Heirloom. Organic. This pepper is named after the Cuban city of La Habana, known here as Havana, because it used to feature in heavy trading there. It is related to the Scotch bonnet pepper; they have somewhat different pod types but are varieties of the same species and have similar heat levels. The habanero pepper grows mainly on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, where it is now thought to have originated, though it also grows in other hot climates including in Belize, in Costa Rica, in parts of the United States, and in Panama where it is known as the aji chombo. Once the Spanish had discovered it, they spread it far and wide around the world, so much so that taxonomists in the 18th century thought it originated in China and therefore named it “Capsicum Chinese” or the “Chinese pepper.” If anything, this pepper’s popularity is even more on the rise today. Before maturity the habanero is green, but as it ages its coloring ranges from yellow-orange to orange to bright red, depending upon when its harvesting occurs, and it can even appear pink or dark brown. Its size ranges from 1 to 2 1/2 inches in length and from 1 to 2 inches in diameter, and its shape, like that of the Scotch bonnet, can be compared to that of a Scottish Tam o’ Shanter hat. Both types of pepper also typically have flesh that is thin and waxy.
Planting Habanero Pepper
While starting seeds of the Habanero Pepper is not necessarily difficult, the right conditions will make the process successful. Sow Habanero Pepper seeds directly in the ground in the spring when the threat of frost has passed or start in containers several weeks before transplanting into soil. Keep the ground moist but not wet for the first couple of weeks. Pick a sunny, well-drained spot for planting for the best performance. Prefers a well-drained fertile soil in a sunny position. Habanero Peppers are splendid for growing up stakes or a cage. They will tip from the weight of the peppers, but you can support with stakes and twine. Habanero Pepper plants need regular watering and grow well in heat. Height: 24 to 30” Days to harvest—70 to 90 Days
Spacing: 24-36" inches Depth: 1/4 inch Germination: 10-20 days
Starting from Seed Indoors
Generally, the time to start your seeds is about 4- 6 weeks before the last expected spring frost date in your area, planting the seedlings outdoors about 2 weeks after that date. Another way to figure is to plan on setting out sturdy seedlings in the garden when night temperatures stay in the mid-50 degree range both day and night. Count back and sow seeds 4 to 6 weeks before that date normally arrives. Place a few seeds (5 to 10) into each pot and push them into the soil with your finger. Cover the seeds to a depth of approximately 1/4 inches of the potting mix. Mist each pot with water until the soil appears moist. Place the pots in an area which will provide both light (which is required for germination) and heat, preferably about 65 to 70 degrees F and at least 8 hours of light each day. Check on the seeds every day and keep the seeds damp but not drenched by misting with your plant mister. You should see sprouting in about 10-20 days. Once your seedlings have reached about 4 to 6 inches in height, choose an area in your garden to transfer them. You can also use containers like barrels or clay pots. Dig holes twice the width and depth of each of your pots. Fill up each hole with water then let it drain off. Place a pot in the hole center and level so that your seedling is at the same level as the surrounding soil. Push dirt in carefully all the way to fill the hole back up. Water each seedling carefully so as not to soak the leaves or stem.
Direct-seeding into the Garden
Turn over the area you've selected to a depth of approximately 1/2 inches. Rake the area until it's level and smooth. Water the area until the soil is damp but not saturated. Scatter the seeds in the area (or in rows). Gently rake the area to distribute the seeds further and protect them from birds. Or, press the seeds into the soil and cover with no more than 1/4 inches of soil. You can also place 2 to 3 seeds every 3 to 4 inches in rows approximately 12-18 inches apart, and cover seeds with 1/4 inches of soil. Place planting stakes around the area so you will know where to water. Check on your seeds about once a day. Make sure to mist the soil whenever it appears dry. Germination for Habanero Pepper plants is approximately 10 to 20 days, depending on the warmth of the soil.
Growing plants from seeds successfully depends on a lot of factors and this makes it impossible to guarantee success on every batch of seeds planted. Factors include, soil composition, PH, temperature, moisture levels, seed depth, soil density, seed viability, seed storage and many others. We tested the germination of all our seeds and this seed variety is around 80%, but your results may vary based on exactly how you plant and all the environmental factors. Good luck.