Gardening ♡ Carolina Reaper Pepper Plant Seeds X 25
How to grow the Carolina Reaper Plant The Carolina Reaper plant is not a great choice for the new grower. Although media attention has made interest in the Carolina Reaper pepper very high, growing this extremely long season pepper plant can take a lot of planning and consideration. The Carolina Reaper Plant at a glance AKA HP22B, HP22BNH, and The ReaperUp to 5 Feet Tall in a single seasonUp to 4 Feet Wide in a single seasonFruit 1 inch to 3 inch blocked70 to 90 days from transplant to onset of flowersStart indoors at least 8 weeks before last frost Carolina Reaper Plant: Step 1. Planning For what ever reason, the seed industry has chosen a very misleading way to inform potential customers how long it takes a pepper plant to grow. The Carolina Reaper plant is no exception to this pattern. Its original cultivator lists days till maturity at between 70 and 90. This is industry standard and it is wildly misleading at both ends of a plant’s life cycle. First off, like many super hot peppers, the Carolina Reaper plant takes much time to germinate. I have seen some seeds not show themselves for as long as a month, so tack 30 days on to that days till maturity. Now we are at 100 – 120 days. Next, what the seed companies are not fast to tell you is that their days till maturity estimates are from the time of transplant out doors. Practically all of the super hots must be started indoors. If the seed seller says you must start them indoors a month before your last chance of frost, tack on another 30 days to the days to maturity. Now we are at 130 to 150 days till maturity. Next, we have to consider the word ‘maturity’. The term is most often used to mean the onset of sexual maturity. Not when the plant fruits, but when it is capable of producing fruit. You could have another 90 days or more before you have ripe pepper pods. Some strains might take 120 days or more to fully mature. So now we are at 220 to 250 days between planting a seed and having a fresh and mature Carolina Reaper pepper to eat. That is eight or nine months and I did not mention these are all guestimates based on optimum growing conditions and a very favorable season. Depending on your particular climate, you may have to start your Carolina Reaper Plant indoors months before you plant to move it outdoors. Please see our general tutorial on Germinating and Starting pepper plants. Carolina Reaper Plant: Moving Outdoors Carolina Reaper Plant Your Carolina Reaper Plants can be moved outdoors once they are about six inches tall, hardened off, and the last danger of frost has passed for your growing season. However, optimum results will occur when daytime temperatures average around 70 degrees and night time temperatures do not dip too far below 50 degrees. Often this is well past the last danger of frost. The Carolina Reaper plant prefers a soil PH of approximately 6.5 and about 2 inches of water per week. Decreased water during the fruiting period generally increases the capsicum content but decreases pod size and maybe overall production. The Carolina Reaper plant will begin flowering when night time temperatures dip to between 65 and 80 degrees. Flowers will not set at all if night time temperatures remain above 85 degrees. Soil & Fertilizer Considerations The Carolina Reaper plant prefers a soil rich in compost and other materials which assist in holding water. Aged manuer is our preferred fertalizer, but if you must use non-organics you will find it responds well to a 5-10-5 or 10-10-10 fertilizer. It is not a fan of too much nitrogen. With either an organic or a chemical fertilizer program, the soil should be well drained. Container Vs. In Ground Growing If container growing, the Carolina Reaper plant demands plenty of room to expand its roots. A three gallon container will allow it to grow and produce pods, but your plant will not be nearly as prolific as it could be. For full size pods, we recommend no smaller than a five gallon container. If you can plant directly in the ground, you will be much happier with growth and pod production. Additionally, many people believe the flavor of the peppers are tremendously improved when growing as mother nature intended. If grown in the earth, the Carolina Reaper plant prefers to be grown in a ridge and furrow configuration. This is an arrangement where the well tilled soil is raised in the row where you are planting (the ridge) and between rows there is a lower area (furrow) for drainage. Harvesting Carolina Reaper Peppers Fresh Carolina Reaper Peppers Carolina Reaper peppers will start off green. It is fine to harvest them at this state, but if you allow them to mature threw orange and into a deep red color you will develop more of its full flavor and heat. Germinating / Starting Hot Pepper Seeds Carolina Reaper Pepper Seeds While we would be thrilled if you would make your seed purchase from our pepper seed collection, their are many fine seed merchants out there. There are also some merchants who are not all that fine. When it comes to the rare seeds, there are even unscrupulous types selling simple bell pepper seeds and passing them off as the mythical