Having trouble getting your chilli seeds to germinate? We have some expert tips for you.

Filed Under (Chilli Growing) by Chilli Willy on 15-12-2011

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Getting started: How to germinate your chilli seeds successfully.

So you like a bit of heat in your food and you’ve decided to grow your own chillies. Fantastic, there is nothing better than picking fresh chillies from your own chilli plants you have grown from chilli seeds and then cooking with them!

Often the most difficult bit when growing chillies is getting your chilli seeds to germinate successfully. You might even start to think if growing chillies is for you or if you need extra green fingers to grow chillies from seed successfully.

Well fortunately, the answer is really simple. You see, the majority of chilli varieties come from hot countries and have adapted to the climate of these countries. This includes the temperature (related to the time of year) that the chilli seeds recognise and say…”Hey, I need to start germinating now!” By the way, if you do have a talking chilli, please get in touch and leave us a comment.

Luckily all you need to know to successfully germinate your chilli seeds or to solve poor chilli seed germination problems are a few simple tips, which we will list below:

1) Temperature

Often the most overlooked factor. Chilli seeds require a constant temperature in order to germinate successfully. However many first time growers leave their chilli seeds on a window sill in the kitchen or in the greenhouse to germinate, where the temperature may be high during the day due to heating and sunlight etc. but a lot colder during the night time. These sort of conditions confuse your chilli seeds and will probably cause them to think “Hey, it’s too cold for me to come out. Turn up the heating and we’ll talk!”

The actual temperature chilli seeds need to germinate is between 27-32 degrees C. The best way to achieve this is by using a heated propagator or a heated mat for germinating seeds. The propagator is the best way to go as they usually come with a lid to keep in the humidity, which can help speed up germination.

If you do not have a heated propagator then the airing cupboard is the next best thing. The temperature will often be fairly constant and in the range that chilli seeds require. Just place your seed trays or pots in the airing cupboard and within 7-10 days you should start to see seedlings emerge. Although some chilli seeds can take over 2 weeks to germinate so please be patient!

2) Moisture

Next you will need to make sure that you water your chilli seeds and keep the soil moist, but not soggy. This is important as excess water may cause your chilli seeds to rot before they germinate. A simple way to ensure the correct moisture level is to use your finger to test the surface of the soil and only add water when the surface of the soil is dry to the touch. Again, avoid overwatering. Use just enough to make the soil moist. Ideally you can use a spray mister to water your plants from above. This minimises soil disturbance. Less disturbance can speed up germination.

3) Sunlight

Once your chilli seedlings sprout, move them to a well lit area – a sunny window sill is perfect for this. This will ensure your plants will grow strong and not start off thin and whispy.

If you sowed a number of chilli seeds or have used separate pots (like our Chilli Willy 6 pot greenhouse kit) then you can move the individual pots from the airing cupboard as soon as they sprout. However if you follow these instructions correctly, most of your chilli seeds will start to sprout at around the same time. Remember, the important point here is to make sure the temperature and moisture levels are as constant as possible and you’ll soon see seedlings emerge.

That’s it! Now you know how to successfully germinate chilli seeds. Once your chilli seeds have germinated, you have done the hard bit, now you can enjoy watching your chilli plants go through the different stages of growth and then go on to produce tasty fresh chillies that you can cook with. For more information on growing chillies, have a look at our complete chilli growing guide.

Please leave us a comment with any questions or feedback you may have.

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