27 Apr 2016

How to successfully grow huge chilli plants

first chilli flower


I don't want to jinx myself by putting this in writing but ...  I'm now quietly hopeful of growing some chillies this year since this flower appeared on my kitchen windowsill plant yesterday.

I'm being tentative in this claim as it's well documented that I'm rubbish at growing plants indoors. Outside, no problem, but inside? Bleh. I wonder why that is? There are many more buds waiting to open and I'm certain that this vigorous little plant has a lot more growing to do.

I bought the sturdy but tiny plant in mid-February from Joy Michaud of Sea Spring Seeds. She is an amazing and passionate chilli grower and it's a testament to her skill in giving plants a good start in life that this chilli has continued to thrive in my dubious care.

I didn't do at all well with my chilli growing from seed last year so this year decided to treat myself to head start in the chilli department - and it looks as though it's paying off.  I've potted the plant on twice since purchase and it needs to go into its final pot this week as I can just see a few roots at the base of the current pot.  This is possibly where I'm getting it right this year; I watched a couple of excellent videos from the Sea Spring Seeds youtube channel with some top tips. (Link below.)

Sea Spring harvested 2,407 chillies from one enormous Dorset Naga plant two years ago!  Joy is generous with her advice on how it's done - here are a few of her tips:

  • Seedlings should be pricked out into a one litre pot and, when the roots are showing at the base, potted on into a 7.5 litre pot; they'll grow rapidly and can then be repotted into successively larger containers, as needed.  A plant will grow to the size of it's pot (depending on the variety of chilli you're growing) but a small pot will restrict its growth.  (Video explaining this here.) The giant champion Dorset Naga was in a 160 litre container! Possibly too big for my space - and for my cooking needs - but you take my point. 
  • Mix dried chicken manure pellets into the potting compost when transplanting into each successive pot from 7.5 litres upwards; these are slow release and will provide your plant with essential nutrients all season.
  • Water well and fertilise regularly throughout the season (in addition to the chicken manure pellets).
  • When the plants get large, support the branches. Push a couple of canes into the side of the pot and circle the plant with string, securing it to the canes. Add more layers of string as the plant grows.

So there we have it.  If I follow all this good advice, I might just have to book my slot at the local horticultural show this year!

For fellow chilli growing novices like myself, oceans of good advice can be found on the Sea Spring channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfZtoYQwmLpJ3k6BYVH4aFw

18 comments:

  1. My favourite subject! This business of the plant adapting to the size of its container is spot-on. It's the reason why I can grow about 20 - 25 chilli plants even in my restricted space. My friend Stephen Shirley of Victoriana Nursery Gardens grows some in huge tubs, and the plants get VERY big. I might try that some time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha, I thought of you when writing this, Mark! I'd love to grow enormous chilli plants just for the thrill of it but, sadly, don't have the warm space needed. I'll be content if I manage to give this year's four little plants a good long productive season.

      Delete
  2. That's a useful link. Thank you! I will pass it to my daughter who has taken up growing chillies on her bedroom windowsill. Not sure that I could cope with 2047 chillies though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know - me neither! I wonder what they did with that number of chillies? I wish your daughter well in her chilli growing. I grew a very pretty Sea Spring chilli a couple of years ago called "Nu Mex Twilight" - it had fruits ranging from lavender, pink, purple, orange, red - all at the same time and looked gorgeous!

      Delete
  3. Love the tip about mixing in chicken manure pellets. I shall look forward to seeing how your chilli plant does. CJ xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I'd never have thought of that - hopefully it will work. I'm repotting the chilli this week so I'll throw a handful into the mix - a tip that arrived just in time! C xx

      Delete
  4. Gosh great tips and I love that healthy plant with it's pretty flower. I shall have a go in my new walk in poly-greenhouse but plants will have to be in the soil. I too am notoriously pathetic at keeping plants alive at home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sue. I wish I could grow tomatoes and chillies outdoors but there's no room for a greenhouse. A friend offered me the use of hers but the southern end of it is shaded by tall growing ivy so I'm not sure the plants would thrive in there.

      Delete
  5. They're not something I grow but this is an interesting, and informative, post especially for those who do. Flighty xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Flighty. I found the tips on the You Tube channel very helpful and hope other people will too.

      Delete
  6. I've tried chillies the last two years and got nowhere. I shall follow the advice with this year's crop! Thank you Caro.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're very welcome, Jessica. Let's be successful novices together!

      Delete
  7. None of my chilli seeds worked this year, so shall also be purchasing a little plant and will pot-on as suggested. Thank you for the advice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello NellandDot, thanks for commenting and welcome to my blog! None of mine worked last year which is why I bought plants this year. Just to be contrary, I sowed a few of last year's seeds and, amazingly, two Thai Green chilli plants have grown. Still very tiny so they may not amount to anything, only time will tell!

      Delete
  8. I nearly fell off my chair when I saw the size of your plant, mine haven't even germinated yet!!! Good luck with it, I'm sure it will grow on to even greater things!xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was me this time last year, Dina! No chilli seedlings in May! I realised that other chilli growers (actually, Mark of Mark's Veg Plot) had started theirs off in Feb/March so decided on a plant, plus I then had a couple of seeds that germinated - so, hopefully, FOUR chilli plants this year!! woohoo! Cxx

      Delete
    2. how many chillies form one plant?! they must be doing something right! and so must you. we look forward to progress reports... and a count of how many you produce :-)

      Delete
  9. That is a monster. I've had one year (there's always one year isn't there which makes you think you can do it again) when I've grown enough tasty chillies to be able to thread them on string and give them away. That was probably 2006 but most years in the uk it is simply not hot enough to grow flavoursome chillies outside. I do still try but nowadays I buy just one plant for about a quid from the garden centre, plant it out hope for the best and harvest about three chillies! So Recently I've had better success with supermarket chilli plants which I keep on the kitchen window sill for a continuous crop. I usually manage to find a sad half-price specimen but a weekly feed with comfrey tea soon perks them up. I am very excited about seeing your chilli progress this year. Oh and tomorrow is the 17 May, my special day for sowing the tender stuff (including your seeds - Google will not let me type their name) for planting out beginning of June.

    ReplyDelete

Comments on my posts are much appreciated and help to build an online community of blog friends. Everyone is welcome! I love to discover new blogs so please leave a comment to introduce yourself.
Caro x

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...