Are you planning to spice up your garden with some chilli plants? Then you must know about the chilli plant growing stages, how you should sow the seeds, when they will germinate, which conditions you must provide the seedlings with, when should you transplant them, and what way you would get a big harvest of chilli peppers. We will tell you all about these growing stages and add some growing tips to make the experience of growing chilli peppers rewarding and one to cherish.
What are the growing stages for chilli plants?
No matter where you grow your chilli plants, in the garden, indoors, or in a greenhouse, they all grow in the same stages:
- Sowing the seeds
- Seed germination
- Growing seedlings
- Maturation stage
- Harvesting the peppers
Let us discuss the chilli plant growing stages, and the growing needs, and you will see pictures to better understand each of the chilli plant growing stages.
1.Sowing the seeds
If you live in a warm climatic region, then it is good to sow the seeds directly in the soil. Otherwise, it would be better to first grow the seeds indoors, let them germinate, and then transfer the seedlings outdoors. You can sow the seeds in containers and then transplant them to soil or let them grow in pots. Always bear in mind that seeds cannot tolerate frost.
If you plan to grow your chilli peppers in a greenhouse, then it is best to sow the seeds in late February to early March. But if you plan to grow indoors and transplant your plants outside later, then it would be perfect to sow the seeds in April or May. This way, the plants will establish till the soil warms up outside.
How to sow the seeds the right way?
You will need a few things when sowing chilli pepper seeds: a seed tray and a loam-based seed compost having vermiculite in it.
Steps to follow:
- Take small plastic cups or seed trays having drainage holes at the bottom.
- Take good quality compost and fill the trays up to ¾
- Evenly spread a few seeds with some distance between them
- Cover the seeds with the rest of the soil or use coco-peat
- Keep the soil moist and place the tray in a warm and sunny place for the seeds to germinate
Some tips to help you with sowing as the first step of chilli plant growing stages:
- You may put the seeds in a paper towel and spray them with water to keep the towel moist
- The right place to sow the seeds is where the temperature is above 68 degrees Fahrenheit
- When you see small sprouts in the paper tower, transplant them to small pots and keep the soil moist
2. Seed Germination
Chilli seeds must be sowed in a place that has a warm temperature above 60 degrees Fahrenheit for them to germinate. You must also keep the soil moist at all times.
Germination usually starts with 7 to 10 days of sowing the seeds, but it can take a bit longer due to growing conditions and the type of chilli you are growing. A little delay is nothing to worry about, so have some patience. Cayenne pepper seeds take just a few days to germinate, while Habanero seeds can take over 3 weeks.
Be careful while watering the seeds as overwatering can drown and damage the seeds. It will be good to water them on alternate days and use a garden shower for watering. The sign of successful germination is tiny sprouts emerging out of the soil.
Then comes the sprouting stage, when you can see tiny shoots coming out of the soil. They will first develop green false leaves, called cotyledons. But in just a few days, the true first leaves appear as a new pair of leaves. The sprout keeps growing and a lot of leaves will develop soon.
Remember that sprouts need a lot of light to grow bushy and improper lighting can make them leggy and tall. You can put the seed tray on a windowsill where the sprouts can get at least 6 hours of sunlight every day or you can use grow lights.
If you are struggling with leggy seedlings, then we are here to help you with all the tips and tricks to make your seedlings grow bushy and how to deal with leggy seedlings.
Leggy vs. healthy seedlings: what’s the difference?
It is important to keep the soil moist at this stage of growing too. Check the soil every couple of days and if it feels dried out, then water the baby plants or else postpone it for the next day.
4. Growing seedlings
When you see that the tiny plant has established and there are a few pairs of leaves on it, then it may be time to transplant or repot the chilli plant. To grow big and develop into healthy plants, chilli seedlings will need much more room or space.
If you carried out the first three steps indoors, then it would be best to transplant the seedlings outside in May. It is when the soil temperatures become warm enough and provide a good environment for the seedlings to grow. If you plan to grow chilli peppers in a pot, then you may repot the seedlings to a bigger pot. You can also grow them in a greenhouse at this time of chilli plant growing stages.
Always inspect your tiny plants to see any signs of the plant becoming large for its pot. If you notice the roots coming out of the drainage holes or if you provide it with enough water and sunlight, but still the plants look sagging and unnourished, then the problem might be a smaller pot.
How to transplant seedlings indoors?
