Ghost peppers are very hot peppers. In fact, they are among the top hottest peppers in the world. While they are not the hottest pepper variety known to man, they are the spiciest chili pepper that can be used to make food. All peppers hotter than ghost peppers are too extreme to use to make sauces or to spice up soup or food.
In this article, I will share with you everything you need to know about ghost peppers including facts about them, types of ghost peppers, and how to grow them.
Why Ghost Peppers Are Popular
Ghost peppers are popular because while they are super-hot, they are flavorful and can be consumed. This makes them perfect for making extreme chili sauces and soups. They are also very nice for making certain delectable continental dishes.
If you love hot peppers, you have probably tasted jalapeno peppers. And if you have, you probably found them to be very hot unless if you tasted them in a well-made sauce. Now, while jalapeno peppers are definitely hot, they are very mild when compared to ghost peppers. Some ghost peppers are over 400 times hotter than jalapeno peppers. They say just a pinch of dried and powdered ghost peppers can make you cry.
The peppers are already being used to chase away rogue elephants from human reserves and there are proposals to use them to make grenades and tear gas canisters. This statement shows you just about how hot they are. But I must insist that despite their extreme heat, they are flavorful and perfect for making hot chili sauces and spicy recipes. Obviously, they are used in moderation to ensure the sauces and spicy recipes are not too hot.
Quick Facts about Ghost Peppers
- Origin. Ghost peppers are native to India where they are known as bhut jolokia
- Heat Level. Ghost peppers are the seventh hottest pepper in the world
- Types. Several types of ghost peppers exist including red bhut jolokia (the hottest) and purple bhut jolokia
- Light. Ghost peppers need as much light as possible because they are adapted to bright light and heat
- Soil. Ghost peppers do well in loamy and well-drained soils as well as quality grow soils
- Water. Like most pepper plants, ghost peppers need just enough water to thrive
- Size. The peppers only grow as tall as four feet and, therefore, they are perfect for growing in 3-gallon and 5-gallon containers
- Chili size. The peppers produced by ghost peppers are about 3 inches long and 1 inch wide and usually start getting produced in the fourth month
Types of Ghost Peppers You Can Grow
According to estimates, there are more than fifty thousand types of chili peppers around the world. However, only about eighty of them are frequently grown. Ghost peppers are among the eighty.
There are many types of ghost peppers/ bhut jolokia peppers. The most common type is the red bhut jolokia. It is called the red bhut jolokia because it is super-hot. Other common types include yellow, chocolate, white, and purple bhut jolokias.
Red Bhut Jolokia
This is the hottest ghost pepper variety. It is also known as Bih Jolokia and Naga Jolokia. On the Scoville scale, it registers over one million units. So it is seriously hot. But while it is hot, it is quite flavorful.
This makes it great for making hot sauces and spicy dishes. If you are looking for ghost pepper variety to grow indoors, you should strongly consider it because it does not grow very tall. It is called red bhut jolokia because red is the color of its fruits when matured.
Yellow Bhut Jolokia
This ghost pepper variety is very popular in the United States and in the United Kingdom. It is also quite hot although not quite as hot as the red bhut jolokia. It is called yellow bhut jolokia because yellow is the color of its fruits when ripe.
Chocolate Bhut Jolokia
Chocolate bhut jolokia peppers are very aromatic. They also have a sweet aftertaste. According to various expert sources, chocolate bhut jolokia peppers are the best to grow home because of their taste and, therefore, their usefulness in making sauces and food.
White Purple Jolokia
White bhut jolokia peppers are larger than most other types of ghost peppers. They usually grow to a height of more than four feet. For this reason, they are not the most perfect ghost pepper variety to grow in pots indoors.
Purple Bhut Jolokia
This variety of ghost peppers is not as hot as other varieties of hot peppers. In fact, some say it is just as hot as some varieties of habaneros. This means it is very consumable. Its peppers slowly turn from green to purple as they get mature hence its name.
