Chilli peppers are a must home grow, from heat to flavour there’s is a huge variety to choose from. We’ve created a handy guide with everything you need to know, from caring for your chilli plant to where your pot sits on the Scoville scale.
Growing your Chilli Plant
Your chilli plant will perform best in a greenhouse but will produce a good crop in a sunny sheltered location outdoors. It is important that you give it time to adjust to its new environment. Check the compost is moist and if required leave the plant to soak in approximately 5mm water for 5-10 minutes or until the top of the compost is damp. Stand the plant in a warm, light, airy place such as a windowsill or conservatory and allow to grow, ensuring that the compost is kept moist.
Plant out in its final growing position; ideally a pot in a greenhouse or on a sunny, sheltered patio. Alternatively, it can be used as an edible border plant but will produce less fruit unless the roots are restricted.
As your plant develops the leaves will act as ‘solar panels’, soaking up the daylight and creating lots of sugary loveliness and healthy minerals which will eventually end up in your chillies. Each leaf should have plenty of room to bask in the sun and should be supported off the ground.
If a leaf is in shade it will produce fewer plant sugars and stay slightly damp, which means it will be more susceptible to disease and produce less and smaller fruit. As the fruit starts to mature and colour, remove some of the leaves around the fruit to assist the ripening.
Prevent your plant from drying out with moderate regular watering. As the tiny fruits begin to form, feed weekly with a tomato feed. Keep an eye out for pest and disease problems and treat or remove any affected leaves. You may need to support your plant; one stout cane against the main stem should be enough.
Your plant can grow to 100-120cm in a 7-10 litre pot, however, the hottest chillies are produced when the roots are restricted in a small pot.
The Worlds Hottest Pepper
The Carolina Reaper is the world’s hottest recorded chilli pepper as rated by the Guinness World Records, measuring at an eye-watering 2.2 million on the Scoville scale. Bred in South Carolina by crossing a Ghost chilli with Habanero. It has a surprisingly fruity taste with a mixture of chocolate and cinnamon before the heat kicks in. Being the hottest pepper in the world the Carolina reaper chilli should be handled with extreme care and always wear gloves when handling this devilish fruit.
Hints & Tips
Here are some fun facts about chilli pepper plant to impress your friends and family with:
- The most effective way of cooling down the heat after eating a hot pepper is by eating or drinking dairy products such as milk, yoghurt, sour cream, ice cream.
- Peppers contain more vitamin C than citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, and limes.
- The heat of a chilli actually comes from the fleshy strip that attaches the seed to the fruit, rather than the seed itself.
- Eating chillies causes the brain to release endorphins, making them the ultimate ‘feel-good’ ingredient.
- In early civilizations, such as the Incas, Mayans, and Aztecs, Chilli Peppers were used as a currency.
The Suttons Chilli Challenge
We at Sutton’s are not ones to shy away from a challenge. Watch the video below to see members of the Suttons team tasting an assortment of chilli peppers.
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