Saturday 30 May 2015

Chilli update

So far this has been my worst year in about a decade for growing chillis. My plants have suffered big problems with aphid infestations, and the prolonged dull, cold and windy weather has held them back a lot. Recently, since going out into the plastic greenhouses, they have also been the subject of slug attacks, and I have had to deploy the blue slug-pellets. Even the two plants that successfully made it through the Winter have now dropped the majority of their leaves. The best I can say is that (mostly) they are just about hanging on. Surviving, Yes; thriving, No.

Over the Bank Holiday weekend I moved some of the bigger ones out into the open. I thought that a bit of buffeting by the wind might persuade them to toughen-up. I know that lots of people who grow chillis indoors use electric fans for the same purpose.

As you can see, none of them are impressive specimens - and these are the best ones!

At least one or two of them are finally producing a few flowers. This one is "Bolivian Rainbow".

This spindly affair is "Cayenne", which currently looks like being the first one to set fruit this year.

Although many of the plants have lost a lot of their first flush of leaves, it is comforting to see that more little shoots have appeared along the stems, at the places where the leaves formerly were. This one is "Caribbean Antillais". You can see that I have still not managed to eliminate the aphids!

The only grain of consolation in all this is that many of my correspondents on Twitter / Facebook / Blogger, etc report similar problems. Last weekend at the Fleet Food Festival there was a stall selling chilli plants, and to be honest they were little better than my ones - and in most cases a lot smaller too. What we need is a period of warmth and sunshine. That would sort things out...


  1. I'd trade weather for a bit, but the weathermen already say we are getting cold and rainy. We are going to drop about 25-30F degrees from today to Monday. And supposedly we will get rain. I hope so. I'm sure you are hoping for a bit of our recent weather. It sure has made things grow quickly. Good luck. I hope your weather changes for you.

  2. I know what you are going through, my peppers look pathetic right now. I find that aphid infestations are particularly difficult to get under control. Getting your plants outdoors and some decent weather should help.

  3. I'm growing chillies for the first time this year and it's going surprisingly well. I grow them in the conservatory but pop them out when the weather looks good (like today) and bring them in at nights mainly. I was SO worried about aphids, that I basically sit down each evening and inspect the plants thoroughly. I had a couple of aphids a few weeks ago - squished them, and used some ecover water, and they haven't been back since (touch wood), though I have had an aphid problem on some of my veggies outdoors.

    Aside from the aphid problems, yours are actually doing very well to be producing new shoots/flowers.

  4. You may want to look into using some food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) to control those aphids.
    It's not only safe as a spray or powder, but also very effective for a variety of garden pasts.

  5. Peppers are really temperamental plants to grow, liking it neither too hot nor too cold. Given the weather this spring, I can see why they don't like it. My peppers are still inside and won't get planted out until first week or two of June. Too bad about the aphids, I don't have that problem except on favas.

  6. Same problem here in France. Also big aphid problems in the Lupins.

  7. My peppers were not looking too bad (although not great either) until our recent spell of wet, cooler weather in the last couple of days. Now a few of them are actually down to only a couple of leaves and they are all quite pale green. I'm going to bring them inside overnight, together with the eggplants, to ride out a chilly night where it's supposed to get down to 5C. I'm hoping they perk up once I get them planted outside (hopefully in a couple of days when the weather turns once again).

  8. Eek. Slugs decimated about half the chilli and pepper plants in my plastic greenhouse too - miserable creatures.

    Last week we visited the magnificent kitchen garden at Knightshayes Court and noticed that all of their chilli's and peppers are companion planted with basil. I'm new to growing chilli's so it's pure coincidence that my remaining plants are sat in my new greenhouse alongside several large pots of basil. In any case, they all seem to be aphid free at the moment - don't know if it has anything to do with the basil (my husband tells me it's more likely dumb luck) but it might be worth giving it a go if you haven't already?


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