Growing Chillies – A Beginners Guide

Growing Chillies.
Growing Chillies.

Growing Chillies Guide:

The following content is all about Growing Chillies.

Introduction to Growing Chillies

Chillie vegetable crop is one of the most valuable crops grown throughout the world. Chilli is also known as hot pepper and this hot vegetable is native to Central and South America. India is rich in growing different varieties throughout the country as vegetable, spices, sauces, pickles and condiments. India is the largest producer of chillies in the world. Chilly is one of the important and indispensable items in the kitchen and Indian diet. Chilies are rich in Vitamin A and C, potassium, magnesium and iron.

It is an annual sub herb and the vegetable fruit come in different colors, sizes, shape and pungency. The plant is herbaceous or semi-woody annuals or perennials. Chillie flowers are small and white in color and borne singly or in clusters of two to three in the axil region of the leaves. The leaves are ovate in shape with tapering to a sharp point. The upper side of the leaf is dark green while the lower side is pale green in color. Because of the presence of capsaicin an alkaloid found in the pericarp and placenta of the fruit, chilly are pungent and produces mild to intense spice when consumed. Naga Jalokia, habanero and scotch bonnet varieties have the highest capsaicin levels that make the fruit very hot. Chillies can be grown in containers, pots, greenhouse, polyhouse, balconies, pots and even on terraces.

Growing Chillies in Pot.
Growing Chillies in Pot.

Scientific / Botanical name of Chillies

The botanical name of chilli pant is Capsicum annuum and Capsicum fruteensthat  come from the genus Capsicum.

Family Name of Chillies

Chilly plant comes from the family Solanaceae. This family includes other vegetables such as tomato and potato.

Other names of Chillies

Chilly, Hot pepper, Cayenne pepper, Sweet pepper, Bell Pepper, Capsicum etc,.

Chillies in Indian Languages

Hindi – मिर्च(mirch).

Gujarati –મરચું (Maracuṁ).

Malayalam – മുളക്(mulak).

Tamil –மிளகாய்(Miḷakāy).

Kannada – ಮೆಣಸಿನಕಾಯಿಗಳು(Meṇasinakāyigaḷu).

Telugu – మిరపకాయలు(Mirapakāyalu).

Bengali –লঙ্কা (Laṅkā).

Marathi – मिरची(Miracī).

Punjabi – ਮਿਰਚਾਂ (Miracāṁ).

Urdu – چلیوں.

Chillies Varieties / Chillies Cultivars

Some Types of Chillies.
Some Types of Chillies.

There are more than 400 different varieties of chillies found all over the world. And almost 270 varieties are found in India alone.

1Andhra PradeshJwala, X-235, G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, G-5, LCA-205, 206,

235, Karakulu, Sannalu, Dippayerupu, Punasa, Maduru,

Pottibudaga, Hybrid, Bharat, Aparna, Pottikayalu,

Cullakayalu, Barak, Mota, Chapta, Desi

Sindu, Kiran, Chikkaballapur (Lavangi), Sapota.

2KarnatakaJwala, Bayadgi, G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, G-5, PusaJwala
3KeralaJwala, Sadabahar, Champa, CO-1, Nandan, K-1
4PondicherryK-1, K-2, CO-1, CO-2
5Tamil NaduK-1, K-2, CO-1, CO-2, CO-3, PMK-1, PMK-2, Borma

Wonder, Sannam, Palam

6BiharRori, MotiMirchi, Chittee
7HaryanaNP-46-A, PusaJwala, Pusa Summer
8Himachal PradeshSolan Yellow, Hot Portugal, Pachad Yellow, Sweet

Banana, Hungarian Wax, Punjab Lal

9Jammu and KashmirNP-46-A, Ratna Red, California Wonder
10PunjabCH-1, Sanauri
11Uttar PradeshNP-46, Jwala Pant C-1, Desh, Pahadi, Kalyanpur, Chaman


12AssamNP64-Am PusaJwala, Surya Mukhi, Krishna, Balijuri
13TripuraJwala, Suryamukhi, Krisha, Balijwai
14West BengalSiti and Suti, Akashi, Kajari, Bow, Dhani, Bullet, Dhala.
15GoaCacana, harmal, Tanvati, Lavangi
16GujaratK-2, Pant C-1, Jawahar-218, NP-46-A, Jwala.
17RajasthanCH-1, NP-46-A, Jwala, Pant C-1, G-3, G-5
18Madhya PradeshPusaJwala, Sona-21, Jawahar, Sadabahar, Agni.
19MaharashtraPathori, Bugayati, Dhobri, Black seed, Chaski, Bhiwapuri
20OrissaJwala, Deshi, Sadabahar.

