If you love spicy food, you have a good reason to grow habanero at home. Recognized as one of the spiciest chili peppers, you can start planting it indoors and move it outdoors as it grows. That being said, even if you do not have the luxury of garden space, you can plant habaneros. They will thrive well in containers.
In the rest of this post, you will know how to grow habaneros. You do not need to be an expert gardener. Even if you are a novice, success can be apparent, as long as you follow the right steps, and more importantly, you must provide the growth and care requirements of the plant.
All About Habanero
Before I discuss the specifics of growing habanero, allow me to give you a glimpse of what it is. It is believed to be ten times spicier than Jalapeño. It has oval leaves and deep green in color. It is bushy and wide, which is exactly the reason why you might want to choose a container or pot that is slightly larger to accommodate its growth. When ripe, the color of the pepper is usually yellowish orange.
A lot of people like habaneros not only because it is one of the spiciest peppers that you can enjoy, but it also tends to have a fruity flavor.
How to Grow Habaneros
Similar to other plants, timing is one of the most important factors that will be influential of success. As a rule of thumb, you have to start planting about one to two months before the last frost. They are to be started indoors, which will provide protection from freezing temperature.
Choose a container that is large enough to accommodate the full growth of the habanero. On average, their height can be two to four feet. There are some plants that can grow as much as six feet.
Once the container is ready, the next thing that needs to be emphasized is the quality of the soil that you will use. Use a fertile and well-draining soil, which should ideally be acidic. As much as possible, stay away from garden soil as they can be too compact. Add aged manure and compost to enhance the quality of the soil.
When planting habaneros, you will generally have two options. You can start from seeds or from seedlings. The latter is a good choice if you tend to be impatient. You can just transplant it in your choice of container or in the garden.
Watering is one of the care requirements for habaneros. You should keep the soil moist, but see to it that it is never soggy. The container should have drainage holes so that the water will not stay on the surface. Otherwise, this can cause root rot. Watering should be deep but infrequent. Increase the frequency of the watering during the dry season.
If you want the pepper to be more flavorful, you need to stress the plant. With this, one thing that you can do is to water only once in a week.
To enhance the quality of the peppers, fertilizing is also necessary. In each plant, use at least ¼ tablespoon of nitrogen fertilizer. Compost tea and fish emulsion should also be great options for fertilizers.
If you start indoors, the best time to move it outdoors is when at least six mature leaves form. At this point, you can also plant it in a warm soil, but see to it that they will be at least 18 inches apart from each other.
When the peppers are ready for harvesting, they will turn red or orange. In most cases, this will be 75 to 90 days after planting. No need to cut them from the stem. You can easily pull it off when the pepper is already ripe. If you want the flavor to be milder, on the other hand, harvest the pepper while the color is still green.
Pests can be a problem in habaneros. To minimize their infestation, routine inspection is necessary. You can blast them off with a hose or you can use an insecticidal soap to get rid of the problem. As much as possible, stay away from the use of harsh chemicals.
From the discussions above on how to grow habaneros, you can see that it is actually an easy process. You can start indoors and in containers, just make sure that it is large enough and that it has holes for drainage. Care is also quite easy, with emphasis on watering and fertilizing in right quantities.