The ghost pepper is one of the hottest peppers in the world. They aren’t that difficult to grow. In this blog post I will give you tips on how to successfully grow your own ghost pepper plants using methods that have worked for me.
How to Grow Ghost Peppers from Seed
First off, you’ll need to decide on which kind of seed cultivar to plant then follow these tips:
- Plant seeds in a seed starting mix
- Provide moderate water and sunlight for the first month
- After around 3-4 weeks, the seeds should sprout fully
- Move cultivars to a more balanced growing medium
- Remove any in-ground soil if growing outdoors in pots
- Wait for peppers to grow on the vine
- Harvest them only after they’ve reached a desired color
- Pick peppers gently so you don’t damage the underlying plant itself
- Leave plants in place after taking peppers
- Continue moderate watering and care for the life of the plant – they can often provide multiple harvests
How to Grow Ghost Peppers from Seedlings
Assuming that your seedlings are healthy, you should move them to an in-ground or in-pot mix and then:
- Place plants in a full-sun location
- Increase the richness of soil if it seems too lean
- Add only organic fertilizers if the soil is at all lacking
- Provide a slightly acidic environment with a pH of around 6.0-6.8
- Protect the plants whenever evening temperatures drop below 60°F
- Block direct sunlight that lands on the fruit itself
- Remove any parts of the plant that are suffering from rot or sun scald
- Deeply water plants with an inch of water on a weekly basis
- Provide moderate moisture at other times
- Only harvest peppers when they’re the right color and texture to be enjoyed – in general, the redder they are the hotter
Ghost Pepper Growing Conditions
The ideal greenhouse conditions for growing a ghost pepper is somewhere around 75°F in fairly humid conditions. You’re going to want to keep the soil warm and moist, with some claiming that a ground temperature of around 80-90°F is best for this.
No matter what, the soil can’t become dry, which will surely kill a ghost pepper plant. You’ll want to maintain environmental constants with little fluctuation over the lifetime of your pepper plant in order to ensure the highest yield.
While air temperatures could theoretically approach highs much higher than these numbers, you’ll want to keep a close eye out for wilting leaves especially if heat is accompanied by a dry spell. Shield your plant in that case.
How Often to Water Ghost Pepper Plant
Soil should be kept moist at all times, so watering will depend strictly on how much is necessary to keep the soil in a constant loamy state. Never let the soil get muddy, however, and only water outdoor pepper plants after the hottest times of the day.
Ghost peppers grown in flower pots may tend to dry out faster, so you’ll want to keep an eye on them. Some growers will periodically mist these plants with a spray bottle to keep them humid during hours of stronger daylight.
When to Harvest Ghost Peppers
Mature ghost pepper plants will produce full-sized fruits around 100 days after they fully germinate, which is why you often see a 150 day deadline to harvest them. In practice, however, you might want to leave them on the vine a little longer as long as they don’t get sun scalded.
This can give them a tangier flavor if done right. Otherwise, you’ll want to harvest the
How Long Do Ghost Pepper Plants Live
Under the right conditions in plant hardiness zones 8-11 or so, ghost peppers could actually be perennial plants that keep coming back for many years after falling into a dormant state at the end of the season. In general, though, they won’t live much past 200 days, especially if they start to get too cold or too dry.
How Long Do Ghost Peppers Take to Grow and Produce Peppers
Seeds can take upwards of 35 or even 40 days to sprout completely, and they might take even longer depending on the temperature of their growing environment. Once they sprout, the plant may take around 150 days before it produces mature peppers that are ready to pick.
Green peppers could be picked before this time, but they might be somewhat chewy and won’t be as hot as they would if they were left on longer.
How to Grow Peppers Indoors Year Round
During cooler months, seedlings may require the use of a seed bed heater. This shouldn’t be applied directly to avoid scalding the plants, though it does need to promote a soil temperature of somewhere around 80°F if not a bit higher.
Heaters can create dry conditions, so make sure that the soil stays springy while growing indoors.
How to Grow Ghost Pepper Plants in Pots
Growing ghost peppers in pots shouldn’t be much different than growing it in the ground, but you need a richer nutrient mix in the soil to get the plants to root right. Make sure that you pick pots that have enough vertical space for the roots of your ghost peppers to grow down in.
How to Grow Ghost Peppers in Canada
Assuming you don’t live in an enclave that receives a significant warm weather growing season, you can follow the standard instructions for indoor growing and keep the soil temperature at around 27°C. Recently transplanted peppers will need an air temperature of at least 23°C if not higher.
Where to Find the Best Ghost Pepper Seeds
Perhaps the best place to find seeds is a local farmer who produces his or her own, since these would more or less be guaranteed to be viable. Barring this, it’d be best to find an independent online dealer who can ship you certified seeds from a farm.
Consider purchasing seedling plants instead of seeds if you want to test out growing conditions and need quick feedback.
Summary – Ghost Pepper Plant Care Tips
Though ghost peppers aren’t the hardest plants to care for, it’s easy to get carried away with zealous attention to detail. Don’t get too enthusiastic with the water and don’t like them bake under the sun if they’re starting to wilt.
Likewise, you don’t want to start increasing the temperature in your greenhouse or indoor growing enclosure just because ghost peppers like warmth. Keep an eye on the plants and see how they respond to different stimuli.