Tuesday, December 4, 2007
The Habanero Plant
Earlier this year (April 26, 2007), I saved some seeds from a habanero pepper that I was using to make a spicy vinegar, and planted them in a container. I watered the soil thoroughly, and covered the container with a plastic ziploc bag to help the soil retain its moisture and create a greenhouse effect. These plants grew without any fuss at all. About seven months later, I have five healthy plants that have several little peppers that are finally maturing.
This is a great plant to have in your garden even if you do not like spicy foods. The habanero plant is aesthetically pleasing all year round. In summer the plants will have pretty white blooms with dark green centers. And in the fall, you will get additional color with these pretty 1" to 1.5" orange peppers. You can just give away the ripe peppers to a friend who will appreciate the spicy fruits or blend the fruits with water to make an organic insecticide.
Habaneros are suitable for container-gardening. My plants are only a foot tall, but the average height is 2-feet tall and the average width is 18-inches. You do not have to water the plant very often. In fact, over-watering the plant may ruin the taste of the fruit. This plant likes full sun, but if you are growing your plant from seed place the young plants in indirect sunlight to avoid frying the plant. I fertilized my plants as soon as they began to bear fruit. I used a low fertilizing solution about once a month.
Caution: These peppers are EXTREMELY HOT. I wouldn't recommend growing them if small children will have access to these plants. I also do not recommend eating the fruit alone or handling the fruit with bare hands. The inside flesh of the pepper is scorching hot, and will remain on the skin for a very long time. It's heat score is rated over 300,000 Scoville Units (COMPARE TO: The Jalapeno Pepper, which is rated around 3,000 Scoville Units).