The chilli plant is very popular among hobby gardeners, even if they are not fans of spicy foods. With its pretty, white flowers and blue stamens, it is nice to look at. With its colorful, pod-like fruits, it adorns the garden, terrace or balcony. One trait is common to all chilli plants; they are easy to grow, easy to care for, and produce a plentiful harvest.

Chili cultivation

The home of the chilli plant is Central and South America. It is now cultivated in many parts of the world, especially where there is a tropical climate. In Europe, commercial cultivation takes place mainly in greenhouses. But if you know how chilli cultivation works, you can also plant the attractive plant in the garden or in a planter. Since chili comes from a hot climate, it prefers a sunny and bright location where there can be no drafts. Since it cannot tolerate frost, it is sown and grown indoors or in the greenhouse from February onwards, before it comes outside after the ice saints in mid-May.


The growing containers can be purchased from specialist retailers. Empty yoghurt pots with a small drainage hole also serve the purpose if they are filled with nutrient-poor potting soil. If you want to make sure that there are no germs or fungi in the potting soil, put it in a covered, heat-resistant container at 200 ° Celsius in the oven for 20 minutes or in the microwave for 5 minutes at 800 watts. Depending on the type of chilli that is to be sown, there are around 10 to 12 seeds in each cultivation container. If you let them soak in salt water overnight, you can prevent fungal diseases in this way. To do this, mix 200 ml of lukewarm water with half a teaspoon of table salt and pour it into a small plastic bag. There are 10 seeds of each chili variety in it. The bags are closed labeled and stored overnight at 20 ° to 25 ° Celsius. The next day, the seeds are removed from the bags and briefly rinsed with clear water. With the tip of a pencil, 10 to 12 small holes 1 cm deep are drilled in the potting soil. Put a chili seed into each hole, cover it with soil and pour lukewarm water over it. If different types of chilli are used, it is advisable to label the growing containers.

Germinating and pricking

At a temperature of 26 ° Celsius to 28 ° Celsius, the seeds germinate within 3 to 5 days. If the cultivation containers are stored at room temperature, it will take a little longer. In any case, they should not be too bright, because the young seedlings will then quickly decay, i.e. form unsightly, long, weak shoots. A slightly cooler environment of 15 ° to 18 ° Celsius is also good for the young seedlings. Therefore, experienced hobby gardeners place the growing containers in a basement room after germination. When the first pair of leaves shows up and is 2 cm tall, the young chilli plants are pricked out and planted individually in a new, now 9 cm pot. This pot is first half filled with nutrient-poor potting soil, then the young plant comes in and the rest of the soil is filled up to just below the edge of the pot. At the end, water is well watered and the pots are either placed on the windowsill on the south side of the house or in the greenhouse, where they stay until mid-May. During this time, maintenance is limited to regular watering.

Auspflanzen ins Beet

As soon as there is no longer any fear of ground frost, the young chilli plants come into the bed. The location should be as sunny as possible, because the plant also comes from a tropical home. The chillies feel most comfortable in good garden soil, which is mixed with compost, some perlite or sand and possibly some potting soil. At a distance of 40 cm, the plants are now placed so deep in the ground that the entire leafless stalk is embedded in it. A plant stick to which the chilli plant is tied with raffia ensures more stability, even on stormy days. The end of the work is again an abundant gift of water.

Chillies as a container plant

Thanks to the beautiful flowers and the bright fruits, chillies often decorate terraces and balconies as a container plant. For transplanting in this case you will need:

  • Planter with a drainage hole
  • Gravel, granules or pottery shards
  • possibly a piece of weed control
  • good potting soil
  • Compost
  • Garden soil
  • Perlite or seramis
  • water

The chilli plants thrive very well in a mixture of one part potting soil, one part compost and one part garden soil to which a little perlite is added. It is not necessary to add additional fertilizer. First, the water drainage hole is covered with a drainage made of gravel, granules or potsherds. Ideally, a piece of weed fleece should be placed over it, but this is not absolutely necessary. Then half of the substrate is poured into the vessel. The plant is carefully removed from the nursery pot and covered with substrate in the new planter so that the entire leafless stalk is covered. Then add a good dash of irrigation water, with soft rainwater being best.


Chilli plants are extremely easy to care for. As long as they are sunny and warm, they will not cause any problems:

  • water daily, preferably with rainwater;
  • Avoid waterlogging;
  • do not water under the blazing sun;
  • check for pests every few days;
  • Give a little tomato fertilizer every two weeks.

An adequate supply of water is crucial for successful care. Abundant watering is necessary, especially in summer at the latest when the surface of the earth is slightly dry; preferably in the evening hours.

