A comprehensive pepper growing guide

Updated: Jan 15, 2021

Peppers are easy to grow and a good starting point for rookie urban gardeners. All you need is a little balcony space, lots of light and the interest and knowledge in growing your own produce. Read on to discover what exactly you need to do for a successfully harvest of chilli peppers!

Germinating Chilli Seeds

You can sow chilli seeds at any time of the year in our tropical climate. Follow our guide to germinating seeds here: https://www.thewriggleyfarm.sg/post/seed-germination-tips, or use the moist paper towel in a bag method. Pepper seeds typically take a little longer to germinate (from 7 days onwards), and hot peppers can take much longer (up to 30 days!). As a general guide, the hotter the chilli, the longer the seeds take to germinate.

We recommend using the moist paper towel method for super hots, since they take a long time to germinate and there's a lesser chance you'd let it dry out.

Pricking Out

Once the little seedlings have produced its first set of true leaves (the second pair of leaves), transplant them into a small pot (6 - 9cm in diameter). Place only 1 plant per pot! Take care not to damage the stem/leaves or roots during the process. We like to use a light and nutritious potting mix of 50% potting soil, 20% compost, 20% perlite, 10% cocopeat.

Pinching off

After the 3rd set of leaves have developed on your young pepper plant, now it's time to start pruning them regularly so they produce new growth. Pinch off the top leaves just above the nodes of the leaves below. Trust us, you'll end up with a much bushier and healthier plant that can produce numerous chillies for harvest later!

Place them in a place with lots of direct sunlight (6 hours ideally, 4 hours minimum) and keep them well watered. The more light they get, the healthier they will be!

If you see early budding of flowers, pinch them off as well since you want your plant to focus on leaf and stem production before fruit setting.

Watch our Numex Twilight Pepper pruning process below!

Potting On

Transplant your young plant to a larger pot as they mature and outgrow their current home. Check if roots are emerging from the bottom of the pot. If they are, they're ready for a new home! For small varieties, a 16cm diameter pot works well, but for larger varieties a 20-30cm diameter pot is more appropriate. Refer to our guide on potting here: https://www.thewriggleyfarm.sg/post/a-guide-to-pot-transplanting

Our exotic pepper plants ready for potting on: Tabasco, Cheiro Roxa, Trinidad Perfume, Rainforest Pepper.

Fruit Setting

When your plant is nice and bushy, they will naturally start producing flower buds which will eventually become peppers. You can encourage fruit development by applying a fertiliser specially meant for fruit production (high in phosphorus) once every 2 weeks. If you prefer using organic methods, compost and manure are good alternatives.

Pepper flowers are self-pollinating, as each individual flowers have both male (the anther) and female (the stigma) parts. If your plants are outside, the wind and insects should be sufficient to pollinate the flowers. Give it a good shake or use a paint brush to sweep the pollen onto the stigma just to be sure!

Once pollinated, the petals of the flower will shrivel and fall off, leaving the stigma of the flower to swell and mature into a pepper. Continue feeding your plant and watch as a flower turns into a fruit! Immature chillies can be picked but they will be milder in taste - refer to the product page to find out what colour they are when fully matured.

Pick fruits as soon as they mature to encourage the production of more fruits!

Our heavily fruiting pimentos del padron pepper, even in a small pot!

Pest Management

One of the most important steps in caring for chilli plants, is to check your plant regularly for insect pests. Chilli plants attract whitefly, broadmites and aphids, which will literally suck the life out of your beautiful plant! These pests can be management through regular application of sulphur soap or other organic pesticides. Stay tuned for future posts on the identification of those pesky pepper plant pests!

Recommended Varieties for Beginners

In our experience, these varieties are really easy to grow. If you're growing chillies for the first time, start with these before moving on to the more challenging varieties!

Any questions? Let us know and we'll be happy to help!

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