When getting started with chili pepper growing, you may ask yourself how it takes the plants to grow from seed. It can take from ~60 days to ~150 days. The milder varieties tend to have a shorter growing time than the hotter ones.
When your goal is to grow your chili plants outdoors at some point, you'll need to schedule the sowing of the seeds such that the plant is ready to be transplanted outside when the temperatures allow it. If you want to grow chilies in a cooler climate, you may consider growing Rocoto or Manzano chilies.
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To speed up the growth of your chilies, you need to make sure that they have the optimal growing environment. Try to find out where the specific variety you wish to grow originates from to get an idea of the ideal conditions.
I have been growing chili peppers for quite a while now in my apartment. Currently, I'm trying to find all the knowledge on chilies that I can to level up. When I find knowledge that may be interesting to share, I write an article like this one about it.
Below, I discuss how long it takes for chilies to grow to the first harvest. After that, I mention a few things related to growing time to consider when planning to grow chilies. To finish the article, I also talk about how to speed up the growth of your chili plants.
Table of Contents
How long do chilies take to grow?
The growing time of chilies is the time from sowing the chili seed to harvesting the first fruit. This time is measured in days. Here, you may consider that some chili fruits are harvested before they turn red, i.e., when they are still green. Harvesting the chili fruits before they are ripe is often the case with Serrano Peppers and Habanero Peppers.
When you sow the seeds for the chili plant yourself, you'll know the remaining growing time reasonably precisely. This also makes planning more straightforward, in case that you intend to plant the hot pepper outdoors at some point.
Yet, the remaining growing time before harvest cannot always be known. For instance, if you have bought a chili seedling from a nursery or a gardening center, you may not know the current age of the tiny plant. Hence, it won't be easy to find out how many days it still needs to grow until the first fruit can be harvested.
Usually, the chilies with low or medium heat grow quicker than those that are very hot. So, if you want to harvest the fruits after the shortest possible growing time, you'll need to settle for the milder chili varieties.
As you can see in the table below, the Guajillo chili pepper plant only has a growing time of around 58 days. The heat of the Guajillo is also only about 2.500 to 5.000 SHU - which is very mild.
On the other hand, the Ghost Pepper, aka Bhut Jolokia, needs between 120 to 150 days to grow from seed to harvest. The heat of the Ghost Peppers is also much higher than that of the Guajillo - it's around 855.000 SHU. This pepper is currently one of the hottest that exists.
Note that I wrote 'currently,' as several chili growers are constantly trying to breed new hotter varieties.
|Chili Variety||Number of days from sowing to first harvest|
|Cayenne||70 to 80|
|Pretty Hot Purple||80|
|Habanero||75 to 100|
|Hungarian Yellow Wax||60|
|Long Red Slim Cayenne||72|
|Ghost Pepper (Bhut Jolokia)||120 to 150|
Scheduling the sowing of the chili seeds
When you know the growing time or the time remaining before the first harvest, you can start to plan when you sow your chili seeds.
Of course, if you intend to grow your chili plants indoors, then you can start your plants any time that fits you. On the other hand, if you want to grow your chili plants outdoors at some point, you'll need to do some planning.
You'll need to find out when the temperatures are within the optimal range for your peppers. Depending on the climate where you wish to grow the pepper plants, the next thing to figure out is when these temperatures are present.
For most peppers, temperatures above 16°C are acceptable, and between 20°C and 27°C are optimal.
One species of peppers, though, can thrive in lower temperatures. That species is called Capsicum Pubescens. The varieties Rocoto and Manzano are of this species. These peppers like temperatures between 7°C and 16°C. The plants from this species can even tolerate temperatures down to 0°C, but not below.
So, if you wish to grow chilies in a cooler climate, you may consider planting a Rocoto or Manzano pepper.
How do you speed up chili pepper growth?
Is your chili pepper growing slower than expected? Then this may be because it does not have an environment that provides enough light, warmth, water, and nutrition.
The best way to speed up chili plant growth is thus by providing it with optimal growing conditions. This means that you'll either need to grow the chili pepper outdoors in a climate and soil type similar to the native types.
Or, you'll need to grow the plant indoors in a controlled environment. In this case, you also need to replicate the native growing conditions of the pepper plant.