Chilli Seed Germination, Time, Temperature, Procedure
Introduction to Chilli seed germination
Chilli (Capsicum annuum) belongs to the genus Capsicum under family Solanaceae. Germinate Chilli seeds in a warm, consistent temperature level and use a light compost to sprout seedlings. Carefully transfer a seedling to a small pot, keeping it warm and then watered. In this article we also discussed below topics;
- How do you germinate Chilli seeds
- Chilli seed germination temperature
- How do you germinate Chilli seeds
- Factors affected for Chilli seed germination
- How long does Chilli seed take to germinate
- Process for germinating Chilli seeds
- Chilli seed germination period
- Paper towel germination method for growing Chilli
A step by step guide to Chilli seed germination
Chilli seedlings need heat, moisture, and oxygen to germinate. The best situation for seed germination is medium soil in seedling trays or small pots. Then, it will take a few days to several weeks for the seedlings to break the surface.
Guide to Chilli seed germination.
Requirements for Chilli seed germination
Chilli seeds are reasonably easy to germinate. Initially, their main requirement is heated and it is best if possible to keep the seeds indoors, if not in a house or garage, then at a minimum in a greenhouse. Even when they are in a centrally heated house there are things you can do to maximize the heat and try putting the seed tray in warm spots such as on top of the fridge or in an airing cupboard. On the other hand, you could buy a heating pad from a garden center and place the tray on top. Then, this will ensure constant warmth is supplied to the Chilli.
During seed germination, moisture helps the seeds by softening the pods from which they sprout. Pre-soaking the Chilli seeds in warm water before planting in compost can help speed up the germination process. If you have the Chilli seeds in a warm area and be sure to not let the planting medium dry out. Try and then keep the medium moist to touch but not wet. And a small water mister is best to use rather than pouring water straight into the seed tray.
Sowing method of Chilli
Sowing Chilli seeds in a greenhouse requires warmth and a long period to fruit. The Chilli germination temperature will be maintained between 27°C to 32°C and loam-based soil or compost for good drainage.
Sowing the chilli seeds
Chilli seeds need to be sown early in the year and grown on in a greenhouse or poly-tunnel, they can be grown outside in a sunny spot during the height of summer. Germination can be very variable between varieties and can take as much as 5 weeks, though the varieties we sell on seed should all germinate within 10-14 days.
To sow the Chilli seeds you can either use multi-cell seed trays or large planting trays, either is fine, but the multi-cell trays will make for easier and safer transplanting later on. You must use good quality, general-purpose compost, do not use garden soil. Garden soil contains bugs and fungus and will adversely affect the performance of seedlings.
We use multi-celled seed trays and fill the trays with your compost so that it is level with the top of the cells. Make sure that you break up any big lumps and gently press down the compost in each cell by a couple of millimeters and lightly water the compost. Drop individual seeds in the middle of each cell. Then, cover with compost and firm gently. Water the Chilli seeds to settle them in with a spray bottle or a watering can be fitted with a very fine rose. Write the variety name on the tray and then cover cling film, this helps retain moisture and creates a mini greenhouse effect. Your Chilli seed needs warmth, 26-29°C, to begin the seed germination (sprouting) process and light is not critical at this stage, but bottom heat or a warm location is. If in case you are using an electric seed propagation mat or tray, just plug it in and put the seed containers on it. If not, then any place in the house that’s warm will do, airing cupboards are ideal for this. Compost must be kept moist, but not soggy. Overwatering will damage your seedlings and could stop the germination process altogether.
Chilli seed germination speed and percentage
Seed germination speed and percentage is greatly improved by applying warmth to the seed compost. We use thermostatically-controlled heated propagators, but placing the seed pots or trays in a warm environment or on a simple heated tray will also work well. With the seed compost at 27-32°C, you must see good results. Chilli seeds will still germinate down to 21°C but germination will be slower and more erratic. Then, the temperature drifts towards 38°C germination will be quick but there will be a lower success rate.
Try to use surface watering with a spray bottle rather than watering from the base, and surface watering has less effect on the temperature of the compost. Don’t overwater, and they certainly don’t make them swim. Watering with a sprayer causes less impact.
Chilli plant distance
- Planting distance depends upon the plant varieties and type of soil.
- Varieties bearing small Chillies require lesser spacing than varieties bearing big fruits.
