May 24, 2005

The Complete Life History Of A Chilli: Part 8

Apologies for sparse updates on the chillis. They’ve been doing okay – not causing too many waves, just busy growing. They are quite tall now.
Graybo, any suggestions?


Part One · Part Two · Part Three · Part Four · Part Five · Part Six · Part Seven


8 thoughts on “The Complete Life History Of A Chilli: Part 8

  1. I think they need a bit more light as they look a bit "stretchy" (geeky horticultual term for trying to grow upwards to find light). Either move them to a slightly sunnier spot or put a sheet of tin foil next to them to reflect light.
    Also, I think it is time to pinch them out (another geeky term). With your finger and thumb nails, just pinch out the growing tip and the top two (probably very small) leaves. This will force the plant to stop growing straight up and produce some side shoots. This will make for a bushy plant that will produce more flowers (and therefore fruit – that is, chillies) later in the summer.

  2. Will it be obvious what the growing tip is?
    I’m worried my wee chilli is too stretchy now too.

  3. It’s the very top of the plant. If you pinch it out, it’ll be fine.
    Do you plan to grow these outside? You might need to think about hardening them off soon (phnaar).

  4. They seem quite happy on the sunny kitchen windowsill, but I’m concerned about them being stretchy – I may have to move some of them to other parts of the house.
    I’m fine with pinching them out. Should we also be moving them to bigger pots? We need to give some more of them away, as we don’t have enough pots/space left – the damn things are taking over.
    I thought I might put a few of them outside, mainly because of the space issue, but I think I read (or you said) that they would grow better and produce more chillis if kept indoors.

    Karen on May 25, 2005
  5. Basically, you’ll need a long hot summer if you want chillis from any you plant outside.

  6. I’d say that they are ok in those pots for the moment. Regular potting will encourage them to make huge plants, whereas keeping them "tight" will force them to try and flower.
    Quick plant psychology lesson – plants are nymphomaniacs with leaves. Their sole reason for existence is to colonise and they will do that either by getting much bigger or by producing seed and spreading around. If they are stressed (under-potted, short on nutrients) then they will think they are in a bad location and will try to produce seed (i.e. flower and fruit = good) so that they can get their kids to a better location (since they can’t actually move themselves). However, at this stage in their life, lanky adolescence, then you want them to just grow and so you need to give them clothes that fit and plenty of Ready Brek.
    As for growing outside, they would need an ultra-sheltered sunny and warm location – like a sunny corner against a sunny wall.
    You can monitor how they grow after pinching to see if they go really stretchy, but a little stretch is not too harmful. You’ll know if they are really out of shape – they will get long soft stems and pallid leaves.

  7. The gardener in me says, pinch ’em to bush ’em. Blow a wind via a hairdryer or an open window or a fan on them to make them strengthen up and get less leggy.
    Time for ‘real’ sun, not window ledge sun.

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