Chilli Growing Instructions - How to Grow Your Own Chillies
Make sure you familiarise yourself with the whole guide first and then use it as a reference as your plant grows.
Growing a chilli plant is actually very straight forward, but there isn’t much information about what to do to make sure you get the best from your plants once they have sprouted.
This guide works for growing all chillies from seeds, but is written especially for growing our Infamous Chilli Willies – View our Chilli Willy Kits & Seeds!
Growing Chilli Willies is a very rewarding process, and they can be grown by anyone, providing that a little care and attention is taken.
This chilli growing guide is designed to give you some insight into what to expect from your Chilli Willy plant, how it grows, and what to do at the different stages of it’s development for best results.
Chillies do like the warmth, but will grow nicely indoors,in a greenhouse or even outside in pots (although make sure that you bring them in at the first sign of frost).
You can begin planting your seeds whenever you desire, but ideally sometime around March would produce best results, as the natural lighting conditions from then onwards will supply most of the plants conditional requirements in order to maximise your yield of chillies.
Sowing The Seeds
If you have one of our Chilli Willy Grow Kits, then follow the instructions on the insert, using this guide to get the most from your plants.
In order to sow your chilli seeds you are going to need seeding trays. If you don’t have any, a standard plastic plant pot will do.
You will also need some good quality potting compost, which can be obtained from your local garden centre.
To start, fill the plant pot to around 3/4 full with compost, making sure the soil is loose and has no hard lumps in it.
Next, you will need to place a few of the seeds lightly on top of the soil. Ensure they are evenly spaced out, and sprinkle about 5mm or so of soil over the seeds.
Dampen the soil in your container, and place in a warm place as the seeds need this warmth in order for them to successfully germinate. This also increases the germination rate.
Using your airing cupboard is a safe bet, as this will have a very near to perfect temperature range and provide your germinating seeds with a more or less constant temperature, which is important to make sure your plants are warm enough to sprout!
The temperature range that works best for germinating is 27-32 degrees Centigrade (80-90 degrees Fahrenheit). Germination outside this range can produce mixed and inconsistent results.
Make sure you keep the soil in the container damp (not waterlogged, as this can prevent germination).
The best way to do this is with a sprayer or fine mist as it causes less disturbance to the seeds and the soil temperature.
Your seeds will sprout in about 7-10 days, but they can take longer, so be patient. Some can take up to 3 weeks or longer and shoots may emerge some time after the first shoot(s) have emerged.
When they do decide to emerge, you will see that each seed produces a green shoot, that will develop into a stalk with 2 green leaves.
When this happens, you will need to place your seedlings in a place where they will get a lot of light – a window sill is perfect.
The reason being is that if the new plants do not get enough light at this stage, you will end up with a thin and whispy plant which won’t be as stable and strong as it could be.
Remember to keep watering your plants, but now you can reduce how often you water them to every couple of days. Just keep the top of the soil damp – use your finger to test this.
When They Get A Bit Bigger…
As your chili plant grows, eventually it will need a bigger pot…
Normally plants will limit their growth to best accommodate the size of pot they are in, so you will need to replant into a bigger pot when they get too big for their current one.
One way of knowing when to transfer the plant to a bigger pot is by looking at the bottom of the current one. If you can see roots through the drainage holes then this is a good indication that you will need to replant into a bigger pot.
Another way a plant will let you know it needs more space is by wilting suddenly, especially if the soil is still moist.
If the top layer of soil is dry to the touch then a good watering is needed. Again, check if you can see any roots at the bottom of the pot.
Chillies can also be planted outside, but make sure you are past the last of the frost for the winter as chillies don’t like the frost.
An outdoor pot is perfect for this as you can move plants into the greenhouse or indoors if a sudden spell of cold weather should arise.
Plants that are kept outside usually have stronger stems as they adapt to the wind.
When your chile plant starts to show the first signs of producing fruit, (not only will you be incredibly amused as they develop), but you will have to make sure they are well nourished.
A good general tomato fertiliser will provide all the nutrients your plant needs, although if you can, use a fertiliser with a high Phosphorus content and low Nitrogen content – follow the instructions on the packet.
Plants should be fed about 1-2 times per week at the same time as watering.
To Help Produce A Full Harvest of Chillies…
NOTE: If you grow other types of chilli plants, then make sure you use a pollination brush to pollinate each flower as it opens, otherwise insects may cross pollinate your plant, sometimes “watering down” the striking nature of this particular variety.
If you want to make sure your plants are safe from cross pollination, you may want to move them to an area where there are no other chillies or pollinate the plants yourself using a pollination brush as mentioned above.
The chilli plant is usually fertilised by insects outside, however if you are growing your plants indoors then you will need to use a small pollination brush to gently pollinate new flowers in order to maximize your chilli crop yield.
The pollen the plant produces is usually ready to be picked up by the insect in the late afternoon, so at this time you can pollinate the plant yourself.
To pollinate the plant yourself, take a small clean brush, like the ones used in Watercolour painting. Dampen the brush, pick up the pollen, and gently transfer it to the centre of the flowers on your plant. Repeat this with all the flowers on the plant.
If flowers are not pollinated within a certain time they will drop off and will not produce fruit.
Going through this quick process will help produce a full harvest of chillies, so that you can get the most out of your plant
When watering your plant with tap water, it is best to leave the water you are going to use standing for a day or so before you use it. This allows the Chlorine in the tap water to dissipate. You can also used filtered tap water.
Alternatively you can use rain water as it is much safer for your plants.
What To Do With Your Chiles…
Chilli Willies have a sweet and delicious flavour unique to the variety and will compliment any hot dish & amaze your guests.
Did you know that once you’ve picked your Chilli Willies they will produce more next spring? For more, see our overwintering chillies page.
5 weeks – leaves getting bigger
7 weeks – following the growth of 1 plant
Second pair of leaves open and grow larger
9 weeks – additional leaves sprouting. Plant growth speeds up as leaf span increases in size greatly
11 weeks – plant becomes stronger. Plant growth increases greatly as the leaves grow larger and greater in number.
13 weeks – plant grows tall and bushy. Plant grows many additional leaves and the stem gets stronger and more woody.
15 weeks – many new sets of leaves. Plant growth rate increases with many new sets of leaves, which look more waxy.
17 weeks – buds start to appear Plant almost finished seasons vegetative growth stage. Buds also begin to appear.
19 weeks – buds start to open and flower. Many new buds appear and start to open. Soon the plant will be covered in flowers.
21 weeks – flowers begin to open fully. Flowers with white petals begin to open and many more buds appear on the plant.
23 weeks – first fruits start to appear More flowers open and pollinated flowers begin to fruit. First chillies begin to grow.
25 weeks – fruits begin to mature. Chillies continue to form whilst some have started to mature and take shape…