“How do I grow my ghost pepper successfully? My business partner David, received a Ghost Pepper plant as a gift, and asked me that question.
The plant was given as a start, and had about 4 or 5 inches of growth so starting the plant was not a concern. He lives in southern California where it is warm, since the plants need a temperature range of between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit to germinate, that would not have been a concern anyway. But what problems did he face?
- This was a new plant for him and me
- His water supply was very high in chlorine
- The container it came in was a solo cup, so it was a small container
- David had never grown a pepper plant before
- The ghost pepper was at one time the world’s hottest pepper, what to do with it once it was producing peppers
The first thing I want to talk about, is the water quality that you will use to water your Ghost Pepper Plant. Chlorine does not occur naturally in nature, the form of chlorine most often added to pool water is solid calcium hypochlorite which forms an acid ( hypochlorous acid (HOCl) when place in water).
Sodium hypochlorite is the active ingredient of common household bleach. Commercial liquid chlorine (compressed chlorine gas) is used as a water treatment to kill bacteria. Hypochlorous acid is the effective agent that controls algae growths. Some water treatment plants will use the Sodium or the Calcium hypochlorite, while larger treatment plants may use the compressed chlorine gas.
If your water has a high chlorine content, fill up a large container, leave it open to the atmosphere to allow the chlorine to dissipate before using the water for irrigating the landscape. You can also use sodium thiosulfate, add it to the water (not recommended by me) to chemically remove the chlorine.
I am sure that you will know that I recommend filtering the chemicals out using a water filtration system, or if that is too expensive, purchase some RO or distilled water from your store.
When you do start your ghost pepper plants from seed, use sterilized soil or a light well-draining soil like a peat-based soil, and keep the soil moist but not wet during the germination season. Do not use potting mix. Keep them in a warm area, out of direct sunlight or anywhere they will be between the 80 to 90 degree temperatures but not too hot to where the seeds will burn.
You want the soil moist, but not soggy. Make sure that you soak the seeds overnight before planting them in the soil.
If you purchased a start, transplant your young pepper plant into three or four inch pots as soon as the second set of true leaves begins to form. About two weeks before you plan to put the plants in the garden, harden them off by exposing them to the outdoors for increasingly long periods of time. Make sure both air and soil temperatures are consistently warm before setting your plants out.
If you have more than on ghost pepper, plant your ghost peppers 24 to 36 inches apart, and keep the soil moist but not wet. Add mulch and compost from time to time to keep the soil moist and to prevent weeds. You may need to provide extra water during hot dry spells.
Now how about eating Ghost Peppers?
I read this quote from a forum, but I cannot remember which one. I will paraphrase what was said: “drug-like in its effect: not so much heat as a dizzying effect, with what felt like an eruption of water blasting out of the scalp” That was for the fresh pepper. Other comments for the dried peppers I read stated that the heat comes on quickly, but dissipates somewhat quickly also.
If you are tolerant of hot spices, this would be a great pepper to substitute as an ingredient instead of a habanero pepper. You decide, David is growing his green pepper, and after first using tap water and having it almost die, now using bottled water it is growing great.
We will let you know what the Ghost Pepper tastes like and whether or not we have to drink lots of cool ice water during the taste test.
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Turning your dreams into the Life of Your Dreams
Chris Downs ———–The Caretaker