How to grow the Carolina Reaper Plant

The Carolina Reaper plant is not a great choice for the new grower.  Although media attention has made interest in the Carolina Reaper pepper very high, growing this extremely long season pepper plant can take a lot of planning and consideration.

The Carolina Reaper Plant at a glance

  • AKA HP22B, HP22BNH, and The Reaper
  • Up to 5 Feet Tall in a single season
  • Up to 4 Feet Wide in a single season
  • Fruit 1 inch to 3 inch blocked
  • 70 to 90 days from transplant to onset of flowers
  • Start indoors at least 8 weeks before last frost

Carolina Reaper Plant: Step 1. Planning

For what ever reason, the seed industry has chosen a very misleading way to inform potential customers how long it takes a pepper plant to grow.  The Carolina Reaper plant is no exception to this pattern.  Its original cultivator lists days till maturity at between 70 and 90.  This is industry standard and it is wildly misleading at both ends of a plant’s life cycle.

First off, like many super hot peppers, the Carolina Reaper plant takes much time to germinate.  I have seen some seeds not show themselves for as long as a month, so tack 30 days on to that days till maturity.  Now we are at 100 – 120 days.

Next, what the seed companies are not fast to tell you is that their days till maturity estimates are from the time of transplant out doors.  Practically all of the super hots must be started indoors.  If the seed seller says you must start them indoors a month before your last chance of frost, tack on another 30 days to the days to maturity.  Now we are at 130 to 150 days till maturity.

Next, we have to consider the word ‘maturity’.  The term is most often used to mean the onset of sexual maturity.  Not when the plant fruits, but when it is capable of producing fruit.  You could have another 90 days or more before you have ripe pepper pods.  Some strains might take 120 days or more to fully mature.  So now we are at 220 to 250 days between planting a seed and having a fresh and mature Carolina Reaper pepper to eat.  That is eight or nine months and I did not mention these are all guestimates based on optimum growing conditions and a very favorable season.

Depending on your particular climate, you may have to start your Carolina Reaper Plant indoors months before you plant to move it outdoors.  Please see our general tutorial on Germinating and Starting pepper plants.

Carolina Reaper Plant: Moving Outdoors

Carolina Reaper Plant
Carolina Reaper Plant

Your Carolina Reaper Plants can be moved outdoors once they are about six inches tall, hardened off, and the last danger of frost has passed for your growing season.  However, optimum results will occur when daytime temperatures average around 70 degrees and night time temperatures do not dip too far below 50 degrees.  Often this is well past the last danger of frost.

The Carolina Reaper plant prefers a soil PH of approximately 6.5 and about 2 inches of water per week.  Decreased water during the fruiting period generally increases the capsicum content but decreases pod size and maybe overall production.

The Carolina Reaper plant will begin flowering when night time temperatures dip to between 65 and 80 degrees.  Flowers will not set at all if night time temperatures remain above 85 degrees.

Soil & Fertilizer Considerations

The Carolina Reaper plant prefers a soil rich in compost and other materials which assist in holding water.  Aged manuer is our preferred fertalizer, but if you must use non-organics you will find it responds well to a 5-10-5 or 10-10-10 fertilizer.  It is not a fan of too much nitrogen.  With either an organic or a chemical fertilizer program, the soil should be well drained.

Container Vs. In Ground Growing

If container growing, the Carolina Reaper plant demands plenty of room to expand its roots.  A three gallon container will allow it to grow and produce pods, but your plant will not be nearly as prolific as it could be.  For full size pods, we recommend no smaller than a five gallon container.

If you can plant directly in the ground, you will be much happier with growth and pod production.  Additionally, many people believe the flavor of the peppers are tremendously improved when growing as mother nature intended.  If grown in the earth, the Carolina Reaper plant prefers to be grown in a ridge and furrow configuration.  This is an arrangement where the well tilled soil is raised in the row where you are planting (the ridge) and between rows there is a lower area (furrow) for drainage.

Harvesting Carolina Reaper Peppers

Fresh Carolina Reaper Peppers
Fresh Carolina Reaper Peppers

Carolina Reaper peppers will start off green.  It is fine to harvest them at this state, but if you allow them to mature threw orange and into a deep red color you will develop more of its full flavor and heat.

Excellent general information on growing chili pepper plants is available from the Chile Pepper Institute.

132 thoughts on “How to grow the Carolina Reaper Plant

  1. Can you incubate, or keep the seeds warm to get faster germination?

    Mike S.

    1. Yes Mike you can and it is amazing you used the term incubate. There is a tutorial here that I wrote with the general gardener in mind.

      That tutorial talks about the every day things around the house that provide heat. But I use egg incubators to speed things along. I have had ghost peppers, which are notorious for slow germination, pop out the ground after three days.

      Simple plastic incubators are available at your local feed store for under fifty bucks. Much larger cabinet incubators can cost a lot new, but since you do not need the automatic egg turners and other hardware, you can usually find them on craigs list for a few hundred.

      At about 90 degrees, they speed things up a great deal.

