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Why weren't my hot peppers hot?

Fromberg, MT(Zone 4b)

I grew Big Chili, Golden Pepperoncici and Mariachi peppers this past summer. Although all were very productive, none of them had any heat, not even a little "spiciness".

I used drip irrigation all summer, and side dressed with chicken manure while they were producing fruit. Did I do something wrong?

North Hills, CA

Sometimes too much nitrogen and water messes with hot peppers.
I've also had people say cool temps and the above can make some peppers bitter.
I've always been told that to get a pepper plant to produce hotter peppers let it go dry to the point of almost wilting before watering it.
I go by my water meter,I keep mine on the dry side if I can.But I grow mine in 15 gal. containers.

I've also found that a lot of different kinds of peppers are sold as pepperoncini.
Some can be quite hot while others are sweet.
I've seen what I think were really a banana pepper or wax pepper sold as some kind of pepperoncini too.

Maybe the Mariachis had stage fright.

Mariachis are supposed to be mild-not sweet though.
Could be you treated your peppers too good-too much water and fertilizer.

Mariachis I think are a hybrid so you can't use it's seeds next year to try growing them differently because the seeds you get from the peppers won't be true to the original plant,they could be sterile too.
but you might get a different pepper thats more like what you are looking for.

Rutland , MA(Zone 5b)

i belive i read somewhere that the hotter the temperature is when the fruit forms determines the heat of the pepper.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

I haven't quite figured out the timing of it, but I think getting a lot of rain at some point in the development of the pepper can make it turn out very mild. I think there must be a timing issue, because I've had hot peppers even in "wet" summers. Last year, we got a lot of rain toward the end of summer... and it seemed to just wash the heat right out of my hot peppers. I know it wasn't the plant or the fertilizer (I use a time release fertilizer and compost when I plant, and that's about it), because I got a few early peppers from the same plants that were nice and hot.

This year, we grew a lot of habs... and nothing was going to make them turn out mild, LOL!

La Grange, TX(Zone 8b)

Small_Stock, none of the peppers you grew are truly "hot". The hottest of the lot, the Mariachi pepper is mild to moderately hot. The other two are sweet or mild peppers. One of these links says that stress makes the peppers hotter. As critterologist states, there are some peppers that will never be mild. There are some that will never be hot, too.

Brisbane, Australia(Zone 10b)

I have had the same problem since moving to Palmerston North 3 years ago: My peppers wont get hot enough, only the Habaneros do! I came from the warm dry far north of NZ, while Palmy has a much colder, wetter, windier climate.

I have been growing Cayenne, Hungarian Wax, Mulato, Wildfire, Red Habanero and Bell. Lots of fruit on big bushy plants, just no heat. Some of the seeds I brought with me from the north, so I know how hot they can be!
Hmmm... So it might be the cold...

This year Im growing more of the very hot varieties, like habaneros, tabasco, thai super, as well as some old favourites like cayenne and wax. Spring has been lovely, and sumer looks to be a hot one! Heres hoping..

Vancouver, WA(Zone 8a)

None of the peppers I've grown here in W. WA have *ever* been very hot. I can eat a jalapeno right off the plant, seeds and all without blinking. They're as mild as the mild ones-and I don't grow the mild ones. Thai hot?-nope, not so much. (I've never tried growing habanero, though-DH says their flavor reminds him of carrots (except for the heat) and he doesn't like carrots....) I always attributed it to the fact that we just don't get sustained high heat and sunshine. This summer was pretty dry but cool, and they were even milder than last year when we did have a lot (for PNW) of hot days. Same plants, in fact.

So, anyone have any ideas how to make them hotter?

Algonac, MI takes [heat] to make a pepper [hot]. You may have too short of a hot growing season (about 90 days) in the mid 80s to low 90s F. You may also want to use a habanero type pepper if you want HOT or shop for a jalapenro which may suit your taste needs.
Me? I prefer VERY HOT peppers in the above 10,000 SHU range. This coming season (May-Aug) here in Michigan where it is too cold until late May to transplant seedlings outdoors, I will try Bhut Jolokia from India which is the world record hot pepper (1,300,000+ SKU range). I may have to use an additional heat source later in the season to have product of any size or quality even though the peppers aren't really large to begin with.I will be happy to keep you informed.

Susybell...jalapenos come in various heat ranges and you may want to shop for the hotter peppers to plant. You, too, may want to invest in a habanero type pepper for a hotter product.

LenaBeanNZ...cooler temps have an unwanted effect on hot peppers, as well as, too much wind and or water (rain). You may need to build a clear plastic shield around your plants for days of such weather in a row. You should also "feed" your plants according to research through the Internet's universitities Ag depts.

