Super Hot Peppers

Super Hot Peppers: How to Get Started Growing

TOP PEPPERS

1. Carolina Reaper

2. Bhut Jolokia (Naga Morich, aka Ghost)

3. Trinidad Scorpion

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After months of research, testing tips, successes and failures I present Super Hot Peppers. Super hot peppers include but aren’t limited to Ghost (Bhut Jolokia, Naga Morich and family), Habanero (big family), Carolina Reaper (current record holder), Scorpion (Trinidad, Butch T and a few cousins). Follow along as I detail some of the main components for successfully growing Super Hot Peppers.

Growing in a bucket planted same time as Scorpion and Bhut Jolokia Peppers.
Growing in a bucket planted same time as Scorpion and Bhut Jolokia Peppers.

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I’ve tried seeds from trusted direct order companies and some bought at local greenhouses. Direct order is the way to go and I don’t mean Ebay. Baker Creek and Jim Duffy at Refining Fire Chiles are my go to sources for quality seeds. You can buy Baker Creek seeds in retail locations but they aren’t always kept in optimum conditions to ensure successful sprouting. I learned that the painful way from a local nursery, bought six different packs of seeds, zero germination on all six. Refining Fire Chile Seed Plant Store by Jim Duffy Baker Creek rare seeds hot peppers

Super Hot Peppers
Trio of Hot Pepper seed packages.

When it comes to growing super hot peppers there are options. All involve high quality soil, warm temps, humidity control and nutrient availability. Starting with soil options you can choose from a homemade compost/worm casting mix like I use or a variety of commercial brands like Ocean Forest, Premier Horticulture (Pro Mix) and Sunshine Growers. To use any commercial brand you need to be able to enhance it with worm castings and a Mycos Root Fungi spore mix, both commercially available. A light sprinkle of cinnamon powder on top of the soil will prevent most damping off problems. Ocean Forest by Fox Farm Soil Mycos Fungi Spores by Humboldt Nutrients

Warm temperature is a must for sprouting pepper seeds. They just do not tolerate cold temps. Aim for 75 to 82 degrees and prepare to wait. Peppers are not fast sprouters. I find a minimum of 6 days is needed if I presoaked for 24 hours, the seeds in cooled tea like chamomile or English drinking tea. I use a greenhouse for temperature control, others use heat mats and warm window seals. Keep in mind some seeds will not hurry and can take from two to four weeks or more to sprout. Chamomile Organic Tea

Humidity control: soil that is too damp right after sprout emerges from the seed cover will cause damping off. This is where the cinnamon comes into play with moisture control. I keep the greenhouse between 55% and 75% humidity. Peppers as they grow like humidity but the roots grow better during the drying out of the soil phases. Daily watering is not recommended unless you are in a desert environment and evaporation happens faster than watering less frequently can replace moisture loss in leaves(transpiration). AcuRite Humidity Sensor

Nutrient quality: Peppers like to be fed. Let me state that again, peppers like to be fed. They don’t need high doses of any nutrient but consistent feeding of NPK in the 5-5-5 range weekly is strongly recommended. I watched multiple tests of plant responses to higher levels and none of them were impressive. Crazy numbers like 20-20-20 were used and the plants just didn’t get any happier than with the 5-5-5.House & Garden Root Excelurator

Biggest of three Scorpion plants.
Biggest of three Scorpion plants.
Medium sized Scorpion, took 6 weeks to sprout.
Medium sized Scorpion, took 6 weeks to sprout.
Different size plants, all seeded at same time. Slower growing than my Scorpions.
Different size plants, all seeded at same time. Slower growing than my Scorpions.
Took 10 days to sprout in aquaponics system.
Took 10 days to sprout in aquaponics system.

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