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|Guarantee:||1 year growth and flowering guarantee|
|Harvesting:||July - November|
|Latin name:||Capsicum frutescens 'Cayenne Long Slim'|
|Leafs all year:||No|
Chilli Pepper seeds require no prior treatment although steeping them in lukewarm water for 12 hours will encourage germination.
How to Sow
Chilli Peppers love the sun and in early March they can be started off indoors in a room or in a miniature greenhouse, using small cultivation pots or simply sown in a seed tray covered with plastic held up by long cocktail sticks.
Using cultivation pots filled with good potting compost and a miniature greenhouse is the simplest way of starting your Chilli Peppers. Try and arrange that the underside of the tray or greenhouse has some form of heating. Sow one seed per pot, poke it into the compost with a pencil or stick to a max. depth of 0.5 cm and cover lightly with more potting compost. Sprinkle with water and stand the tray or mini greenhouse on a sunny windowsill. The seeds will germinate in a week to 10 days depending on the temperatures. Temper the humidity after germination by opening the slides on the lid or pricking holes in the plastic over the tray.
When seedlings reach 10 cm, acclimatise them to normal humidity levels by removing the lid (or plastic) for an hour longer every day. After 5 days they will be hardened off and can be potted up.
When there is no longer a risk of frost and night temps are above 12°C, the plants can go outdoors - but not before they are hardened off. This means slowly acclimatising them to outside by standing them in the shade, one hour longer every day. Pot up after a week - 3 plants can easily thrive in a large pot. Now they can be stood in the sun. Or, you can plant them directly into the garden in a sheltered, sunny spot. Plant them in a row, spaced out at 35 cm apart with about 70 cm between each row to allow the Chilli Peppers space to grow well. Pinch out the growing tips to promote stronger branches for fruit bearing. The side shoots must also be removed. Chillies grown outdoors need all the energy they can get so that the top shoots can grow and form flower buds.
Chilli Peppers will easily pollinate themselves but (bumble) bees will help too. Fruiting will be no problem. Chilli Peppers react positively to the same fertiliser used for flowering pot plants. If cultivating in a greenhouse, your Chilli Peppers will grow taller so will require support from either canes or vertical strings.
Give extra water in periods of drought. Keep the bed free of weeds. This will help the plants to develop and grow well.
The fruit grows from the flowers - as the flowers fall away it leaves the green centre which is the beginning of the growth of the pepper. When the Chilli Peppers are growing there will be a darkening of the green chillies, which indicates that they are beginning to ripen. Harvesting regularly encourages more flowers and eventually more fruit. They need to be picked once they are ripe as they do dot ripen after picking. To avoid damaging the fruit, simply cut off the Chilli Pepper at the stem with a sharp knife or scatters. Allow the Chilli Pepper to hang and they will turn red (or one of the other colours you can expect).
Chilli Peppers love heat and thrive best in a greenhouse. But that is not to say that it is impossible to grow them outdoors - just choose the warmest and most sheltered spot for growing your Chilli Peppers.
Chillies are biological family of Paprikas - just cultivated differently from the same stock. Peppers are packed with vitamins but more importantly the ingredient Capsaicin which is what gives peppers their bite. The more Capsaicin a pepper contains, the hotter the bite.