How To Grow Chilies In Pots Indoors

 red pepper on the kitchen table in ceramic pots, How To Grow Chilies In Pots IndoorsHerbs and other spices are some of the easiest plants to grow in containers. When you're ready to kick it up a notch, consider the chili pepper. These hot little peppers are easy enough to grow indoors and produce an abundant amount of yield if cared for correctly. So, how do you care for them? How do you grow chilies in pots inside?
It's not hard to grow chilies indoors. Here are the simple steps:
  • Pick your variety
  • Sow your seeds
  • Provide proper temperature and light
  • Water
  • Feed your chilies
  • Harvest
  • Feed again

Let's look at each of these steps a bit more in-depth so that you can get your containers of chilies started. Without further ado, let's get into it!

Picking The Right Variety Of Chili Plant

There are a number of chili varieties that will grow well in pots. Here is a list:

1. Shishito Peppers

This is a mild sweet pepper, easy to fry up and delicious as an appetizer with just some simple salt and olive oil.

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2. Hungarian Hotwax

These beautiful chilies are mild with good flavor.

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3. Poblano Peppers

Another mild pepper, it's a large plant so place in 5-gallon large containers.

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4. Ring Of Fire Chillies

This productive plant produces an abundance of tasty chilies.

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5. Bulgarian Carrot Peppers

This is a hot pepper on a small, productive 18" plant. They are pretty to look at, too.

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6. Cherry Bomb Chillies

This plant produces heavily. The chilies are round and red and have great flavor.

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7. Bolivian Rainbow Peppers

This gorgeous heirloom plant produces multi-colored chili peppers that look like flowers or Christmas bulbs.

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8. Goat Horn Peppers

This chili is great for making pepper flakes and should be grown in a 5-gallon container.

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9. Thai Hot Chillies

These are super hot chilies grown on a small plant. Don't let the sweet look deceive you. These bad boys are fire in the mouth.

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Sowing Your Seed And Choosing The Best Soil For Growing Chilies

Start by sowing your seed in seed compost in either 3" pots or use jiffy coir pots. 

Jiffy coir pots are easy to order in the mail.

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If you want to start your seeds as early as January, you'll need a sunny warm windowsill or a grow lamp. You can start them as late as March, and for some of the small plant varieties (like Thai Hot) even later as they won't take as long to mature. Once germinated, you can thin and replant into larger pots. Use a soil-based compost when you transfer them.

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What Are The Best Containers For Growing Chillies Indoors?


The type of chili will dictate the size of your container. For small plants like Thai Hot or Bulgarian Carrot Peppers, you can use a pot as small as 15" in diameter, but for the larger peppers, you'll want at least a 5-gallon container for planting.

These awesome soft-sided pots allow for ease of use and more aeration for your plant. When planted they hold their shape well.

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If you need something a bit more visually appealing, then this 5-gallon veranda planter will do the trick easily. It comes in a number of different colors but is shown here in terra cotta. It's made of plastic so is lightweight, durable, and easy to handle before planting. The square shape is attractive for the dressiest of patios or balconies.

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Provide Proper Temperature, Water, And Light

Like so many of our potted vegetables, chilies need at least 6 hours of warmth and light per day to do their best. They like moist soil, and because these are going to be planted in containers, they'll need to be checked frequently. You don't want them to dry out between waterings or they may not produce as well.

How Long Do Chillies Take To Grow Indoors?

red pepper on the kitchen table in ceramic pots, How To Grow Chilies In Pots Indoors

It really depends on the variety. Some plants will start producing fruit in as little as 60 days, while other larger varieties like Habaneros will take more than 100 days. Because of this, it will be in your best interest to get your seeds started as early as you can. 

How Can I Make My Chillies Grow Faster?

The best way to make your chilies grow faster is to sow your seeds earlier. You can start as early as January, but you'll want some indoor grow lights to help your plants along. These full-spectrum lights emulate the light from the sun to encourage your seeds to germinate quickly. Be sure to keep them in a non-drafty and warm spot in your home to give them a head start.

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Feed Your Chillies With The Best Fertilizer For Chilli Plants

Though chilies don't need as much fertilizing as other plants, they do still need some feed. When starting out, we recommend a fertilizer that's high in Potassium or a potash feed. This helps them to produce loads of chilies. 

After harvesting, you'll want to switch to a more balanced all-purpose feed with equal parts of nitrogen, potassium, and potash. This will help your chili plant recover and grow more chilies. Something like this will work:

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Harvest Your Chillies

You've put in the work and gotten your chili bounty growing in your containers. After a few months, you'll start to see fruit shaping up (if you get early flowers on seedlings, pinch them off to let the plant save its strength for growing rather than early fruiting). Wait until your fruit has turned the brilliant color and size it is supposed to before picking it off the stem.

Use a simple pair of scissor snips and, with chilies, be sure to wear gloves because the oils can be hot if you've planted a variety with heat. It's no fun to rub your eyes if you have chili oils on your hands.

Little snips like this come in handy when you're harvesting and don't want to rip the fruit or vegetable off of the vine.

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Keep Feeding And Watering Your Chili Plants

Small red jalapeno peppers grow in clay pots

You've harvested your first chilies and used them in a variety of ways. But don't let it end with the first harvest. Keep taking care of your plants by making sure they stay moist and hydrated and be sure and give them a dose of plant food every 6 to 8 weeks to help them along. They'll thank you with an abundant crop of hot, spicy vegetables.

Please check out a few of our other posts on container gardening:

How To Grow Tomatoes On A Balcony

How To Grow Kale From Seed Indoors

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