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I'm thinking about growing some edible items in pots for the summer. I was thinking about chilies and wondered if anyone had grown any, or knew how to start growing them. I live in the South East of England, so the weather is usually quite good. I also don't know if you can grow chilies indoors.



  • My OH grows them. He usually starts sowing seeds at Christmas in a propagator under lights. The plants are currently about 6-8 inches tall. They go into a heated greenhouse about April and then stay in there. Once the frosts have passed, the greenhouse isn't heated and they are watered daily, and they also get a feed with something called Chilli Focus weekly or monthly (not sure which).

    He gets such a large crop of different chillis that we give them away, keep some for seed harvesting.

    You can grow indoors, but they do need heat to produce chillis.

  • Mel MMel M Posts: 347

    Chillies will grow outdoors so long as you have a sunny, sheltered spot although most people I know grow them in a greenhouse or poly tunnel, or even a sunny porch. For outdoors you can try 'Super Chilli' which is compact and easy to grow and gets smothered in small, hot fruit. Treat your chillies just like tomatoes - keep them moist and feed with tomato feed. They do need a propagator to germinate, heat being essential, but once growing they can be bought on in lower temperatures, but not too low of course.

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 23,760

    There was an excellent chilli expert thread here last year. The consensus was, soak seed overnight in cold tea and sow in propagator in Feb at around 25C.

  • LoganLogan Posts: 2,532
    I start sowing chillies now in a heated propargater but when the suns out turn it off or they'll get too hot. I don't soak them before but they come up ok.If they are kept inside they don't need heat just a sunny placeimage
  • LeifUKLeifUK Posts: 573

    Chillis are tropical plants, and many varieties will not produce well outdoors in the UK. Some will, such as Japaneno, if kept in a sheltered sunny spot, and the weather is not too bad. Smaller Capsicum annuum varities are usually okay, and Capsicum pubescens is okay. They do better indoors on a sunny windowsill, although small varieties are best for obvious reasons. My approach is to grow one or two Capsicum chinense indoors, the flavour is wonderful and they are hot. The plants can be modest sized. I will grow some Black Hungarian (like Jalapeno) outdoors but under a coldframe. However, don't put chillis outside until frosts have passed, and the nights are above ~10C. A cold spell can put them back weeks.

    I have grown Capsicum pubescens outside with success planted in the ground in a sheltered spot. They did poorly in an exposed spot close to a warm south facing wall. I have tried Capsicum chinense and Capsicum frutescens (Tobasco) outdoors without success. Last year Black Hungarian did badly outside, apart from some under a coldframe and those did well. I have also tried Lemon Drop - Capsicum baccatum - outdoors with success, they are quite hardy.

    Now is a good time to germinate seeds. My Lemon Habanero have sprouted, and are now on a windowsill. Generally chillis need a long growing season, so the earlier you start the better, but light levels are low in winter, so February is a decent compromise, although I will try using a CFL bulb this year to give them a bit of a head start.

  • LeifUKLeifUK Posts: 573

    Oh, and I use a heated propagator, £10 from B&Q ~15 years ago.

  • Mel MMel M Posts: 347

    My propargator is a cheepo from B+Q. Four years old now and even the Carolina Reaper I sowed this year germinated well.

  • Wilko had Stewarts heated propagators for £12 the other day. Not fancy, but would probably do the job.

  • LeifUKLeifUK Posts: 573

    My B&Q one is made by Stewarts, and looks the same as my Stewarts one, but cheaper, and comes without a seed tray.

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