Best time to plant ‘Incredibly versatile’ chilli seeds at home

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Chillies are exotic, colourful and fiery-looking plants that are very rewarding to grow at home. Not only are they enjoyable to eat for their hot and spicy flavour, but they are also incredibly easy to raise from small seeds into a productive plant. According to gardening experts, there are a few opportunities to plant these “incredibly versatile” seeds throughout the year, and there’s one easy way to make your harvest last even longer.

When to plant chilli seeds

Winter is the best time to sow chilli pepper seeds for growing outdoors, but it’s not the only time they can be planted in the UK.

The experts at Thompson and Morgan said: “January and February are the perfect months to start sowing your chilli pepper seeds indoors.

“Although you can still sow the seeds right up until the end of March, early sowing gives your chillies plenty of time to ripen before the end of summer.”

While sowing just before spring arrives is ideal for chilli plants intended to be grown in the garden, the experts at Thompson and Morgan explained that these “incredibly versatile” fruits can also be grown on sunny windowsills, conservatories, and warm greenhouses at other times of the year.

In fact, according to, they can be grown all year round indoors as all species are suitable to grow as houseplants.

This is great if you are short on space outdoors, or want to secure a continual harvest for next year, that lasts from early summer right through autumn.

Though planting chillies indoors can be done at any point in the year, there are a few fundamentals you need to get right for a successful crop.

Horticulturist David Domoney added that all chillies really need is a sunny spot and plenty of warmth indoors to get them off to a good start.

He said: “The seeds can be difficult to germinate because they don’t like the cold.

“I wrap mine in muslin cloth, tie it with some wool and soak it overnight in a Thermos flask warmed to about 45C.”

How to plant chilli seeds

The Royal Horticultural Society recommended starting garden-grown chilli plants indoors from late winter to mid-spring to get an “early start” on your home-grown fruits.

For a long-lasting, bumper crop, combine seasonal outdoor plants with year-round houseplant chillies for an even “earlier and longer” harvest.

Sowing seeds is very easy to do both indoors and outdoors, though containers are best if you choose to plant them in autumn as the weather cools down.

David Domoney recommended sowing seeds in small pots around the size of your palm in the morning, using ordinary compost.

He said: “Plant a couple of seeds at a time into each pot about 1.5cm below the soil. Then firm the compost down and soak thoroughly with warm water.

“Chillies like a steady temperature of 28C and you’ll want to keep them moist but not drowning.”

If your house is cold, a heated propagator won’t go amiss to encourage the seeds to germinate, but a warm, sheltered windowsill is fine too.

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