How to Plant Chili Pepper Seeds How to Plant Chili Pepper Seeds

What You'll Need
Seeding tray, or whatever planting pots are available (shallow trays are easier to keep warm)
Compost soil, mixture of manure, sand, and potting soil
Chili pepper seeds
Low-intensity heating light (optional)

Chili peppers, or hot peppers, require quite a bit of tender loving care when grown at home, especially when you are planting chili pepper seeds. It's good to start germinating your seeds in early spring around March, since most peppers plants take 3 to 4 months before they have fully ripened peppers. Follow these instructions to get your chili pepper plants off to the best start possible.

Step 1 - Choosing your Variety

Chili peppers are native to the tropical, warm climates, although some varieties will endure cooler temperatures better. If you would like to move them outdoors for the summer, look for a variety, like the Habaneros pepper, that is better in moderate climates. Every variety also has a spiciness level (the higher the number, the more spice), so choose the right pepper for your taste. If you want to keep them indoors for the entire growing period, you may want to plant a dwarf chili pepper, which will take up less room.

Step 2 - Preparing your Seeds

Some hot peppers can take up to a couple months to germinate, while some only take a couple days. To speed up the germinating process, place your seeds between two layers of damp paper towel and put it in a sealed box or ziploc bag. After a couple days, when you see the seeds beginning to swell or sprout, they are ready to be planted.

Step 3 - Preparing your Soil and Tray

Fill your tray with a couple inches of peat-free compost soil. Chili peppers can tolerate a wide pH level, but grow best in soil with pH level of around 6.5. The air and soil should be kept at a steady temperature somewhere between 70 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use a heating pad or a low-intensity heating light about 8 inches above the tray, or if your home is warm enough, place on top of the refrigerator or in an airing cupboard for a little extra heat.

Step 4 - Planting your Chili Pepper Seeds

Place seeds a couple inches apart and cover with 1/4 inch of soil. Cover with perforated plastic wrap and keep air and soil temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Step 5 - Keep Soil Moist while Germinating 

Fertilizer isn't necessary until after germination, but water immediately after planting, and don't allow your soil to dry out. Whenever the top of your tray feels dry, water lightly. Boil water and allow to sit out for 24 hours so that any chlorine dissipates first. 

Tray should be placed near a windowsill as soon as seedlings emerge. Transplant into larger pots once the second leaves have developed. 

Once the weather is consistently warm and sunny (always over 70 degrees Fahrenheit), you can move containers outdoors to get the most from the sunlight!

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