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chilli germination: Heat vs Sun

Hi all -

I'm planning on growing a variety of chillies and peppers this year, and realise that I really need to get onto it asap. I've been doing some reading however and just watched this Gardeners' World series opener and I'm confused about the best way to germinate indoors. I don't have any fancy equipment such as heated mats and boxes, and many people say to germinate on a window sill above a radiator. Only problem is, the only such sill in my house gets no sunlight; I have a few window sills that get good sunlight but they are not near a window sill. So I'm then torn between UV and heat; but there are also several articles online that say sunlight is crucial while others say to start off the plants in an airing cupboard! So I'm a little confused and was hoping some generous folks out there could help me. If necessary I'd love to avoid having to empty my wallet and fill my house with lots of equipment. (also, does the same apply to tomatoes?) Thanks!


  • SlumSlum Posts: 357
    Heat until they germinate and then light. This page will be helpful:

    Good luck
  • Hi! I tried chillies for the first time this year, and germinated them in a kitchen cupboard which has a lamp underneath it, making it a mini-hotbed. I put a thermometer in there to make sure they never dipped below 20C. Once they germinated I moved them to a sunny windowsill, with added light of a desk lamp.

    Most of them are happy and thriving now (10/10 germinated, 8/10 growing steadily); they get ok sunlight, but I still keep my desk lamp on from morning to evening (also cos I'm in Finland..) to keep them going. So, nothing too fancy equipment-wise ;)

    Good luck!
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 9,869
    (also, does the same apply to tomatoes?) - 
    Yes - as above warmth to germinate (22-24c ish) then as much good daylight as you can find with temps ideally not dipping below 20c

    I've sowed chili, peppers and tomatoes in my heated propagator. Sungold toms have just appeared. But the g/house is covered in snow today and outside it 1c. In my propagator it's 19c..... so I'm keeping my fingers crossed
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Kitty 2Kitty 2 ManchesterPosts: 5,150
    I used to just sow all my seeds in standard trays/pots in the conservatory, but have found that I have much better germination rates since buying a heated propagator.

    It's nothing fancy, a simple 38cm Stewarts one. I use it to start off my chillies, tomatoes and half-hardy annual flowers that need a bit of extra warmth to get going.

    Once they've sprouted I take them off the heat and grow them on inside ordinary plastic lidded propagators on a shelf in the conservatory that gets plenty of natural light.
  • dilbydilby Posts: 66
    Thanks all! I've built a little rack in my airing cupboard for now where temperature seem about perfect. Hopefully I'll get good germination then I'll shift to a window sill upstairs that gets a lot of sunlight; not over a radiator but close-ish to one and that room is very warm. Fingers crossed! I might look to get a heated system for next year, although a reason I'm delaying is I plan to get a greenhouse next year :smile:
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,314
    We used to have a resident chilli expert who suggested soaking the seeds overnight in tea to help germination.
  • SkandiSkandi Northern DenmarkPosts: 1,576
    I bunged the 10 free chili seeds I got from my seed order this year into some compost and then kept them at 16C in the dark until they germinated, germination took around 6 days which is a lot better than I have ever managed before, and I got 100% They are now just growing their first true leaves and I've moved them into little pots, they are still at around 16C but now they get lighting for 18 hours each day.
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