Chile Chapters

Growing Orange and Black Habaneros in Florida - A Photo Timeline

Posted in Growing Hot Peppers on March 26th, 2012 by Josh Winn

Last June, when the idea for this website was hatched, my friends and I decided to start growing our own hot peppers. Florida was the perfect place to start. The plants long for high temperatures and since there are only a few cold weeks, when they should be planted is not a big concern.

I ordered seeds online (from a local supplier) for Jamaican hot chocolate habaneros (black habanero) and orange habaneros. Seeing the chile pepper seeds grow into a monstrous fruit-bearing plant was fun and rewarding. It only took occasional watering, a few transplants, and some pest management. Now I need to do something with all the picked peppers I have sealed away. It is surprising to see the quantity of habaneros that the plants continue to produce.

Please excuse the one or two shoddy photos taken from an older camera phone. They get better as you scroll. I will be going into more detail about the process in a step-by-step hot pepper grower's guide series. For now, look at these photos. Just look at them.

Habanero Chile Seedlings

Black Habanero Seedlings
The Jamaican hot chocolate seeds were placed under a small bit of Miracle Grow seed starter soil. After a few weeks outside under indirect sunlight, the seedlings have sprouted. Direct sun was too much for them and started to yellow the tips of the leaves. The bottom cup is used to water from the bottom; the top cup has a hole cut in it. Water was added every day or two, to keep the soil slightly moist, but not soaked or sitting in too much water.
Habanero Plants in Ceramic Pots
The seedlings roots will quickly outgrow the small plastic cups. Ceramic pots were purchased for a few dollars each from Lowes. At this point, I start giving them more daylight, by placing them on the side of the patio. Pictured are the orange habaneros. The black habaneros have much wider, more rounded leaves.
Jamaican Hot Chocolate Habanero Growing Plants
The plants were transplanted a second time. This is one of the black habaneros (kept in the darker brown pots).
Chile peppers planted in plastic totes
I waited too long to transplant the chile peppers into more spacious plastic tubs.
Chili Peppers Growing in Plastic Tubs, South Florida
Given a few weeks, they exploded in size. The Jamaican hot chocolates grew some giant leaves and thickened up (middle). Oddly enough, the one on the left was freakishly pale, even though treated the same way (a few months later, it slowly turned more green). The orange habanero plant (second plant from the left), started to flower before its stems got strong enough to stop it from drooping; I think its growth was a little stunted by the late transplant. It continues to grow and produce a ton of peppers.
Black habaneros, still green
Now here's a better photo. These are the hot chocolates, before they change color.
Orange habaneros, still green
And the orange habaneros, before they change color. In the middle you can see the beginning stages of the flower turning into a small pepper.
A closeup of the peppers that will soon be ready to harvest.
Orange habaneros, still green
I was saving the best photo for last. Not bad for a camera phone. The plant is completely weighed down by all these chiles. I later had to twist-tie the center stems together, because it was drooping to the dirt.