      1. Use a heating pad little grow domes and they will germinate 1 week

    2. I used jiffy pot disks that you hydrate and had no luck in germinating at 30 days with a grow light and room temp in my garage which was approx. 72 degrees F. I removed and transferred the seeds to 4″ peat pots with potting soil and still no luck after another 2 weeks. I went to Home Depot for a heat lamp and place a thermometer on the peat pot, kept the temperature 82 to 87 degrees F and Boom, they began to germinate 5 days later. What is working for me is regulate temp at 82 to 87 degrees F with a good grow light and keep soil moist, not wet.

    3. Ok.
      I’ve inherited my kid’s alright day 2 year old Reaper.

      How many years can these things grow and produce?

      What’s the best way to winter it?

      Carolina Reaper in New York!

    4. mike i live in phoenix az. can i successfully grow a Carolina reaper plant in this hot environment . any suggestions appreciate.

    5. I use incubators and have germination in about one week. 98 degrees

      1. I germinated c reapers t scorpion b jolikia h big sun and h white giants

  2. How do I transplant a reaper plant into a larger pot? It has already began to flower.

    1. If it’s already begun to flower, transplanting might cause it to drop its flowers. Although, looking at the date on your post, it’s far too late for anything I mention to be of assistance to you at that point. 😉

      Still… I’m a relatively new gardener, but have my mother’s green thumb (moved to Arizona where I decided to build an elevated garden in my backyard and ended up with 20+ tomato plants, 20+ pepper plants, several varieties of basil, and a melon patch – all of which thrived quite nicely, until I got over-run with hornworms – since it was the middle of summer, I simply yanked it all with the intent of starting from scratch.) Anyway… From everything that I’ve been reading, if you’re going to have your pepper plants in a pot, you’d want something that’s at least 16″ to allow for the best growth potential. Obviously, if you have the ability to transplant it into the ground, that would be your best bet (although, I could definitely understand wanting to keep the Reaper in a pot for ease of moving it inside if it’s going to frost or something.)

      But, that would be my recommendation… Plan on a 16″ pot if you’re going to keep your pepper plant in a pot, to allow for optimal growth. Hope your Reaper is still alive and kicking!

  3. how tall does a reaper grow?

    1. We have had Carolina Reaper reach over eight feet tall, but those plants were three years old. Generally in one season we hit about five feet. The thing about the Carolina Reaper and many other chili plants is that the only thing holding them back is often the length of season. By wintering over, you can have a huge head start on spring because your plants already have a full root system from the previous year.

  4. How about growing them hydroponic?

  5. My homestead is keenly interested in food production. In fact, we grow more food than pepper / spice. Our gardens first feed the family, then the business. So anything that can give us an edge is something we want to look into.

    Thing is, we are all organic. So while we have not explored hydroponics, we are looking into and experimenting with aquaponics. Not far enough along to give any advice though.

    1. We have grown all kinds of peppers in our aquaponics system!

  6. Hello my name is anthony i live in nc.
    Im growing carolina reapers in a bucket and this my first time growing the plants.
    Can you please give me some advise on how to maintane a good healthy plant. Currently my plant is 1ft half tall. Is there any advise you can give to have my plant produce the pods?. Also how much water should i give the plant?. If u can give me the 411 you would be the bomb please help.
    Im really dedicated to having this be a success.

  7. My blossoms are drying up and falling off. My plants are in 2.5 gal. pots in a greenhouse in Eastern Wa. They were started indoors in early March and germinated without problems. Anything I can do? Habaneros and Tabasco peppers setting fruit fine. Thx.

    1. Hi, You can take care of falling off flowers by exposing tree to the night sky.

  8. Anthony, best advice on container growing is to be sure you have very good drainage. Most peppers prefer to be kept fairly dry. Your nutrient choices at this point are likely dependent on the potting soil you used. Many come with a healthy initial dose of nutrients, so best to be sparse at first. On encouraging flowers / pods, peppers seem not to be dependent on light cycles. They just seem to start forming flowers and pods when they are ready. But read what I have to say to Marie on that topic.

    Marie, most peppers will drop their flowers when the temperature is off. Night time temps below 60 or above 75 will cause flowers and buds to fall. Daytime temperatures above a Tabasco were at a different state when you experienced some of these temperatures, so the flowers stayed. Maybe they developed shortly after the reapers did. Good news is they will flower again and again when the conditions are right. In fact, pepper plants will usually live for years, flowering in cycle after cycle depending on conditions.

    Also consider pollination. Although peppers are self pollinating, if they are indoors there is often not enough air flow to move the pollen around. If growing indoors, shake the plants a bit when they are flowering.

    Nutrients – Too much nitrogen will cause pepper plants to focus on foliage rather than flowers / pods.

    Here is a really good article on the topic:

  9. After the season is over how do you take care of the plant?

  10. First year planter of 1 plant each of Ghost, Chocolate Bhut, and Carolina Reaper…currently harvesting all three and doing very well…am I able to harvest all/any of the seeds of these 3 varieties for planting next season? Any and all advice is appreciated

  11. JT, insects do cause mixed dna in peppers, resulting in strange new peppers which are often entirely unstable for generations. But for the most part peppers self pollinate. So certainly you can save seed for next season. Even without any effort at isolation, the worst thing that will happen is a few of the seeds will produce cross breeds which might turn out to be fun and interesting.

