Chilli Pepper 'Fresno Mix' F1 from T&M

Chillies and sweet peppers both pack a colourful flavour punch
Image: Chilli Pepper ‘Fresno Mix’ F1 from Thompson & Morgan

If you want to grow your own chilli and sweet pepper plants indoors on a sunny windowsill or outdoors in the garden, here’s the best advice from some of our favourite Instagrammers, YouTubers and bloggers. These independent posts and videos give you step-by-step guidance on how to grow your own crops of colourful peppers – both fiery and sweet.

Browse our full range of chilli and sweet pepper seeds for inspiration.

This article was reviewed by T&M’s horticultural team and updated on 29 February 2024.

Only sow a few seeds of each chilli variety

Labelled pot with chilli seeds and handmade labels

Ali makes a handmade label for each of his freshly sown chilli seeds
Image: Ali’s Allotment

Try to only sow a few seeds of each tasty chilli variety you choose, says Ali. Being frugal avoids the dilemma of having too many seedlings demanding space and attention. To help him stick to his three seeds per variety limit, Ali uses small pots instead of larger trays. He makes sure to save a few seeds from his favourite chillies at the end of each year to enjoy more of a good thing for free! See how he does it in his friendly video over at Ali’s Allotment YouTube channel

Water your seed trays from underneath

Pot of vermiculite growing medium

Vermiculite keeps your chilli seeds moist without smothering them
Image: Grow Media Vermiculite from Thompson & Morgan

It’s important to water your newly sown chilli seeds from the bottom, says Rob from @thegardendesigncoltd. Do this by placing the seed tray into a shallow basin of water, he says. The water gently soaks up through the compost whilst keeping the seeds exactly at the right depth for germination, he explains. Rob sows his chilli and sweet pepper seeds no later than February every year to make sure the fruits have plenty of time to ripen in the UK summer.

Start sweet peppers early in a heated propagator

Outdoor-grown sweet pepper plants

Outdoor-grown sweet peppers crop well with the right care
Image: Brimwood Farm

Geoff’s tip for growing sweet bell peppers outdoors? Start them as early as January in a heated propagator. Geoff’s pepper plantlets took a few months to really get going but benefitted from the early start. “As soon as the spring weather kicked in they took off,” he says. Check out the rest of Geoff’s informative video over at Brimwood Farm to pick up more top tips.

Mist sweet pepper plants with water to deter pests

Sweet pepper plants 'Hot Banana' with one ripe fruit

Some varieties of sweet peppers are long while others are rounded
Image: Sweet pepper ‘Hot Banana’ Plants from Thompson & Morgan

Deter red spider mites from your developing sweet pepper plants by misting them with water, says John Harrison of Allotment & Gardens. Misting your plants when they’re in flower is also a great way to encourage your flowers to set fruit, he says. Check out the rest of his article ‘Growing Sweet Peppers’ for more advice and some great practical tips.

Move greenhouse chillies outside in very hot weather

Man sitting with chilli plant in greenhouse

This expert grows a range of chillies and sweet peppers under cover
Image: GrowVeg

Move [greenhouse] plants outside if temperatures soar,” advises Ben Vanheems on the GrowVeg YouTube channel. If your greenhouse gets too hot, then flowers will simply abort and drop off the plant, he explains. Combat unwanted flower drop in hot weather by dousing the floor with water, or by standing pots over trays of water to raise the humidity, he says. Ben’s video gives a full overview of chilli growing, including some excellent tips on how to pot on your plants.

Protect greenhouse chillies from sun scorch

Young chilli plants in square pots

Fresh green growth in spring can act as a magnet for greenfly
Image: Shutterstock

Growing your chillies in a greenhouse? Protect your precious young plants from leaf scorch by filtering the strong April sun through bubble wrap like the veteran chilli growers at @oxfordshirechillies. This handy hack also prevents greenfly attack as well as keeping your plant babies warm in case night temperatures suddenly drop! Visit their action-packed Instagram page for lots of colourful chillies and unusual recipes.