What Ghost Peppers Need To Thrive
Ghost peppers are originally from regions in India where it is usually very warm and very humid. Therefore, if you reside in a place that is warm and humid, they will thrive. This is because they are adapted to thriving in such conditions.
In India, there is also plenty of sunshine almost all year round. Ghost peppers like this. If your region is warm and humid, this means there is also sunshine almost all year round. Growing peppers in your area should be no problem.
If you live in a place with a cold climate or that does not experience a lot of sunlight all year round, you should grow ghost peppers in a greenhouse or indoors where you can maintain a temperature of 75 degrees F to make them thrive. And since your ghost peppers will not be getting a lot of full-spectrum wavelength light in a greenhouse or indoors, you should purchase grow lights to give them the light they need.
If you choose to grow your peppers in a greenhouse or indoors, you can use containers provided they have good drainage. Should you choose to plant ghost peppers in the ground outside, you should make sure you mix a lot of organic material with your soil if it is sandy. If it is loamy, you should just add a bit of fertilizer every week or every two weeks and your plants will be well on their way to maturity.
If you decide to grow ghost peppers in pots/ containers, you will need to water them almost every other day because you are their only source of water. If your plants are in the ground, you should water them once or twice weekly but you should make sure the soil around them does not get muddy or waterlogged because of your watering. When water your plants, approximately 3 quarts of water should be enough for each plant.
How to Grow Ghost Pepper Plants In Pots
Now that you know everything about ghost peppers, here is a guide on how to grow them in pots. You will require a seed starting tray, planter pots, potting soil, an indoor growing heater, and grow lights.
1. Start Your Ghost Pepper Seeds Early
This is very important. You should start your ghost pepper seeds about ten weeks to the last frost date in your region so that they begin growing early to mature early produce peppers for many months before winter comes back.
To start your seeds, you should sow them in a seeding tray and bring your heater close to them. Don’t forget to give each of the seeds a spritz of water. The heater and the moist soil will do the trick and make your seeds germinate. Remember to keep the temperature steady (between 80 to 90 degrees F) using the heater because seeds need this high temperature to germinate.
2. Expose Seedlings To Light
After your seeds sprout in the seed starting tray (about 40 days after seed starting), they will need light to continue growing. However, you can’t take them outside because it will still too cold and the sun won’t be too strong if it does come out. The solution to this problem is to expose your seedlings to grow lights.
A good set of grow lights will provide your seedlings with the light they need for photosynthesis and growth. If you do not have to grow lights at home, get quality ones from Amazon.
3. Transplant Your Seedlings Into Pots
After about six weeks under quality grow lights, your seedlings will have recorded strong growth and will need to be transplanted into bigger pots for continued growth.
When transplanting your seedlings from the seed starting tray into pots, do it carefully to avoid damaging their roots. And make sure the pots have organic fertilizer mixed in the soil to give your seedlings plenty of nutrients to grow. Water your seedlings when done transplanting.
4. Take Good Care Of Your Young Ghost Pepper Plants
After successfully transplanting your seedlings, you should take good care of them. Water them, fertilize them, prune them, and eliminate any pests you identify on them quickly. Also, make sure you expose them to grow lights daily for 12 hours and you maintain a high temperature of about 75 degrees F.
5. Harden Your Plants If You Want To Take Them Outside
If you want to take the pots outside, to continue growing under the natural light, you should harden them first. You can do this by taking them out daily for one hour of sunlight for about two days and then exposing them to one more hour of sunlight every two days.
After about three weeks, of taking your plants out and gradually increasing their exposure to natural light, they will be ready to be left outside and to continue growing until maturity. Just don’t forget to water them and maintain them if you want them to continue growing to maturity.
And if you take good care of your peppers, about 100 days from the day you started them, they will start producing ghost peppers and you will be glad you took action and gave life to your numerous pepper plants.
I hope this post has inspired you to grow pepper plants in pots in your home or backyard. If you any questions, email me and I will get back to you.