    If your goal is to prevent the cross pollination, there are very easy steps you can take. A dab of glue on a flower before it opens will often work. Give a google to ‘seed saving’ and have fun.

  12. My Reaper plant has just started bearing this year about a week ago, How long does it take it to grow from a flower to a Mature red

  13. is there any dangers in replanting in bigger pots Carolina reapers? and if I plant them in the ground, wont the cold snow seasons kill it

  14. Scott, generally the bigger the pot the better. As long a you do not harm the plant, you should be fine. They do not generally survive the first frost outdoors. In North America, they are generally grown as a seasonal crop restarted from seed each year.

    Justin, I am sorry to say the answer is in the weather so I can not give a good answer. This year, we had early pods go from flower to pod in under a month, even before we transplanted them. But that was under 24 hour lighting. I wont be trying that again because although we did get pods very early they were tiny.

  15. i started a few mounths here in brazil a cultivating nuclear peppers, here them grow with 2 weeks…
    i will start soon of produce hot sauces an picles of differents kinds of pepers , wo interreste to get this or even buy seeds just contact me by email.

    1. Gustavo, try a little in your vinagrette, muito bom!

  16. Quick question: a friend of mine recently gave me a single season mature and fruiting Reaper. She dug it up with a huge root ball and I planted it in high quality soil (promix with mycoactive fungi) (3 gallon pot with drainage). The plant seems to have lost half its leave and I’m hoping it stops there. Any suggestions as to how to give it a better chance of survival? It’s currently sitting in a south facing window that gets 3-5 hours of direct sun a day….plant also has lots of mature fruit on it…

    Any suggestions?:)

    1. I am sorry for the late replay and hope things worked out. Not sure why, but did not notice the comment till today. After transplant, misting with water is a very good idea. Between loosing some roots and the shock, they tend to dry out, loose leaves, and die. I brought in about 50 one year, put them under lights, 10 survived. I hate to say it, but today I very rarely try to dig things up for transplant. While I am not fond of container growing, if something is going to over winter inside I always get it planted in a container from the start. Much luck to you.

  17. I starting mine indoors and planted them in late February. It has been two weeks now and the sprouts are just starting to emerge. I may have put to many in one pot. Can you, and when would you want to separate them in order to transplant them in to another pot? Do I separate them by losing the soil and laying them on paper before replanting in a larger pot?

  18. I’ve got 8 varieties on the go,
    Habenero, jalapeno, bonnets, jonahs, douglahs, reapers, morugas, and a super chili.

    I live in Ottawa Canada which has a humid continental climate with severe winters, no dry season, warm summers and strong seasonality.

    My seeds sprouted about a week ago and I have about 7 of each… except only 3 douglahs and jonahs… they seem to be stubborn, is that normal? Using wet coffee filters to germinate.

    Can I bring these outside during the summer months, and then bring them back in the house for winter? Will they make it through and produce again next year?

  19. Hi,
    I have a reaper plant that finally put on peppers, but the problem I have is that some of my leaves mainly toward the bottom of the plant are slowing truning white around the edges and falling off. What do you think is causing this? I bought some fungi spray and have sprayed it but it does not seem to help it, I have also changed the amount that I water it but still doesn’t seem to help. Thanks for any advise you can give me!

  20. We planted our seeds last fall and have had them in the house since then. Two of them are growing well and are about 18″ tall. I set the pots outside yesterday and plan on planting them in the ground soon. They are around 7 months old and we have not seen any flowering yet, is that normal?

    Thanks for your help,
    Lazy K Corral

  21. I just put my Reapers in the ground on June 12th. Had them indoors and they are about 10-12″ high when I put them in. I am in Northern Minn and we have a fast growing season here and last year I had Habenero’s that I picked in Oct. My question is: will the reaper plant survive the cold winters and come back next spring and what steps should I take in the fall?

    1. Jon,

      Coming from someone who grew up (mostly) in North Dakota, there’s no way that Reaper will survive the cold, occasionally sub-zero temperatures of a Northern Minnesota winter. Not without a lot of help, at least.

      I’d say you have one of two choices and the second would probably be the most successful choice, assuming transplant shock doesn’t kill the plant:

      1) Build a greenhouse around the Reaper. The problem with that is that, even if you have the walls insulated and a heater running in the greenhouse all year, the ground will still probably freeze enough to damage the root system.

      2) Shortly before the weather turns and the mercury starts to drop, uproot the Reaper and transplant it into a large pot – everything I’ve read suggests a 16″ diameter at the very least for pepper plants to have optimal growth.

      Good luck and hopefully your plant makes it!

    2. Peppers are perennials,if you bring them inside for the winter & give them adequate lighting & nutrition,(natural sunlight in a windows is always best but cfl or other artificial lighting works well to (incandesants r not adequate lighting) (be aware to treat soil n foliage prior to bringing indoors (bugs/pests etc) keep them at at least 65-degrees (they love 75-80 degrees tho) they will/should grow fine through the winter & then you can put them back out come spring after temp stays stable day/night temps of at least 60-65degrees!! (Make sure to harden them off>>slowly exposing them to more & more sunlight which is much hotter than the indoor lighting used through the winter months)

  22. How much benefit will I get from giving these plants a heavy dose of potassium once the I start to get fruit? My Reapers are currently getting a 5-5-5 with cal-mag added. I’m typically feeding out around 480-500 ppm (500 scale) with my filtered water starting at about 130. This is my first time experimenting with exotic peppers and I’m trying to get the most oil production I can

  23. I have a beautiful 1st year reaper in a container, 14 pods so far! I am in Charlotte NC how and when can I successfully bring it in for the winter? Lighting, temp requirements? Thank you!

