How to grow hot (or sweet) chillies from seed

Chilli pepper seeds are notoriously slow to germinate and this is probably why, with such a poor germination rate, some will rot instead of germinating. Most seed companies refreshingly tell you that your seeds will appear within 7 to 21 days, and that is essentially true but you have to be prepared for some failures.

NB: Before we go any further, our advice applies only to chillies being grown in warm conditions grown inside.

Don't be put off by the weather or by tales of woe from other growers because I will show you precisely how to successfully grow chillies from seed.

Chilli seeds are fickle and require the correct temperature to germinate, and it doesn't help that the germination time is in the coldest part of the year - most chilli types are sown between early January and the end of February/very early March.

In an unheated indoor environment you can bank on germination taking a minimum of 15 days and as long as 30 - and by that time you can also bank on a large percentage of them being rotten. They rot because they have to be watered in order to germinate and if the conditions are too cold then watering will rot them.Seedling in a 7 cm pot

The main requirements for a seed to germinate are heat, moisture and oxygen. It is possible to germinate your seeds in everything from tissue paper to rock wool cubes, but the easiest growing medium is soil or good compost. I use a good compost because it doesn't contain any "nasties" which may be in soil.

OK so far; This isn't rocket science so if you follow my recommendations then you will have enough chillies from two or three plants to last you a year or more.

First of all you need fresh seeds - not some from previous years that someone has passed on to you.


Get a clean tray and add 10 mm of good quality damp compost - no more than that. The reason for this is because chilli seeds do not have enough strength to fight their way to the surface if sown any deeper.13 cm pot for 14 cm tall seedling


Sow your seeds at about 5mm deep, cover the tray/pot/whatever with polythene or bubble wrap and place it in a sunny position - a windowsill or greenhouse is adequate. Better still would be to purchase a cheap electric propagator which will keep the seeds at an even temperature day and night.

When your seeds have germinated and have a couple of good leaves it is time to put them individually into 7cm pots and leave them to grow on for a few weeks, after which you can re-pot again into something larger. It is no use me telling you here when to precisely re-pot because there is no "norm" as such and you just have to gauge things by eye and by the photos on this page.

Lastly you need to carefully re-pot for the last time and into something the size of a bucket, or at least 25 cm across because these chilli plants have a massive root system and can fill any pot you give them. From that point on simply keep your plants in a warm sunny place and get ready for a bumper crop of fruit.

NB:Chilli plant flowers are self pollinating so they do not need to be pollinated by bees.Chilli plants and seeds that we grow and sell are:

Pot Black

Hot lemon chilli
Norfolk Naga chillies
Hot Mexican chilli seeds

Basket of Fire chilli seeds
Orange Wonder chilli seeds
Caldero chilli seeds
Prairie Fire chilli pepper seeds
Chilli pepper Inferno seeds
Joes Long Cayenne chilli pepper seeds
Poblano Ancho chilli pepper seeds
Black Knight chilli pepper seeds
Cheyenne chilli pepper seeds
Grow Ghost peppers from seed
Hot Thai chilli pepper seeds
Lancer chilli pepper seeds
Moruga red Scorpion seeds
Bishops Crown seeds
Chilli pepper Rocky seeds
Chilli pepper Loco seeds
Bhut Jolokia red seeds
Chilli pepper paper lantern seeds
Chilli pepper Padron seeds
Chilli pepper Machu Pichu seeds
Chilli pepper Fuego seeds
Chilli pepper Jalapeno seeds
Chilli pepper Demon red seeds
Chilli pepper Heatwave seeds
Chilli pepper Krakatoa seeds