Climate for Growing Chillies

Chilly best grows in humid and warm climate and dry weather at the time of fruit maturation. Tropical and sub-tropical regions are favorable places chillies are found growing most. The plant can adapt well to wide range of climatic conditions and can withstand heat and moderate cold to some extent. Chilly under proper irrigation can be grown throughout the year. Chilly can be grown successfully as a rain fed crop while heavy rainfall will lead to poor fruit set and fruits rot under high humidity conditions. Growing chillies in regions having temperature 20 to 25° C have found optimum plant growth with good yield while in temperature above 37° C the fruit development gets adversely affected.

Soil requirement for Growing Chillies

Chilly can be grown in wide range of soils. Well drained sandy loam soils with organic matter are well suited to grow chillies under proper irrigation. Black soils are suited as rain fed crops as the moisture in the soil retains for long periods. Soil pH must be between 5.5 to 7.0.

Land preparation in Growing Chillies

Prepare the land by plowing the field two to three times to loosen the soil. Bring the land to fine tilth by thorough plowing. Mix the soil with old rotten farm yard manure about 25 tonnes per hectare at the last plow. Prepare a mixture of two kilogram of Azospirillum and two kilogram of Phosphobacteria in 20 kilogram of farm yard manure and apply uniformly across a hectare land. Form ridges and furrows at a spacing of 60 cm apart.

Propagation in Growing Chillies

Chilly is propagated by seeds and transplanting. Raising chillies at nursery, seeds that are disease and pests resistant with high yielding varieties are used. Direct sowing in the main field can be done in the last plow and is usually practiced under rain fed conditions.

Chilli Seeds.
Chilli Seeds.
Chilli Seedlings.
Chilli Seedlings.

Seed Rate in Growing Chillies

To propagate a hectare land the nursery area must be 100 sq.meter Two kilogram seed for varieties and 300 to 400 gram of hybrid seed is required for a hectare land.

Seed Treatment in Growing Chillies

Treat the seeds with four grams per kilogram of Trichodermavirideorten grams per kilogram of Pseudomonas fluorescens. Spray the nursery with 2.5 gram of Copper oxychloridein one litre of water at 15 days interval against damping off disease. Apply 10 gram ofCarbofuran 3 G per square metre at sowing.

Season in Growing Chillies

Chilly can be grown all through the year. The best season for sowing is as follows:

  1. January to February.
  2. June to July.
  3. September to October.
Yellow Chili Pepper.
Yellow Chili Pepper.

Sowing and Spacing in Growing Chillies

Best time for sowing seeds in nursery would be February to March and seedlings will be ready for transplant to the main field by April to May in hilly regions. Seeds start to germinate in less than a week from sowing and seedlings that are 40 to 45 days are transplanted in the main field. Optimum spacing can be done in two ways. Seedlings are planted on raised beds in rows at about 60 cm x 30 cm and 45 cm x 45 cm are considered optimum spacing. Depending on variety 30 cm x 30 cm planting can also be done.

Growing Chillies Organically

Organic growing of chillies is a method of cultivating and production of chillies respecting the nature’s rules and with eco-friendly processes. It maximizes the use of on farm and natural resources and minimizes the use of chemicals, pesticides and fertilizers. It is a farming system that seeks to avoid the use of synthetic agricultural products but growing organically the entire system i.e. plant, animal, soil, water and micro-organisms that will be protected.

For Organic Farming : Read here.


Growing Chillies in Container.
Growing Chillies in Container.

Irrigation in Growing Chillies

600mm of water must be given during growing season either by flood or drip irrigation. During flowering and fruit set soil must have enough moisture and ensure the field is well drained as waterlogging may inhibit flowering and fruit formation as the plants are sensitive and too little may lead to flower drop. Flood and drip irrigation is recommended for irrigation, sprinkler irrigation must not be given in late evenings. Moisture in the foliage and fruit will promote disease so plants must be dry before nightfall.

