The Q&A Archives: Habanero Growing Conditions

Question: A friend from South Dakota has sent some Habanero and Serrano chili seeds to me here in Perth, Western Australia.<br>Our soil here is sand, with very little organic matter. As we don't have the Habanero plants here commonly, I would appreciate some advice on how much to build up the soil. Our climate goes down to 5 deg Centigrade min in winter, and up to 40 - 45 deg Centigrade in summer. Can I build up the soil as much as I can, as for roses, or are they sensitive to too much nutients? And do they like acidic or alkaline pH?<br><br>

Answer: Peppers like a soil that is well amended with organic matter without being too rich. It should be on the slightly acid side (pH of 5.5 to 6.5). Peppers are heavy feeders and require a well-balanced fertilizer (such as a 5-10-10) with plenty of micro-nutrients. <br><br>Peppers like plenty of water when young, especially just after transplanting (any break in the watering pattern and peppers can become stunted). They like moderate watering when actively growing and before fruiting. As they began to ripen their fruits, cut back on watering considerably. Hot peppers, especially, develop best taste and heat when grown on the dry side before harvest. <br><br>Also, at least 50% light, indoors or outdoors is recommended. Watch that the plants don't receive too much sunlight (although poorly lit indoor areas may require the assistance of growlights). In time, you may trim your plants, if desired, to maintain a certain height. As trimmed plants reach maturity, they fill in below their trimmed height, producing a beautiful colorful lush plant ripe with peppers.

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