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Bhut Jolokia Chili

Bhut jolokia peppers

After Bhut Jolokia had been considered the hottest chili in the world for four years, she was dethroned by Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Chili. She lost her crown after only one year and was declassified by the Carolina Reaper in 2013.

Capsicum chinense

Bhut Jolokia has her nickname “ghost chili” because of her devilish sharpness. In fact, it can be dangerous for some popular people to taste this chili. It has happened before that inexperienced chili-eaters collapsed. It is also possible to hallucinate in pain and see ghosts.

Like most chili peppers with a high concentration of capsaicin, Chili Bhut Jolokia belongs to the genus Capsicum chinense. Capsicum is the botanical term for chili and pepper plants. Chinense is the genus whose origin lies in the South American Amazon basin.


The origin of the Chili lies in the north-eastern India, in the region Assam. The seed producer Frontal Agritech1 did pioneering work in breeding and distribution. Due to the initial high demand from seed traders, seed sales were initially limited.

After a few years, the high demand for Bhut Jolokia seeds was finally met. Especially hobby breeders had to be satisfied with 10 seeds per delivery in the first season. Today you can get the seeds at almost every chili mail order company.

Assam is by the way a very well-known tea cultivation area. Temperatures during the day are around 30 °C and at night rarely below 20 °C. The humidity there is relatively high: between 65 and 75 %. If you grow Jolokias yourself, you should try to keep the humidity just as high. Especially when growing indoors, regular spraying with water is refreshing for the well-being of the chili plant.

In her home country, Bhut Jolokia is used to drive elephants from rural villages. Elephants are actually peaceful animals, but at night in a hut they are not at all pleasant for their inhabitants. To keep the animals away from food and rice schnapps in the settlements, ropes are stretched which are soaked with chili. When a horde of wild elephants approached, thick torches are lit in which Jolokia pods are found.

Brown chilli peppers taste a bit smoky and are in many cases slightly larger than their orange to red counterparts.

Degree of Sharpness and Scoville

When it comes to the official determination of a degree of sharpness in chilies, the famous university in New Mexico has been commissioned in recent years. For the first time, the Chile Pepper Institute2 had measured an average value of more than one million Scoville in one chili variety at Bhut Jolokia.

By comparison, the Red Savina, the hottest chili in the world until 2007, was measured at just over half a million Scoville. Such spiciness can already be classified as dangerous. Wear gloves when processing. Do not rub your eyes! Do not touch sensitive body parts, otherwise it burns hellishly.

On the Scoville scale, Bhut Jolokia Chilies achieved an average of around 1,003,000 SHU, which corresponds to a degree of sharpness of 10+++.


Bhut Jolokia can be easily dried and processed into powder. Fresh chilies are perhaps eaten by the hardest of hot eaters at competitions. The questions about how this chili tastes usual can no longer be answered. The reason for this is that their ghost chili spiciness bites quickly and mercilessly.

Fresh Bhut Jolokia chili peppers have a slightly chemical taste, probably due to the high capsaicin content. When processed into powder it unfolds a subtle, fruity aroma. Ideal for use in tomato chili recipes and hot spicy soups.

Concentrated Bhut-Jolokia chili spice is often filled in small containers as key rings. Chili junkies always have a dose of emergency spice ready to hand.

Chili plant

Healthy Bhut-Jolokia plants look magnificent. A beautiful crown spreads out on the stable plant. In the garden, Jolokia chili plants grow up to 1.8 meters high. In the flat or balcony they usually hear growing up at a height of 1.2 meters. The size of the chili depends on the root space or pot size.

The leaves are slightly smaller than those of Habaneros. This plant looks beautiful with red chili peppers and green leaves of about the same size.

This plant needs a lot of warmth and humidity. A variety that is perfect for a greenhouse or winter garden. In a permeable soil with a pH value of 6.8 - 6.0 the plant needs about 100 days until flowering.

Another 120 days after fruit formation, sharp fruit can be harvested. At the temperatures and the amount of sun only single chili peppers will make it to 1 million Scoville. If you have a raised bed or a spiral of herbs, you can look forward to a good harvest. Due to the warmer soil, the chili plants grow almost always healthier and faster.

Growing and cultivation

You should start growing Capsicum chinense at least 10 weeks before the planned planting date. Usually the right time for planting out is mid-May. After soaking the seeds, at the latest in March - preferably at the beginning of February - you plant the individual seeds in coconut source tabs or in the cultivating soil.

A heating mat and a mini greenhouse will help you to keep the germination temperature between 23° and 27° Celsius. Between 10 and 14 days the first seedlings will appear. If you have shown the young plants too narrowly, the right time is to separate them before the small ones form the first real leaves.

Chili plants need a sufficiently large plant pot to thrive well. You should use a plant container with 10 liters for the cultivation, preferably in 2 – 3 steps. In the garden, leave about half a meter of space for each plant.

Bhut Jolokia Care

This type of chili needs a lot of warmth, sun and humidity. Do not water the soil with too much water. It can withstand dryness quite well and shrinks quickly if your feet are too wet. It is advisable to check the soil for dryness with a finger before watering. On you will find a special article on how to water your feet properly.


Bhut Jolokia plants can use a lot of fertilizer to produce their countless orange to red chili peppers. The fertilizer should not contain too much nitrogen. Special chili and paprika fertilizers or high-quality tomato fertilizers from the DIY market have proven their worth. Organic fertilizers in the form of compost, chicken or horse manure are highly recommended for tasty chilies. This is already under-excavated at the beginning in the garden. On the balcony or in the room, a long-term fertilizer granulate is easy to use.


From August or September it’s time. About 100 days after the green pods have formed, they change first to orange, then to red. The skin of the chilies has an unusual structure. The flesh is firm and produces many chilies powder after drying. When harvesting, please wear gloves, no joke, is better.

Before you venture to the sharpest chili in the world, this former record holder is a great object to practice. Very spicy, great plant, not easy to grow.

Bhut Jolokia Facts

Variety name Bhut Jolokia
Species Capsicum chinense
Origin India
plant size 120 – 180 cm
Maturing time 100 days
Scoville 1.001.304 SHU
Germination duration 10 – 14 days
Germination temperature 23 – 27 °C
Planting distance min. 80 cm