Are you thinking about growing chillies in pots? Yay!
This is an exciting time. What’s not to love about the humble chilli?
Even better, you’re going to get all the satisfaction, mindfulness and self-sufficient gains of growing your own produce.
The only catch is the growing part, but don’t worry, we’ve totally got you covered with these best beginner tips for growing chillies in pots:
First Things First…Why Grow Your Own Chillies In Pots?
Growing any produce takes a little bit of work, so before we give you some great beginner tips for growing chillies, checkout some of the benefits of growing your own little chilli cuties yourself:
Chillies Pack A Healthy Punch
Studies show that chillis contain something called capsaicin, which is thought to decrease inflammation levels and reduce your risk of heart disease. It could even boost your chances of losing weight.
Chillies Work With All Kinds Of Food & Drink
As well as the health benefits of chillies, they also taste delicious, adding a spicy, warming flavour profile to chilli’s, stews, pasta dishes, soups and more.
We particularly love adding warming chilli to a creamy dark hot chocolate when it’s particularly cold. Once you have grown and dried some of your chillies, this spiced hot chocolate recipe is sure to put your tasty produce to good use come winter.
The Environment Benefits From Your Chilli Growing
When you grow your own chillies you actually help the planet. You skip pesticides, shipping and plastic use involved in getting store-bought produce consumer-ready.
Pot Grown Chillies Take Up No Space At All
When you grow chillies in pots and chilli soil you only use up a small amount of space, and can even grow them in your kitchen! So whether you live in a flat, a cottage, cabin or just a dorm room, you can grow your own spicy chilli produce with the space you have.
Gardening Is Great For You
Gardening is proven to be great for your physical and mental health in many different ways, which you can read about in this scientific paper. You don’t have to grow a full veggie garden to get these benefits either. By growing just one chilli plant in a pot you are nurturing both the plant, and your own health.
Beginner Tips For Growing Chillies In Pots
Now you’re super excited for growing chillies in pots, the below tips will help you get the best possible chance of growing healthy, bushy plants that make you plenty of delicious, spicy produce:
By sowing your seeds nice and early from the end of winter and as late as the middle of spring, you can enjoy getting chillies sooner, and for longer.
Don’t Grow From Seed If You Lack Time & A Hot Spot
When you start growing chillies in pots, growing chilli from seed is a great idea if you have a nice, sunny, hot growing space that gets maximum sunlight in your home/ greenhouse or polytunnel. If you live in a very hot climate, you can also grow chillies outside.
If you do not have a bright, hot space for growing your chillies from seed, they could end up stunted or weak as seedlings. Rather than struggle with weak chilli plants, skip this part of the growing process and purchase some young, strong chilli plants from a local grower or garden centre in spring.
Give Your Plants All Of The Nutrition
One of the best ways to create strong, fantastic chilli plants when growing chillies in pots is to use the right chilli soil for growing. You’re looking for nice loose soil that supports the plant without compacting or clumping, especially after watering.
At the beginning of the growing process you actually want to use nutrient-poor soil because those nutrients can hinder the growing process. Once you have an active plant, you can then use a more nutrient-rich soil with the following components to support your plants:
- 75% tomato soil
- 10% vermiculite
- 10% perlite
- 5% sand or fine gravel
You can also purchase chilli soil yourself ready made if that is easier for you when you prepare for growing chillies in pots.
You can then fertilise your plants with a chilli plant fertiliser or diluted fish, seaweed or diluted Epsom salts (once they are established) throughout the growing process.
Always follow the instructions of the fertiliser manufacturer for the best results.
Top & FIM (Fudge I Missed) Your Chilli Plants
When your plants get to around 8 to 10 leaves in size it is time to get your pinch on. By pinching the tips of any new shoot tips that come through you encourage extra branches, which makes a bushy plant that produces lots of yummy chillies.
Experts recommend cutting across (the FIM method) and also cutting the top off the plants. You can checkout how to do both of these methods to your plants in this handy video.
Work With Your Local Climate
Some people grow chillies indoors, some people grow them indoors then move them outdoors, some people have polytunnels and some people can grow chillies outdoors from scratch.
The best way for you to start growing chillies in pots depends on your local climate, and perhaps the outdoor space you have.
Where your chillies will do best in their pots depends on your local climate and by speaking to local growers and gardening clubs, you can best tailor a growing plan for your chillies that works best.
Don’t Be Put Off By Pests & Disease
As a beginner grower it is so easy to feel defeated by all the diseases and pests that seem so desperate to destroy your plans for growing chillies in pots.
Although it can be really difficult to continually find a new pest or problem with your plants, the great news is that there are all kinds of methods, products and practices to combat the attacks.
As a general rule, checking your plants daily (ideally with a loupe or a magnifying glass) will help you catch any problems nice and early, before they overwhelm the plant.
“To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.” – Alfred Austin
Growing your own chilli plants has so many benefits, it has to be worth a try!
Using our tips above, you can get the very best out of your chilli plant growing endeavours, growing chillies in pots that are strong, healthy and delicious this year, and hopefully for many more growing seasons to come.