If you are a lover of spicy food, chilies are a staple in your kitchen. In this post we will give you information about these seeds and also some steps you must follow to sow them properly. Do not miss our explanation about how to sow chili peppers at home. Everything you need for your care.
Table of Contents
What do you need:
Pay attention to certain things about chili seeds before you start growing them, this information will make you feel more confident about what to do because at first you can feel like you are in unknown territory, which is perfectly normal:
- Appearance: I’m sure most people probably already know what the seeds of the chili plant look like. But here’s a description anyway: They are flat and round, and can be white, cream, or yellow. And the seeds of hot peppers can contain the same oils that make the fruit hot.
- Light: If the seedlings don’t get enough light, they will start to grow legs and reach the nearest window. So, to keep them growing thick and compact, it’s best to use a grow light.
Hang a plant grow light a few inches above your seedlings as soon as they germinate, and use an outlet timer to keep it on for 14-16 hours per day. You could make your own system with a store light fixture and light bulbs.
- Fertilizer: Once the true leaves start to form, it’s time to start fertilizing. But don’t give them a full dose of strength right away. It is best to use a weak dose at first, slowly increasing the strength as the seedlings grow. It is also recommended to use a natural and organic fertilizer instead of synthetic chemicals. Chemical fertilizers are harsh and can easily damage baby chili plants.
You don’t need to buy a bunch of expensive equipment to grow chili from seed, but you will need a few things. You may already have some of these things around the house. Here is the list of things you will need and the instructions to get started with growing:
- Seed soil with a lid
- Seed starting soil or peat pellets
- Heat mat (optional)
- Latex (if hot pepper seeds are planted)
Sowing chilies step by step
- Fill Seed Trays: Fill cells with moist seed starting soil, or pre-moisten peat pellets. Then put them on the trays.
- Decide how many seeds to use: If you are using new seeds, then you can plant one per cell/pellet. Otherwise, if they are old or have a low viability rate, then plant 2-3 per cell/pellet.
- Plant the seeds: To plant them, you can put the seeds on top of the soil, and then gently push them down. Or you can make the holes first, and then drop the seeds.
- Cover the seeds with soil: Fill the holes with soil, then press down gently to make sure the seeds make contact with the soil. Don’t compact the soil, just gently press it down.
- Add water: If the soil is not already wet, then you should add water. It is better to water from below so as not to disturb the seeds. Simply pour it into the tray until it is just above the drainage holes or about 1/4 the height of the granules. Discard any excess water that has not been absorbed within 15 minutes.
- Cover the tray: Place the clear plastic lid on top of the tray to help keep the soil warm, and make sure it stays moist.
- Place the tray in a warm place: If you can, put it on top of a thermal mat. That will help speed up germination. Otherwise, put it in the warmest place you can, or put a heater nearby. If it’s too cold, germination will be delayed, or the seeds won’t grow at all.
The best way to get a good harvest is to plant the seeds indoors 8-12 weeks before the average date of the last frost. The exact date of when to start sowing the seeds depend on where you live.
One thing that makes it easy to grow chilies from seed is that you don’t need to do anything special to prepare them for planting. No nicking, soaking, or cold stratification required. You can put them right out of the package into the ground, and they will grow.
When it comes to growing chilies from seed, you have to be patient. It can take anywhere from a week to nearly a month for them to germinate. Some varieties grow faster than others. If yours take forever, then it may be too cold for them. To germinate them faster, put the trays on a heat mat, or on a heater. It’s amazing how quickly they germinate when bottom heat is added.
When they first sprout, chili seedlings will have two narrow, pointed leaves. These first two leaves are called “seed leaves.” All the following leaves that grow after that are called “true leaves.” True leaves usually begin to form a week or so after the seed leaves have opened.
- Once the seeds start to grow, you may be wondering what to do next. Well, don’t worry, because one of the best things about growing chilies from seed is that the seedlings are so easy to care for. Not all plants are the same, although they are very similar. But as each one has its peculiarities, pay attention to the particular care that the chili requires.
- Watering: Chili pepper seedlings need constant watering, but they don’t like soggy soil. Let the top of the soil dry out a bit between watering, but never let it dry out completely.
If you accidentally overwater them, and the soil is soggy, empty out any extra water that’s in the tray. Then, turn on a fan at low altitude and position it to blow over the pan. This will help the saturated soil dry out faster.
- Air Circulation: Once all (or most) of the seeds have germinated, it’s time to give them air. You can remove the caps, and run an oscillating fan over them on the down position.
This will help strengthen them, and also prevent problems with mold growth on the trays. Put it on the same timer as your lights, or run it for a shorter period if you prefer.
- Planting location: Before planting them in the garden, they should be hardened off first to prepare them for outdoor life.
Since they are used to living in a warm indoor environment where there is no rain, wind, or direct sun, you need to harden them for life in the real world.
To harden them off, start by placing them outside in the shade for a few hours a day. Then, each day, give them a little more sun and time outside. After a few weeks, they will be ready to stay outside forever.