How to Grow Super Hot Chillies
Super-hot chillies are like no other fruit on Earth, they may be tiny, but boy do they pack a punch on the Scoville heat units scale (also known as SHU). Super-hot Ghost chillies come in at 750,000 SHU, Scorpions around the 1-1.5 million SHU and the hottest chilli in the world, the Carolina Reaper clocks in at upward of 2 million SHU. In comparison, the humble Jalapeno comes in at a mild 5,000 SHU and Cayenne at a medium intensity of 50,000 SHU.
Their uniqueness does not end there, Super-hot chilli seeds are not like regular chilli seeds, they have very specific requirements for successful germination and growth. Here are our hot tips to ensure you get the greatest success out of germinating and growing your super-hot chilli seeds.
Super-hot chillies originate from tropical regions of the world with hot and humid climates with more consistent temperatures than those found anywhere within Australia. This has resulted in the seeds requiring a growing medium with a constant temperature of around 22°-26°C for the seeds to germinate within the optimal 2-week period.
Not all soil mixes are suitable for growing Super-hot chillies, they prefer light and fluffy mixes that are slightly acidic 5.9-6.5 pH. Inert mediums such as Jiffy® peat and coir pellets are ideal for starting super-hot chillies. Whilst super hots like humid/moist conditions, they do not like sitting in water. The growing medium needs to be moist but not wet otherwise the chilli seeds are at risk of rotting. Overly wet soil may also extend germination by up to 6 weeks and increase the risk of ‘damping off’ of young seedlings. Water using a spray bottle is recommended over pouring water over the soil.
To achieve the stable environment required for germination and growth we recommend the use of a greenhouse which will provide soil warmth and humidity. A heat pad may also be required in areas where the climate is not able to sustain a consistent soil temperature range ± 2°C tolerance both day and night. Fluctuating temperature will set your seeds back.
The first 7-10 days are the most important for successful seed germination. By keeping the environment as consistent as possible in these early days you may achieve germination in as little as 7 days. If you achieve the consistent environment with correct heat and moisture levels your seeds should not need any attention until after day 5 where a light watering may be required. The less interaction you have with the seeds in the first 5-7 days, the better!
When it comes to transplanting your chilli seedlings be careful not to disturb their roots as this can really set them back. Wait until your seedlings have 4-6 true leaves before transplanting. We suggest planting your chillies into a pot so you can move the plant around, or even bring it indoors if needed. Plant into a big pot in a quality fertile (but free draining) potting mix and feed with a potassium rich fertiliser to promote fruit growth. Keep the water up to them and do not let them dry out, but at the same time remember to not overwater. This should see you harvesting your chillies in not time!
- Super-hot chilli seeds require hot and humid conditions with a consistent soil temperature of 22-26°C to germinate in a time of 7-10 days. The less fluctuation the better!
- The growing medium needs to be moist but not wet otherwise the seeds will rot.
- To maintain the soil temperature we recommend the use of a greenhouse and a heat pad (if the air temperature is not able to maintain the soil at the right temperature). If the soil temperature is not maintained day and night, then germination can blow out to 6 weeks+ or fail altogether.
WARNING: As the name suggests, super-hot chillies are SUPER HOT, they should not be consumed whole and extreme caution should be taken when handling the fruits. Wash hands and under nails well after handling chillies (or better still wear gloves), avoid touching your skin and definitely do not touch your eyes. Keep away from children and pets. Avoid consuming super-hot chillies if you are pregnant, have asthma, a heart condition, skin allergies or digestive sensitivities.