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.

Your comments and tips

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.
11 Mar 18, Campbell (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Hello. What happens if I leave ripe chilies on the plant. Is there a risk they will start to rot? I have a few that seem to be starting to soften in places and splitting ?
Showing 11 - 20 of 37 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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