- Spacing according to the soil is 60 x 60 cm on light soil, 75 x 75 cm on medium soil, and 90 x 90 cm on heavy soil.
Seed rate and seed treatment of Chilli
The Chilli seed rate is about 1 kg/hectare. To protect the Chilli crop from various soil-borne disease seed treatment is necessary. Before sowing does seed treatment with Thiram by 3gm or Carbendazim by 2gm/kg. After chemical treatment, treat seed with Trichoderma by 5gm/kg or Pseudomonas fluorescens by 10 grams/Kg.
Seed germination time and temperature of Chilli
Chilli seeds need a steady temperature of 27 to 32°C to germinate and they also need a good quality seed compost fine material, good drainage, and not too high in nitrogen. Chilli seeds germinate within 10-14 days.
How to germinate Chilli seeds directly in the soil
- Soil (bought and the soil in your garden if growing chilli outdoors)
- Pot (if the plant is to grow in pots)
One of the first ways used to germinate chill seeds was to put them directly into the soil. This process is quite simple and all you need is a small pot and the chilli seed you want to germinate.
First, put your seed in a glass of room tempered water and let it soak for about 24 hours. Then, use the best soil for growing chilli plants and fill a small pot with the soil. And then put some water in the pot before putting the seed in the soil.
Preferably, the water must be at room temperature. Fill the watering can with water one day before and will have water that is at the right temperature. After the soil is moist by water, you can put the Chilli seed in the soil. Make sure you don’t put seeds too deep into the soil (roughly 5mm). It is now important that you keep the soil relatively moist until the chilli seed has germinated and seedling has appeared.
One way of doing this is to keep track of the soil and add water as soon as we see that it’s becoming too dry. Another method is to make small holes in a small transparent plastic bag and put it over the pot. By using a rubber band you can make the plastic bag stick to the pot and this is, maybe, the easiest way to germinate a Chilli seed.
Paper towel seed germination of Chilli
- The paper towel method is one of the most functional and also simplest methods for germinating Chilli seeds. This method is used to speed up germination times when we want to grow species that take a long time to mature about 120 days.
- Place the Chilli seeds between two damp paper towels. Dampen two paper towels and scatter your Chilli seeds on one paper towel and layer the second paper towel on top of it. Place the Chilli seeds in a zip lock bag or plastic container and seal it shut.
- Store the seeds somewhere warm for 2 to 5 days. As a general rule, Chilli seeds need a temperature of 23-30°C to germinate. Place your Chilli seeds in a spot with consistent warmth (e.g. on a heated mat) for 2-5 days, until they swell or sprout. Make sure that the heat source isn’t hot enough to melt the zip lock bag or plastic container that seeds are stored in.
- Pre-germinating the Chilli seeds this way before planting them in compost or soil will give them a better chance of sprouting successfully. In warmer climates, the seeds can be left outdoors to germinate, provided that the temperature does not drop below 15C.
- Fill the planting tray and fill a large planting tray or a multi-cell seed tray to the brim with light compost or potting soil. Break up any large clumps and push the compost down 1-2 millimeters and water it. The soil must be watered right before adding the seeds, and then very little until germination occurs.
- Disperse and cover the Chilli seeds. Drop individual seeds on top of the compost, about 2 inches apart. Cover them lightly with more compost. And gently firm the compost and mist it lightly with a spray bottle.
- Cover and germinate the Chilli seeds. Put plastic wrap over the planting tray to lock in heat and moisture. Place the tray in the same warm spot you put seeds initially. Alternatively, you can purchase an electric propagation mat or tray (available at garden centers) which will keep seedlings at a warm, consistent temperature.
- Monitor the Chilli seedlings. Keep an eye on the planting tray to monitor growth and ensure the compost quality. The compost must be moist but not wet, and should not be watered unless it feels especially dry. Sprouting should begin after approximately 2 weeks.
Process of germinating Chilli seeds
- Chillies can be germinated much as any other seed. To give the seeds a bit of a helping hand to germinate, you can place the seed in between 2 sheets of damp kitchen roll and put into either a sealed plastic container or freezer bag. Put the bag somewhere warm such as in an airing cupboard or on top of a refrigerator. This method will help keep the heat and the moisture around the seeds, speeding up the seed germination process.
