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Growing Chilli

(Capsicum sp.)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
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(Best months for planting Chilli in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

September: After risk of frosts

  • Harvest in 65-80 days
  • Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed.
  • Best planted at soil temperatures between 18°C and 35°C.
  • Space plants: 40-50cm

Small bushy plants. Dark green ovate leaves.

Chilli need warm frost free weather, so protect with glass or plastic covers if planting outside in cooler areas.

Most varieties need a long growing period to produce many 'chillies'.

There are many types of chilli. Some are more fiery than others. As a general rule, the smaller the pod the hotter the taste.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Chilli

Chillis freeze very well. Wash, dry, and free whole. Use them direct from the freezer (no need to defrost).
Wear plastic gloves or wash your hands thoroughly after handling and cutting to avoid accidently rubbing chilli juice onto your mouth or eyes!

Your comments and tips

21 Nov 11 Petrus (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Sam; i reckon 1cm is plenty deep- i have many various chillies an all sprout planted less that a cm deep not under plastic but in glass house- i just give light watering every morning. Connie; Its probly not warm enough yet, be patient i reckon unless its the tomatoes blocking out the sun.
27 Feb 12 LS (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
how i germinate my chili seeds in late winter in auckland, around aug, i fill up the 150gm yoghurt tub with seedling mix and put in 2-3 seeds in each tub, moist the soil mixture, cover it up with glad wrap. leave it in a sunny place and it doesn't require further watering as the glad wrap will keep the soil moist. check it now n then though. it should take about a month to germinate. if it is in summer, i just spread it a tray (ie. those clean meat tray is good) and water it frequently to keep it moist, or you can thoroughly wet the soil and wrap it a big plastic big in a sunnyplace.
07 Jul 12 Jane (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
I would like to grow chillies this year for my Indian inlaws can I start now grow indoors or is it far too early?? Also what plants are the hottest as they love hot n spicy!!! I grew them two years ago and they took ages to harvest!! I want to be ready! They arrive end of October!
12 Jul 12 KP (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Re: Jane The hottest I've seen available in NZ are Butch T Scorpions. I grew some Bhut Jolokias earlier this year with reasonable success. Early October would be bit of a push for ripe fruit, and usually the hotter chillis will take longer to germinate and fruit. If you need instant heat try the (look on Trademe for them if that's easier)
07 Sep 12 Mike (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I bought a small electric propagator. Getting grerat results. Instead of seeds rotting in the wet soil. Very fast 100% germination. Draws only 12 Watts.
08 Sep 12 Mike (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Brought a propogator with heat pad also,sick of seeds rotting.Also didnt want to waste $16 on 6 seeds. Bhut Jolokia 2-3 x hotter than a habanero @330,000-1,000,000 scoville heat units(SHU). Scorpian Moruga(hottest chilli on earth according to guinness book of records) with a heat rating of 1,000,000-2,000,000 SHU 6 seeds $16 with delivery.
13 Oct 12 lance (New Zealand - temperate climate)
ghost chilli is a good one really really hot myself I've just planted 6 wild fire chilli plants and 1 cayenne chilli pepper plant . live in kaitaia
02 Jan 13 Carol (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
I am growing two chilli plants for the first time.They had fruit on them when I brought the and I am worried about them getting too cold. Should I be bringing them in at night or should I buy a small green house cover for them and leave them outside. Also one of the plants has a big chilli on it, the first I think. Should I remove this now befor it starts to ripen? Thank you for any help I receive.
07 Jan 13 megan (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
@Carol I have overwintered a chili plant grown from seed in a pot and it has been living outside since early December. We had snow down to 1000m last week and it's survived fine. There are about six fruit on it and I usually wait until they are fully ripe before I cut them off.
10 Apr 13 (New Zealand - temperate climate)
My chilli plants are curling up their leaves and looks like they are dying. They are only a few months old but have produced a good crop. I have watered them well and used fertiliser etc as well. Any ideas?

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New Zealand - cool/mountain,   New Zealand - sub-tropical,   New Zealand - temperate  

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