    1. Personally, I’m not entirely familiar with the weather in North Carolina but a quick look tells me that you average around 30°F for the low in January… That being the case, it’d be easy enough for you to bring it inside. I’d just suggest keeping an eye on the temperatures. If you’re in doubt, it definitely wouldn’t hurt to bring it in on a cold night. Even if you DO have to have it indoors for three or four months. Personally, having lost a plant or two to frost damage, I’m a little leery about leaving anything out if it’s much below 40°F.

    2. Hi Sharon i seen your post and thought I would let you know what I do.

      I live in Minnesota, so I have to bring mine in for sure. I have had mine for 2.5 years now and get about 70-80 pods and are grown in a flower pot and are doing great.
      Temp about 68-70
      Natural sun light if you can, mine are in front of the window facing to the south
      water once a week or if plant starts drooping give it some more. I am lucky I have a wife that has green thumb and really knows how to take care of them.

  24. I am growing my first carolina reaper pepper plant and it is beautiful and green but no peppers??? It looks to have flowered but I see no peppers forming- how long does this take?? All my other pepper plants are producing- We live in MN an our growing season will be over in about another month-

    1. Carolina Reaper is an extreme late season crop. It is also fairly sensitive to flower drop due to heat. Do you see anything at all where the flowers once were?

    2. I have 6 plants that I have had for 2 and half years now and last year I harvested over 600 reapers between the 6 plants and this year I started 6 more plants from seed of the peppers of last year and they are bearing peppers as well. I live in Minnesota, we have the them in regular flower pots. I dehydrated most the peppers from last year.
      It looks like I might not get 600 this year but it looks like each have about 30-40, I just don’t know to do with all of these.

      1. Hello I would be glad to buy some from. i can be reached at My name is Gary and I would be really interested in trying some.

      2. My son an I are getting ready to harvest his ghost scorpion reds that we planted. If you like trading I will talk to my son ( Noah ).

        1. I just harvested 374 on Saturday and dehydrated them all but waiting on the other 100+ to turn red.

      3. Hello, I am a boy from South Africa and the Carolina is unfortunately not as common here. I would really like to give my father a plant for his birthday but the seeds is almost impossible for me to get for a low price because of the shipping fees from other countries, and because it is so exotic and rare in Africa the prices are unnecessarily high.
        I was hoping you or anybody reading this could help me by sending me some seeds, please, I will be very very thankfull.
        I will pay the pay the mailing of the seeds.
        Contact me on my email
        Thank you very much.

        1. Would love to trade with you for any local pepper seeds. Please write to

    3. Def want to bring this plant inside,it will not flower or produce pods in time for winter,u can easily finish its maturity process indoors & then over winter or continue growing it for another harvest after your first harvest,

  25. When I bring my potted Carolina Reapers inside for the winter where do I store them ? In front of window ? Under grow lights ? How often do I water ? Fertilize ? Have never tried to keep a pepper plant indoors for the winter, but my 2 Reapers are doing awesome and don’t want to lose them. Thank you

  26. I just received 3 organic peppers, I want to grow my own. What do I need to do to grow from the seeds from the pepper?

  27. My plant only produced 1 pepper why is that….. can I just cut the plant down to just above ground for it to come up next year

    1. Without more detail I have no idea. On cutting it down to just above the ground, my guess is that would kill most plants. If you are in a climate that allows for year round growth, no cause to cut it down. If you are not, it will not survive the winter.

  28. I have 2 Carolina reaper pepper plants, they are loaded with pods and ready to harvest, but none of the pods have seeds, I’ve picked them when they are red. Do they make seeds?
    Thank you
    Eva Ramirez

    1. I am sorry but I have never heard of seedless chili peppers.

    2. As Mike said yes they do but I have read that incomplete pollination can couse peppers to not have or not develop normaly in other ways. If the pods are small I would say that may be the problem. I had some small pods with no seeds myself. A lot of stress on the plants may contribute to the problem. Hope this helps some. Mike B.

  29. yes they do. I have kept a lot seeds from mine and even started new plants from them

  30. Okay so I want to grow some of these, but I don’t know how. I’m going to use a 3 gallon container, but is it okay if I leave it inside? Also what type of soil should I use?

    1. Ok Staring with Q 1 3 gallon pot is fine to start but if you want them to get full size plants a 5 gallon container is much better as reapers are among the bigger pepper plants that you can grow. 1 per 5 g. container. on to Q 2. You can keep them inside year round but you’ll need a large South facing window or some bright suplamental lighting. 1 85 or 105 watt cfl in the 4100 or 5500k light spectrum range should be good for 3-4 full size plants. Many vids on youtube for that. And finaly Q 3. Any good quality potting soil will do fine. I recomend mircle gro or black gold but anything like those will be plenty good. I would also recomend starting the seeds in smaller pots such as 3-4 inch or solo cups. Good luck and happy growing. 🙂 Mike B.

