Habanero peppers are small hot peppers native to Havana, Cuba. The name habanero is derived from "Havanero," meaning "from Havana." The peppers are usually orange, red or yellow, but there are some versions that are white, brown or pink. The habanero pepper is the hottest pepper available for purchase in the United States. Many grow the peppers in their home gardens.
Never start the seeds on peat pellets, or in wads of peat moss. Home gardeners use peat and peat pellets to start vegetable seeds indoors. But pepper seeds find peat too acidic and do not germinate well when peat is used. Instead, use a high-quality potting mix made for vegetables.
During the day, peppers need temperatures of 80 to 85 degrees in order to germinate. If indoor temperatures are too cold inside your home, heating mats provide the additional warmth the seeds need. After 16 hours of warmth during the day, turn off the mats and let the seeds sit in room temperature for eight hours at night.
Habanero peppers need well-drained soil. The plants cannot tolerate sitting in too much water. Prevent this by using quick-draining soil, made by mixing potting soil with gardening sand at a ratio of 1:1.
When the overnight temperatures are 60 degrees or higher, and daytime temperatures are at least 80 degrees, move the habanero plants outdoors, where they grow equally well in pots or directly in the ground.
Habanero pepper plants require sun in order to grow and develop hot peppers. Position the plants in a place in the yard where they will receive at least eight to 10 hours of full or lightly filtered shade during the day.
Habanero plants do not require a lot of water. Do not water too often--overwatering causes stress to the plants and results in smaller pepper yields. Water the plant only when the top inch of the soil is dry to the touch.
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