Guide on how to grow Chilli from Seed in Singapore – Can you grow chilli in Singapore? The Answer is a Resounding YES!
The fact that Chilli loves the heat and also the humidity makes it one of the easiest plants to grow in the Singaporean weather.
Chilli are meant for weather like Singapore’s with the high average temperature and humidity all year round.
The most popular choice of Chilli variety is definitely the Chilli Padi.
They point towards the sky when they grow, turn bright red when they ripen and have a strong kick and punch when you consume them with your favourite Asian dishes.
Let us now share the “Guide on how to grow Chilli in Singapore”
1. Getting your Chilli Seeds
There are many different varieties of Chillis that you can choose from and if you are someone who is very much a Singaporean who loves the kick of Chilli Padi, we will strongly recommend for you to try the Chilli Padi out.
Freshly harvested Chilli Padi taste sharper and better than those you buy from the Supermarket or Wet Market and this is something that makes it better.
You do not need to worry about pesticides and you know that the fertilizer you use are organic. This cannot be said of commercially sourced ones.
We usually acquire the seeds from a few places, either NTUC Supermarkets or nurseries all around Singapore. There are a few online E-Commerce stalls where you can order seeds as well.
Choose whichever model you prefer but most sold in Singapore are F1 varieties where they are somewhat resistant to some form of disease, this may be preferred over Heirloom breeds that may be more suspectible to disease or pest.
Read more about the difference between F1 seeds vs Heirloom seeds.
2. Getting the right containers ready
For Chilli Plants, you do not exactly need a very big pot, something that has 10-15cm of circumference is good enough.
The thing about bigger pot sizes are usually for plants that require more water.
If you have say a tomato plant in a small pot, you might end up having to water them 2-3 times a day.
So yes, a smaller size pot is ok for Chilli Plants, they love water but not crazy amounts.
Prepare the container with soil and set them out to sun for a few days in preparation of the transplant in a week or two time.
3. Starting your Chilli Seeds
Chilli seeds are not the easiest to start.
My recommendation is to always soak your chilli seeds first before you start them in any other medium.
Soak the seeds in lukewarm water for at least 2-8 hours if possible.
This will wake the seeds up to start germinating much faster than just planting them straight into soil.
4. Caring for seedlings
For any plant, it is always wiser for you to start your seeds separately in a nursery or a corner of your garden where it does not get too much sunlight or rain.
Seedlings are relatively weaker, if you have too much rain and wind, it may damage their weak stems and break them. Too much sun can also be damaging to them.
The best thing that you can do usually is to have those small plastic containers you can buy from SKP shops and plant them in smaller amounts of soil.
You could use egg shells too, which some people do.
This smaller containers hold water better than a big pot that will drain water downwards as you water them.
A smaller container allows the seedling to reach water consistently and lets it grow much faster as it focuses more on its roots. And once it realizes that is has reached somewhat the end of the container, it could focus on its leaves, which is important post transplant.
5. Transplanting the Chilli Plant
Usually, we will let the Seedling grow for 2-3 weeks, or up till you see a set or two sets of true leaves. This means, the initial leaves (Cotyledons) are not counted, you get 2 or 4 more leaves that are ready.
This is also the step where you prepare the new bigger pot and you can just flip over the smaller container to receive the seedling and place it together with the soil into the bigger pot.
When you transplant this way, there is a lower chance of the seedling getting shocked and dying.
Always remember to water right after transplant to ensure that you reduce transplant shock for the plant.
6. Fertilizing and Watering needs
After transplanting, ensure you move it to a location that the plant can receive a good amount of sunlight.
Sunlight is very important for the Chilli plant. Anywhere between 6-10 hours of sunlight is good for the plant.
As the plant is growing, you can fertilize them with organic fertilizer such as bone meal, chicken or sheep manure. This can be done every 2 weeks, but as they are starting to flower and fruit, you could increase your fertilizing to once per week but do not do it too much if not you may end up killing the plant.
Water the Chilli plant daily to ensure that it is growing well and healthy.
7. Pruning when young
The thing about Chilli Plants is that you want them to be bushy and therefore you will get more flowers coming about and more fruit set.
When they are about 10 cm tall, you could choose to cut off the top tips of the plant so that it will grow sideways a little more.
This method of pruning may feel painful for you but it creates a good environment for the plant to grow more leaves and eventually a better harvest.
8. Providing some support if grown in high rises
The issue with high rise HDBs or Condos is that the winds can be rather strong. If you have a young plant and the wind is strong, it may topple the plant or the plant may snap at the stem.
Using a stake to help it support itself may be a good idea for your gardening, it also keeps the plant upright and neat.
Once the white flowers of the Chilli plants start to appear, you could help it a little with shaking the flowers so that it will be pollinated more thoroughly.
The thing is, Chillis are self pollinating, so you technically do not need to help with its pollination, the wind will do the job, or if you have bees in the region, they will do the pollinating.
But i always recommend giving it an extra help to get a better harvest.
10. Harvesting when they ripen
Green Chillis are a popular chilli choice in Singapore.
Eaten with some fried dishes, the Green Chilli is just premature Chilli.
Once the Chilli are formed, it usually takes about a month for it to turn red and therefore the plant being ready to consume with its fiery taste.
When the fruit turns red, it also means the seeds are ready for planting the next time.
11. Starting new plants from seeds
The thing is, you have to know that if the plant you have is Heirloom, the seeds it produce will create offspring that behave and look like the parent plant.
But if the seed you had were F1 seeds which means they were a mix between two varieties before this, you may get something slightly different the next round, or the offspring may be more susceptible to disease of some sort.
That doesn’t mean you cannot grow something out of collected seeds from your original plant.
It will still grow and work out well.
Chilli is a very easy to maintain and easy to grow plant in Singapore.
For families who consume Chilli Padi by the packets, this is a good choice. It has no pesticides too!
Thank you for reading our Guide on how to grow Chilli from Seed in Singapore.
All the best with your gardening journey!
Under our Gardening Series on The Random Singapore, we also have Guides on how to grow other plants such as Nai Bai, Cherry Tomato, Kang Kong and many more, read them to learn more about Gardening in Singapore