For drip irrigation – prepare raised beds of 120 cm width at an interval of 30 cm and place the laterals at the middle of each bed. Introduce the dribble water system with primary and sub principle pipes and place horizontal tubes at an interim of 1.5 m. Place the drippers in horizontal tubes at an interval of 60 cm and 50 cm dividing with 4 LPH and 3.5 LPH capacities individually. Planting to be done at a separating of 90 x 60 x 45 cm in the paired row framework, utilizing ropes set apart at 60 cm dividing. Before planting wet the beds overnight utilizing drip system.

Manures and Fertilizers in Growing Chillies

Fertilizers must be given according to the soil lab report. Usually the land must be given a basal dose of compost or organic matters such as well decomposed farm yard manure about 25 tonnes per hectare and 30 kilograms of Nitrogen and Potassium each, 60 kilograms of Phosphorous per hectare. Top dressing of 30 kilograms of Nitrogen per hectare must be given in equal splits on 30, 60, 90 days respectively after transplanting. Potassium in the form of Potassium Sulphate will increase fruit quality.

Inter crops in Growing Chillies

Onion and Coriander can be grown along with chillies as inter crops for additional income. These inter-crops help to control weed population too.

Intercultural operations in Growing Chillies

Seedlings raised by direct sowing must be thinned by hand at about 25 to 30 days old. Maintain a plant population of 30 to 60 chilly plants per square metre. Crop density must be maintained according to the soil fertility and plant variety.

To keep the field free from weeds two to three hand hoeing and weeding is recommended. The first hoeing can be done after 20 to 25 days of sowing and the second hoeing after 20 to 25 days after first hoeing. Depending on the weed growth the third weeding may be taken up. Break the surface crust as and when required for better soil aeration and water absorption.It is preferable to include a leguminous crop in rotation with chilli crop.

Pests and Diseases in Growing Chillies

Insects and Pests Growing Chillies:

Fruit Borer: Shoot and fruit borer is the most destructive pest in chilly plant. Young larvae feed on flower buds and young pods. The larvae feed on seeds in the fruit. Fruits, flower and pods fall prematurely while the fruit turns to white color. To control spray with any one of the below insecticide:

Emamectin benzoate 5 % SG4 g/10 lit.
Fipronil 5 % SC2.0 ml /lit.
Flubendiamide 20 WDG6.0 g /10 lit.
Flubendiamide 480 SC2.5 ml /lit
Indoxacarb 14.5 % SC6.5 ml/10 lit.
Novaluron 10 % EC7.5 ml/10 lit.
Spinosad 45 % SC3.2 ml/10 lit.
Thiodicarb 75 % WP2.0 g/lit.

Thrips: They are often referred as plant lice and their presence go undetected until after significant damage has been done. They are small tiny insects usually found on the undersides of the leaves. Thirps are small flying insects feed on by sucking sap from leaves. Though they may not make the plant to die but often make stunted growth and puckered, speckled leaf surface.To control spray with any one of the below insecticide:

Imidacloprid 17.8 % SL3.0 ml/10 lit.
Dimethoate 30 % EC1.0 ml/lit.
Emamectin benzoate 5 % SG4 g/10 lit.
Ethion 50 % EC2.0 ml/lit.
Fipronil 5 % SC1.5 ml/lit.
Oxydemeton –Methyl 25 % EC1.0 ml/lit.
Phosalone 35 % EC2.0 ml/lit.
Spinosad 45 % SC3.2 ml/10 lit.
Thiacloprid 21.7 % SC6.0 ml/10 lit.

Aphids: They are tiny insects found beneath the leaves. The leaves turn discolored and wrinkled as these soft-bodied insects feed and suck sap from the leaves. To control spray any one of the following insecticide

Carbosulfan 25 % EC1.0 ml/lit.
Fipronil 5 % SC1.0 ml/lit.
Imidacloprid 17.8 % SL3.5 ml/10 lit.
Oxydemeton –Methyl 25% EC1.6 ml/lit.
Phosalone 35 % EC2.0 ml/lit.
Quinalphos 25 % Gel1.0 ml/lit.
Quinalphos 25 % EC1.0 ml/lit.

