I planted lots of chilis, not sure what started me on the chili obsession, but I now have about 10 different varieties. They were labelled in their seed trays, but as they went into bigger containers, I figured why bother labeling them? It will be easy to identify them once they bear fruit, little did I know that in the first year apart from the Bolivian rainbow chili, there would not be any fruit. So this year I awaited the flowers and chilis with the excitement of a child at Christmas waiting to see what the present wrappers are hiding. The chocolate Habanero is easy to identify. The Tepin is too now that it has started producing chilis. The variety of chili plants, the difference in leaf shape, growth pattern, size and of course chili pepper is amazing.
I moved them indoors last week when the temperatures hit 0°C, over the past 3 years I have grown from seed: chocolate habs, bolivian rainbow, tepin, a red chili ( it might be a chocolate jalapeno, however I have just harvested it while it was still red) and acquired a number of plants from Italy, one with beautiful flowers, like tiny narcissi, and one that I haven’t seen flower yet but that apparently blossoms like a rose. I cannot wait to see them next year. Most people grow chilis as annuals. However, it takes a while to establish the plants if you are growing them in cold climates, even if like me you start growing from seed in February on heating mats, by the time they are established and blossoming around August/September the cold weather is just around the corner. Also man chilis don’t produce until their second year. In order to maximize my harvest, I have decided to grow my plants as perennials. keep my plants as perennials. The Tepins still weren’t happy, they produced flowers in October, and the first chilis in November, and now they are inside I don’t expect to harvest chilis this year. It may be that they need a better climate and so I might just transplant them to the South of Italy where they should do well.
CHOCOLATE HABANERO PLANT (Origin: Jamaica) 2 year old: Yield about 12 chilis, The chilis have a lovely flowery scent and flavour, and probably because they were grown in Europe and didn’t get a lot of heat and sun the hotness of the chili is at around 6-7 (on a scale where 10 is unbearable and 1 is mild). Grown elsewhere the black hab is one of the hottest you can encounter.
Below BOLIVIAN RAINBOW CHILI AND CHILI HARVEST, 2 year old plants.
The Bolivian rainbow chilis are beautiful – the flowers are a pretty purple and very plentiful. The plants flower all year round. The fruits start out purple, then go through a pale yellow, pale orange, darker orange and finally deep red. Today was harvest day, the plants were covered in red chilis highligted against green foliage very seasonal! The plants are easy to look after, pretty and the fruits are edible, plentiful and hot! I recommend you get some!
Today I also prepped my balcony for winter, swept, cut back, tidied things up, put small wooden slats below the pots, wrapped the rose containers in bubble wrap and the roses in their winter cloaks, put pots in the cellar. While I have already purchased a Poinsettia which adds a burst of colour to the indoors some plants are still flowering happily on the balcony: the begonia plants are still going strong and the pineapple sage has multiple beautiful red flowers growing on a single stem, (which surprised me until I read on wikipedia): “Short-day plants flower when the day lengths are less than their critical photoperiod. In general, short-day (i.e. long-night) plants flower as days grow shorter (and nights grow longer) after 21 June in the northern hemisphere, which is during summer or fall. They cannot flower under long days or if a pulse of artificial light is shone on the plant for several minutes during the middle of the night; they require a consolidated period of darkness before floral development can begin. Natural nighttime light, such as moonlight or lightning, is not of sufficient brightness or duration to interrupt flowering” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short-day_plant