  31. Hello AJ, I have not Trans planted my plants in the ground yet. I just moved to southern Florida. I started these plants about three months ago and am getting an area set up. One of the containers is 13.5 gallon.
    My question is do you think this plant do well in this size container?
    Also, the soil I used is a personal mix of natural composted mountain soil (which I brought down from central Vermont) ~ 30%, Lamberts 100% organic ready to use potting soil ~ 50%, perlite ~ 10% and vermiculite ~ 10%. This soil drains very well and holds onto moisture extremely well too. I have a 3-way, ph, water and light meter which I use take sure soil is moist but not soaked.

    1. Hi, David 13.5 gal pot is more than big enuff to keep any pepper plant happy for at least 4-5 years. 🙂 Most people use 5 gal. pots or buckets and keep peppers 2-3 years in them. Soil sounds good to me. If you plant your peppers in the ground I recomend putting them where they will get shade midday or doing something to give them shade midday. I’ve seen other posts on other sites were if the peppers didn’t get shade midday it realy put a hurtin on them. Hope this helps you. 🙂 Mike B.

  32. I would also like to know the best course of action for bringing potted plants in. I have a room inside that will be in the 80’s during the day and 70’s at night. Do they need lights and the sort or can they just ride out the winter months indoors with minimal care?

    1. Hi, Mitchell. The temp sounds good. Unless you have a large South facing window you will need extra lighting. Peppers are big light lovers and need a lot of light. I would recomend 1 105 watt cfl in the 4100 or 5500k light spectrum for every 3-4 full size plants. Many good vids on youttube about lighting. I hope this helps and happy growing. 🙂 Mike B.

  33. Is there a way to clone from another plant? I got mine already partially grown but not fully yet. Want to be able to have more than one.

  34. Hi, I ordered some corolina reapers and also some Brown Bhutla seeds from ebay.. my location is costa del sol Spain. The first 2 years I tried growing these they all died before getting more than 5 inches tall. This year I just chucked them all in little pots of soil and have good results. I planted a bit late so all not as big as they should be but all healthy. I split a reaper seed and a bhutla and planted together. The chillies have started off green then went brown so I thought they was just bhutlas but they have now gone red. I wanted to know do reapers go brown first before going red? I have been doing a time lapse of these for the past 36 days..I would say the film will be done in the next couple of weeks.

    1. Hi, Richie Not sure just what is going on with your pepper plant but a Brown Buhtla “Ghost” pepper wont turn Brown then Red. Reapers turn Orange then Red. If you managed to truly get 1 plant from the 2 seeds then it might be showing traits of both Ghost & Reaper. I would try a pepper when Brown and 1 when Red to see how they taste and the heat level. Past that I can’t realy tell you any thing else. Hope this helps you some and happy growing. Oh ps. If the plant was mine I would try to keep alive as long as posible. Interesting plant. 🙂

  35. Carolina reapers will thrive in a hydro system using a mixture of a one thousand watt high pressure sodium light and one 600 watt metal halide light. This will produce 8-12 plants and literally hundred of pods…

  36. I don’t have a greenhouse so is there any way to keep my reaper through the winter…I live in North Texas . It is just now getting blooms abd our night temps are in the 40s

    1. Put the plant next to your house because your house emits heat that could keep it alive or if it’s potted move it inside your house.

  37. Will I be able to grow reapers in a plastic (made of PVC and pallet wrap) greenhouse in new jersey?

    1. The challenge with long season peppers is getting them started early enough indoors. Generally, they need about five months minimum to start producing.

  38. My plants are about 2″ tall and seem very thin. They have good drainage and I’m using a florescence grow light for 9 hrs a day. Any advice?

  39. How many reaper seeds should you put in a planting tray capsule?

    1. That is really a decision is based on choice more than anything else. Assuming you are talking about a standard 72 cell seed tray, you could put one per cell for the best economics. You could put three or five in each cell and then cull the least vigorous. Some people choose to separate each seedling from a cell, but I have found that no matter how careful, you wind up stunting the plant by damaging its roots. So for economics, just one per cell. For stronger plants and improving dna, as many as five but cull the least vigerous and do not try to seperate.

  40. Hey, I am 13 and looking to grow a reaper for my dad (who loves peppers) for fathers day. I have no incubator and I live in minnesota, where could I get seeds and I have like $40 to spend on stuff. I don’t know some of these terms, so could someone help me? And, I have time but, how many peppers do you think I could have in about 1-1.25 years. Thanks, Ian Weber. Minnesota.

    1. Hello Ian. That is so sweet. It is really late to start Carolina Reaper this year. I doubt they would fruit before it frosts. But your comment was so sweet, I gotta do something for you. Contact me on Facebook sometime late this fall. I will send you some fresh reapers for your dad. Also, start a conversation there about growing. Lots of tricks that cost a dime. As an example, you can germinate on top of your hot water heater instead of heating the things. Also, many refrigerators are plenty warm on top.

  41. Is it possible to grow these peppers in Houston, TX? Temps can stay above 75 at night when hitting the hottest parts of summer. During the day of course, we can get to above 100. I have some 6inch plants on the way and I could either plant in a container or in the ground. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks!


