Care of your chilli plant

Care of your chilli plant

Chilli plants need warmth and sunshine, as well as regular watering and fertilizer.

Chilli plants should be kept in a sunny warm environment. Any greenhouse, conservatory or polytunnel is ideal; they also do well on a sunny windowsill in the house or in a porch or utility room that gets plenty of sunshine. We do not recommend putting your plant outdoors, but if you do it must be in a sheltered, sunny spot.

Chilli plants should be regularly watered, but not overwatered – a thorough dredging is fine but the soil should be allowed to dry out a bit afterwards. They need regular applications of fertilizer, especially if you keep the plant in a small pot. Most standard types of plant feed bought in a garden centre are fine.

Some varieties are naturally small and can be kept in the small pot. However, most plants we sell will benefit from being repotted into a larger pot. Normal multipurpose compost can be used for the job.

The biggest problem you are likely to encounter is aphids, also known as green or black fly, and sometimes confused with whitefly. If you see these pests on your plant deal with them immediately. They can be washed off – turn the plant upside down, or if it is large plant lie it on its side, and wash the underside of the leaves with a firm jet of water. Do this thoroughly and on several consecutive days. If the aphids persist then you may need to use a pesticide. These can be bought at any garden centre; always follow the instructions carefully. More information on aphid control is on our website.

Even though the plants we sell are very ornamental, the chillies they produce are all are suitable for cooking. Some are a medium heat, though most of the varieties we sell are hot or very hot. They can be picked at any time, but the chillies are at their hottest when ripe (normally this is when they are red). Some of the chillies are good for drying; all chillies can be frozen.

Chilli plants are perennials, and can live for several years, but they are difficult to keep through the winter. They must be kept indoors; heated conservatories or any windowsill with no cold draughts are fine. Unheated greenhouses or polytunnels are not suitable and chilli plants are likely to die if left there. Watering should be reduced, but not stopped. The short days and reduced light levels typical of British winters stresses the chilli plants, often causing them to drop their leaves. This does not mean they are dying, and with luck your plant will start growing again next spring to produce a new crop of chillies.


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