TheHabanero chili is one of the worlds hottest peppers!!! The chili’s name derived from the name of the Cuban city of La Habana, which is known as Havana in English. Although it is not the place of origin, it was frequently traded there. Mexico is the largest consumer of this spicy ingredient but its flavor and aroma have become increasingly popular all over the world.
The Habanero chili most likely originated in the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico and even to this day the crop is most widely cultivated there. In fact about 1,500 tons of Habaneros are harvested each year in Mexico. Panama, Costa Rice and several states in the USA also grow and produce the chilly. It is often mistakenly referred to as the hottest pepper in the world and once upon a time it was until the mighty Bhut Jolokia came along! Habanero chili peppers are rated 200,000–350,000 on the Scoville scale.
A ripe habanero is 2–6 centimetres (0.8–2.4 in) long, 3-5cm (1 to 2 inches) in diameter and they are lantern-shaped, round or oblong. Habanero’s are green until maturity when they then turn to colours such as orange, red, white, brown, and pink.
Habaneros are similar to most other chilies and thrive in hot weather. Morning sun is ideal with slightly moist soil. In tropical regions the Habanero is one growing chilli that can produce all year round. Colder climates the plant will die off in the winter.
The Habanero’s heat, its fruity citrus-like flavor, and its floral aroma have made it a popular ingredient in hot sauces and spicy foods. In some cases, particularly in Mexico, Habaneros are placed in tequila bottles for a period ranging from several days, to several weeks, to make a spiced version of the drink.
After a long week wait and constant watering the Bhut Jolokia Seeds a single sprout emerged. I was a bit upset to see just 1. After reading my notes on the plant I then decided to leave the sprout and seeds as is and watered waiting for more sprouts to hopefully emerge. I’m glad I did because as the days past I noticed more and more green shoots popping out of the soil. Our Bhut Jolokia plants life has begun.
In fact these leaf looking things are called cotyledons which is part of the seed and serve as food sources until true leaves form. While the plant has no true leaves its not ready to move. I waited another week before i started to notice true leaves growing.
While the chili plant is growing its true leaves the cotyledons are no longer needed, therefor it will die and drop off. This is when the plant begins to photosynthesis (the process that converts carbon dioxide into organic nutarians, using the energy from sunlight) so the sprout container must be moved into a sunny area.
Once the sprouts are healthy with 4 leaves its time for the next big step. We must transplant the young chili trees into their adolescent pots. Choose a pot that is 3-5 inches tall. This will be the plants home for the next couple of months and will allow the growing chili plant to establish a solid root system and grow.
Transplanting a chili plant is delicate work as they are quite fragile especially at this young age. Ensure you minimize the root disturbance when you are separating the sprouts and if there is too much of a tangle it is best to choose the strongest looking ones and chop the other sprout. Do not transplant during the hottest part of the day, pick a cool time such as late afternoon.
Once the chili plants are setup in their new pot and had a few days to settle down fertilization is essential. Use a balanced fertilizer preferably one high in nitrogen and potassium, to encourage good roots and healthy growth.
Going forward the plant should be slowly introduced to full sunlit conditions. The Bhut Jolokia plant will need lots of sunlight and a daily watering. The next step we will need to take is move the plant to a bigger pot but this wont be for 2-3 months.
Follow my steps for transplanting your seedlings.
1. Ensure you have setup some new pots for the young plants, they should be about 3-5inches tall to accommodate a few months of growing. It needs to be filled with a good potting mix with plenty of drainage. 2. Loosen the soil that is currently holding the chili plants, do so by squeezing the containers sides. Once loose enough you should be able to carefully tip out the young chilli sprouts. 3. Thin the sprouts if you can but be gentle, if you cant separate the chili sprouts your better off cutting the less healthy looking ones then damaging the roots of all. 4. Only handle the leaves of the chillie plant, the stem is very fragile and if injured will end the plants life, leaves will always grow back. 5. Make a hole in the soil of the new pots with your finger big enough for the sprouts to be placed in. Carefully move the chili sprouts into the new pot and lightly pack the soil in so the plant is held firmly and in a upright position. 6. Water the plant well and and put in a calm but sunny place. 7. A week later fertinilise with a high in nitrogen and potassium product.