Every year, growers across the globe compete to produce hotter and hotter chillies.


Discover six steps to hotter chillies.

A chilli's heat is measured on the Scoville scale, a test created in 1912, in which the more water needed to dilute a chilli solution before a human taster can no longer detect the chilli determines the number of Scovilles. Today, testing is done by machines, but the measure is the same. A score of around 3,000 Scovilles is deemed hot, with record-breaking chillies topping the million mark.

The very hottest varieties are slow growing and need heat and humidity, so are best grown indoors.

Here are eight super-hot chillies to grow.

Chilli 'Bhut Jolokia'

Distinctive, wrinkled chillies, these are tricky to grow and germinate, but pre-soaking seeds in chilli plant food helps. Or grow early from plugs.

Heat: 1,001,000 Scovilles

Ease of growing: Hard

Wrinkled 'Bhut Jolokia' chillies

Chilli 'Chocolate Habanero'

Originally from Jamaica, these are one of the hottest of the habanero types and pack a serious punch. Ripens to brown.

Heat: 425,000 - 600,000 Scovilles

Ease of growing: Hard

Green and brown 'Chocolate Habanero' chillies

Chilli 'Paper Lantern'

Tall, good-looking plants that are quicker to grow from seed than other habaneros, making them more productive croppers. Ripens to red.

Heat: 350,000 - 450,000 Scovilles

Ease of growing: Medium

Pale orange 'Paper Lantern' chillies

Chilli 'Scotch Bonnet'

Short, bushy plants producing squat little fruit. 'Scotch Bonnet' are slow-growing so get ahead and grow from plugs. Various colours are available.

Heat: 200,000 - 350,000 Scovilles

Ease of growing: hard

Squat 'Scotch Bonnet' chillies (photo credit: Getty Images)

Chilli 'Habanero'

All 'Habanero' chillies like a humid environment so grow in a warm greenhouse, kitchen or even bathroom. Different colours are available.

Heat: 100,000 - 350,000 Scovilles

Ease of growing: Hard

Yellow 'Habanero' chillies

Chilli 'Apache'

A reliable grower and cropper, producing dwarf, compact plants ideal for growing in pots. Quick to fruit, so can be sown from seed.

Heat: 70,000 - 80,000 Scovilles

Ease of growing: Easy

Red 'Apache' chilllies

Chilli 'Pot Black'

Small plants with striking purple flowers and black fruits that turn to red as they ripen. Perfect for pots.

Heat: 45,000 Scovilles

Ease of growing: Easy

Black 'Pot Black' chillies

Chilli 'Numex Twilight'

Pretty plants that do well in pots and produce masses of rainbow-coloured fruit that turn from purple to yellow, then orange and red.

Heat: 30,000 - 50,000 Scovilles


Ease of growing: Easy

Chilli 'Numex Twilight'
Purple, red and orange 'Numex Twilight' chillies

The hottest part of a chilli

The hottest part of the chilli is the placenta - the white, pithy strip that attaches the seeds to the pod. So if you want to reduce the heat before cooking, remove both the seeds and the placenta. The tip of the fruit, furthest from the stalk, is usually the mildest bit.