If your seedlings outgrow the seed tray, then you must transplant them to a new and bigger pot. Before it is time to transplant them outdoors, you may need to repot them a few times indoors so they keep growing and establishing themselves.
How to transplant seedlings outdoors?
The ideal time of the year to transplant seedlings outdoors is in May. Till then, keep the plants indoors and repot them a few times to keep them growing and developing.
When you plant the chilli seedlings in a garden, make sure they get at least 8 hours of full sun every day. Use a potting mix with good drainage, and fertilizer and compost if you would like to.
If your plants get the best conditions, then they will grow healthily and soon you will see little white chilli flowers growing all over the chilli plants as the next chilli plant growing stages. These are the small white chilli flowers that will grow into peppers if they get pollinated. If you live in a place with a high bee population, then pollination will be done by these pollinating insects. Otherwise, you can use a pollinating brush to pollinate the flowers on your own.
If you grow different chilli varieties together, then remember that there can be cross-pollination between them. So, if you need a specific variety of peppers, such as jalapenos, then keep it separate from the other chilli plants.
Keep watering and fertilizing during the flowering stage and try to use rainwater or distilled water, as tap water contains an excess amount of chlorine.
The pepper flowers may fall off due to fluctuating temperatures, undersized containers, fertilizing, and overwatering.
6. Maturation stage
You will see the results of successful pollination in the form of tiny peppers growing on the plant. You may still see some flowers blooming and growing while small chillies are developing on the same plant. A tip to get spicier chillies and peppers let them stay attached to the plants till the end of their growing season.
This is the rewarding step in the chilli plant growing stages. When you see that all the flowers on your chilli plant have become fruits, then the plant is near the end of its life cycle and it is time to gravest.
If you care for your plant, then plucking a great harvest of healthy chilli peppers is a very proud moment for you. You can harvest them when they become large enough or wait till the end of the season for the peppers to mature and become spicier.
If you are struggling with bell peppers turning brown, then read: Answered: Why are my bell peppers turning brown?
Growing conditions for chilli plants
When you know about the chilli plant growing stages, you must also know about the needs of your chilli plants before you gather some seed trays and start growing your plants.
- Sunlight: These plants grow best in at least 8 hours of sunlight every day.
- Watering: Water the chilli plants on alternate days in winter, avoid overwatering, and don’t water directly on the plant, but rather in the soil near the plant. Use a watering can to shower the plants with water, or use a drip irrigation system to water chilli plants.
- Fertilizer: Use a balanced liquid fertilizer for the plants every 15 days after planting them in soil or apply vermiculite compost.
- Pesticides: Always inspect the plants carefully to catch the early signs of infections and fungal diseases. If you spot any symptoms of diseases, then spray the appropriate medicines immediately to prevent the spread.
- Harvesting: The first harvest starts between 10-12 weeks of growing. You can harvest the chillies almost 70 to 80 days after sowing the seeds.
That’s a Wrap, but before you go …
It is quite easy and rewarding to grow chillies at home and care for them at the various chilli plant growing stages. Plus, there are chilli pepper seeds available for every occasion; you can grow them for their flavor, heat, or color. You can also grow them anywhere by following the steps we discussed above and can even get your desired level of spice by early or late harvest.
For how long do I have to wait to harvest chilli plants?
Some plants may ripen fruits within 60 days of sowing and some varieties may even take 120 days. Choose the chilli varies according to when you need the harvest and sow the speedy varieties if you need peppers quickly.
How much watering do chilli plants need?
An important part of growing chillies is watering them correctly as they are very thirsty plants. Particularly if you are growing them in a greenhouse and hot periods, you need to water them regularly, sometimes even twice daily.
Which month is best for growing chilli plants?
When you know the chilli plant growing stages, remember that January and February are considered the best months for sowing chilli pepper seeds indoors. You can sow the seeds till the end of March, but if you sow them early, then the chillies will get enough time to ripen before the summer comes to an end. The spiciest chilli varieties will need the longest growing period, i.e., they will have to stay on the plant for the longest.
What are the unhealthy factors for chilli plants?
Overwatering is the most damaging problem for the chilli plants and it can cause flower drop, while flowers can also drop due to underwatering. Use a generous amount of coir or vermiculite compost to soak up the excess amounts of water in the soil and release them when the plants need moisture. Always keep the soil moist, but not wet and soggy.