redneck647
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When to start hot peppers?

I have Cayenne and Habanero pepper seeds to start inside. I don't have heat mats for them and my last frost date is around May 15th. I'm wondering how early I should be planting them indoors and I keep getting mixed answers.

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applestar
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Re: When to start hot peppers?

Habanero (C. sinensis) is the one that needs an earlier start because they take longer to germinate and to mature if you want to harvest outdoors during the single season. (I say this because I often overwinter peppers and harvest indoors in late fall through winter, then grow the same plants again following year).

Your growing practice will make a difference, too -- I'm finding peppers do better, are more productive, and mature faster in my garden when grown in large, above ground container, most likely due to warmer roots.

Cayenne (like most C. annuums) I believe typically germinates faster and mature earlier than habaneros, but it may depend on the variety. Which one do you have?
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redneck647
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Re: When to start hot peppers?

Cayennes are Long red Cayenne. The Habaneros don't say.
I've thought about trying to grow the Habaneros inside but I'm not sure yet.

imafan26
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Re: When to start hot peppers?

If you can keep soil temperature about 70 degrees that is when they germinate best. Below 60, most peppers will germinate poorly. If you are using lights on your indoor setup and you have your growing station somewhere warm, you may get your soil temperature high enough. a soil thermometer would tell you that. A heat mat might still be a good idea to consider investing in. Rainbow said she used heating pads.
I start my peppers in community pots. They take up less space on my bench. You can start more seeds that way than by putting individual seedling pots on the heating pad or bench. I put 10-15 seeds in a 4 inch pot. Once the peppers are germinated and transplanted they can tolerate being a little colder but they will grow very slowly.
Amazon had this heating mat for 10x20 tray for $14.95 about the same price I would pay for a heating pad.
https://www.amazon.com/Apollo-Horticultu ... W8HB03H194
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digitS'
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Re: When to start hot peppers?

Freshness of seed makes a difference. Old seed can take forever!

I also start in community containers but got in trouble once or twice having old and new seed lined up in those. Seedlings with a 7 day head start don't play well and the latecomers may have a very difficult time getting enough light and room.

My house is down to 60°f overnight. However, a thermometer sitting on top the fridge stays just about 70°. I cover the fridge with foil and newspapers to catch anything from the containers and use that location for starting seed. Checking a couple times a day allows me to get seedlings out to better light once they emerge.

Now, 70° isn't optimum for peppers but it is okay and has worked well enough for the diversity of plants that I start every year.

Steve
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pepperhead212
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Re: When to start hot peppers?

When to plant peppers depends on a lot of factors, many of which have already been touched on.

My last frost date is 5-1, andI start a few of those chinense peppers early, on 2-7, while I plant all the rest on 4-1, to be put out around 5-15. When planted that early, they have to be in larger pots than the later ones, so only about 8 can fit in a tray, rather than 32, as with the smaller, later varieties. If you have limited lighting, this is a problem.

Temperature is the major factor in figuring out when to plant. I sprout my seeds at 85-90°, which speeds them up greatly. The fastest I have ever had them sprout is 3 days, but at room temp they can take weeks, and some simply won't sprout at cool temps. Then, once they are established, and growing in the pots, the temperature will greatly affect how fast they grow. I put my early chinense peppers on the heat maf early on, until they get a few sets of leaves, though eventually, I grow them at room temp. You'll have to figure out how all of these will affect your growing of the peppers, before you can say when the best time to plant them will be.
Dave

imafan26
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Re: When to start hot peppers?

80 degrees is better for peppers and this year has been warmer than usual so I actually started peppers in January, which normally does not work out well. I can get sweet peppers to germinate with temps as low as 68 degrees, but I have not gotten any germination in the 50's. For the super hots like ghost peppers, they really needed the heat the most and germinated best when it was 80 degrees.

I try not to mix seeds from different batches in the same pot. If I have older seeds I mark on the label, the year they were collected. That way if they don't germinate I'll know that the seeds from that batch aren't good. Sometimes I will give them a second chance in case it was something else might have interfered with germination.
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redneck647
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Re: When to start hot peppers?

Thanks. The Habanero are new seeds but the cayennes are older. I'm just not sure how old.
I'm thinking maybe I should plant both of them now to see how it goes.

imafan26
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Re: When to start hot peppers?

if you can find a warm spot for them it should grow. 68 degrees is the minimum temperature where I have had germination. Pepperhead is right though, they germinate even better and grow faster when the temperature is closer to 80. I have pepper seeds that are 3 years old and some 5 years old. If you store them cold in the refrigerator or freezer they last longer.

Bell peppers can be fussier than hot peppers. Bell peppers like 70-85 degrees to grow. Anything more and peppers stop producing and flowers drop. Anything much lower than 65 degrees, they will either germinate slowly or not at all.

Superhots like the ghost pepper likes to be around 80 for the best germination, otherwise it germinates poorly.

Once peppers germinate they can handle a wider temperature range although, temperature will definitely impact the rate of growth.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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