THAI DRAGON PEPPER-(Capsicum annuum) ,Open pollinated variety , Asian Vegetable
This popular pepper is a prolific open pollinated variety. The ripe red fruits are 2-3" long and about the diameter of a pencil. They have hot to very hot spiciness and dry very easily on the plant or when picked.These are one of the best peppers for drying and are great to cook with whole or chopped into pieces. The peppers turn from dark green to bright red when ripe.
Thai dragon peppers are small, pungent peppers, often used in Asian cuisine. The peppers grow to 3 to 4 inches long and are typically bright red in color. They are often used indoors or along garden borders outdoors because of their decorative appeal. These peppers range from 50,000 to 100,000 Scoville Heat Units, which are used to measure the heat of pepper varieties. This means Thai peppers are about twice as hot as Tabasco and just less hot than Habanero peppers.
Growing Tip: Start seeds inside 6 weeks before last frost date (or 8 weeks before expected transplanting date). Keep soil warm until emergence. Seeds will not germinate in cool soil and planting out too early may affect plant vigor. Harden off plants carefully
before transplanting. Prepare fertile, well drained soil. Transplant in late spring/summer (soil temperatures at least above 60Â°F) in a very warm and sunny location. Fertilize as needed. Too much nitrogen will produce lush foliage and few fruits.
Optionally, seeds can be dipped in a dilute hydrogen peroxide mix (1 tsp hydrogen peroxide per cup water) for one minute to disinfect seeds prior to planting. If your soil or seed sprouting setup is susceptible to mold growth this can be useful to kill mold spores.
Once seedlings have sprouted, keep in small containers until a few sets of leaves have developed. Transplant to larger containers or outdoors. If transplanting outdoors, make sure to harden off seedlings by exposing them to only filtered sunlight for up to 1-2 weeks. Thin plants to 3-4 ft and rows to 6-10 ft.
Estimated germination time under optimal conditions: 2-6 weeks
GROWING IN CONTAINER
The compact nature of the pepper plant makes it well-suited to container growing. Growing the peppers in a pot also gives you more control over the soil and nutrients, and helps keep the roots warmer than they may be when planted in the ground.
Mix equal parts potting soil, compost, perlite and sphagnum moss. Fill a 12-inch pot 3/4 full with the mixture. The pot should have adequate drainage. Start seeds two months before the planting season. Sow seeds on the surface and cover with a sprinkling of soil. Cover the seeds with plastic and keep them in a south-facing window. Mist the soil to keep it moist.
Plant seedlings in time to put them out after the last frost. When planting seedlings, place the plant in the center of the pot and cover the roots with soil. Water thoroughly and add more soil if necessary.
Place the potted pepper in full sun. Set a small tomato cage -- 2 to 3 feet high -- over the pot to support the plant as it grows. Water the pepper daily if necessary to keep the soil moist.
Fertilize every two weeks with half-strength liquid tomato fertilizer beginning when blooms appear.
Harvest the peppers as soon as they ripen to keep the plant producing. Once the pepper turns dark orange or red it is ripe. Cut the pepper from the plant just above the fruit. Peppers left on the plant too long will develop a hotter flavor.
Overwinter the plants for the next year. In the fall when the leaves begin to drop, cut the plant back to 3 or 4 inches above the soil line. Place the container in a cool, dark room and leave it until the spring, after frost danger has passed.