Care of your plants

Chillies are tender plants that should be raised in a warm, sunny environment, such as a conservatory, greenhouse, polytunnel or sunny windowsill. If they are kept in a greenhouse or polytunnel be sure the structure is closed at night to keep the heat in. Chillies are not recommended for growing outdoors.

As well as heat, chillies need plenty of light. Full sun is recommended, but if that is not possible give them the sunniest place you’ve got, prevent shading and don’t overcrowd. Some varieties are naturally bushy, others grow tall, but all will grow into healthy, bushier, plants if spaced widely and given plenty of light.

The plants can be either grown in pots or in the ground. If grown in the ground the soil should be deep, fertile and well-draining, ideally with plenty of organic matter. The plants will also grow very successfully in pots and most commercial multipurpose composts will be fine for them.

Chillies prefer well-drained and fertile, moisture-retentive soil, which is slightly acidic. Generally, the plants will grow larger when given more root space, so plants raised in small pots will be smaller, and those in large pots or deep soil are likely to grow large. A slow release fertiliser should be worked into the soil or compost just before planting. Most chillies are green (though there are exceptions) when young, slowly maturing to a variety of colours and flavour varying from mild to extremely hot.

A complete liquid fertilizer, or any tomato based fertiliser should be applied regularly through the growing season and especially after they begin to flower. Water regularly BUT DO NOT overwater.


Aphids (greenflies) are the pest which you are most likely to encounter with your chilli plants. Light infestations can be washed off with a spray of water. But for heavier infestations we recommend sprays and bought in predators.We recommend banning smoking around plants and if you do smoke then wear gloves or wash your hands before handling plants as Tobacco Mosaic virus is a potential problem with chilli plants.