    1. Those temperatures sound fine. Much above 100, especially at night, will bring flower drop, but they will regrow when it cools off.

  42. I want to start some carolina reapers.Temperature is 25 celcius+ summer is coming so it will going to be 30 celcius +.Can i grow them in a pot outside from seeds?Also if they grow a lot can i transfer them into a garden without a pot?The winter tempeture will be 10-15 celcius the lowest. Please help me I dont know nothing about peppers xd

  43. Ok. I’ve attached an image link below

    These are my reapers at 14 weeks. Do they look ok? And don’t worry. I plan on getting them in bigger pots soon

    1. Other than looking a bit leggy / stretched out, they look fine. Typically they stretch like that because of low light levels. It is nothing to worry about. Once they get full sun, they will fill in.

  44. How long does it take for Carolina Reapers to turn from green to red? I’ve had 3 peppers that appear to be fully grown but have been that size for over a month. I live in Wisconsin and these were some of my first fruits (they even beat my tomatoes ) which doesn’t make much sense since Carolina Reapers are such a late crop. Thank you to anyone that can help!

    1. Although I would love a simple time index, I believe peppers ripen based largely on climate. A month green is not entirely unusual.

    2. How long did they end up taking? I’m having the same thing this year, a lot of them green for over a month. I’m in Michigan, so similar weather I’m sure.

  45. When is the right time to start growing it

    1. At least two months before last frost. Carolina Reaper is a very long season pepper.

  46. Could you grow them fully inside? I want to grow these but don’t have any place outside to do it.

    1. Yes, but growing them in a window or under common lighting produces very leggy plants and small pods. We use very large high pressure sodium and metal halide lights in addition to florescent. Even with that much light, plants really want to at least finish up out doors. So yes it is possible but results are never the same as it is with full sunlight.

  47. Man, I have tried my best to grow these plants. But everytime they flower, the stems fall off. What am i doing wrong????

    1. When you say stems, do you mean the flowers themselves? If so, it can be either a problem with heat (too high) or nutrients. It is usually heat. We typically loose flowers for a couple weeks each August.

  48. I just got my live plants, they’re about 6 inches. I live in San Jose California and it’s already late in August. Is it too late for me to start growing my plants outside? It’s doesn’t get too cold and it doesn’t snow here during the Winter. Summer seem like it’s almost over. Could you give me some ideas on wether to grow them outside or in a pot inside. Thank you!

    1. I would grow in pots but outside until it starts to get too cold. Generally, peppers will survive near freeze but they do not like it one bit. An unexpected frost will kill them quickly, even a light frost can do huge damage or kill them off entirely. If you do not have proper artificial lighting, I would advise over wintering when you bring them indoors. Give a google to the term ‘over wintering peppers’ to find technique. Essentially, it gives you a huge head start on the next spring because it preserves the root structure. Much luck to you.

  49. Can you tell me what is the most Carolina repers grown on one plant is?

    1. I am sorry, I have no idea. I can tell you they start off very slow but by the time the season is closing they are almost falling over with pods. We often haft to stake them up to keep them from falling over once the pods get going.

  50. Man, you have enlightened me so much. I have had my 2 plants in a hanging basket all summer, I started the seeds Feb and I have 2 pods but many many flowers. I live in South Dakota and am now planning on bringing them indoors (had no idea they would continue to grow) so thank you so much for this site!!!!!

    1. I am getting closer and closer to a year round sunken / underground green house. The goal is not to produce year round, but to keep plants alive so I do not have to grow a new root structure each year. I think I have been digging for three years but it is getting there. In the tropics, peppers grow year round and often reach tree size.

  51. I have had my reaper for over a year . It flowers then the heads fall off . I can not get it to fruit……WHY !

    1. Typically flower drop is the result of temperatures being too high. But I can not imagine that being the problem for an entire year. Are you growing in containers or in the ground?

      1. In containers. On a window sill .

        1. When flowering consider shaking the plant or letting it have some wind / fan. They do self pollinate, but sometimes need help. I have never considered this, but I am willing to bet that insufficient light could be the culprit. Maybe also nutrients due to container size. From this year’s crop, some of my Carolina Reaper plants are about six feet tall. If your plants are a year old and fit in a window sill, something is wildly wrong. Doesnt mean they are done for.

          At a minimum, I suggest a 5 gallon nursery pot which goes out after last frost and in before first frost. You can trim the heck out of them to keep the size down, forces sideways growth and bushing. But a year old plant on a window sill is just plain not going to work at all.

  52. Hey I was wondering if you can transplant the reaper when it has peppers on it. Because mine is in a 2 and a half gallon planter and it has lost all of it’s leafs but the ppeppers are starting to ripen what should I do?

    1. If all the leaves have fallen off, my guess is that the plant is on its last leg. Even when a plant is dead pods will continue to ripen until they rot. Heck, they continue to ripen after being picked. So I dont think you have a thing to loose by trying to transplant it, but I am not hopeful.

