Chillies and Pot Culture
Have you ever considered growing chillies in pots? These versatile and productive plants lend themselves beautifully to pot culture and are showy taboot. Chillies come in a range of sizes, varieties, colours and flavours; and can be eaten fresh, baked, dried, ground or stuffed with goodies.
Chillies are a warm season perennial, grown as an annual in cooler climates such as ours. They prefer a sunny position protected from severe winds and hot afternoon sun.
For pot culture, you can make your own potting mix or purchase premium standard potting mix with around 1/4 compost or processed manure added to the mix. I have found 1/3 coco peat, 1/3 quality compost, 1/3 coarse river sand, and Dolomite as directed, works well. The size of the pot depends on the eventual size of the plant – most will prosper in a 300mm to 400mm pot.
Keep your plants well-watered and apply organic liquid fertiliser such as worm and comfrey tea once flowering commences. Staking plants with two bamboo canes tied at the top is effective and low cost.
When propagating chillies from seed, 25 degrees is the ideal soil temperature for successful germination. And if you plan on saving seed for future use, plants require spacing by a minimum of 250 metres to prevent cross-contamination via insects (chillies are technically self-pollinating), or alternatively, cage the plant with shadecloth or bag a branch with breathable material, until the fruit has developed.
There is still time to grow advanced Chilli seedlings in pots, which conveniently can be brought inside at night to extend the season when the cold weather arrives.