Hybrid Hot Pepper, Ghost Pepper 'Bhut Jolokia'

Capsicum chinense

Family: Solanaceae (so-lan-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Capsicum (KAP-sih-kum) (Info)
Species: chinense (chi-NEN-see) (Info)
Cultivar: Bhut Jolokia
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4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Heat (Pungency):

Extremely Hot (above 30,000 Scoville Units)

Fruit Shape:



Fruit Size:

Medium (4" to 6" in length)

Fruit Color:

Green changing to red

Green changing to orange

Disease Resistance:

Unknown - Tell us

Seed Type:




Fresh (salsa, salads)



Ornamental (not recommended for eating)

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Propagation Methods:

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

Wear gloves to protect hands when handling seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

Days to Maturity:

Late (more than 80 days)

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Pell City, Alabama

Plantersville, Alabama

Salem, Alabama

Tuskegee, Alabama

Menifee, California

Morgan Hill, California

Clinton, Connecticut

Wallingford, Connecticut

Beverly Hills, Florida

Ocala, Florida

Orange Springs, Florida

Palm Coast, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Seminole, Florida

Yulee, Florida

Statham, Georgia

Valdosta, Georgia

Geneseo, Illinois

Hinsdale, Illinois

Peru, Indiana

Rensselaer, Indiana

Kansas City, Kansas

Wichita, Kansas

River, Kentucky

Alfred, Maine

Fort George G Meade, Maryland

Toms River, New Jersey

Albuquerque, New Mexico

East Elmhurst, New York

Drexel, North Carolina

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Mc Keesport, Pennsylvania

Austin, Texas(2 reports)

Cedar Park, Texas

Liberty Hill, Texas

Waxahachie, Texas

Cedar City, Utah

Stafford, Virginia

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Jan 17, 2020, JacksonPC from Waxahachie, TX wrote:

Probably the most infamous pepper out there, even though it is now far from the hottest in the world, the Bhut Jolokia is a real favorite of mine. This is the pepper that separates the pepper heads from the pretenders. They are easy to grow, but germinate slowly. Nitrile gloves are recommended to handle these bad boys because the oil will mess you up. Latex doesn't always cut it with the super hots. Be careful when blending, cooking with, or grinding dry peppers. Many people wear surgical or filtration masks when cooking with them.

The flavor is good, if you can take the heat, and they are a staple in my hot sauces. Contrary to click bait articles, unless you have serious health conditions or have a very bad allergic reaction, these and other super hots won't really hurt yo... read more


On Jul 23, 2018, pepperpants from Rensselaer, IN wrote:

Take longer to germinate and fruit than most varieties but not as long as other ultra-hot peppers. Produced more and fruited faster the first year than trinidad moruga scorpion when started from seed at the same time. Plan on overwintering if you can and are in a climate with a shorter season for peppers, the second year will have much better fruit production than the first. Does well in partial shade to full sun. Compact kind of bushy plants. Heat was impressive but didn't need a gas mask to cut open like the trinidad morugas. Usually used 1-3 in a large pot of chili depending on how hot I wanted to make it and made a good kind of tart sauce out of the others in large batches. A little goes a long way.

Seeds can be dried and planted but the peppers themselves do n... read more


On Dec 17, 2016, somseeds from Exline, IA wrote:

I grow Red Bhut Jolokias (have tried chocolate and yellow too but the flavor is best in red) Grow em every year in z5 just fine, planted about a foot apart to stop eachother from getting too huge. Great producer and we eat a lot of them green (as the supposedly do in India) for the great flavor minus a lot of the heat. Lovely plants!


On Jan 27, 2012, annzup1 from Drexel, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

Am over-wintering a few under lights. Dug them out of garden, cut back, now, lots of new growth. What I've found is that the bhut DOES take a long time to mature and DOES require more water than most hot pepper plants I've grown. This year--neck injury, bla, bla--am ordering more of the plants, rather than going from seed, but will order early and put in small greenhouse to keep them growing until going into garden. In zone 7, it's the only way I seem to get a bumper crop mature before frost: start early. No; insects don't bother them! But from my experience, bhut need water almost as eggplant does. They both originate from subcontinental India, unlike many hots peppers from South America that don't need as much water to thrive. And they do become enormous, or have at least for me: tall, w... read more


On Oct 18, 2011, Grayseasmom from Raleigh, NC wrote:

This pepper is *****EXTREMELY HOT****** Always use gloves and eye protection when handling and cutting and do not cross contaminate when using knives and/or cutting boards.

Peppers are firm and bumpy and mature quickly. They can be used to add heat to food or can be used in certain medicines and deterrents but ONLY by experts. I was told to use a "Match head" sized piece in a POT of chili. Please be careful when growing and using this pepper.


On Jul 1, 2011, BUFFY690 from Prosperity, SC (Zone 7b) wrote:

Can't wait to bump up the heat of my hot sauces this fall. Mine seems to ba a fairly slo grower no peppers yet.


On Apr 18, 2010, youngd24 from Western Springs, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

I've been growing this pepper for retail and wholesale for 3 years now. First, buy from a reputable supplier, the Chili Pepper Institute seeds, while they're expensive, are true to name and germinate well. Start them early (I do January here in zone 5), it takes at least 2-3 weeks for germination then another 8-10 weeks for decent roots to transplant. From plug/seedling after transplanted to a 4" pot expect at least another 12 weeks before sale. Medium feeding during growth, I do 100 ppm N constant, after ground planting they don't need much N at all. 90+ days in the ground to produce red fruit. I haven't seen any insects that like them (why would they?) and haven't have disease problems. They do WONDERFUL in 1 gallon pots but again, they take forever. Sort of a pain to grow but well worth... read more


On Jul 10, 2009, n4nw from Stafford, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

Gt a jump start on seed germination by starting them in small peat pots placed in terrarium with reptile tank bottom heaters on the terrarium and grow light aquarium cover. Moisture is kept high and required 80 soil temp had plants popping up in less than two weeks.

Transferred to 8" pots in May and set-out mid month. Blooms begin to appear at end of June. Natural pollination anticipated as the Jolokia are among potted Habanero, Sakatara & Takanotsume plants. All plants receive morning and mid-day sun but are shielded from later afternoon sun which helps prevent sun scald.

Daily watering is a must when using Miraclegrow flower/vegetable potting soil as it does not retain moisture that well.


On Mar 8, 2009, Dorkasaurus from Albuquerque, NM (Zone 7a) wrote:

Grows ok here, although it does have a long growing season. If you can grow habaneros you shouldn't have a problem growing Bhut Jolokia. Not sure why it's listed here as an ornamental, as it's not a dwarf or particularly attractive plant. I grow them to burn people's faces off.


On Jun 30, 2008, drewmims from Peru, IN wrote:

Apparently brought from India in 2001 to New Mexico. Pollenation is required - natural or manual. Don't underestimate the heat...INSANELY HOT! Good flavor, but be careful. Grown in North Central Indiana (Peru) in an 8" container. Started out w/ 6" container by window on East side of house in Early-Mid May, moved to 8" container and outside in animal-proof cage on July 1st. Miracle Grow Moisture Control Potting Soil works great. Have fun!


On Dec 16, 2006, Michaelp from Piney Flats, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

This pepper was tested by The Chile Pepper Institute , U of New Mexico,- it came in at 1,001,304 SHU, --at this time --the hottest pepper on the planet, --it also tastes good, it is very productive and is large --especially for a super hot one at 3 to 4 inches and over an inch wide -- use care [gloves] when handeling---