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.
Here’s everything you need to know about sowing chilli and sweet pepper seeds, along with caring for, and harvesting, your crop. We couldn’t resist including a few tasty tips on how to enjoy eating your chillies too!
Are you unsure which chilli pepper to grow? @london.organic.home.garden 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!
Hema – Grow With Hema
Hema, creator of blog Grow With Hema, recommends a warm and dark boiler cupboard for germinating your chilli seeds. “Within a couple of weeks, the chilli seeds will germinate with little green blobs peeping through,” she says. At that stage, they’re ready to move into a brighter part of the house. Check out Hema’s excellent article to find out her favourite varieties and pick up some top tips for saving your own chilli seeds.
Janie – @janie.boots
If you want to make a super early sowing of chilli seeds, use a heat mat like @janie.boots to provide a constant, warm temperature. Her preferred variety of chilli seeds need to be kept at 27℃ to germinate successfully, and she always sows them in December to give her chillies the longest growing season possible. “The head start really paid off last season and I’m still getting fresh chillies indoors from this plant I brought in to overwinter,” she says. See her fun seed set-up for yourself in her post!
Geoff Wakeling – 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.
John Harrison – Allotment & Gardens
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.
Ben Vanheems – 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.
Alexandra Campbell – The Middle-Sized Garden
As a recent convert to home chilli growing, Alexandra Campbell of The Middle-Sized 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’.
Laura – Homegrown and Hopeful
Laura from Homegrown and Hopeful found that changing her growing environment had amazing effects on her chilli and sweet pepper yield. Having had no fully ripe sweet peppers outdoors, “the polytunnel lived up to our hopes and dreams in this aspect…making them quicker to ripen, and giving us amazing yields,” she said. Do you know what Hügelkultur is? Read her full chilli and sweet pepper growing article to find out…
Mark Ridsdill Smith – Vertical Veg
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.
The Oxfordshire Chilli Garden
Have you noticed little white marks on the outer skin of your ripening jalapeños? Don’t worry, this is just a result of the inside of the chilli growing faster than the outside. In fact, “corked chillies are highly prized in their home country of Mexico,” say the expert growers behind The Oxfordshire Chilli Garden. And it’s not just jalapeños; it can happen to any plump and thick-skinned chilli! Learn more about corking and see how these experts turn their jalapeños into a rich and smoky Chipotle.
Lee Gardener – Project Diaries
Want to have a go at saving and sowing your own chilli seeds? Lee, creator of popular YouTube channel Project Diaries, says all you need to start is a favourite pepper. But do remember to label your seeds with the chilli you collected them from, he advises. You don’t want to have a super-fiery surprise when you come to harvest! Watch his instructional video if you fancy giving this method a try.
Alysha – @haughtyculturist
If you want to create delicious tapas with your Padrón chilli peppers, simply fry them whole with salt. The secret, according to Mr Haughty, is not to let them get too big. These mild peppers become spicier and spicier as they get bigger, he explains over @haughtyculturist. 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!
Sue Sanderson – Thompson & Morgan blog
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.
Susyb – @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.
Mothin Ali – 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.
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.
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