Bhut Jolokia-Yellow, (Capsicum chinense) (also known as Naga Jolokia, Naga Morich, or the Ghost Chili
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The Bhut jolokia, also known as the "ghost pepper," is native to India and is currently considered the hottest pepper in the world. It is a finicky plant with a long growing season of 120 days and can try the patience of even seasoned gardeners. However, while it is a difficult pepper to raise, its high soil temperature needs make it a good candidate to grow indoors for those willing to brave its picky nature.
Soak the bhut jolokia seeds overnight in water. A small amount of bleach or hydrogen peroxide, 1 part to 9 parts water, may be added to kill any bacteria or mold on the seeds.
Fill the seed tray with potting soil and level the soil with the rim of each hole. Use good quality soil that feels light; heavy soils will prohibit proper seed germination. Water the soil thoroughly and allow the container to drain a short time.
Press 1 to 2 seeds in the soil of each planting hole, gently pushing the seed down into the wet soil, no deeper than one-quarter inch. Cover the seed with soil, but do not press the soil down over the top of the seed.
Place the seed tray on a heating mat or electric heating pad The soil must reach 75 to 90 degrees for proper germination of the bhut jolokia pepper; if the soil remains too cool, the seeds will not sprout. Seed trays do not need to be placed in direct lighting for germination.
Keep the soil in the seed tray moist as the seeds require constant moisture for germination. Heating mats will assist in faster water evaporation, so apply water daily. Once seedlings have sprouted, scale back water applications to avoid overwatering, which can make seedlings thin and spindly.
Move seedlings into bright sunlight once they appear. A south-facing window is best to grow thick, compact pepper plants; plants placed in other windowsills often become tall and spindly, reaching for light.
Wash planting containers in a mix of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water to remove any bacteria or fungus. Clean them again in a dishwashing soap and water mixture; rinse thoroughly with clean water and allow the pots to air dry.
Fill each potting container with fresh potting soil to within 2 inches of the rim. When they are a few inches tall, place a bhut jolokia pepper seedling in each container and add additional potting soil to cover the plant. Leave a half-inch space at the top of the container so that soil does not wash out when the plant is watered.
Keep the pepper plants on the heating mat in a south-facing window or place under a grow light. Water sparingly as too much water will make the pepper plants drop their flowers.
Moisten the tip of a small paint brush with water and shake out any excess. Gently brush the center of a bhut jolokia flower with the tip of the brush. Repeat until all flowers have been hand-pollinated with the brush. Pollination is necessary for fruiting and will not occur indoors without this step.
Things You Will Need
- Bleach or hydrogen peroxide
- Seed tray
- Potting soil
- Bhut jolokia seeds
- Heating mat or electric heating pad
- Planting containers or pots
- Dishwashing soap
- Grow light (optional)
- Small paint brush