Yellow Muranai Mite: When these mites or pests infect the plant the leaves start crinkling and curling with blister patches, fruits of the plant turn brown and fall immaturely are the symptoms. If not treated at the earliest plants will die. To control, spray any one of the following insecticide:

Buprofezin 25 % SC8.0 ml/10 lit.
Diafenthiuron 50 % WP8.0 g/10 lit.
Dimethoate 30 % EC1.0 ml/lit.
Ethion 50 % EC2.0 ml/lit.
Fenazaquin 10 % EC2.0 ml/lit.
Fenpyroximate 5 % EC1.0 ml/lit.
Hexythiazox 5.45 % EC8.0 ml/10 lit.
Milbemectin 1 % EC6.5 ml/10 lit.
Oxydemeton –Methyl 25 % EC2.0 ml/lit.
Phosalone 35 % EC1.3 ml/lit.
Propargite 57 % EC2.5 ml/lit.
Quinalphos 25 % EC1.5 ml/lit.
Spiromesifen 22.9 % SC5.0 ml/10 lit.

Diseases Growing Chillies:

  • Damping Off: Is a very common fungal disease attacking seed and young seedlings in nurseries. The disease appears immediately after the onset of monsoon rains.Seed or germinated seeds may rot or the tender seedlings may be killed before they emerge from the soil. Stem of young seedlings fall over and die. To control treat the seeds with four grams of Trichodermaviride per kilogram or 10 grams of Pseudomonas fluorescens per kilogram of seed 24 hours before sowing. Apply 2.5 kilogram of Pseudomonas fluorescens as soil application per hectare mixed with 50 kg of well decomposed farm yard manure(FYM). Water stagnation should be avoided and drench with 2.5 gram of Copper oxychloridein one litre of water at four litres per square meter.
  • Powdery mildew: On first appearance of symptoms spray three grams of Wettable sulphur in one litre of water or one gram of Carbendazimin one litre of water. Spray the field three times at every 15 days interval when symptoms appear.
  • Anthracnose: Plant varieties that is disease resistant. Before sowing treat the seeds by soaking them with four grams of T. viride per kilogram of seeds or ten grams of P. fluorescens per kilogram of seed before sowing. Spray infected field with two grams of Mancozebin one litre of water or 2.5 gram of Copper oxychloride in one litre of water three times with 15 days interval when symptoms appear.

Harvesting in Growing Chillies

Chilly harvest is done with the market demand. For fresh market fruits that are immature are harvested and for seeds and dry chilli, fully riped ones are harvested. Harvesting can be started in about 90 days after transplanting, for fresh market and chilli pickle fruits that are dark green are plucked. Ripe fruits are harvested for making chilli powder, dry chilli by picking when the fruit is dark red. Fruits are harvested at regular interval and it takes five to six pickings for ripe chilli while eight to 10 for green chilli. Delay in harvesting of fruit will cause wrinkles and color fading.

Yield in Growing Chillies

Yield depends on selection of varieties and good farming management techniques adopted while growing chilli plants. A farmer can expect on varieties a yield of two to three tonnes of dry chillies per hectare and 10 to 15 tonnes of green chillies per hectare. Whereas on hybrid a yield of 25 tonnes of green chillies per hectare.

Marketing in Growing Chillies

Fresh and dry chillies are high in demand both in local and export market. To reach consumers farmer can market directly in the local market or approach different marketing agencies. Because of lack of information and marketing knowledge regarding prices, arrivals etc., prevailing in other markets, farmers sell chillies to brokers and merchants.

Post-Harvest Management in Growing Chillies

Drying: Chillies that are harvested from the field contain 65 to 80% moisture content in the fruit; this must be reduced to less than 10% to prepare dried spice and it helps to avoid microbial activity. This can be done through sun drying the fruits after harvesting without any treatment. Soon after harvest, the produce is to heaped or kept in clean gunnie bags or polythene bags for one day for uniform colour development of the fruit. The optimum temperature for uniform ripening 22-25°C and avoid direct sun light as this can result in the development of white patches.

Storage: Fruits dried to 7 – 8 % moisture content and treated with two grams of carbendazim 50 % WP per kilogram seed or three grams of Halogen formulation (Bleaching powder + CaCO3 + arappu leaf powder @ 5:4:1) per kilogram seed can be stored up to 10 months in gunny bag and up to 18 to 20 months in moisture proof containers.

Processing:Processed products such as dehydrated red chillies, pickle, chilli powder, chilli paste, sauce, etc., can be prepared for higher returns. Most of the farmers sell the produce directly to agencies. By preparing processed products farmers can get better profits hence farmers must be educated in the processing of various chilli by-products.

Bottom Line of Growing Chillies:

Growing chillies is one of the best vegetable businesses which is commercially viable.

For Goat Farming Cost and Profits: Read here.


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