How To Grow Habaneros

Easy steps to growing habanero peppers from seed.

Plant the seeds.

About 8 weeks before the last chance of frost, plant the habanero seeds 1/4" deep in pre-moistened seed starter mix. Keep the mix moist and warm using a humidity dome and seedling heat mat.

Provide light.

As soon as the seeds sprout (about 1-2 weeks after planting), provide light. We recommend 16 hours of LED light per day. Good light early on will promote stronger, healthier plants in the long run!

Begin fertilizing.

Once the seedlings begin developing the first set of true leaves, you should begin fertilizing. We recommend starting with 1/4-1/2 strength fertilizer until the plants are transplanted to larger pots.


After 2-4 weeks of growth, the seedlings will need to be transplanted to a larger pot. Transplant into 3" pots using normal potting soil (organic recommended) and water thoroughly. Return them to the lights to continue feeding/watering until the nighttime temperatures are above 50°F.

Transplant (again).

After another 2-4 weeks, your habanero plants will be outgrowing 3" pots. Transplant them to 3-5 gallon pots with pre-moistened potting mix.

Move outdoors.

Once nighttime temps are above 50°F, you can begin hardening off your pepper plants. Slowly expose the plants to more and more direct sunlight until they can handle full sun. Use garden fabric if you don't have time to move the plants in and out daily.

Pick flowers.

Pluck any early flower buds until the plants have been outdoors for 2-3 weeks in their final pot. This will encourage the plants to grow more branches and leaves before producing pepper pods.

Reduce fertilizer.

Once the habanero plants are mature in size (~3' tall), reduce or change the fertilizer to decrease nitrogen levels. Too much nitrogen leads to poor yields. Find a fertilizer that is made for the flowering or blooming stage of plant growth.

Don't over-water.

During all stages of growth, be sure to avoid over-watering. Peppers need even watering with good drainage. Never leave the soil soaked to avoid issues.

Harvest peppers.

All habanero peppers will change color when fully ripe. Most will be green until they turn orange, red, peach or mustard in color. For highest heat levels, wait for fully ripe peppers.