Chillies need to be started early, anywhere from mid January to the end of March is good. April is a little late as they can take up to a month to germinate and require a long growing season if they are to ripen. Chilli seeds require temperatures of about 25ºC to get started but can then be grown on in cooler conditions. We put our pots in the airing cupboard to help germination. If you do this, remember to check them daily to see whether they have germinated and to make sure they do not dry out. You can also place your pots by a radiator.
Sow 2 to 3 chilli seeds in 8cm (3in) pots (hopefully at least one of these should germinate). If more then one comes up, then either thin out, or separate into individual pots. Plant in larger pots once the roots begin to show through the bottom.
Chilli Plant Care
Chilli plants are sun-lovers. In order to ripen, they require plenty of warmth and light, so it is essential that they are in a sunny position. If the plants are to be grown outside, harden them off on warm sunny days, and only place in their final position once all frosts have passed. If growing in a greenhouse, they can either be grown in large pots or planted directly into the soil.
Pinching out the growing tips will help them to bush out, but may delay cropping. If you are growing them in pots, you may want to bush them out to prevent them getting too tall. It’s often a good idea to stake the plants as they can be quite prolific and the stems can get damaged by the weight of the chillies!
Once they start flowering, feed with a dilute solution of liquid tomato feed or your own comfrey feed (comfrey leaves left in a bucket of water) every other time you water. Ensure the plants do not dry out, but don’t overwater.
1. Growing Chillies – QUICKSTART GUIDE to growing chillies
2. Planting Chillies – How and when to plant chilli seeds
3. Harvesting and Preserving Chillies – How and when to harvest chillies and how to store them
4. Freezing Chillies – How to freeze chillies
5. Chilli Growing Tips – Some tips to help you grow fabulous chillies
6. Chilli Pests, Problems and Diseases – If things go wrong with your chillies, help is at hand
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