Chillie just don’t get the weather to grow successfully outdoor or in the wild. It is possible but the results and cropping levels aren’t as good. Chillies will grow much better indoors or in a greenhouse, and your harvests will be far better. All Peppers love the heat and need a fairly long season to grow from seed to fruit.
When to Sow
Aim to plant chillies around march, but the goal is to have seedlings ready to transplant into larger pots from cell tray once the spring weather warms.
To sow the seeds you can either use multi-cell seed trays or large planting trays, either is fine, but the multi cell trays will make for easier and safer transplanting later on. Chillies need warmth to germinate and good light to grow into healthy seedlings.
Check your seeds each day for signs of emergence. Be patient though some of the varieties may take a month or so to germinate, but most will start to sprout within 2 weeks. Just as soon as the seeds have begun to sprout and show above the soil line, the baby seedlings require bright light. Window sills are good, conservatories are better, but where ever you put your seedlings ensure that night time temperatures don’t plummet, your seedlings will not like the cold.
At this stage they should be moved to a site where they will get plenty of sunlight; ideally to a heated greenhouse or warm conservatory. Continue to keep them warm, moist and well ventilated. They can stay in a 3 inch pot until they are 3 to 6 inches high.
How to Care for Your Growing Chillie Plant
Chillie plant are ready to put into their permanent cropping position once the roots fill the inch pots. Pot them up into 10-12 inches pots of good compost in late April (if growing in a heated greenhouse), mid-May (unheated greenhouse) or late May/early June if growing outside. They can also be grown in growing-bags, but will need very careful watering. Pinch out the growing tip when plants reach about 15-20cm (6-8in) high to encourage bushy growth and better cropping. You can also pinch back the sideshoots if lots of smaller chillies are needed.
Feed with Tomorite every other week as soon as flowers start to appear. Give at least 2 inches of water per week once the fruits have appeared, spray rather than water at the base to prevent over watering.