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“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

A Ghost Pepper Plant In North Hollywood


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.

Sign up here now to continue to get our information and follow what happens as the peppers produce pods.

Turning your dreams into the Life of Your Dreams

Chris Downs ———–The Caretaker

  • Rick

    Hello David, More question than comment. I’m new to this but I have a passion for spicey foods and peppers. I grew a good plant from seed all winter long. It’s about 2 feet now. It’s producing lots of flowers but they drop off with no peppers in sight. I live in NC and the good weather is coming soon so I will bring it to the outside soon. Next, I want to split off this plant and grow some more. How do I do that?? Any help would be good for me.
    THank you!

    • Chris

      Hi Rick, Did you pollinate your pepper plant? If you just have one plant, you will need to pollinate it using a light brush. If you wish to clone the pepper plant, that is time consuming and you may want some help. Starting another plant from a root clipping may be the easiest option for you though.

      Here are couple of different options including links to a couple of basic explanations that will give you step by step instructions. .
      1. You can attempt to “start” another plant from a root clipping. is a great article on Starts.
      2. Cloning a Pepper plant is more time consuming, but I did find a simple article with easy to follow instructions. Better explanation than I can give in an email. However, you gave us a great idea to make a video series of how to clone a plant! is a great article to read and follow. I also recommend that you go to a local area hydroponics store or nursery and purchase the shock solution and rooting solutions that would work best for your plants. They can also either walk you through the process of either option or provide some “hands on” training with you.

      Let us know how that works for you. As you may know, here in Colorado we have a great hydroponics store: Majestic Hydro Gardening Johnathon Wood may have the cloning expertise that you need to succeed! I am more of a “Start” time grower.

      I would appreciate knowing how your peppers come out!

      Enjoy the Journey and the new skills!

  • mike

    i purchased three ghost peppers plants in late may, planted them in a green house that i built, the peppers are now three feet high and starting to flower. does this mean the plants are starting to bear fruit?

    Also if they live long enough can i cut these and bring them in doors for the winter?

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