Hopefully this helps each of you.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

Has anybody in cooler regions tried growing peppers in those Wall-O-Water shelters? I use them early in the season on a few tomato plants to jump start them for early production. The water in the walls acts as a heat sink, absorbing extra heat from the sun during the day and slowly releasing it at night. I'm sure the plants would soon grow up out of the top of the WOWs, but even so the extra heat around the bottom part of the plant might be helpful. What do you think? Worth a try?

Rutland , MA(Zone 5b)

lostindian - i to have the seeds for bhut jolokia. just wanted to try them to see how they would grow up here in new york.

Algonac, MI

I would like to compare notes later on. I'm sure we can pursuade those firebrands to grow. Of course I am getting plants to set out since I don't have seeds, otherwise; I, too, would be building a small box to stimulate hot weather for those peppers.
Where did you get your pepper seeds? I want to get some to try my luck. I'm on the border of Z5 and 4.

Rutland , MA(Zone 5b)

ou can either order them at or call them at 505-646-3028. theycost two dollars per package and ech package has about 15 or so seeds. i have a few left if you would like me to send you some. just d-mail me your anme and address and i'll get them right off to you.


Bessemer, AL(Zone 8b)

the hotter and dryer the summer, the hotter the peppers. my tabascos and carribean reds were to hot to eat this year, but sure made good pepper sauce. i will look to see what seeds i have left to send you herbie

North Ridgeville, OH(Zone 5b)

Too much water ... hmmmm. Has anybody ever gotten unexpectedly mild peppers from one of those AeroGardens? They're strictly hydroponic.

Central Texas, TX(Zone 8b)

I've heard of the too much water thing before.

Rutland , MA(Zone 5b)

heres some pictures of my bhut jolokia and big bomb hot peppers that i started on feb 22nd. i hope i get these right.
the first shot on the left are my bhut jolokia peppers and the second shot are some of my big bombs

Thumbnail by HERBIE43
Rutland , MA(Zone 5b)

i think this next one the bhut peppers are on the left.

Thumbnail by HERBIE43
Rutland , MA(Zone 5b)

sorry but i might hve mixed these pictures up. just came bag from a 6 day stay in hospital but tomorrow i am going to repot them so i will take better pictures.

Bessemer, AL(Zone 8b)

herbie, i hope your doing ok?

Rutland , MA(Zone 5b)

yeahj, i'm back to normal. LOL

Bessemer, AL(Zone 8b)

i'm glad to here that. i have peter pepper seeds if you would like some?

Rutland , MA(Zone 5b)

thanks but i have limited space on my deck.

Brisbane, Australia(Zone 10b)

Well its autumn now, my pepper plants are/ have bean producing extremely well this season. They are laden with ripening fruit, and some still flowering. This year, for the first time since moving to this part of the country, MY PEPPERS ARE HOT! Not all as hot as Id like, but a huge improvement on the last few years. This summer has been a record breaking hot and dry one. And I went away on holiday for 6 weeks in mid summer, so my peppers had to fend for themselves alot, no keen gardener trying to feed and water them.
I have never had peppers turning red on the bush before, I always had to use them green. This year Ive made a few batches of RED chilli sauce! Im stoked.

The only peppers that didnt grow are the Bhut jolokia kindly sent to me by HERBIE43. They are still only 2cm tall, new hatchlings, theyt havent changed in months! I just cant explain it :-(
After germinating, I planted them into a store bought potting mix, which I sterilised in the microwave first. I think I will repot them soon with some fresh soil of a different brand.

Get well soon Herbie!


Rutland , MA(Zone 5b)

lena - glad you are enjoying your hot pepperts and sorry about the bhut jolokia not growing well. below are pictures of my hot pepprs which i repotted the othe day.
the picture shows my big bomb cherry peppers on the left and the bhut jolokias on the right.

i am feeling great now and my wife and i are leaving this morning for new jersey to get an early start to my sons wedding on friday march 28th. we are so excited.

heres the picture

Thumbnail by HERBIE43
Rutland , MA(Zone 5b)

i planted about 8 of the bhut jolokia's but only two germnated. the instructiosn called for the soil to be between 85 to 90 degrees i thing or maybe 80 to 85 degrees but without a heat mat i don't think i achieved those temps. oh well, just wanted to see what they would be like so two plants are good enough for me.

send some pictures when you can.

Brisbane, Australia(Zone 10b)

I repotted the two bhut jolokia today, into a compost mix. I hope they grow soon! Here is a picture of the bigger small one. I hope its visible :-s

Thumbnail by LenaBeanNZ
Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Latecomer on this thread, but the hottest peppers I ever had, I grew in a container, and they were tortured. Didn't get regularly watered. The plant wilted some between waterings. Lord did I get a lot of peppers, and HOT ones.

So I'd consider trying one in a container. Also black plastic mulch and maybe paint the pot itself black if you are not getting sufficient heat.

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