The African Devil Pepper is also known as the Piri- Piri "pepper pepper" in Swahili. They are an open pollinated variety belonging to the species Capsicum frutescens. Plants grow on a sturdy bush habit reaching anywhere between 45-120 cm (18-36”) tall with a spread of 45-61 cm (18-24”) wide. Peppers grow upright, turning from light green, to yellow, to orange, then bright red when they are mature. These peppers are hot measuring up to 175,000 SHU on the Scoville Heat Unit. These are ideal for drying and producing your own chili powder. Can be grown in containers as well, just keep plants well watered.
Start indoors 6-12 weeks (February – April) before your last spring frost. Sow 4-5 seeds 6mm (¼”) deep in 10cm (4”) pots and cover lightly with soil medium and keep soil moist but not too wet. We keep under lights at a temperature of 26.7-29˚C (80-85˚F). Germination rates can vary drastically from 10 days to 21 days. Thin seedlings to 2-3 per pot. Once seedlings develop their second set of true leaves, prune the first set of true leaves. Pruning the leaves forces secondary growth and creates a bushier plant. We do this on several leaf sets. If seedlings become too leggy, place them in a cooler location. This will slow them down and make their stems thicker. Transplant seedlings when soil has warmed up to 15.6-18˚C (60-65˚F). Plant transplants 45-61cm (18-24”) apart in rows 61-76cm (24-30”) apart.
Note: Peat pots are not recommended for germinating peppers. The pH may be too high and peat pots retain a lot of water that may drown the seeds.
Soil Conditions: Well worked rich, loose and well-drained soil. Ideal pH: 5.5-6.8
Planting Depth: Sow seeds 6mm (¼) deep.
Germination: 8-25 days.
Height at Maturity: Plants reach 45-120 cm (18-36”) tall. Bush habit. Spread can be 45-61 cm (18-24”) wide.
Days to Maturity: 80-90 days.
Watering: Peppers require about 2.5cm (1”) of water per week. Allow water to completely soak the soil 15-20cm (6-8”) deep. This will ensure good growth, whether vegetables are grown in single hills or wide rows. The amount of rain that falls during the week will help supplement how much you should water your garden. Soil should remain moist.
Sun/Shade: Full Sun
Spacing after Thinning Plant transplants 45-61cm (18-24”) apart in rows 61-76cm (24-30”) apart.
Additional Information Peppers are susceptible to rot, blossom end rot, anthracnose, tobacco mosaic virus, bacterial spot, and mildew. Keep these in check and rotate pepper crops to different areas. Keep the garden clean and free of weeds where pests and diseases can shelter. Destroy and dispose of infected plants before diseases can spread. Aphids, cutworms and flea beetles are common pests for most garden plants and there are a variety of solutions for these.