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

01 Aug 20, Constance (South Africa - Semi-arid climate)
I stay in Botswana.When can I start to plant chillies?
22 Jul 20, Christal van der Byl (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
I live in the Eastern Cape and my mom makes and sells chilli paste. I am thinking of growing the chillies ourselves because it can get difficult to find chillies. What advice do you have to make sure that we always have chillies growing? I will be making wooden creates / boxes to grow the chillies in, because the soil on our land is not very fertile if I grow but it will be outside and in the boxes I can move them around for different times of the year where the sun will be catching best.
23 Jul 20, Anonymous (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
I feel you would have more chance of a good crop if you planted in the ground than in boxes or crates. They need to be in sunlight all/most of the day. They are a spring through autumn crop I think, I have never grown them. You need to improve your soil by adding compost and manures regularly, yearly. Soil is only the medium that plants grow in. All soils need to have nutrients added to them, compost, manures, mulch that breaks down, fertilisers etc. Do some internet research on how to grow them.
20 Jul 20, Jyoti (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Best is to plant a new chillie plant.i had a plant which survived winter but did not gave as much fruit as it did before.
18 Jul 20, Theresa (USA - Zone 10b climate)
Hello, I want to grow chili peppers (Scotch Bonnet) soon but I see that it may be outside of the growth period. What advice would you give? I live in Long Beach, CA.
16 Jul 20, Tshwgo (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
I am planning to plan habanero peppers and love in the north of Johannesburg. When is the best time to plant and how do I maintain? Thank you in advance
19 Jul 20, Astrid (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
Don't be in a rush to get the seeds out. This year we've got a cold winter, so if you are sowing directly into the ground I would not sow earlier than mid September in Jhb North just to be safe. If you can start the seeds indoors you could sow early August, and plant out mid September. Plant in full sun at least 50cm apart. Make sure your plants don't dry out or your harvest will be affected. The best way to do this is to mulch well with organic matter around the plants (leaves, compost etc) to prevent moisture loss / keep moisture levels constant, but you will still need to water. When you see flowers develop, feed with a small handful (per plant) of Vita Veg Fruit & Flower - don't dig it in, just sprinkle around the plant. Leave your bushes to overwinter, they might survive!
16 Jul 20, (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
Check the chilli page for your climate zone and read it, it has when to plant. Then google how to grow chilli in south Africa.
10 Jul 20, Anver (South Africa - Humid sub-tropical climate)
i am going plant my chili seeds in tray an can i leave them indoor till it start to grow
13 Jul 20, Anonymous (South Africa - Humid sub-tropical climate)
It says plant seeds in Sept. Probably for soil temperature reasons. You could start inside in August but would have to provide warmth for them to germinate. Put them outside as soon as they germinate otherwise the might grow leggy, very tall and thin, looking for sunlight.
Showing 1 - 10 of 385 comments

I bought a chilli plant, very small, and it grew into a lovely plant, heaps and heaps of chilis. My question, will it flower again each year and produce new fruit each year? Or do I throw it away, and plant a new one?

- Gavin

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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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