Tips for growing chili pepper plants at home

If you just can’t get enough of the taste and flavor of hot peppers, you may find it hard to satisfy your growing hunger for hotter and hotter peppers gleaned from the hot pepper scale.

While you may not always be able to find some of your favorite flavors at your local grocery store, you can try growing your own. Luckily, chili pepper plants are relatively low maintenance, so you don’t necessarily have to be a master gardener to grow hot peppers at home. There are, however, a few key things to keep in mind.

If weather is a concern, you can always start the process indoors before your local growing season begins.

Depending on where you live, you may be able to plant in the ground after the last frost of the year, when the soil is dry, and the ground temperature is warm. It may surprise you, but the best temperature for growing pepper plants is between 70-90 degrees. You don’t want it too hot or too cold. Keep in mind, chili pepper plants need soil that drains well, too. If you want hotter peppers, don’t use over-fertilized soil, either. Instead, try using an organic fertilizer when the growing season begins and when your plants start flowering.

Pepper plants only need about an inch of water per week.

They also need full sun, so make sure the spot you use in your garden gets six to eight hours of sunlight per day. As for handling pests, you can try using neem oil at the base of your plants. If one plant becomes infested with pests, you’ll want to destroy it, so it doesn’t spread the problem to your other pepper plants. When it’s time to harvest, use sharp gardening shears, or scissors, but don’t just pull peppers off the stems. This could damage your plant. You’ll get the best and hottest peppers if you harvest when the peppers are the right size to eat, but they’re not yet fully ripened.

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