When to plant my Chilli seeds

hand holding soil with red Chillies next to chilli seedlings in pots

Is it too late?

Wondering when is the best time to start Chilli seeds?  Starting chilli seeds indoors in February or March is ideal in the UK because it allows the seedlings to establish themselves and grow strong before the cooler temperatures of autumn and winter arrive. This timing ensures that your chili plants have ample time to mature and produce a bountiful harvest of Chillies .

However, if you missed the early window for starting seeds, don’t fret! Late spring or early summer still offers an opportunity to grow chili peppers from seed. Capsicum annuum varieties, known for their quicker maturation compared to other chili species, are particularly well-suited for starting later in the season.Hand sowing seeds into a peat pot These varieties include popular options like ‘Cayenne’, ‘Hungarian Wax’, and ‘Anaheim’, among others. They are known for their versatility in cooking and can be used fresh, dried, or pickled.

Furthermore, for those seeking even faster results, there are several quick-growing chilli varieties that are perfect for planting in May or early June. One such variety is ‘Apache’, a compact chili plant that produces small, hot peppers in abundance. Another option is ‘Numex Twilight‘, which not only matures quickly but also offers ornamental value with its colourful peppers that ripen from purple to yellow to orange to red. It is essential for these varieties to receive plenty of sunshine to thrive and produce a flavourful harvest. In cases where natural sunlight is insufficient, supplemental lighting such as grow lights can be used indoors to provide the necessary light intensity for optimal growth prior to hardening off and transplanting outdoors. Remember, chilli plants typically require twelve to eighteen hours of light per day for robust growth.

Time to take them out

When the seedlings have reached a suitable size and the weather has warmed up, it’s time to harden them off before transplanting them into the garden. This involves gradually acclimating the plants to outdoor conditions by placing them outside for increasingly longer periods each day over the course of a week or two. This process helps prevent shock and stress to the plants when they are finally planted in their permanent location.

From there it is essential that the plants are given the right fertilisation for the particular stage of growth that they are at. Initially they will need lots of nitrogen. Provide a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen with an NPK in the region of 25-15-15 to encourage leaf growth. Once they they reach the bud formation stage  switch to a fertilizer formulation with higher potassium (K) levels to support flower formation and fruit development. Look for fertilizers with an NPK ratio of around 15-15-3. With an adequate fertilisation programme in place and plenty of sunshine there is now reason why you cannot start harvesting Chillies in September. Happy growing





One thought on “When to plant my Chilli seeds

  • 2nd May 2024 at 11:08 am

    Capsicum annum is the best variety of chillis that can be grown easily and quickly. It is said that it can be used as a remedy for sore throat, tooth ache, cough, and other parasitic infections. Apache chillis can be very hot as it ripens.


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