Planting Hot Peppers & Premature Flower Drop

Question:

  I enjoy Mexican food and other spicy foods, so I’ve been reading up about Chili Peppers. I’m now eager to plant a few, but there are so many varieties. Which varieties do the best in this area?

Answer:

  • The popularity of Chili Peppers is increasing as more folks enjoy hot and spicy foods.
  • Location, location, location is a key with Chili Peppers as they like warm days and nights to produce. They must have nighttime temperatures over fifty-five degrees.
  • May is an ideal month to set out transplants or seedlings started in mid-March. In most years, the rainy season has concluded, and we are warming up. Seeds started today will be ready to the open ground in eight weeks, so I look to plant transplants.
  • Chili peppers can be grown in containers as well as in the open ground. There are so many varieties because of the demand for hot, and even hotter varieties. Hence, the right variety for you is directly related to how much heat your month is ready to except.
    • The chemical, which gives chili pepper its heat, is called capsaicin. They will also accumulate heat as it matures, so they’ll be milder when they’re green and hotter as they ripen to a deep red.
    • The hottest part of the chili is the white flesh that attaches to the seeds inside of the pepper. This can be removed if you want to limit the heat.
  •  William Scoville is credited with inventing the Scoville Heat Unit Scale (SHU), which measures the pungency of Chili Peppers. Bell or sweet peppers have a zero-rating.
  • Here are a few of the hot peppers and their ratings: Jalapeno 10,000 SHU, Cayenne, 30.000 SHU, Habanero, 100,000 SHU. You may also find the Ghost Pepper, Bhut Jolokia, one of the hottest in the world at 1,000,000 plus SHU that’s four hundred times hotter than Tabasco Sauce.
  • I’d recommend that you pick a couple of varieties to try out and then see for yourself if your yard adequate for more. 

NOTE: Capsaicin is an irritant and key ingredient of Malice or pepper spray. It’s essential to either use gloves when handling chilies or thoroughly wash hands afterward. Anyone who has inadvertently rubbed his or her eyes after handling a pepper will know why. 

Question:

 Why do the red flowers on my indoor, blooming cactus drop off so quickly? They are gone within a day or two. What am I doing wrong as my friend plant blooms for several weeks?

Answer:

  •  I’d suspect that the plant is somewhere near a bowl or basket of apples, bananas, or other fruits.
  • These fruits release a naturally occurring gas called Ethylene. Ethylene Gas causes the flowers to drop off prematurely. This is also a problem with cut flowers, especially carnations. The center of the petals curl up and become distorted. This ages the flowers quickly. So, I move the cactus or the fruit.