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Problems growing chillies and peppers

Discussion in 'Edible Gardening' started by Paul Blackburn, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. Paul Blackburn

    Paul Blackburn Gardener

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    I seem to have problems growing chillies and peppers from seed.Is there a special compost I should use I am just using multi purpose compost and none of these plants germinate.I have got three different chillies which are Black Devil,Ethiopian Fire and Carolina Reaper they are in a heated propagator so do not know what else to try unless I need a special compost.how long should it for the first signs of germination.
     
  2. Hex_2011

    Hex_2011 Gardener

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    Is the compost too cold? I always use bottom heat to germinate superhots.
     
  3. blacktulip

    blacktulip Gardener

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    This is what I did: soak seed in 20C water for 24h (ideally the water should be around 30C but I can't find a 30C place), then sow in seed tray about 1/4 inch deep, put in a propagator indoors (but not heated, room temperature between 20C-25C). Keep the compost surface moist at all times. In about 2 weeks it should germinate (assuming the seeds are viable).

    This is my father in law did: just sow them in a seed tray leave them in the greenhouse. Keep it moist. I don't know how long did it take - much longer than mine. But they also germinated at a quite high rate and growing well.

    We used a home-mixed seed/cutting compost from a local nursery.
     
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    • pete

      pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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      I've never found either to be difficult as such, but they can be slow, I put it down to the seed being pretty dry as seed taken from peppers and sown immediately germinate much faster.

      It's not a compost problem, @blacktulip says it all, water and lots of heat 30C if you can manage it.
      I use 30C for many types of exotics and it works for most.
       
    • shiney

      shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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      I use a seed sprouter with the seeds just on damp kitchen paper. Then left on the kitchen worktop (kitchen is reasonably warm - about 20C) and they germinate well. Those that you mention tend to be slower germinators and take 10-14 days with us. Other chillies only take about 4 days. When they have two leaves and are about an inch high we then put them into MPC and in a heated propagator. :dbgrtmb:
       
    • ChilliPepper

      ChilliPepper Apprentice Gardener

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      Despite my username, I am new to growing chillies and peppers! However, for what it's worth, here is what I do and I have had some success.

      1. I mix my own John Innes seed compost mix, which is quite easy and cheap to do, once you have collected together a stock of the various ingredients. Have a look at the John Innes website. I'm sure that a good seed compost mix from your local garden centre will also work.
      2. I've not found a lot of difference in germination rates of different chillies and peppers but good, fresh, in-date seed is important. I'm growing Medusa and Apache chillies in my greenhouse at the moment.
      3. Heat for germination is very important so I find a heated propagator is very beneficial but a good, warm spot indoors will also work.
      4. Once I've got a plant about 1" (2cm) in height, I prick them out into John Innes No.1 for seedlings and they can go into the greenhouse. My propagator is in the greenhouse (I have a 13amp 240v supply in there) so they just get moved out of the propagator and onto my staging. I keep my greenhouse temperature up (but not tropical!) with a small heater and bubble-wrap the walls/roof until the outside temperature picks up (I took the bubble-wrap down a few days ago. Indoors might be best if you can't get some constancy to your greenhouse temperature.
      5. Once the plants are growing well, they get repotted and given a support stick in a John Innes No2 mix, which is their final home for the season.
      6. I tried taking out the growing tip last year, once the plants had developed a good showing of fruit and this seemed to help the fruits maturing to full ripeness.
      7. A bit late to say it now but the sooner you start your seeds off in the season, the better crop you will get. Mine were started, the propagator, late in December 2016.
      8. I've found that the longer the growing season and the better the temperature so the better the crop.
      9. Never let the compost dry out.
      10. A good regular feed, once the flowers/fruits are developing will make a huge difference your crop size.
      11. Both chillies and peppers get treated the same.
      Chillies and peppers are great fun to grow and some of the flowers and plants are very attractive as well so I hope you have some real success. I find it so satisfying to use my own home-grown ingredients in curries and salads!
       
    • shiney

      shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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      I forgot to add that the hotter type chillies (usually from the Naga family of chillies such as Bhut Jolokia, Ghost and Morich Naga) prefer a germination heat of 25C - 30C. That will give them a quicker germination.

      We started our late because we were on holiday in February so didn't start them until our return. The ShineyHybrids (our own developed hybrids) that we started first have just today been potted on into 3Litre pots. Whereas the Nagas are only at the six leaf stage.

      We do sometimes grow peppers but tend to sell them on. These are boxed ready for someone to pick them up. Not very noticeable but there is a 3" pepper hanging over the bottom left edge of the box. The peppers got away to a flying start - no idea why.

      P1330221.JPG
       
    • CanadianLori

      CanadianLori Total Gardener

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      I have been growing hot peppers for about 15 years. I don't bother soaking the seeds because I start fairly early. I just make soil blocks and shove the seed in, keep wet and warm. I've had the worst germination rate this year. Using the same methods as in previous years except instead of using seeds I'd gathered the season before, I ordered all new to start fresh as a few of mine had crossed. I'm thinking the seeds may have been damaged in transit.

      That said, here's my little manzano as of just the other day..
      Spring 2017 (3).JPG
       
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      • shiney

        shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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        If I said that I would have people laughing at me! ;) :whistle: :snorky:
         
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