unicorn pepper of the year. If they ship from China, chances are they are the faux variety of those mythical unicorn peppers. Find someone you trust and then develop a relationship over the following years. If ever you feel dissatisfied or if they are unable to supply the seeds you desire, develop another relationship. This is supposed to be fun. First Consideration: Timing Ghost Pepper Seeds The first thing you should consider is timing. If you are properly equipped with sufficient space, lighting, circulation, and the other demands of large plants you can grow chili from seed to harvest indoors. But if you are like most, you are starting indoors to fill an outdoor garden when weather permits. Make no mistake. In most climates you do have to start them indoors. We are discussing plants with tropical and semi tropical heritages. They tend to be very long seasoned compared to other garden plants. When you read days till maturity, chances are you are reading the number of days from transplant until they are sexually mature. This number of days is vastly different than the number of days from seed to first harvest. It will also very dramatically. Generally, pepper seeds should be started indoors about 10 weeks before weather conditions permit them to be transplanted into outdoor gardens. Assuming the use of light from windows and low intensity florescent, this timing helps your seedlings to avoid stretching, becoming leggy or developing a root bound situation. Second Consideration: Time and Temperature Habanero Pepper Seeds If you are like most beginners, your first mistake will be thinking they should sprout quickly. Pepper seeds and particularly those in the capsicum chinensefamily which covers most super hots, can take up to five weeks to germinate. Sometimes even longer. I have been ready to toss an entire tray of Carolina Reapers and curse a seed merchant at five weeks only to experience excellent germination at six weeks. I later discovered the Carolina Reaper is notorious for slow germination and seedling growth. The biggest contributing factor to slow germination seems to be temperature. For optimum results, one should keep the soil temperature at between 75 and 85 degrees. Most homes are not kept at these temperatures. These temperatures are typically accomplished with heating mats which are available where quality horticultural supplies are offered. Others choose to use incandescent light bulbs aimed at the bottoms of plant trays via various rack systems (heat rises). Other folk use the heat of a refrigerator or other household appliance which produces heat. Although it seems counter intuitive, often setting a tray on top of a refrigerator will make a huge difference. Fell the surface to see where it is warm and where it is not. Soil, Moisture, Depth I said heat was the biggest contributing factor in slow germination of pepper seeds. Soil, moisture and planting depth are the biggest contributing factors to no germination of pepper seeds. Seeds should be sown between 1/8 and 1/4 inch deep in a sterile potting soil mixture. They should be kept moist, but not wet. After initial watering, misting the potting soil mixture each day may be sufficient to keep the pepper seeds moist. Do not over water or you are likely to lead to complete failure due to fungal disease. Lighting and Location In the Northern hemisphere, a South facing window will provide the most light. In the Southern hemisphere, a North facing window will provide the most light. A window which receives unobstructed sunlight all day is sufficient for the early stages of most seed germination and sometimes even initial plant growth. However, a simple fluorescent light can go a long way towards improving growth and health of your plants. Although you can improve results with lighting intended specifically for plant growth, simple cool white florescent are more than sufficient to start a few plants when combined with a fairly sunny window. These can even be the energy saving compact florescent which fit in household sockets. Hardening Off Carolina Reaper Seedling Pepper plants that go from indoors to in the ground as soon as the last frost has passed will do poorly if they have not been hardened off. An oscillating fan in the area they are grown will help this process get a head start. The gentle breeze helps plants to develop a thicker, stronger stalk and a generally healthier stature. About a week before they will go into the ground, seedlings should be moved out doors for short but growing periods of time each day when weather permits. To keep it simple, I like to start with an hour the first day, two the second, three the third and so on for at least a week. Have fun with Hot Pepper Seeds The most important part of growing pepper seeds is having fun. Even if you are planning efforts for your farmers market or other business venture, if you do not have fun you are more likely to fail. I absolutely love growing hot peppers. The seeds are so very tiny that remembering what they looked like when planted and looking at a resulting mature plant loaded down with fruit gives a person a sense of magic.
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