  53. Hi,
    I have to do a school project for highschool on a plant… and knowing how DEADLY this pepper is i automatically chose it. I dont much about planting peppers or planting in general so any information on how to grow this plant to create pods will be extremely helpful. By the way i live in close to DC in VA so any information on season and temperature would also be helpful. Thanks again,

    1. If growing the plant to the point of fruiting is part of the project, the Carolina Reaper is likely a horrible choice for as school project. Although most references indicate you can pull it off in that time frame, the stages of life do not line up with the school year at all. Then there is the accuracy of those references and how confusing they can be. Often times I will see Carolina Reaper listed as 120 days. Thing is, that is usually from transplant not from seed in the ground. Then on the other end of the life cycle, it is usually days from transplant till sexual maturity, not pod maturity.

      If it is going to be a pepper, I would think avoiding the super hots would be the best way to go. Habanero is plenty hot and does not take nearly as long as the super hots. Jalepeno even better because most have a huge window in which they can be harvested.

  54. I live in Vancouver Canada, so the seasons here are known for the rain. What kind of manure should I use? I have some consists of mushrooms and cow manure.

    1. Local nursery would be best place to ask. They will know your climate much better than any one here.

  55. I really haven’t paid much attention to mine. I honestly didn’t think they’d grow. I had the seeds in a plastic bag at the bottom of a shelf under a bunch of stuff for at least 6 months mixed with seeds that I harvested from both Reapers and Chocolate Bhutlahs. They’ve all been mixed up. I put them all in a few containers from Home Depot and meant to be good about watering them but I work long hours and tend to forget a few days here and there. My tomato plants either died or are very close to death. My Poppy plants never grew. The flowers I planted didn’t grow. The Dill I planted grew then died like overnight. The Reapers and Bhutlahs, much to my surprise all look really strong and healthy. Nice big green leaves and they’re standing tall. I’m going to try transplanting them to bigger containers so they can stretch out and maybe I’ll give them more of that yummy Miracle Grow soil I planted them in. We’re probably a month or so from our first frost here in CT, but I plan to move them to the garage into one of those small greenhouses (6′ tall x 3 x 2) under growing lights and maybe with a programmable space heater for the garage to keep the temperature at around 65 or so (my wife will get super pissed if I try to heat the garage). Hopefully i get peppers.

    1. My guess is you have a pest problem, maybe at the roots. I think there are a great many pests that will go to town on most things but leave hot peppers alone. Wish our deer were that way.

  56. I’ve just learned that temperatures will be ideal in the coming days for a 6 inch tall reaper plant I’ve also learned that I’m in the wrong season.
    What do I need to do? Thank you.

  57. This is a report on vermin control that occurred with the Carolina Reaper. Four months after planting a five inch Carolina Reaper seedling, in a 5 gallon container, the bush had grown to a height of three feet, and began to bear fruit. I counted 5 small pods and another five emerging on the plant. The plant sat on my porch in the city of Philadelphia, where it was getting full sun each day in July, and was watered regularly. One day, after boasting to friends about the pods growing so fruitfully, I came outside and found that the entire tree had been completely stripped of pepper pods, including those that were just emerging. As I looked about the pot I noticed that the pods were piled nicely in one corner of the porch. Upon picking up one of the pods I found tiny teeth marks indicating that it had clearly been bitten, more than likely by a squirrel, who for the past two years regularly raided the plants on the porch. Continuing my examination I found that only one pod had been bitten, and it was apparently left where the animal had begun its feast, with all the other pods that had been removed. I have not had any more problems with that squirrel, and my Carolina Pepper bush is still growing and bearing peppers prolifically.

  58. My plant is about 3 feet tall and about 4 months old is this normal that it’s still this size and hasn’t produced yet I’m in south Louisiana where it’s rarely cold this time of year it made flowers but no peppers

    1. Carolina Reaper is a very late season plant. If the flowers fell and you do not see a tiny little pod forming after a couple weeks, chances are it experienced a cold night. But at four months, I expect it is about to start podding up. The pods are probably too small to notice yet.

  59. My Carolina Reaper seems to be producing, but it also seems very weak. It has pale leaves that fall off if touched and it’s limbs are long and spindly. Is there anything I can do to make it stronger and greener? I have been using fish emulsion and watering it when the top is dry and some moisture noted around an inch below the surface. I live in South Florida where it is very sunny and humid at this time of the year. I have the plant in a container and I try to control the amount of rain it gets by dragging it back and forth on my porch. Would appreciate any assistance you can give. My husband is a “pepper head” and I am doing this for him.

  60. Hey yall my name is wade and i liv in Oklahoma and i am looking to plant and fully grow the reaper inside in my root seller or in the house please help me learn how to grow them

    1. Hi Wade:
      One of the things I am going to be working on this winter is more interactivity and grow instructions. But I do want to address your plans presently. Growing peppers indoors is generally only for starting plants early and then transplanting out doors. Even then, most super hots do much better with higher temperatures. Some insist on things like heating pads just to germinate. Not all, but some.

      Growing peppers to maturity under lights requires a huge amount of lighting. The reason being that unlike natural sunlight which permeates the out doors, artificial lighting comes from single point(s). The result being that you do not generally penetrate the canopy of leaves at the top of the plant. Not a problem with plants that do not grow tall, but plants like the Carolina Reaper can grow to be six foot tall or more. Now with a great amount of detail to trimming, it is possible to grow very short plants all the way to fruit. But it is really not practical.

