Did someone slip a pack of chili pepper seeds into your stocking this year? Don’t toss them aside thinking you’ve got months to go before embarking on that adventure. Chili pepper seeds need to be planted much sooner than you may think.
While the exact timing depends quite a bit on the climate where you live, the general rule of thumb is to get your seeds started indoors about 10 to 12 weeks before transplanting them outdoors.
Of course, you should only relocate your chili pepper plants after the dangers of frost are a few weeks in the past.
Putting this all together, it often means you’ll want to put your peppers in the ground in April or May. Once again, it depends on where you live. Folks in Florida, for example, may not even need to worry about starting their seedlings indoors. And, of course, each chili variety has its own best conditions for growth.
For many chili pepper enthusiasts and their seeds, this means a January or February start.
Best Conditions for Chili Pepper Seedlings
Chili peppers aren’t just hot (in so many ways), they like the heat too. Most varieties will germinate after a week or so of 70°F or 80°F heat.
There are a few different ways to achieve this, but one of the best is to press your seeds between damp paper towels in a Ziploc bag, then leave it in a warm place.
Once your seeds have sprouted, you can busy yourself with transferring them to soil-filled seedling pots. But you’ll still need to keep them in warm, sunny conditions until they’re ready for transplanting outdoors.
Water and drainage are a few more elements to consider when growing chili peppers from seeds. Most chilies are very thirsty, but they don’t love sitting in puddles of water; check that the soil and pots of your plants allow for adequate drainage.
When the overnight temperature in your area rises above 55°F or 60°F, it’s the perfect time to transplant your chilies outdoors.
Of course, if all this sounds like a whole lot of work and tedium, we’ve got another solution. Regift those chili seeds to someone with a green thumb. Then, pick up a couple packs of Mad Dog 357 pepper pods. Each one is packed with the world’s hottest chilies. Or, go for the end goal and grab your favorite super hot sauces. You know you want to.