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Chili Breeding Guide

Chilli cultivation

Chilli seeds, growing soil and a mini-greenhouse are all you need to get started. The only difficulty is that chilli seeds need a germination temperature of around 25°C. We will go into more detail about this in the indoor greenhouse.

Instructions Germinate Chillies

You can get chilli seeds from ripe chillies in the supermarket. Your greengrocer will have yellow, orange or red chillies, habaneros and other chillies. You cannot use green chillies for these instructions, as their seeds are not yet germinable.

Varietally pure chilli seeds are available in abundance online. Shipping is usually quite cheap. Only a small envelope needs to be sent. The selection of chilli varieties at some seed retailers is gigantic. Still, you won't find one that has every chilli variety.

Without ever having counted all chilli varieties, you can assume 4,000 different chillies. Local garden centres offer a small selection of common seeds of, for example, cayenne, jalapeño and paprika.

At online seed retailers, you can sometimes choose from hundreds of varieties by heat level, flavour, size and colours. If you are unsure about this selection, Capsicum annuum varieties are usually easy to grow.

If you want to harvest in the same year, April is the last month in which it is worth growing. It is better to start earlier. In this cultivation guide, we recommend starting the preparation at the end of December.

Soaking

Soak your chilli seeds in chamomile tea for one night. Brew a cup of tea and let it cool to room temperature. Leave the seeds to soak overnight.

Soak chilli seeds

This shortens their germination time and chamomile strengthens the seedling against microorganisms.

Growing substrate

Most greenhouses for growing have small troughs for source tabs. These are also the cleanest to use. Coconut soaking tabs provide the right base in which chilli seeds like to germinate. It is important that the pH value is neutral and that no nutrient salts interrupt the germination process.

The coconut tablets swell by placing them in water. It is best for the plants if you dilute half of the tap water with distilled water. This lowers the lime content and dilutes other chemicals such as chlorine.

Seeding

Sow the soaked seeds about 0.5 cm deep in the prepared growing medium.

fresh habanero seeds

Sprinkle the soil over the top and press down lightly. Chillies are dark germinators and do not need light to start the germination process. In a greenhouse with high humidity and an indoor temperature of 25°C, your seeds will germinate after one to two weeks. Some seeds germinate after three days and sometimes it takes 25 days for the first tender green to appear.

How long it takes for chilli seeds to germinate cannot be answered 100% accurately for all varieties and growing conditions. With most chilli varieties, however, the seedlings will appear after 8 - 14 days.

Repotting

As soon as the first true leaves form next to the two, rarely three cotyledons, repot the chillies.

It is that easy to germinate chillies, habaneros and chilli peppers.

Indoor greenhouse

For successful cultivation of chillies, a heated greenhouse with lighting is recommended. Chilli seeds germinate more reliably at 25 °C to 28 °C. At temperatures below 25 °C, the germination rate drops. Already at 18 °C you have to expect that no chilli seeds will start to germinate.

The safest way to solve this problem is with a heated greenhouse. Heating mats are often cheaper. Sometimes a window facing south or a warm location is enough to provide the necessary warmth in the greenhouse.

A greenhouse provides your plants with a climate in which your seeds germinate more reliably. It is important that it is warm and that there is high humidity.

We ourselves use indoor greenhouses with adjustable temperature. Some can even be programmed to have a day and night gradient. Adjustable vents help to regulate the humidity.

Most chilli growers start growing chillies in December or January. During this time, the days are short and the sun rarely appears. Plant lights help the seedlings to develop well. For our chilli cultivation we use such a model in winter and can recommend it without further ado.

We also prefer chillies in summer. Especially chilli varieties that do not like to germinate so much, we sow in summer. A simple greenhouse like the one we used according to these instructions is sufficient for this.