Popular varieties of chilli

Over the centuries, through targeted breeding and crossing, numerous varieties have been created from which the hobby gardener can choose. Some of the most popular chilies are listed below:

  • Anaheim, New Mexican: 15 cm long, pointed fruits that are consumed green and red;
  • Cayenne: super hot red fruits, 5 cm to 20 cm long;
  • De Arbol: similar to Cayenne, only slightly smoky in taste;
  • Habanero: the orange chillies are among the hottest of all;
  • Jalapeno: classic variety, medium hot, is harvested green and red;
  • Serrano: a star among the chillies with 4 cm to 8 cm long red fruits;
  • Tequilla Sunrise: 11 cm long golden yellow, carrot-shaped fruits;
  • Cirolla Sella: 5 cm long, orange-colored fruits, abundant bearing plant;
  • Joes Long: attractive, red pods up to 30 cm long and pointed;

It is very important to wear gloves and protective goggles when processing the chillies. In addition, vapors and dust must not be inhaled because they can irritate the respiratory tract.

Harvesting and drying

The ideal time for harvest depends on the degree of ripeness of the chilli pods. The more sun they get, the tastier they are. At the latest when the fruits begin to shrivel, they should be harvested. For this purpose, the stalk between the pod and the plant is cut with scissors. Depending on how abundant the harvest turns out, the chillies are eaten fresh, pickled or frozen. The most popular way to preserve the pods for a long time is drying. This process removes most of the moisture from the chillies, which significantly extends their shelf life because bacteria and microorganisms can hardly multiply. Depending on the variety, the pods can air dry or in special drying cabinets or dehydrators.

The following varieties can air dry because they are thin:

  • Cayenne
  • Aji Yellow (Yellow)
  • Piri-Piri
  • Cascabel
  • Andy (Hot Cayenne)
  • Piquin
  • Tabasco
  • Thai
  • Thai dragon
  • Chiltepin
  • Dutch Red
  • Of tree
  • Super Chili
  • Varengata

The easiest way to dry it is to pull a string or twist through the stems of the pods. Then the chillies can be hung on the line like laundry. The ideal location is in a warm, shady place with a draft and which is protected from rain. The drying process is over after about 3 to 6 weeks. The most important prerequisite for successful air drying is absolute protection from moisture of any kind, such as rain or condensation.

Thick-fleshed chilli varieties need technical help for the drying process:

  • Apple Sweet Pepper
  • Caribbean Red
  • Cherry Bomb
  • Datil
  • Festival
  • Anaheim
  • big River
  • Poblano
  • Peter Pepper
  • Paprika Supreme
  • Bhut Jolokia
  • Santa Fe Grande
  • Scotch Bonnet
  • Joe Parker
  • Poblano

The special dehydrators work with electricity, electric heating and a fan. The heated air is blown from below through the sieve floors on which the chillies are distributed. Depending on the device, the number of floors and the type of chilli, drying can take up to 8 hours. Ideally, the dehydrator has a timer; In any case, however, the drying process must be constantly monitored. The pods should be dry but still rubbery. After cooling down, the dried chillies are immediately placed in an airtight container.


If you follow a few important tips, you can successfully get your chilli plants, which grow in the tub, through the winter. When the outside temperature falls below 10 ° Celsius, the chillies come into a bright room in which the temperature is between 10 ° and 15 ° Celsius, such as a heated greenhouse, a bright staircase or a winter garden. A radical cut back is not necessary; only dried out parts of the plant are regularly removed. During the winter, the plant also needs water regularly, but by no means in large quantities.

If it is then checked regularly for pests, such as aphids or spider mites, which are controlled immediately, the chances are good for a rich chilli harvest in the next year. A thorough spraying of the infected plants can remove the pests. Spraying with a solution of 1 tablespoon of pure soft soap, 1 liter of water and 1 tablespoon of alcohol also helps to get rid of the pests. Otherwise, the affected areas will be cut off. The use of chemical sharpening agents should be avoided if the chilli pods are to be consumed.

They bring a touch of the South American atmosphere into the garden, on the terrace and on the balcony. If you like it, you can give numerous dishes a fiery taste with the ripe fruits. Chili plants are true multifunctional plants with their beautiful white flowers, their colorful pods and their exotic aroma. Since even beginners among hobby gardeners can successfully grow chilli, and maintenance does not require a lot of effort, these decorative plants can be found more and more frequently in German gardens. Chillies can be kept for a long time by simply drying them, so that the home kitchen is always supplied with the fruity, fiery herbs.

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