Cili Padi is a type of chilli that can be either an annual or short-lived perennial plant. Cili Padi flowers are white with green or greenish yellow corolla, and are pollinated by itself or by insects.
These types of chillies are small and they grow erect. They start off a pale yellow colour and matures into bright red or green.
Cili Padi chillies are small but they can be as hot as Habanero, as they contain between 50,000-100,000 Scoville Units.
Cili Padi chillies are one of the easiest vegetable seeds to grow and maintain. They can grow in any type of soil from sandy soil conditions to rich soil conditions; and they like humid climates and moisture, that’s why they are perfect to grow in Malaysia.
Additionally, the seeds are easily available from vegetable seeds online store, such as Soon Huat Seeds.
Here are some characteristics of Cili Padi:
- The plant can grow up to 2 metres
- The stem and leaf color is green
- The leaf size is about 3 to 8 cm by 2 to 4 cm
- The fruit color at maturity is green, orange and red
This kind of chillies are used for cooking, and they can also be used as a natural insect repellent when they are mixed in water.
- Growing Cili Padi From Seeds
Because cili padi is a hot variety, it needs a longer growing period. Remember that chilli plants need plenty of warmth to germinate, so make sure you place them in a place full of sun or buy growing lamps and leave them there 14 to 16 hours a day.
You will need a moist, free-draining, rich soil to sow the vegetable seeds. Place seed trays in a warm place, between 18-25 C and use polythene to cover them.
It takes between 7 to 10 days for the chilli seeds to germinate, after which you can move your seedlings close to a sunny window or a heated greenhouse. It’s very important to keep the compost evenly moist but not let it get soaking wet.
- Transplanting Chilli Plants
Wait until your chili seedlings are big enough to handle without breaking. Transplant them into their individual pots of compost and grow them until they are large enough to be transplanted to their final positions.
When they are big enough you can plant your chilli plants outside in a sunny, sheltered spot.
Your plants need to gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions over a period of 7 to 10 days before transplanting them. Leave plenty of room between each chilli plant, approximately 50 centimetres apart.
- How to Grow Cili Padi Plants
Here are some vegetable gardening tips and hacks for beginners to grow cili padi:
It’s very important to water chilli plants regularly throughout the growing season, but once the first chillies have set, feed them once a week with a fertiliser rich in potassium.
To promote more branching and a better harvest, pinch out the growing tip of the first flowering shoots.
Yes, it’s important to water regularly but sparingly. If you want to produce hotter chillies it’s best to keep your soil a little on the dry side, so plants stress slightly.
To help conserve moisture and suppress weed growth, you should add a thick mulch of organic matter around the base of the chilli plants.
If you are growing chillies indoors, always open windows and doors to provide insect access to the flowers to ensure good pollination.
One final tip, if you want to shorten the germination time of cili padi seeds, it’s a good idea to soak the seeds in warm water for around 6 to 8 hours before planting. This should be sufficient to weaken the seed shell.
- Harvesting Cili Padi
To ripen chilli plants properly, they require warmth and long sunny days, this is not a problem in Malaysia, where the sun shines almost every day. However, it is a good idea to harvest before the rainy season.
To harvest chillies, simply cut them one by one from the plant with secateurs.
Remember that you can buy your vegetable seeds online or from the store, just make sure to buy enough of them to have a good harvest.