Proven Tips for Growing Habanero Peppers in Containers
When it comes to growing habanero peppers in containers, I’m sure you’ve heard enough about drainage problems, functional containers, and potting soil for one lifetime.
If you’re looking for some proven tips that you can use to successfully grow habaneros or any other plant in containers, then you’ll love this article.
It’s simply written with zero fluff:
But first, let’s look at the benefits of growing habaneros in containers
Benefits of growing habanero peppers in containers
Contrary to the common belief that habaneros only grow well in the garden soil, habaneros actually does extremely well in containers as well.
Indeed, there are a number of reasons why you should consider trying to grow them in containers in your backyard.
Here are some of the reasons:
1. Habaneros are suitable for creating an edible landscape that adds great beauty to your garden. They brighten your garden with a wide range of fruit colours from red, yellow, orange, and even chocolate!
2. Provides you with a bounty of fresh habanero peppers to spice up your meals in the kitchen.
3. Container gardening provides you with an opportunity to learn more about growing habanero on a small scale and risk free. This is invaluable if you’re planning to scale it up in future and going commercial.
4. Growing habanero peppers in containers is very convenient even when you don’t have enough time. Besides, even members with disability can participate without straining.
5. It’s possible to get high yields even if your soil and ecological factors aren’t suitable for gardening.
6. Growing habanero peppers in containers is great if you don’t have adequate space for a big garden. This is also a suitable strategy for urban gardening where you can grow more food, earn more money; on less space.
Now that we’ve covered some of the benefits of growing habaneros in containers, let’s find out more about the required containers.
How to choose the right containers
The first consideration when selecting the right container is the size.
It is important to consider the growth habit of habaneros before choosing a given size of the container.
The size of the container should be proportional to the size of the plant to provide enough room for growth. Roots should have enough space to spread.
It’s estimated that habanero plant size is between 25 to 35 inches tall and about 18 inches wide when fully grown.
That means that, for example, a large habanero pepper will require a 24-inch diameter pot which can sufficiently hold only one plant.
Tip: If you are not sure what size of the container to choose, it is best to err on the large side.
If you are not sure what size of the plant container to choose, it is best to err on the larger side
First and foremost, make sure that your container has enough drainage holes.
If you’ll be placing the container on a solid surface, make sure the drainage holes aren’t blocked. If they are, try placing the container casters or a tray of pebbles.
The number one rule of container growing: water must be able to drain freely.
The container material
There are three main container materials. These are; self-watering, porous and non-porous.
Self-watering serves as a wick that transfers water to the potting media making it wet as required by the plant. On the other hand the porous one allows water to escape through evaporation while the non-porous does the opposite.
If you choose a porous container material, be prepared to water your habanero plants more frequently.
Type of the material
You can get your plant containers from different types of materials.
For example, Terracotta pots are attractive and affordable. Depending on the required size, can be bulky.
Terracotta containers can easily break if exposed to freezing temperatures or if dropped thus not so durable.
Wooden containers can last several seasons but become quite bulky with age.
Concrete is the most durable as well as the heaviest making concrete containers ideal for permanent spots.
Lastly, containers made from plastic or fibreglass are lightweight and therefore ideal for ease of movement. Habaneros grows quite large and when conditions are unfavourable it makes sense to move them about – light containers make up for the bulkiness of the plants.
In addition, plastic containers are affordable and durable.
Whichever container you choose, make sure to raise the container on small bricks or blocks to prevent waterlogging beneath.
Alternatively, place them on fabrics that can help in collecting the drained water for recycling.
Before I discuss how you can start planting your habaneros into the containers, which I’ll do in a short while, let me briefly highlight the ideal soil requirement.
Determining the appropriate soil for your containers
Unlike the plants grown directly onto the garden soil, life in container plants can be very hard on the plants.
Therefore, it makes great sense to provide them with the best conditions as much as possible.
For starters, avoid the garden soil as much as possible.
This is because the garden soil is likely to compact due to frequent watering inhibiting root growth. Poor root growth will result into poor plant growth or even death.
Besides, the most garden soil is known to harbour disease-causing organisms that can attack your container habaneros introduce obnoxious weed seeds.
