How to Grow Your Own Chillies

Chilli Kings love it when our fellow chilli countrymen and women go forth and multiply…chillies that is! We not only supply Aussie-grown chillies from around the world, but we also sell seeds so you can have chillies of your very own. If you’ve been a bit timid about growing your own chillies, don’t stress – it’s easier than you think!

Healthy chilli plant with red and green fruit

Our Royal Guide to Growing Your Own Chillies at Home

Soil and planting

Chillies can be planted right into regular garden soil that’s been aerated. If your soil is sandy, you may want to add compost or manure (though it’s recommended regardless of soil quality.) You should also add a controlled release fertiliser at planting time. If you’re planting in a tray or pot, you need to ensure it gets as much sun as possible.

Seeds need heat (at least 20°C) and humidity to germinate, so the best planting time is in early spring, so when they ripen, they take full advantage of late-spring and summer heat. Alternatively, you could build a mini-greenhouse and/or use a warming mat under your tray or pot. One easy way is to keep them inside, as long as they’re facing the sunlight.

If you live in cooler climates, one secret is to start the germination process indoors during winter and start transplanting them in early spring. This will lead to an early harvest and maximise the harvest time for your chilli plant before the next winter.

Transplanting seedlings

When seedlings have about four to six leaves on them, you can transplant them from their smaller container to a larger pot or in the ground. Make sure your seedlings, at least at first, are in a sunny, but shaded area. Pop them in the hole, fill with soil or fertiliser mixture, and pat down to ensure they’re snug.

Ongoing care

For best results, chilli plants should never be allowed to dry out. They can tolerate some inconsistent watering times, but this may affect the final flavour profile of the finished fruit. The watchwords for caring for chillies is “little yet often.”

You can buy chili fertiliser or feeds, but this can be expensive. A tomato feed is just as good and much cheaper.

How to get more chillies from your harvest

The more branches your plants develop, the more chillies you’ll produce. One way to increase production is to tilt your containers at a 45° angle, which encourages new growth from the sides of existing branches. Changing the direction of the tilt weekly will help develop even more chillies as the plant becomes rounded and fuller.

Another method is to prune your chilli plant back. This will also encourage new growth from the freshly pruned sides.

Harvest time

There’s no real “harvest time” for chillies – you can pick them when they’re green all the way up to yellow or red. Picking at different times will mean enjoying different flavour profiles – so don’t be afraid to experiment! The more you pick, the more you’ll produce, and you’ll also extend the life of the plant.

Why? This helps it produce more flowers and more flowers means more fruit! Don’t just leave your chillies on the branch to use as you need them! As the weather gets cooler, pick them all off and preserve them in sauces, freeze them, pickle them, drying and grinding down into powder, or have the family over for a chilli cook up!

Over cooler months

Chillies are a seasonal flowering plant and will go dormant over cooler months. Cutting back the branches to just a little over the branch stems will keep them alive – as long as you don’t let the soil go dry, they will come back into life for another harvest around spring.

Get your chilli seeds!

Chilli Kings are happy to supply and assist with all things chilli. Have a particular variety you’ve always wanted to grow yourself? We can help you with getting it in and making the most of your crop.

Talk to the experts at Chilli Kings and get started with your own chilli harvest.

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