How to Grow Your Own Chile Plant

Overview

Grow chile peppers in your garden and enjoy the spicy kick of this vegetable in your favorite dishes. Chile plants are warm-season vegetables, as are all pepper plants. They thrive in full-sun garden beds in the home garden, producing peppers from midsummer until fall. Chile require a long growing season, so start the seeds indoors eight weeks prior to the last spring frost. Plant the healthy seedlings out to the garden, ensuring they are large enough and have the strength to thrive.

Starting Seeds

Step 1

Fill 3-inch diameter seedling pots with potting soil. Sow two chile seeds per pot, planting them 1/4 inch deep.

Step 2

Fill a shallow tray with 1 inch of water. Set the pots in the tray and leave them to absorb the water until the soil surface becomes moist. Drain the excess water from the tray.

Step 3

Cover the pots with a plastic bag. Set the pots in a warm, 75 to 80 degrees F, room to germinate. Germination takes approximately seven to 14 days.

Step 4

Remove the bags once seedlings emerge. Place the peppers in a warm windowsill where they receive at least eight hours of sunlight a day. Water the soil when the surface begins to dry.

Step 5

Thin the seedlings to one per pot once they produce their second set of leaves. Cut off the weaker seedlings at the soil surface with a small pair of scissors, leaving the stronger seedling in place.

In the Garden

Step 1

Apply 2 inches of compost over the garden bed once nighttime temperatures are over 55 degrees F. Work the compost into the top 6 inches of soil with a hoe or power tiller.

Step 2

Plant each chile seedling into the bed at the same depth it was at in its seedling pot. Space the plants 24 inches apart in all directions.

Step 3

Water the newly transplanted peppers with a starter fertilizer. Follow label instructions for exact application rates.

Step 4

Water the peppers once weekly, moistening the soil to a 6-inch depth at each irrigation. Lay 2 inches of mulch over the entire bed to help preserve soil moisture between waterings.

Step 5

Fertilize the chile plants four weeks after planting, when they begin setting blossoms or fruit. Apply a balanced fertilizer at the rate recommended on the package.

Tips and Warnings

  • Temperatures below 50 degrees F can stunt chile plant growth. Temperatures below freezing kills the plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Seedling pots
  • Potting soil
  • Seeds
  • Plastic bags
  • Scissors
  • Compost
  • Hoe
  • Trowel
  • Fertilizer
  • Mulch

References

  • Colorado State Extension: Chiles for the Home Garden
  • University of Illinois Extension: Peppers
Keywords: growing chile plants, chile pepper garden, vegetable gardening

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.