Growing Chillies: Capsicum annuum L.; Solanaceae

Chillies, also known as Capsicum annuum, are a type of small, spicy fruit that belongs to the nightshade family. Native to the Americas, chillies have been cultivated for thousands of years and are now grown all over the world. They are an important ingredient in many dishes, adding flavour and heat to a variety of cuisines.

There are hundreds of different varieties of chillies, ranging in size, shape, and colour. The most common type is the red or green bell pepper, which is mild and sweet. Other popular varieties include jalapenos, serranos, and habaneros, which are much hotter. The heat level of a chilli is measured using the Scoville scale, which ranges from 0 (for bell peppers) to over 1 million (for the hottest habaneros).

Chillies are rich in nutrients and have several health benefits. They are a good source of vitamin C and other antioxidants, which can help to boost the immune system and reduce the risk of certain diseases. They also contain capsaicin, the compound that gives them their heat, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.

Chillies are used in a variety of dishes, including salsas, sauces, curries, and stews. They can be eaten fresh, dried, or ground into a powder. In many cuisines, they are an important part of the flavour profile and are used to add heat and depth to a dish.

To grow chillies, it is best to start with seedlings rather than seeds, as they can be slow to germinate and require a lot of warmth and sunlight. They thrive in warm, sunny locations with well-draining soil. Water them regularly and fertilize them with a balanced fertiliser. It is also important to protect them from pests, such as aphids and whiteflies, which can damage the plants.

In conclusion, chillies are versatile and flavorful ingredients that are widely used in many different cuisines. They are rich in nutrients and have several health benefits, and can be grown easily in warm, sunny locations. Whether you enjoy the mild, sweet flavour of bell peppers or the fiery heat of habaneros, there is a chilli variety to suit every taste.

Getting started:

This article provides information on how to grow chilli peppers in Tamil Nadu, India. The recommended varieties for different soil and weather conditions are listed, and the steps for planting and caring for the chilli plants are also described.

Growing Chillies

Varieties: K 1, K 2, CO 1, CO 2, CO 3, CO 4 (Vegetable type), PKM 1, PMK 1 (for semi-dry conditions in Southern Districts) and PLR1 (for coastal regions of North – East Tamil Nadu).

Soil: Well-drained loamy soil rich in organic matter with a pH range of 6.5-7.5.

Season of sowing:

1) January – February

2) June – July

3) September – October

Seed rate: 1.0kg/ha.

Nursery area: 100 sq.m/ha.

Treat the seeds with Trichoderma viride @ 4 g/kg and sow in lines spaced at 10 cm in raised nursery beds and cover with sand. Watering with a rose can have to be done daily.

Drench the nursery with Copper oxychloride at 15 days intervals against damping off disease. Apply Carbofuran 3 G at 10 g/sq.m. at sowing.

Preparation of field: Plough the land to a fine tilth. Form ridges and furrows 45 cm apart. Transplant 40-45 days old seedlings at 30 cm spacing. Adopt 30 x 15 cm for CO 3 Chillies in flat beds.

Irrigation: Irrigate at weekly intervals.

Application of fertilizers: Apply FYM 25 t/ha. N 30 kg; P 60 kg and K 30 kg/ha as basal and 30 kg N/ha each on 30, 60 and 90 days of planting. Potassium as K2SO4 for quality improvement. The application of potassium in the form of potassium sulphate will increase the quality of chilli.

Weed control: Spray Fluchloralin 1 lit a.i/ha or pendimethalin 1 kg/a.i. or oxyfluorfen 0.15 kg/a.i. as pre-emergence herbicide and may be combined with one-hand weeding and earthing up 45 days after planting.

Raise intercrop of onion in paired row system to get additional income.

Growth regulator: Spray NAA 10 ppm (10 mg/lit of water) 60 and 90 days after planting to increase the fruit set. Spray Triacontanol at 1.25 ppm (1.25 ml/lit) on 20, 40, 60 and 80th day of planting.

Plant Protection (PEST & DISEASES)


Fruit borer: Integrated pest management of fruit borer:

1. Set up pheromone traps for Helicoverpa armigera/Spodoptera litura at 12 No./ha.

2. Collection and destruction of damaged fruits and grown-up caterpillars.

3. Spray Bacillus thuringiensis at 2 g/lit.

4. Provide poison bait with carbaryl 1.25 kg, rice bran 12.5 kg, jaggery 1.25 kg and water 7.5 lit/ha.

5. Spray carbaryl 50 WP 3 g/lit or chlorpyriphos 20 EC 3 ml/lit or quinalphos 25 EC 2 ml/lit

Thrips: Spray dimethoate 30 EC 2 ml/lit or methyl demeton 25 EC 2 ml/lit or formation 2 ml/lit or dust quinalphos 1.5 D at 20 kg/ha thrice at fortnightly intervals.

Aphids: Acephate 75 SP 1 g/lit or methyl demeton 25 EC 2 ml/lit or phosalone 35 EC 2 ml/lit.

Yellow Murano mite: Spray dicofol 18.5 EC 2.5 ml/lit or ethion 50 EC 4 ml/lit or wettable sulphur 50 WP 6 g/lit.

Root-knot nematode: Apply TNAU formulation of VAM (containing 1 spore/g to control root-knot
nematode in the nursery).


Damping off: Treat the seeds with Trichoderma viride 4 g/kg or Pseudomonas fluorescens 10g /kg of seed 24 hours before sowing. Apply Pseudomonas fluorescens as soil application @ 2.5 kg/ha mixed with 50 kg of FYM.

The stagnation of water should be avoided. Drench with
Copper oxychloride at 2.5 g/lit at 4 lit/sq.m

Leaf spot: Spray Mancozeb 2 g/lit or Copper oxychloride 2.5 g/lit.

Powdery mildew: Spray Wettable sulphur 3 g/lit or Carbendazim 1 g/lit, 3 sprays at 15 days intervals from the first appearance of symptom.

Die-back and fruit rot: Spray Mancozeb 2 g/lit or Copper oxychloride 2.5 g/lit thrice at 15 days intervals starting from noticing the die-back symptoms.

Chilli mosaic: Raise 2 rows of maize or sorghum for every 5 rows of chilli crop against the wind direction.

Spray recommendations given for aphids may be adopted for controlling the vector.

Yield & Harvest

Yield: 2 – 3 t/ha of dry pods or 10 – 15 t/ha of green chillies.


They should be planted in well-drained loamy soil with a pH range of 6.5-7.5, either in January-February, June-July, or September-October. The seedlings should be transplanted 40-45 days after being sown in a nursery, and spaced 30 cm apart in the field, except for CO3 chillies which should be spaced 15 cm apart in flat beds.

The plants should be watered every week and fertilized with FYM, N, P, and K at certain intervals. They should also be protected from pests and diseases using a variety of methods such as pheromone traps, spraying with chemicals, and applying nematode-control measures.

It is suggested that onions be grown as an intercrop for additional income. Growth regulators should also be sprayed on the plants at certain intervals to increase fruit set.

(This research was carried out directly at the Tamil Nadu University of Agriculture in India).