How old do chilies grow?

Chili plants

Depending on the chilli variety, the plant can grow to different ages:

Capsicum

Capsicum is the botanical name for chillies, peppers and chilli peppers. Chillies can live between 1.5 - 15 years, depending on the species. The wild species chilitepin grows perennially as a small bush. In the region of Texas, Arizona and Florida, this wild variety can survive 35 - 50 years without frost. This may make the presumed precursor of Capsicum annuum the oldest chilli plant in the world in two respects.

C. annuum

Annuum means annual, which is not literally true. Any chilli can be grown as an annual if it dies in winter due to frost. However, if Capsicum annuum chilli plants are protected from frost, they will usually still bear fruit the next year. Experience shows that this variety will easily live for 18 months. Two to three years are quite possible. In our experience, annual chilli varieties form many fruits in the first season. After the chillies have matured in the second season, the pepper plant dies.

C. chinense

Chinense means "from China" which is not correct. Capsicum chinense also originated in America. From the Amazon basin, it spread to all of South America. After the discovery of America, chilli seeds came to Europe and finally to China. In Asia, the chilli was cultivated on such a large scale that it was later assumed that it also originated here.

Capsicum chinense chilli plants grow relatively slowly. If you want to have a good harvest in the first year, you have to start early with the cultivation. Habaneros and Jolokia belong to the hot representatives of Capsicum chinense. Here you can expect a good harvest between 3 and 5 years.

C. baccatum

Chillies from the baccatum plants can grow up to 4 metres tall. Normally around two metres. Their varieties often bear the name "Aji" and usually live between 4 and 6 years.

C. frutescens

These plants grow compact and bushy. The one to four metre high bushes hang full of countless hot chillies. Some report that they have been overwintering Tabasco plants for eight years. After about five years, the plant would have lost its productivity. Nevertheless, it would be too bad to let the plant die and therefore it would get its reprieve.

C. pubescens

Pubescens plants grow very old for chillies. The hairy plant spreads to up to eight metres. It is considered difficult to grow. However, the climate in Germany is quite suitable. Rocotos grow in the Andes and like high day/night temperature fluctuations. It can also tolerate light frost.

Most Capsicum pubescens plants grow to about 2 metres tall and grow similarly to vines. It forms woody branches already in the first season. Rocotos that are 15 years old have been reported.

Capsicum ∅ Age
Capsicum annuum 1,5 – 3 Years
Capsicum baccatum 4 – 6 Years
Capsicum chinense 3 – 5 Years
Capsicum frutescens 3 – 8 Years
Capsicum pubescens 5 – 10 Years