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When I try growing chilies and peppers from seed, they never grow very big, perhaps 8" and produce very small fruit, while other people seem to grow massive - feet high chilies which nice large fruit - what am I doing wrong?

I start my seeds in a heated propagator and they have now got the first two leaves, so I've turned off the heat and am ready to move them on, but the plants I transplanted a few weeks ago aren't growing very much and two that a friend gave me have done nothing either so what do I do to encourage them to grow? I always keep them in the greenhouse during the summer. Grateful for any advice please

There are 1000s of different types of chilli/pepper, and some are more robust and easy to grow than others. That is part of the enjoyment. Like you, I find it difficult to grow the size of peppers you find in supermarkets but yours will taste better. Some will happily grow outside in the summer but the hot chilies prefer good warm GH conditions. Generally, they like consistent warmth, good light, good compost, water and feed when the fruit sets. Don't overdo it, though.


Foodie do you know what types of chillies you're growing? (i.e. Firecracker ...)


Am growing several from a multi pack bought in £land!!!

Bird's eye 4 growing, habanero 2 growing, sweet pepper 2 growing, and cayenne 2 growing (also came with black basil, and mixed spicy lettuce which are growing well). Have bought well known brands of seeds before with same results. Feed them with tomato feed when the fruits arrive but don't get the size plant I want

Foodie - I must be doing the same thing wrong and have the same problem with peppers, far to small and meger a crop to justify all the time and effort put into growing them. Mine never tasted very nice either... Decided not to grow them this year. Aubergines have taken their place, far easier to grow to a nice size but they need to be started early and need a long growing season.     

Chillies seem to fair better and are the size and taste expected. My chillies slowed in growth when put in the GH a few weeks ago. I wouldn't worry too much if yours have slowed or stopped growing the warmer weather will help pick them up and they'll sson be romping away. When potting up just go to the next size pot. Chillies don't like their roots being swamped in a large pot.  



Hi zoomer am going to give chilies and peppers one more go this year and if no better will put it down as a plant I can't grow very disappointing as I'm very green fingered usually. Have sent a message to the friend who gave me some to ask how his are growing - he might have to have them back!! Will talk to them nicely

Good luck and happy growing

Ive just started growing them myself this year, some bought in pots from wilkinsons and others from seeds from B&M bargains, homebase and ebay,

Only had them for about a month but mixed success.

Some have grown really well and doubled in size, others havent seemed to change.


Do you let the pots dry out between waterings? They don't like to be overwatered

I've been growing chillies for some years now, mostly in a greenhouse, and find they sometimes start off slow but once the weather warms up they burst into growth. Have overwintered a few indoors - a numex twilight which is fruiting again now after basically being more or less ignored all winter in the front room then had a good trim back and feed with chilli focus.

I try different varieties each year, and there is a big difference in size of plant/growth etc. For example Friars Hat grow tall - 3 or 4 foot easily in a medium size pot - whereas habanero types are a more compact grower and later fruiting.

Each year I have several that I leave as 2 plants in a pot - and this seems to make little difference in their growth. I'm quite conservative on pot sizes too as I find putting them in too big a pot seems to have a negative effect sometimes -  and use perlite/vermiculite in reasonable proportions to compost. I sometimes pollinate them with a small paintbrush - probably not needed but feels like you're helping

By no means an expert, but it seems to me you can't go too far wrong with chillies somewhere warm, sun, feed occasioanlly, leave them to be more dry than wet as Fleurisa said. They're very rewarding when you get  a pile of fruits and grind your own powder!




Agree with KevinM

For what its worth I started growing chillis last year and no the plants were not big but after over wintering in the house. I am already getting chillis on the plants in the living room window  first chilli will be picked this week and tons of buds and flowers, I do assist them a little in pollination due to lack of wind and insects indoors.

Planted more of same variety this year and a few other varieties but no expectations. I read that in our climate often a chilli if overwintered in the house will last 5 years and year 2 and 3 give the best crop.

Small pots are supposed to be good for the chilli but not root bound just pot on slowly.

Poor soil is also supposed to make for a hotter chilli as well, I tried this with my jacobs coat chillis; real hot macho chilli eaters were crying  from rubbing on their lip, when my son took a couple to the pub. Now they all want chilli pants from me,. MEN !



Hi thanks for the tips. Nin I hope you meant plants not PANTS!!!

I didn't know you could keep the plants - I always chuck mine out at the end of the year  

Not sure about trying to make them hotter, I have a poor sense of smell and therefore taste - dust mite allergy ( at least I don't empty the hoover any more OH does it ) so always seem to make food too spicy anyway

Chris 11

Good advice from KevinM, and my experience is very similar.

Biggest problem for me in the greenhouse has been aphids, and I've found this very helpful:

I have a Numex Twilight which overwintered, but aphids are holding it back from really getting going again this year. I try to avoid chemicals, but the squishing is time-consuming and fiddly, especially because the aphids hide in the smallest leaves at the top, not just the easier to squish ones on the bigger leaves.

Just about keeping them in check though, and hopefully this years new chillies will not get too affected. But you have to be vigilante and deal with them regularly, on greenhouse plants in particular, they can reproduce very quickly!


Foodie40 yes plants, but pants would be a painful giggle

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