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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, 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

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.
16 Mar 17, Marie (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Hello, we had the first frost this morning, my plant is full of big green chilies, is it now time to pick all my chilies or will they still turn red? Also how do i save chilie sead for next year?
17 Mar 17, Jack (Australia - temperate climate)
If the chillies are hit by frost they are likely to rot. I suggest pulling the plants out by the roots and hanging them upside down in a protected spot. This works with tomatoes and at least you would redeem some or most of them. To save seed cut or flick them out and let them dry on some paper towel. Store them in a paper bag or envelope with the name and date on it.
01 Jan 17, Lynne Adams (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Do I nip top stems off to increase side stems and fruit
02 Feb 17, Karen (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Yes. Not counting the seed leaves I generally let the plant grow to about 8 true leaves then remove the lower 2 (ventilation space under growing plant) and cut the stem leaving 4 true leaves. This results in a stronger stem, more side shoots = more fruit. This works well for me growing one plant per 15L container.
07 Jan 17, Peter (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
If you nip off the stem they will be sturdier plants and I have found they do produce more fruit.
07 Jul 14, Deepak Bhatia (New Zealand - temperate climate)
What kind of fertilizer does chillies need
Showing 1 - 10 of 13 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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