Pepper, Serrano

  Serrano Pepper, Long Red Thin

Heirloom. Organic. Serrano peppers are another variety of hot chili pepper and differ from other peppers in that they do not need to be steamed or peeled before use because of their thin walls. The Serrano pepper was first grown in the mountains of northern Puebla and Hidalgo in Mexico and is used for quick salads and salsas. The name Serrano has the meaning ‘from the mountains’ in which it was first founded and grows best. The states of Veracruz, Sinaloa, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas are the biggest producers of Mexican Serrano chiles, growing about 180,000 tons of pods a year.

 Serrano peppers are around 5 times spicier and hotter than jalapeno peppers at a fairly hot 10,000 – 20,000 scoville heat units on average. They come in red, brown, orange, and yellow depending on how long they are left on the stalk. Serrano’s grow to about 1 – 4 inches long and do not dry very well due to the fact Serrano’s are very meaty.

Planting Serrano Pepper

While starting seeds of the Serrano Pepper is not necessarily difficult, the right conditions will make the process successful. Sow Serrano 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.  Serrano 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. Serrano Pepper plants need regular watering and grow well in heat. Height: 3 feet   Days to harvest—70 to 80 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 Serrano Pepper plants is approximately 10 to 20 days, depending on the warmth of the soil.   

Germination Problems

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.