manage to over winter your chilli plant Aaron?
30 Mar 19, Paul Masters (New Zealand - temperate climate)
do chillies continue to ripen once they have been picked? Cheers Paul
31 Mar 19, Liz (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Yes, they will ripen slowly in the same way that capsicums do. Probably need to be starting to change colour.
25 Feb 19, steve (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hi. I have some original old very very hot chilli's that i saved from my Mothers plant which was originally her mothers plant.. They have been in the freezer since 1995. The seeds have an emotional attachment and i would love to be to grow these seeds into plants and hand onto the next generation - if it is possible. Having been in the freezer as a full pod - Would the seeds inside the pod be ok ? Would the plant cope outdoors with constant breeze? Any or all Advice would be much appreciated. Thank you
Showing 1 - 10 of 34 comments

Hello. What happens if I leave ripe chilies on the plant. Is there a risk they will start to rot? I have a few that seem to be starting to soften in places and splitting ?

- Campbell

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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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