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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

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
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
28 Feb 19, Alice (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi Steve Seeds from your frozen whole fruit will not be viable. Seeds stored in freezer after drying at least 80% will keep viable in freezer but not fresh. Sorry
03 Mar 19, mike (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
I would still try and grow some just in case.
27 Feb 19, Mike (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Go on the internet and do some research about saving seeds. Some seeds need some curing first before putting in the fridge. I don't know whether it is/was a good idea to put in the freezer - other people here might know. Example - tomatoes need to be fermented in water to take the gel case off the seed before drying and then put in a bag and then into an air tight jar and put in the fridge. When taking that jar out off the fridge let it sit for 20-30 mins before opening it. If opened straight away condensation can happen and maybe ruin the seeds. You can only try - plant a couple of seeds to see if they germinate and then grow in a place protected from the wind a bit. Do some research to try and find a company/??? who can advise about your situation. Google something like - seed saving companies or seed saving bank. Good luck
23 Dec 18, (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Do you need to take off laterals? Or just let them grow up as they wish??
29 Dec 18, Mike (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
I would leave them on to provide protection for the fruit.
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.
Showing 1 - 10 of 28 comments

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

- steve

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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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