If you are looking for variety when growing your own chillies, then growing them from seed is the best way. They are plant that has along growing season, so germinating seeds indoors, or in a propagation house will give you better results in most cases.
Growing chillies is easy in warm climates, you can grow them in the garden, in a greenhouse, in containers or even indoors in colder climates. All varieties require warmth, and a long growing season, so starting them off indoors is a great method in cooler climates.
How to germinate Chilli seeds.
The first trick germinating chilli seeds is soil temperature. It needs to be warm, ideally around 27 – 30 C and constant for the period of germination. However as low as 18 C will work for some varieties.
You can easily do this by, buying a bottom heat propagation tray.
Secondly you need to maintain moisture. The soil needs to be just moist until germination is complete. Be careful not to make the soil wet, as this can cause fungal diseases.
Thirdly you need good quality seeds. They need have been stored in a cool dry environment.
Finally you need to use either individual ‘jiffy pots’ that fit into plastic trays, larger pots and good quality seed raising/ propagation soil mix. The jiffy pots are easier when transplanting. Look for Jiffy Square Strips with holes and the tray to suit.
How to Grow Chillies from Seed – Step By Step
- Seeds should be planted close to the surface, less than 1 cm deep.
- Moisten using a spray bottle.
- Keep the soil temperature between 27 and 30 C .
- Germination will commence in as little as 7 days and most should be sprouting within 14 days.
- The seedlings need to stay in the warm moist environment (bottom heat propagation tray until they have established good root systems. Wait until each seedling has 3 to 4 leaves.
- Seedlings need to be acclimatised (hardened off) to the full sun, so move them into morning sun for a week or so, and increasing into full sun.
- You should water regularly with a liquid seaweed fertiliser during this period.
- After two weeks of hardening off the seedlings should be ready to transplant into the garden, or into a container.
Alternatively, start seeds in 10 cm (4 inch) pots, try 4 seeds to a pot. You can them grow them on in the pot for longer indoors before dividing and planting out or potting up.
Top Tip For Growing Chillies
Plant them as early as possible. Chillies take a long time to grow and produce good sized ripe fruit. In colder areas they will struggle at the first cold snap in autumn.
Growing Chilli plants in cool climates.
In cooler climates chilli plants are often best grown in a hot house or poly tunnel, anywhere that they will be protected from frosts and cold winds.
- You can grow them in pots and they will be productive, you have the advantage of being able to move them around to optimise warmth. Choose a large container for most varieties, use a high quality potting mix with some added compost and aged cow manure.
- Once the plants are established and begin to flower, this is the best time to add additional fertiliser, and chilies do thrive on fertiliser.
- You can top dress with aged manure, use liquid fertilisers, or use a slow release fertiliser designed for vegetables.
- In containers, pay extra attention to watering as they do tend to dry out more quickly.
When to plant chillies
In cooler climates wait until spring before planting chillies outdoors. Even then it may be better to keep them under cover until late spring. In warmer climates you can plant them out much earlier.
- When you plant then out, you can plant them a little deeper than they were in the pot, they will send out extra roots.
- The soil should be firmed in lightly, enough to hold the plant upright without compressing the soil to much.
Chilli plants are members of the capsicum family and are originally from South america. They grow well in warm climates, although in Australia, the hot afternoon sun can be a little harsh for them.
Easy to grow, and with so many varieties available, they vary not only in heat, which is measured on the Scoville Scale, 1 being very mild 10 being very hot, they also vary in flavour.
To have access to the wonderful variety of favours and heat, you may wish to grown your own chillies, we tell you how to do it.
You can buy chilli seedlings at most nurseries, and for many of us they are satisfactory.
For the chilli fanatic you may want to grow some of the more exotic varieties from seed, it not difficult, and you will have access to range of flavours that and heat profiles that will astound you.
One of the more important aspects of how to grow chillies is warmth. They are a plant that needs warmth, so plant them into the garden once the soil has warmed a little, spring to summer depending on your climate.
Chillies came in an astounding number of varieties, choose the heat and taste profile that you like. Look specific information on that variety on how to grow chillies from seed, and then you are ready to plant the seeds.
Care of Chilli Plants
From here on its general care.
- When transplanting chilli seedlings to the garden, prepare the soil well by digging in well rotted compost.
- Plant the seedlings and water in with a liquid seaweed fertiliser.
- Fertilise regularly.
- Keep the soil moist but not wet.
- Watch out for pests and any sign of disease.
- From seed to fruiting chilli plants will take around 12 to 16 weeks.