Essential chilli care

It's been a good summer for these largely Mexican natives!

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Once you’ve potted on your growing chillies into increasingly larger pots, they should be romping away outside in the hot sun and warm weather this summer. It’s certainly a good year for these largely Mexican natives!

Chillies need a regime of simple care to produce the best flavours and sizes of chillies, starting with good watering – water regularly in spells of no rain and don’t let them dry out too much, or this may increase flower or pod drop.

As for feeding, they need a tomato food or a seaweed feed every 10 days to encourage flowers and fruit, as opposed to too much foliage.

Chillies may need staking, and when they’re around 30cm tall you can pinch out the tips to create more of a bushy plant, much as you would sweet peas.

Pick fruit often, testing out varying sizes to see which have the taste you like – those with a bit of heat, or riper, more coloured ones that blow your mouth off! The larger you leave them, they’ll change colour and taste better, but this is at the expense of the production of much more fruit.

Did you know you can overwinter chillies? Trim your plant down to a few healthy branches in winter after having brought them indoors to a warm spot, water and let them live on as a house plant until next year. This will produce varying degrees of success, depending on the variety.