Do you like your food with a little (or a lot) of spice? If so, you’re in luck! Growing your own peppers is a great way to add some heat to your meals. And, luckily, there are plenty of pepper varieties to choose from. Meaning, you can find the perfect one for your taste buds or, find one that will pack a punch!
If you’re looking to add some colorful and hot flavors to your garden, here are five of the best peppers for a spicy harvest:
Habaneros used to be one of the hottest peppers in the world. Nowadays, human-bred cultivars have dethroned them. No matter what they still pack a powerful spicy flavorful that will definitely give your meals a kick!
Here are some tips for growing habanero peppers:
- Like most pepper plants, if you live in a climate with a short growing season, it’s best to start them indoors. That way, they’ll be ready to transplant into the garden when the weather warms up.
- Choose a sunny spot in your garden to plant your habaneros. They need plenty of sun to thrive.
- Plant your seeds about ½ inch deep in well-draining soil.
- Water your plants regularly, making sure the soil stays moist, but not soggy.
- After about one to two weeks, you can start fertilizing them with a high-nitrogen fertilizer.
- Habanero peppers are ready to harvest when they are a deep red color. Cut them off the plant carefully, taking note not to touch your eyes or skin after handling.
If you’re a fan of spice, then you’ll want to consider growing ghost peppers (Bhut jolokia) in your garden. Ghost peppers measure in at over one million Scoville heat units (200 times hotter than a jalapeño). They are so spicy that they’re used in pepper spray!
While ghost peppers themselves might seem intimidating, they are actually quite easy to cultivate. They thrive in warm climates with plenty of sunshine and humidity, so if you live in an area with a long growing season, you’re in luck. If you live in a cooler climate, consider keeping your ghost peppers indoors or in a greenhouse.
Here are a few tips for growing ghost peppers in your garden:
- If you live in a cooler climate, consider starting your seeds/seedlings indoors.
- They need room to grow, so make sure to plant them at least 24 inches apart.
- They like to stay moist, so water them regularly, especially during dry spells.
- Use a well-balanced fertilizer to keep your plants healthy and productive.
- For the hottest peppers, harvest when the fruits are red. Be sure to wear gloves, as they can irritate your skin.
Jalapeño peppers are a bit milder than the previous two varieties, but they’re still quite spicy. They are commonly used in Mexican cuisine and can add a nice zip to any dish.
Before you can enjoy the fruits of your labor, there’s a little bit of work that goes into growing these peppers:
- To grow jalapeño peppers, you will need to start with pepper seeds or seedlings. They can be started indoors in pots, about six to eight weeks before the last frost date.
- Once the seedlings are big enough to handle, they can be transplanted outdoors.
- They prefer warm weather and should be planted in an area that gets full sun. The soil should be well-drained and amended with compost or organic matter before planting.
- Water your plants regularly, especially during dry spells.
- Fertilize them every few weeks with a balanced fertilizer to promote healthy growth.
- When the peppers are about 3-inches long, you can begin harvesting them. They will continue to ripen even after they are picked.
Cayenne peppers are another variety of capsicum to add to your spicy garden. They are often added to food, but they can also be used in medicinal remedies.
Cayenne peppers are a type of chili that originated in French Guiana. They can range in heat from mild to extremely hot, depending on the variety.
Keep reading to learn how to grow cayenne peppers in your own garden.
- You’ll need to start with seeds or seedlings and plant them in well-draining soil.
- Cayenne peppers prefer warm weather and plenty of sunshine. If you live in a cooler climate, you may need to provide some additional heat for your plants. You can do this by placing a heat lamp near the plants, or by using grow lights.
- Water your plants regularly, being careful not to overwater them. They like to be kept on the drier side. Allow the top inch or so of soil to dry out before watering again.
- You’ll need to fertilize them every few weeks with a balanced fertilizer. You can also add some compost to the soil to help provide nutrients.
- Once your cayenne peppers are about 4 to 6 inches long, you can begin harvesting them. To harvest, cut the peppers from the plant using a sharp knife or shears, leaving just a little bit of the stem.
Thai, or bird’s eye, chilis pack a serious punch and should only be eaten by those who can handle the heat! They are relatively easy to grow and can be quite prolific in just a short amount of time. If you’re looking to add a little spice to your garden, growing Thai chilis are a great way to do it!
There are a few things to keep in mind when growing Thai chilis.
- They need a lot of heat and sunlight to thrive. If you live in an area with cooler summers, you may need to provide some supplemental heat for your plants.
- They can be quite thirsty plants, so make sure to water them regularly and deeply.
- As with all peppers, use caution when handling Thai chilis. The oils on the pepper can cause skin irritation, so it’s important to wear gloves when working with them.
Are You Ready For The Heat?
If you’re looking to add a little heat to your garden, any of these five pepper varieties would make a great addition. Just be sure to handle them with care — they are seriously spicy!
Have you grown any of these peppers before? Do you have any tips or tricks to share? Let us know in the comments below.