Growing Chillies Questions and Answers

Please feel free to ask as any question that are not covered in our growing chilli guides.

Q. How long do chilli seeds take to germinate

A. Generally speaking chilli seeds should take anywhere between 7 and 14 days to germinate but there are many factors that may effect the time the chilli seed takes to germinate. Some varieties, especially the Capsicum chinense chilli seeds can take up to 28 day to germinate, I’ve always found that the Naga Jolokia take for ever to germinate. Part of successful germination is all to do with the soil temperature and soil moisture. If your seeds are in soil that is cold and wet then al that is going to happen is the seeds will rot before they germinate. Try to keep the temperature above 20c and do not water-log the soil when watering. ensure that the soil does not dry out and do not plant the seeds too deep, seeds only need to be about 3 – 5 mm deep.

Q. When to plant Chillies

A. Chillies, especially in the UK need a long growing season to ensure that you get a good crop of chillies by the end of the summer. We start our chilli seedling in January, but sow through to May. I would recommend starting your chillies as early in the year as feasibly possible, if you have a heated propagator then go for an early start, if you do not have the means to keep the temperature of the soil up then maybe wait a while until early spring. Just mind, one of the problem of starting your chillies in January is they can be effected by low light, the stems become very lanky and spindly and can flop over and be damaged.

Q. How long does it take for a chilli plant to produce chillies

A. Well there are a lot variables to take into account when working out how long it will take your chilli plant to produce chillies but there are a few methods. Generally when you buy a packet of chilli seeds it will say on the packet something like “85 days”. This is the expected period of time that you can expect to wait from when the plant is a seedling to cropping your first chillies. I have seen some packets with “67 days” and I think that’s a bit specific to be almost useless. I would take these as guidelines only. One important point is chillies such as Pimientos de Padron, Ancho and Anaheim which are generally eaten green will have a much shorter growing time than say a Habanero Red which is listed as 110 days. Another factor is the amount of sun we get in the summer, sun (and heat) is totally important for the chillies to go red.