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Can You Plant Chilli Seeds From The Grocery Store? Chillies are widely used in cooking all over the world and can vary in heat dramatically from relatively mild to incredibly hot however can you take seeds from store brought chillies and plant them in the garden?
Chilli seeds can be grown from store-bought fruit quite easily with each fruit having the potential to produce dozens and dozens of new plants. They can be either planted directly from the fruit or dried for a period of time before planting them. However, as the plants are heat-loving they need a temperature of at least 59 to 68°F (15 to 20°C) degrees to germinate successfully.
If you live in a relatively cool climate that has a short growing season it is a good idea to start the plants off inside around 4 to 6 weeks prior to the last Frost. To make 100% sure that the seeds germinate the seed trays should be placed in a warm location that is heated or alternatively heated propagation trays can be used.
The advantage of heated propagation trays is that they provide a much more consistent temperature which is critical for the germination of pepper/chilli seeds which can be slow to get going. If you are considering purchasing a unit the one we would recommend is the ipower germination kit because it features a removable seed tray and a humidity dome.
The removable seed tray is advantageous because that is usually the component that deteriorates first, being able to replace it means that it will extend the life of the unit substantially. Additionally, the humidity dome also helps to maintain a constant temperature around the seedlings which will optimise the rate of growth. To check out the latest price on Amazon click the link below.
Get Off To An Early Start With A Heated Propagation Tray
How To Plant Chilli Seeds
To plant the chilli seeds start by removing them from the fruit which can be done easily by slitting the fruit in half and using a spoon to remove the seed pods. Most chilli fruit will contain more than 100 seeds which means that you only need to harvest the seeds from one fruit.
Once the seeds have been obtained it is a good idea to give them a rinse and let them dry out for a couple of days though this is not absolutely essential. When you are ready to plant start by filling a seed tray with good quality potting mix and plant 2 to 3 seeds per cell at a depth of approximately 0.25 inches (1 cm). The best time to do this is in early spring when the weather is starting to warm up.
Chilli seeds can take a while to germinate and they can take up to 21 days to appear provided that the conditions are warm enough. If all the seeds germinate then it will be necessary to thin out a few of the seedlings to ensure that you have at least one plant per cell.
During this period it is important to ensure that the seedlings are watered regularly as any period of dryness will result in the seed leaves wilting rapidly.
Planting Chilli Seedlings Out Into The Garden
Once the seedlings reach a reasonable size, typically 3 to 4 inches in height they are large enough to plant out into the garden, however, this should not be done until the weather is consistently above 68°F (20°C) as the plants will struggle in colder weather.
If you live in a region with unreliable weather it is a good idea to apply either a cloche or a row cover. Cloches can be made from old plastic milk cartons with the bottom cut out and the lid left off the top. These work well in the early stages of growth however they are usually too small for more mature plants.
If your growing season is relatively short then it is a good idea to invest in a row cover as this will help you to extend the season substantially. The product that we recommend is the growsun row cover which is pictured below. The reason we recommend this particular product is because it is relatively tall and has long hoops which allow it to be anchored deeply into the soil which will help it resist windy conditions. To see the latest price on Amazon click on the link below.
Extend Your Growing Season With Growsun Row Covers
When putting the plants into the garden they should be spaced approximately 10 to 12 inches apart in a warm location that gets at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day. In terms of soil conditions chilli plants generally prefer rich moist and free-draining soil that has plenty of nutrients. If you are unsure about the quality of your soil it is advisable to add a bag of compost before you put the plants in.
Once the plants are in position, they should be water in well and the surrounding soil should be covered in a layer of mulch that is approximately 2 to 4 inches thick.
In terms of support, some plants may need a single stake to ensure that the central stem remains upright however they do not require anywhere near the same degree of support as tomato plants which are from the same family.
The plants will need to be watered regularly throughout the summer when the temperatures are particularly high. As chillies need a long time to produce fruit you can typically expect them to only appear towards the end of summer and even sometimes into autumn.
Once the chillies appear it is advisable to regularly pick them to encourage the development of additional fruit however when removing the fruits from the plant it is best to cut them rather than pull them as you are likely to damage the plant in the process.
The chillies will initially be green, however, if you allow them to ripen further they will usually turn to red or yellow in colour depending upon the specific variety that you’re growing. They can be picked at any stage once the fruit has reached a reasonable size irrespective of the color.
I hope that you found this article useful and have great success with your chilli plants if you have any questions or comments please leave them in the section below.