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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 64°F and 95°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 16 - 20 inches 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

03 Sep 08, Liz (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Julie, chillies will do better in full sun
12 Jan 09, Lucy (New Zealand - temperate climate)
hi, I am growing chillis in a 75cm round pot, there is 1 chilli plant and 1 capsicum plant in there, will they grow well in a pot?
30 Jun 10, (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Growing indoors, they will need an even warmth and plenty of light. If they are on a windowsill, watch that they don't get too cold overnight.
07 Jul 14, Deepak Bhatia (New Zealand - temperate climate)
What kind of fertilizer does chillies need
01 Jan 17, Lynne Adams (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Do I nip top stems off to increase side stems and fruit
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.
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.
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.
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.
Showing 1 - 10 of 14 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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