Growing Chilli peppers, also Hot peppers

Capsicum sp. : Solanaceae / the nightshade family

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 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

09 May 08, brad simes (Unknown climate)
my chilli plant is going yellow is that normal
10 May 08, Tammi (Unknown climate)
A question if anyone can. I live in Mandurah WA, something is eating my chilli seedlings off to a stalk. I have used ant and grub powder and also snail pellets. Any advise? Thanks Tam
12 May 08, Clair (Unknown climate)
Tammi - it might be slaters. Put a piece of orange near the plants at night, and check early the next morning. If it is slaters eating the chili plants, they will congregate on the orange, which you can then dispose of, with the slaters! Repeat until you are slater-free. If you don't have pets or kids, you can also crush up snail pellets to a powder as the slater's mouth parts or too small to eat the big pellets.
21 Jun 08, Tammi (Australia - temperate climate)
Thank you so very much for the Slater advice. I will try the orange.
09 Aug 08, Megan Darling (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
I was just wondering, my chili's are very small and not very hot. Is there a way to encourage them to grow bigger? It's only 10 months old. Thanks
22 Aug 08, gareth (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
do u plant chillis from punnets or straight into the beds =) =(
01 Sep 08, julie (Australia - tropical climate)
Do chilli's need full sun to grow or just morning? I am just getting ready to put in a vege patch.
03 Sep 08, Liz (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Julie, chillies will do better in full sun
13 Oct 08, Joel (Australia - temperate climate)
Megan, I have had the same problem with growing jalapenos, the plants make a lot of fruit, but they all stay very small and not spicy. I have found some other chili varieties grow better, birdseye chilli's especially. Someone suggested that the pH in my soil might be too high, I havent checked it though.
22 Oct 08, Julie (Australia - temperate climate)
My chilli plant was prolific with aprox 3cm sized fruit for the last few years. Now it has flowered again abundantly but the fruit are maturing tiny (0.5cm) and round. What is it lacking?
Showing 1 - 10 of 412 comments

Hi. I have my own chilli breeding program going on, and am planning to use a combination of Thai chilli, birdseye chilli, Chilli Diablo, some stock chilli (generic, little spice, huge fruit, and Habanero. All these plants are growing in a full-sun position in neutral soil with some compost and old manure mixed in, making it slightly more acidic, but they seem to love it. I have noticed growth of up to an inch a week if Worm Castings and seasol are mixed with some water and sprayed onto the leaves of the stock chilli and diablo. As the leaves of these two are very large, foliar feeding goes down a treat. The birdseye and thai chillies have smaller leaves, so I just add it into the irrigation water, with equal results. The habanero I have left alone, as a bit of an experiment to see how maintenance-free this part of the veg garden is. All the plants (apart from the diablo) were started from seed in the middle of winter, indoors, and the Thai chilli and Birdseye chillies have been topped as half the crop from them will go into our special family chilli sauce. All plants have abundant flowers, some of which are ready to open, and average about 60cm tall. I hope this helps and inspires some peopleto get into chillies.

- Mick

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