- After 2 to 5 days you will probably notice some of the seeds will have swelled up and maybe even be starting to sprout. Now is the time to plant the Chilli seeds. Ideally, you need a heated propagator though if you can keep the seeds in your house where the temperature is warmer and more constant temperature then a regular seed tray should do. Use small seed modules as they make it very easy to transplant and pot the seedling on later.
- Of course, you can take the easier approach and simply plant your Chilli seeds straight into the compost. Different plant varieties take different times to germinate. If you are growing habanero Chilli for example you can expect them to take up to 3 or 4 weeks to germinate, whereas annum varieties such as cayenne will sprout much quicker.
- When planting Chilli seeds aim to space them about 5cms apart in normal multipurpose compost, ideally mixed with some vermiculite. Then lightly cover the Chilli seeds with about 0.5cm of compost and water them with a fine rose or spray. Then, check them every day and spray with a little water if they look a bit dry. The aim is to prevent the compost from drying out rather than keeping it wet.
- The two main requirements that the Chilli seed has at this stage are heat and moisture. The optimum temperature for seed germination varies from species to species but roughly speaking can be said to be in the region of 23-30°C.
- To improve the germination rate of Chilli seeds try and keep the temperature of the seeds constant. Then, this can be achieved in several ways such as by using a heated propagator or old electric blanket under your seed trays. Then, place the trays either on a window sill above a radiator or on top of the refrigerator which will keep them slightly warmer than room temperature. This is the way of speeding up germination.
- The time taken for Chilli seed germination varies greatly between varieties. More common varieties such as Apache or jalapeno germinate in anything between 1-3 weeks. Other more fickle varieties such as Habenero can take up to 6 weeks or longer.
Reasons for Chilli seeds not germinate
Poor quality seed – Seed that has been stored in damp or warm conditions isn’t going to germinate well, the older seeds get the less viable they become. Germinate seeds after a couple of years, but after 3 years or more, they don’t do well unless you have stored them in laboratory conditions of controlled humidity and temperature.
Too dry – If your Chilli seeds are allowed to dry out after you have planted them, it is likely they won’t survive. Then, keep the compost moist, but not too wet. If you think you can grab a fist full of it and squeeze water out then it is probably too much.
Too cold – They won’t germinate at all if they spend too long below 18°C. You will get the best germination rates if you keep them constantly above room temperature.
Too hot – A heated propagator, in direct sunlight, where the temperature level might reach 50°C is going to kill of newly germinated seeds before they see the light of day, either by baking them dry or inhibiting germination. Always try and keep your Chilli seeds warm, but don’t overdo it.
Commonly asked questions about Chilli cultivation
Questions about Chilli cultivation.
How long to Chilli seeds take to germinate?
Chilli seed germination usually takes 7 to 10 days.
What are the main reasons for Chilli plants are not growing well?
The main causes for Chilli plant not growing are temperature – Chilli plants will grow very slowly or not at all in cold conditions. Try to keep the soil around 20°C as an optimal. Watering – too much water or compost that is too airless will retard growth. Pests – Aphids and other pests can be a problem. Inspect plants regularly and remove any pests. Poor Compost – Chilli plants like a free-draining, rich compost with a pH level of 6 to 6.5. Overfeeding or underfeeding – follow the manufacturer’s directions for dilution and frequency of feeding.
What is the best time to grow Chillies?
To reach maximum growth Chillies require plenty of warmth. January and February are the perfect months to start sowing Chilli seeds indoors. Though you can still sow the seeds right up until the end of March, early sowing gives your Chillies plenty of time to ripen before the end of summer.
How often should you water Chilli plants?
During average summer weather conditions they will need watering 2 to 3 times a week, (although this can vary from area to area depending on soil type, wind exposure, and rainfall) paying particular attention to the watering regime during flowering through to fruit set.
Why are Chilli plants wilting?
Occasionally, Chillies wilt as they’re baking in the hot sun. If you’re watering plants sufficiently, the cause is likely fungal wilt. A Chilli plant that is wilting from lack of water will recover quickly. Add some good liquid fertilizer and giving your wilting Chilli plants a good drink.
Do I need to dry out Chilli seeds before planting?
Drying Chilli seeds before planting them is optional. They can be stored 2 to 5 years and should be kept dry when stored, but they don’t need to be dry to sprout right away.