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How to Make Pepper Plant Spicy? [Top 9 Care Tips]

Do you know several care factors directly or indirectly influence the spicy level of Pepper plants?

In general, to make Pepper spicy, you can grow them in full sunlight with warmer temperatures. Also, the addition of sulfur, introducing subtle stress, and proper harvest timing can make them hotter. But refrain from overfertilizing them as it results in less spicy Pepper.

Thus, to learn what to do’s and don’ts, keep reading till the end so you can enjoy spicy Peppers on your own.

Why Are My Peppers Not Spicy?

The Peppers contain the compound capsaicin, which is the reason behind their fiery kick. And depending on the Pepper species, the level of spiciness varies.

So, the naturally mild spicy Chili Peppers will not be as spicy as you want. In such cases, you can grow the hottest Peppers like Habaneros, Scotch bonnets, and Ghost Peppers. However, if the hottest ones are also not spicy, then the reason could be improper care.

Inforgraphics with a image of Carolina Pepper in the centre with fire flames on the bottom depicting the hotness of the pepper.
There is no way to escape the after-effect of consuming Carolina Pepper.

Here are a few reasons why your Peppers are not Spicy apart from naturally mild species.

  1. Poor Lighting: Pepper needs full sunlight to produce capsaicin compound. So, peppers growing in low light often have milder spiciness.
  2. Lack of Nutrients: Nitrogen, sulfur, and magnesium are essential to make Peppers hot. Lack of them in the soil results in less spicy Peppers.
  3. Cross-Pollination: Growing spicy Peppers and mild or even sweet ones next to each other can also cause less spicy Pepper due to cross-pollination.
  4. Maturity: With maturity, the hotness of Pepper increases. So, if you harvest Peppers too early before letting them turn red, they are likelier to be less spicy than the mature ones.
  5. Excess Care: Caring for your Peppers too much can cause less spicy Peppers. Too much water and fertilizer result in oversized peppers in compensation for spiciness.
  6. Genetic Variation: Even if you plant the same type of pepper, each plant can be different in terms of how spicy it is. This is because of their genes.

Despite selecting the hottest varieties and giving them ideal care, if you end up with less spicy Peppers, then it could be sheer bad luck.

Nevertheless, do not lose hope, as there are a few things you can do to make your Pepper spicy.

How to Make Pepper Plant Spicy?

There are many ways to make a Pepper plant spicy, such as choosing a spicy variety, providing ideal care, and stressing the plant.

So, without further dillydallying, let us dive deeper, shall we?

1. Choose a Spicy Variety

Although there are over 50,000 types of peppers, only a few are commonly used in cooking. Now, even amongst them, some are hotter than others.

So, the first thing you got to do is select the Pepper variety that meets your desired spicy level.

Generally, there are four categories of Peppers as per hotness of Peppers: mild, medium, hot, and very hot.

If you are looking for spicy Peppers, you do not need mild Peppers; instead, opt for other ones.

Here is the list of Peppers as per the hotness level.

Pepper VarietyScoville Heat Units (SHU)Heat Level
Bell Pepper0Mild
Poblano1,000 - 2,000Mild
Banana Pepper0 - 500Mild
Jalapeño2,500 - 8,000Medium
Serrano10,000 - 23,000Medium-Hot
Cayenne30,000 - 50,000Hot
Thai Chili50,000 - 100,000Very Hot
Habanero100,000 - 350,000Extremely Hot
Scotch Bonnet100,000 - 350,000Extremely Hot
Ghost Pepper800,000 - 1,041,427Super Hot
Carolina Reaper1,400,000 - 2,200,000+World's Hottest

2. Enough Sunlight

Another important factor you need to consider to make Peppers plant spicy is sunlight.

Under full sunlight, Peppers grow and flourish the finest. Further, they produce spicier Peppers than the ones in low light. So, ensure the Pepper plants receive daily 6-8 hours of direct sunlight.

The Pepper plants produce more capsaicin, so the Peppers become more spicy.

3. Warm Temperature

It is true that Peppers grown in warm and hot conditions are hotter than ones grown in cooler spots. It is because warmer temperature encourages better capsaicin production in Peppers.

So, Peppers have enhanced spiciness when grown in warm conditions. Thus, maintain the temperature at 60-85°F to make Peppers spicy.

Also, do not allow night temperature to dip below 60°F.

4. Add Sulfur

You can increase the fiery spice of Peppers by adding literal fire to the soil. Not kidding! When Peppers are exposed to sulfur, it can increase capsaicin production.

And the unlit match heads contain small levels of sulfur, and by putting them in the soil, you can add fire to the Peppers spice.

Otherwise, add 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt to a gallon of water and sprinkle it around the Pepper plant base every 3-4 weeks.

5. Stress The Plant

Though stressing the plant may not sound good, it works with Peppers to make them spicier.

Pepper plants under stress tend to have higher capsaicin amounts. So, regularly pinch back leaves and stems so the plant focuses on fruits only.

Another way to stress the Pepper plant is by withholding water from the plant. Thus, allow your Peppers to dehydrate slightly.

But do not get carried away, as too much stress can hamper and even damage the plant.

6. Harvest at the Right Time

The fully ripened Peppers are spicier than the green ones as they have had enough time to produce capsaicin.

So, do not hasten the harvesting time. Let the Peppers ripen fully on the plant. Then only proceed to harvest them.

a fully ripen spicy Pepper in a bowl
If you want to enjoy the max spiciness of Chili Peppers, let them ripen fully on the plant.

Also, depending on the variety, fully ripened Peppers often turn bright red, orange, or yellow from green.

7. No Cross-Pollination

Another method to make Peppers spicy is by inhibiting cross-pollination. To do so, you must not grow two different Chili Pepper plants together.

Always ensure to plant the same variety of Peppers together. By doing so, there will be no cross-pollination, resulting in dilute capsaicin production.

Further, you can also perform hand pollination for the hottest Peppers as well.

8. Avoid Overfertilization

Although the Peppers benefits from regular fertilization, excess nutrients are a big No!

Excess nutrients in the soil results in oversized Peppers with dilute capsaicin. So, despite the big size of Peppers, they lack spiciness.

Moreover, excess nitrogen results in more foliage growth rather than fruit spiciness. Thus, fertilize Peppers but in a controlled manner.

Also, remember to dilute the fertilizer to avoid fertilizer burn issues. Nonetheless, rely on the product instructions to avoid any unintentional issues.

9. Prune Back The Plant

Lastly, pruning off damaged, decaying foliage can also aid in making Peppers spicier.

So, with proper pruning, you can promote air circulation and redirect plant energy toward fruiting.

Moreover, subtle pruning foliage can induce stress in Peppers which in turn makes them spicier.

Editor’s Note

Recipe Tips to Make Chili Pepper More Spicier!

Apart from adding more Peppers, you can amp up the spiciness by sauteing Chili Peppers in oil or butter.

Likewise, the spiciness amplifies many folds with acidic ingredients. So, infuse acidic ingredients into your recipe to amp up the spice.

All The Best!