  61. Hello. I live in central Indiana. My Reaper seeds are in the mail as i type. Ill be starting them as soon as i get them using a heating pad and a LED grow light. Ill be moving them outdoors once the frost free date arrives. My question is will they have enough time to produce. Thank you for your time.

    1. You are just north of us. It is still plenty early to get a good crop.

  62. Hi. Im from south africa.. I have a reaper plant. That about 8 months old now. After germination just after one can see the fruit starting. It drops off. What can be the cause. Plz help

    1. Hi Dewald,
      Sounds like you have a lack of Nitrogen. Best to use a liquid based fertiliser with trace elements. I use seasol calcium plus which is very good to promote flowering and growth and it is all natural.
      Just remember, you put in your mouth what you fertilise with. Best to stay organic.

  63. I have very good (and fast) germination rates of Carolina Reaper seeds by soaking them in a solution of 50ppm of GA3 for 12 to 16 hours. Then I either use the baggie method, or plant in soiless seed starter in peat pots. The seeds will normally germinate in 5 to 7 days at a temperature of 80 to 90 degrees. At night, I let the temp fall to 70 degrees.

  64. I am using seeds from peppers I grew last year. I started them in my shed with a heater, in a cooler and used Rockwool that I kept moist with hydroponic fertilizer and a grow light now I have beautiful plants. I started them in January and now on March 6 they are 4-5 inches tall with big leaves. I plan on growing some hydroponically and the others in the ground when it warms up in Tennessee. my questions are: Will the seeds I harvested produce peppers? I have heard that these plants could be like Mules. With the 220 day target am I really looking at August until flowers or until peppers?
    Thanks, Jay

    1. Also I am seeing some mold growth on the wool should I be worried?

  65. Can I just plant it straight into the ground or does it require some special soil?
    Also will the plant grow if growing near other plants?

    1. Most pepper plants detest direct sowing. Depending on your climate, even if it does work chances are great the season isnt enough to produce a decent amount of peppers. In Kentucky, we have been starting Carolina Reaperes as early as December for May planting. On concerns about planting by other pants, it is only a problem if you are seed saving because cross pollination is likely.

  66. This is for growers of the reaper in Arizona and similar climates. I started two plants last year and had multiple flowering’s but every single one of them dropped. I am blaming this on temperatures of 95+ during cultivation season. I was able to winter my plants and got flowers early this season but unfortunately we are having an unusually hot year early (100 in early may in Tucson). I lost all my first flowers so decided to leave them outside early when it’s 80 – 85 degrees and bring them in the rest of the day (my plants are potted). I put them back out at night. This seems to work as I finally have pods forming. The Reaper seems very intolerate of temps above 90 degrees and this solution has worked for me. Hope this is helpful.

  67. I live in Western Canada and I have a 1 year old Reaper in pot in my living room. It seems to enjoy the corner its in (its about 2 feet tall) but it hasnt produced any flowers or pods yet. I am debating moving it out doors but wonder if I should plant it in the ground or a larger pot? What woyld be best to get peppers in my climate

    1. Two feet after a year indoors makes me think the problem is lighting. I get initial fastest growth is in direct sunlight for about half the day, then shade. Flowering and fruiting, full direct sunlight gives me the fastest growth. To grow and fruit at any substantial rate, I use multiple 1000 watt metal halite and high pressure sodium grow lights. It doesnt make economic sense for most folk. Heck, half the reason for our business is so I can afford to play.

      Carolina Reaper need a minimum of 5 real gallons (not nursery gallons) to do well. But I doubt your problem is anything but light at this point. Have seen two foot tall plants in a solo cup. I would transplant to five gallons, but more important to move it outdoors gradually, a little more each day, and bring it back in when ever below about 50 degrees.

      Best pepper for your climate? If moving indoors and outdoors, go for anything that container grows well. Thai is a great variety for container growing. But if you are growing outdoors alone, look for peppers with a very short season. Habanero fruit very fast here. But the key will always be an early start, indoors, under lights. Even shop lights do well for the first six inches or so of a plants growth.

      Best advice, hook up with folk from Peppers North. Google for their URL. They grow in your area and can better advise on the climate. So many things are wildly different here in KY.

  68. I have my Reapers outside in a pot now, there are no pods but the leaves are huge. Should I trim the bigger leaves and or stems?

    1. I would not. Everything on the plant that is green converts sunlight into food and energy. Also, shading the peppers when they form is often important as pods sometimes suffer from sunburn.

  69. A. J. Drew. It is great to hear responses from a source that is truthful and knows what they are talking about. I have grown and sold ultra hot pepper plants ( mostly the red Reaper ) for three years now. So many customers want to grow the Reaper but mistakenly believe the comments included in many advertisements. Keep up the good work.

    1. Have found most folk appreciate honestly. Like with things like the new Dragon’s Breath. Is it all that hot. I dont know, that is why I am growing it. To be completely honest, this whole business is one heck of a great ride of discovery. Have grown peppers for some time, but just online for a few years. Now, so much input and feedback from patrons. I love it.

  70. My Carolina reepers are about a little over 1 foot tall and about the same in width in 3 gallon containers.

    When would it be better to transplant I to 5 gallons?

    Its been 2.5 months since started from seed. I had to stake them up because they get too heavy it seems.

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