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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

28 Jul 18, Prakash (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
About chilli peppers If you see the leaves have got burnt with frost better to harvest all chilli and grind in food processor or leave it whole and store in the freezer and use it when needed. Trim the trees heavily ie only leaving about 30 centimeters above ground. It will or may grow back in summer. You can add some mulch around the plants too. Seeds can only be obtained from ripe chilli. It’s much better to buy plants and grow them then trying to plant from seeds. Plant after Labour weekend only if the soil is not too cold.
11 Mar 18, Campbell (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
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 ?
22 Apr 18, Brooke (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Yes they will rot best to pick when ripe and freeze
29 Nov 17, Lalita patel (New Zealand - temperate climate)
How many chilli plants will grow in a medium size pot
02 Dec 17, Hamsa Lingam (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
You can sow up to 10 seeds but you must transplant when it is about 10 cm to individual pots for the plant to grow and give abundant chillies
25 Oct 17, (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I have a chilli plant that is now 3 years old in a large pot it is still producing chillies I feed it with tomato fertilizer is this normal it now resembles a small shrub
02 Apr 17, Greg (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
I use tomato fertilizer and it works well for me.I grow chilli in pots inagreen house.
30 Mar 17, Guy (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
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.
31 Mar 17, (Australia - arid climate)
I use this in temperate Queensland. General all round fert for garden and lawn. Bit low in P but I add a bit more. Go to a farmers fert depot and ask. Buy a 25kg bag, a lot cheaper than shops. $25 for 25 kg at the moment. In a shop 3x the price the other day for 3 kg. CROP KING 88. The fertilizer name. N-P-K-15-4.3-11.3. These indicate that it contains 15% nitrogen, 4. 3% phosphorus and 11. 3% potassium. The forms in which the nutrients are present are indicated in the following table: 15% Nitrogen (N) Ammonia form 4.1% Phosphorus (P) Water Soluble 0.1% Phosphorus (P) Citrate Soluble 0.1% Phosphorus (P) Citrate Insoluble 4.3% Phosphorus (P) Total 11.3% Potassium as Muriate of Potash (i.e. the chloride form) 13.6% Sulphur (S) as Sulphates  48.5%   The remaining 51.5% is made up of elements such as hydrogen, oxygen and carbon that are part of the chemical compounds that contain the nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium nutrients.
31 Mar 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Maybe I am biased but I wouldn't use chemical fertilisers like you mention as they destroy soil life. Healthy soil teeming with soil life is the answer. Build your soil up with old manure, compost and any organic matter and 'numbers' won't be necessary.Use crop rotation starting with a leaf crop after you have added manure, etc to the soil. When the leaf crop is finished plant a fruit crop (beans, capsicum, tomatoes zucchini, etc), then finally a root veg crop. Re-fertilise the soil ready to start the cycle again. plants need more than N-P-K and organic matter will achieve this, building up the soil life, increasing the capacity of the soil to hold water, increasing disease resistance and making more micro-nutrients available to your plants. adding some lime in late autumn or winter will also help. Trust this helps.
Showing 1 - 10 of 19 comments

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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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