Allow potted chillies to dry out between waterings

Red and green jalapenos in small bowl

One chilli plant produces multiple pods
Image: Chilli pepper ‘Jalapeño’ Plants from Thompson & Morgan

As a recent convert to home chilli growing, Alexandra Campbell of The Middlesized Garden sought out T&M’s very own top chilli growing expert, Kris Collins, for some top tips. The most common mistake by first time chilli growers is over-watering: “Let the pots almost dry out before watering again,” he told her in this excellent interview. Find more nuggets of wisdom in Alexandra’s article: ‘How to Grow Chillies’.

Boost fruiting chilli plants with a potassium feed

Red and green Scotch Bonnet chilli pepper

Ripening chilli fruit appreciate a feed
Image: Chilli Scotch bonnet ‘Animo Red’ Plants from Thompson & Morgan

Choose a high potassium feed for your chillies when they’re fruiting, advises Mark Ridsdill Smith, creator of the hugely popular blog Vertical Veg. He recommends making your own potassium fertiliser from comfrey – then using it to feed your chillies and pepper plants to encourage more fruit. Find specific tips for growing chillies in containers in his comprehensive article.

Look out for jalapenos with ‘corked’ skin

Corked jalapeno fruit with striped skin

The little scars on your jalapeno pods are a sign of good flavour
Image: @reveley_lodge_gardener

Who knew chillies could get stretch marks? The ‘corking’ you see on some of your jalapeno pods should be seen as a sign of quality, enthuses Instagramming gardener Lesley Powell. It’s simply the skin splitting as the chilli pods swell with juicy flavour, she explains. “I’ve read that corked jalapeños are hotter and tastier than ordinary ones,” says Lesley over at @reveley_lodge_gardener. Follow her on Insta to see if it proves true.

Leave chillies on the plant for a spicier flavour

Woman showing pot of ripe and unripe chilli plant

In September, chilli plants often have fruits at various states of ripening
Image: @happy_smallholding

The longer you leave those fruits on the plant to mature, the hotter they’ll get!” says successful allotmenteer Jess Gough of @happy_smallholding. That’s the way to grow chillies with a more intense flavour. The only trade-off to consider is that your plant will stop producing new fruits! But, she adds, “if you want quantity over heat, pick them as soon as they’re ripe to encourage the plant to produce more fruit.” You can also join Jess in her fun chilli grow along for practical tips.

Flash fry padron peppers with salt for delicious tapas

Padron peppers on white plant

Padrón peppers are delicious fried and eaten whole
Image: Chilli Pepper ‘Padron’ (Medium – The Tapas Pepper) seeds from Thompson & Morgan

If you want to create delicious tapas with your Padrón chilli peppers, simply fry them whole with salt. The secret, according to Mr Haughty from @haughtyculturist, is not to let them get too big. These mild peppers become spicier and spicier as they grow, he explains. Watch this helpful video to see just how big Mr and Mrs Haughty let their container-grown padron peppers get before picking. And Daisy the dog is worth a follow in her own right!

Dry chilli peppers for storage

Single red chilli pepper

Bright red chillies, ripe for the picking
Image: Chilli ‘Apache’ F1 Hybrid Plants from Thompson & Morgan

Chillies are really easy to dry and preserve for use through the winter months, says Thompson & Morgan’s in-house expert Sue Sanderson. “Take a needle, and thread the stems of the chilli peppers together on some twine so that they form a daisy chain,” she says. Not only does this allow your chillies to dry properly in around four weeks, it looks great too! Find more tricks for growing and enjoying your chilli peppers in this helpful article.

