Most well-known chilli and peppers are actually strains of capsicum. Some of these include jalapenos, bell peppers and chilli peppers.
These are one of the hotter species of chilli and are used to add more heat to a dish, particularly stews and sauces.
This type is closely related to both Capsicum annuum and Capsicum chinense but grows a bit smaller. The most well-known are tabasco and Thai peppers.
This unique type of chilli is notable for having citrus and fruity flavours and has only become popular in South American countries such as Peru and Brazil.
We’ve been eating this kind of purple pepper for so long that no-one knows what plant it comes from!
How to care for chillies
Chillies like a tropical, warm temperate. If you want to get the most out of your chillies, you’ll find that growing them in a warm, sheltered spot will make for the best flavour. They love full sun but in a hot climate, too much sun can dry them out. While chilli can tolerate a little bit of shade, make sure you keep them out of the wind as its branches are brittle and leaves can be easily torn.
Chilli will be happy in most garden soils, however, any soil too heavy, damp or wet will stunt its growth. Best to go for a free-draining quality garden soil. If growing in a pot, use a premium organic potting mix.
While the chilli is growing and fruit is developing, keep the plant moist but never wet. If growing in a pot, be sure to water regularly and avoid putting a saucer underneath.
Feed your chilli with a controlled-release fertiliser at planting time or annually. This liquid fertiliser is great for potted seedlings, apply as per the label once a week or every ten days.
At the start of the growing season – or especially if it’s in a shady spot – lightly tip prune new growth. After the last fruit has been picked and the plant is dropping leaves, you can prune it back quite a lot and trim any spindly branches.
Chilli is susceptible to several pests, but they are all easily treatable.
- Snails leave holes and chew marks along leaf edges, so use a pet-friendly bail or homemade beer trap to keep them at bay.
- Aphids can attack new growth but all you need is a commercial spray or homemade soapy garlic spray to get rid of them.
- Fruit flies and white flies are attracted to ripening fruit, so keep them away with sticky traps or neem oil.
- Blossom end rot can be avoided by regularly and evenly watering the roots and applying dolomite lime.
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