Getting pepper seeds started (bhut jolokia, white habanero and medusa peppers)

I love spicy hot food and peppers look great once they bear fruit. I have been trying for a couple of years to find a nursery that carried medusa, ghost or white habanero peppers but no one ever does around here. After some research I found they can be pretty hard to get growing, have strict temperature requirements, moisture control and have really long germination periods. This is probably why nurseries around here don’t carry them. Everyone I know who tried to grow them said they could never get them to germinate.

After using a control4 temperature sensor system to get my medusa peppers sprouting in special moisture control soil, I figured I would go ahead with the ghost and white habaneros. I bought 100 ghost and 25 white habanero non-hybrid seeds from a seller that gets them from India.
The ghost and white habs required 80-90 degree temperatures to get started and are sensitive to too much water. In addition, some people recommend soaking them overnight before planting to soften up the seed husks. I planted all of the seeds in little plastic cups with Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Garden Soil, placed them under some thick plastic to simulate a greenhouse and set up a grow lamp to keep them warm using a control4 system to turn off the light if the soil got above 89 degrees.

For the white habaneros I just used my empty medusa pepper Mini Windowsill Greenhouse with the moisture control soil and a temperature sensor to make sure they didn’t overheat.

It only took about 5 days for the ghost peppers to start sprouting. As they sprouted, I took them out of the plastic cover and placed them in an open grow lamp area to continue.

Here I have them where they can get sunlight through sliding glass doors during the day and have the control4 system turn on the grow lamp at night. I get 3-4 new sprouts a day and move them over. Once the weather get a little more stable (I just had 70 degree sun and 4 inches of snow within a 24 hour period this week) I’ll take them out in flats during the day to harden them. Once I’m sure there’s no threat of frost they should be good to go for planting.

The white habs sprouted after 7-8 days so I’ve opened their little jiffy greenhouse too.

Now that I have these growing I have had a lot of interest from friends and family asking to buy some of the hardened seedlings. I guess since the local nurseries don’t carry them and they know how hard they are to get going, there’s a surprise cash-crop potential that might just offset the electricity cost of the grow light.

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