Buying from a Garden Centre
Growing chilli plants that you have bought from a garden centre isn’t going to be much different to growing chillies from seed, except that the hard work of germinating and getting them past the delicate stage has already been done for you. Providing you purchase a plant that looks healthy, you’re onto a winner and are giving yourself the best possible chance of obtaining some pods. March – May is the best time to go hunting for chilli plants.
Always ensure that you’re buying from a reputable garden centre, as you don’t always get what you pay for.
Caring for your chilli plants
Once you get them home, pot them on. Two options are to either upgrade the pot to a larger one with a view of potting on again at a later date, or just potting on into their final destination. Personally I prefer the two stage approach, but it’s really whichever suits you best. Whichever way you decide to go down it is highly recommended that you keep them in the greenhouse – especially while the plants are still young. Milder chillies can survive outside, but you’ll find that the super-hots will prefer the warm and humid conditions of the greenhouse.
Once the chilli plants are in their final position in a minimum of a 10l pot, you’ll find that they’re easy enough to look after and only require watering every couple of days and feeding once a week. Ensure the soil/compost is most, but not wet – you’ll find that if you over-water the plants that their leaves will turn yellow and drop off.
How much should I pay?
This is up to you, but from a big name garden centre you can expect to pay a couple of pounds for a well established plant, or get them in a pack of 6 for £3.00-£5.00. From a specialist garden centre of chilli farm, expect to pay £3.00 for a plug, £3.00-£5.00 for a juvenile plant, or £5.00-£10.00 for an established plant. Keep in mind that while general garden centres are cheaper than specialist suppliers, you’ll find a greater variety of stock from the specialists and you’ll be able to talk to someone who knows what they’re on about should you have any questions.