By all means possible, use a well-drained soil mix usually made up of perlite, vermiculite, peat humus, sphagnum moss, aged bark, coco peat, lime, and some wetting agents.
The wetting agent ensures the soil moisture is evenly distributed.
A soil that has the above combination ensures that your habaneros grows as healthy as possible.
Needless to say, you can either make your soil mix or just buy premium ready-made.
Miracle-gro is a good example of affordable and premium potting soil that can save you a lot of hard work trying to keep your container habaneros alive moving forward.
Now that we’ve prepared adequately and ready to start growing habanero peppers in containers, it’s time to begin.
Planting methods and techniques
First things first:
Here are rules of the game in no specific order.
Rule #1. Avoid overcrowding.
Rule #2. Set your habanero pepper plants at the same height as they were in the nursery or nursery pots.
Rule #3. Don’t burry the stem in the soil.
Rule #4. Don’t leave the roots outside the soil.
Now that the rules are out of the way let’s dive in further;
- Place drainage material in the bottom of the container e.g. stones covering about 10cm (If need be).
- Fill the container with potting media/potting mix/miracle grow, leaving enough space to arrange the plant on the surface.
- Cautiously remove the habanero pepper plants from their original nursery pots, tease out the roots gently and work more potting media around the root ball. Ensure that the top of the root ball is level with the surface of the potting media.
- Gently firm the media around the plant, water well to settle and rid any air pockets and top up with container soil.
- To ensure there’s room for the water to soak in, make sure you leave a gap of about 2.5cm between soil surface and the top of the container.
- Add a layer of mulch to the top of potting soil to help in conserving moisture and suppressing any weeds from emerging. This is also important in maintaining some warmth around the root zone of the habaneros.
You’ve just planted your first habanero plant in a container but before you start to celebrate, let’s look at how to care for your habanero peppers.
How to care for the habanero plants
Like I’ve mentioned earlier, life in containers can be quite tough for habanero plants. Providing the necessary conditions and taking great care could take them a long way.
The necessary conditions include; sufficient light, warmth, water, aeration, and nutrients.
To ensure that those conditions are optimum and remains that way, it’s imperative to use potting compost (a special container compost) as opposed to garden compost.
Furthermore, you need to water your habaneros more frequently to avoid the roots drying out.
It pays to use an automatic plant watering system with drip to give you a piece of mind that your plants get the required amount of water, when they need it the most.
Habanero pepper requires a lot of high quality water to flourish. The water consumption ranges 25 to 30 inch of water throughout the growing season, or 2-3inch per week.
This is again the reason why you need to make use of drip technology as well as mulch your crop. Ensure to water or irrigate the peppers infrequently and yet deep enough.
Fertilize as appropriate. Avoid too much nitrogen which encourages a lot vegetative growth on the expense of the fruit formation.
Therefore, when growing the habanero pepper especially in containers, the rule of the thumb, is to apply Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium (NPK) at the rate of 18:18:36 kilograms per acre at planting and 18:18:32 kilograms per acre injected through drip over the growing season.
How to manage the pest on your container plants
Most pepper like any other crops are susceptible to a number of pests. The most common for habaneros is the blossom end rot caused by calcium deficiency.
To prevent blossom end rot to become a problem, ensure that you minimize deep watering during the flowering period.
Insects are equally notorious and it’s important to make use of sticky traps and insect nets in your container habanero garden to keep them at bay.
Other common diseases include bacterial leaf spot, phytophthora blight, anthracnose fruit rot, bacterial soft rot and viruses such as tobacco mosaic virus and potato virus.
You can prevent these diseases by avoiding overhead irrigation, using resistant varieties, ensuring the soil is properly aerated or spray with horticultural soap.
You’ve just been reading about proven tips for growing habanero peppers in containers.
You’ve learnt the benefits of growing habanero peppers in containers, how to choose the right containers, determining the appropriate soil for your containers, habanero planting methods and techniques, and finally how to care for them.
It’s my hope that this is finally what you needed to take action. And by the way, anybody can do this!
Back to you.
I’d love to hear how it goes with you and any lessons you have for us too.