Is March really the best time to plant your chilli seeds?

Filed Under (Chilli Growing) by Chilli Willy on 20-12-2011

Sow your chilli seeds earlier for better harvests.

So, you have decided to grow chillies from seed.  Or you have been growing chillies from seed for a while and wonder why you are not getting the sort of harvests that growing chillies is all about – enough to cook with until next season’s crop! Read on to find out how sowing your chilli seeds early can increase your chilli harvests dramatically.

Our last post was on, but this time we would like to share with you some tips on how to get the best chilli harvests by sowing your chilli seeds earlier in the year.

Conventionally and quite rightly, March has always been mentioned whenever you ask “When is the best time to plant my chillies?”. Of course, this is very true. You can indeed sow your chilli seeds in March and get some decent results, but first, let’s take a look at the possible reasons for this:

First of all, like most vegetables, sowing your chilli seeds in March seems like the right thing to do. The chances of frost have usually cleared, and March signals the arrival of spring time. A time we usually associate with sowing chilli seeds.

If you do sow your chilli seeds in March, you will probably produce half decent results, and depending on how well you feed your plant and how much sunlight it gets (and also how warm you keep it, more on this in another post), you should get an average harvest at the end of the growing season.

However, as always, sometimes vegetables and sowing times are grouped together for ease of reference and quite often, you can always achieve better results by focusing only on the type of plant you are growing. And this is certainly important to remember when sowing your chilli seeds.

Sowing chilli seeds outside is not advised whatever the weather, so if we take a look at why you would want to sow chilli seeds in March, it is not based on the outside temperature (or even the indoor temperature), as chilli seeds require a constant temperature of between 27-32 Degrees C. to germinate succesfully.  So a limiting factor is not the time of year for germination.

You can germinate chilli seeds at any time of year with the right temperature and mositure levels. However the ideal time to sow chillies is in fact as early as possible in the year – as early as January or February.

It may be cold outside, but given that chilli seeds require warmth and heat (from a heated propagator or an airing cupboard) this is not a problem. The benefits of sowing your chillies seeds earlier in the year are plentiful:

When you sow your chilli seeds early in the year, you are actually extending the growing season quite significantly. Often, when you start growing chillies, you may not be doing all the things needed to really produce fantastic results the first time around, and as such your plants may not have enough time to produce a great harvest by the time summer has arrived.

The extra couple of months when sowing your chilli seeds early will allow your plant to take full advantage of this longer growing season, and you will be rewarded with a much greater and more worthwhile chilli harvest.

Although, it is important to remember that if you do sow your chilli seeds this early, that you only move them outside after the danger of last frost has passed.

So to summarise:

– Sow your chilli seeds as early as possible in the new year
– Make sure that you keep your seeds warm and the soil moist (but not soggy) until they germinate
– Only move them outside once the last frost has gone and make sure your plants receive a lot of light
– Follow our chilli growing instructions to get the best results from you chilli plants

You can still sow your chilli seeds in March, but you will have a much better chance at increasing your chilli harvests if you sow your seeds earlier in the season.


For more information about what to do when your chilli seeds have germinated, you can read our guide on how to grow chillies.


Until next time,
Happy chilli growing and please leave us a comment or any questions you may have.

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