Use the dried fruits to make chilli powder

Dried red chillies in dehydrator

Dry chillies make an excellent store cupboard ingredient
Image: @susybliving

Stuck with a glut of chillies and a lack of inspiration? See the tasty chilli powder that SusyB makes with her gorgeous purple ‘Buena Mulata’ chilli peppers over @susybliving. This top Instagrammer dehydrates, then whizzes up the dry chillies to make a tasty sprinkle – the perfect store cupboard ingredient or homegrown gift. An Aussie living in Lincolnshire, this plot-to-plate gardening expert shares lots of tips for allotment growers and anyone who likes exotic fruit and veg.

Keep chilli plants indoors over winter

Man sitting in garden talking about chilli plant

Cut back your favourite chilli plants to keep them alive over winter
Image: My Family Garden

Did you know you can get a crop of chillies from the same plants year after year? Over at YouTube channel My Family Garden, Mothin Ali explains how he keeps his favourite chilli plants alive over winter by carefully removing lots of stem and foliage. Then, he says: “Just place your prepared plants on a warm windowsill over winter. They don’t need a lot of light.” See exactly how much top growth to remove, and Mothin’s impressive naga harvest, in his excellent video.

Overwinter chilli plants indoors for an early crop

Woman holding overwintered chilli plant

‘Carolina Reaper’ chillies pack a supercharged punch
Image: @ambersallotment

If you’re into the super hot Carolina Reaper chilli like grower Gintare, give yourself a super early harvest by overwintering your mature plants indoors instead of sowing seeds. “This variety takes very long until it starts fruiting, so it makes sense to overwinter it and enjoy [an] early harvest,” she explains in her short video over at @ambersallotment. She harvests chillies until the end of January, giving her a crop for most of the year! See her full post for more info.

Grow chillies as an ornamental edible

Tabletop container of chillies

‘Basket of Fire’ chillies are very prolific
Image: Chilli Pepper ‘Basket of Fire’ F1 Seeds from Thompson & Morgan

Are you unsure which chilli pepper to grow? The family behind recommends chilli ‘Basket of Fire’: “It produces up to 200 chillies per plant and they mature in a rainbow of colours from dark purple, through to yellow, orange and finally red.” See their prolific outdoor-grown plant for yourself in their Insta post. Be warned though – this attractive variety packs a punch in Scoville units!

We hope you’ve enjoyed our selection of the best chilli and sweet pepper growing content from the internet, and feel confident enough to start your own colourful crop. Do you know of a great article we’ve missed? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, or tag us at #YourTMGarden. Find our own ‘how to’ guides, recipes and chilli blog posts at our dedicated chillies and sweet peppers hub page.

Expert contributor list

  • Benedict Vanheems, BSc. (Hons) degree in horticulture, garden and wildlife YouTuber, writer and editor.
  • Ali, Allotmenteer and home gardener in the North West of England.
  • Rob Jones, owner of The Garden Design Company – an award winning garden design & build service.
  • Geoff Wakeling, Homesteader, YouTuber and content creator.
  • John Harrison, Allotment blogger, winner of Grow Your Own’s ‘Great British Growing Awards’ 2015, author and garden writer.
  • The Oxfordshire Chilli Garden, Local business producing hot chillies in rural Oxfordshire .
  • Alexandra Campbell, Garden writer, journalist, content creator.
  • Mark Ridsdill Smith, Urban Gardener writer, author. Winner of 2022’s GMG The Peter Seabrook Practical Book of the Year.
  • Lesley Powell, Head gardener at Revely Lodge – a Victorian house, public garden and registered charity.
  • Jess Gough, Organic gardener, gardening content creator.
  • Mothin Ali, YouTube content creator and influencer, garden homesteader.
  • Alysha, Gardening content creator.
  • Sue Sanderson, BSc. (Hons) degree in horticulture, e-Commerce Horticultural Executive at Thompson & Morgan.
  • Susy, Gardening content creator, blogger, YouTuber.
  • Gintare Sinkeviciute, GYO Influencer, gardening content creator.
  •, Organic home gardeners.

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