Growing The Piri Piri Pepper Plant

The Piri piri pepper, aka the African Red Devil pepper, is a small plant originailly from the continent of Africa that grows easily indoors.

The Piri piri pepper, also called the African red devil pepper, is a very spicy pepper that can grow in small containers and under most types of desk lamps.  Because of its size and how easy it is to grow it makes an ideal centerpiece to a table or additional to a home’s plants. I’ll go over some of its attributes and how you can grow one.

Its most striking feature is of course its small red peppers. They can reach a heat level of 175,000 units on the Scoville scale of heat. That’s right up there with a Habanero and x2-x3 hotter then a Thai pepper. The pepper is of a small size at only around 1″-2″; and can be deceptive in its heat.

A fresh ripened pepper straight of the plant can add some striking flavor to a dish. I myself prefer a jalapeno level of heat so a small sliver or two of the piri piri will go a long ways. If you don’t use one pepper at once you can set it aside to air dry and crush it up for your pizza or cooking later. These peppers are hot enough that you have little to worry. I’ve grown this pepper along side many coworkers whom we all started ot together and none have had problems with air dried peppers.

Piri piri: From seed to seedling

A small self contained pot of peat moss known as a Jiffy pot is one of the best ways to start growing a seed. These small puck like objects are only an inch and a half in diameter and half as tall of peat and covered in a cloth mesh. You’ll want to add enough water till it stops absorbing they rise but not widen to about 2″ tall packet of peat moss, perfect for a seed to sprout and grow in. At this stage you won’t have to worry about Miracle Grow.

The African red devil pepper will take a couple weeks before it will sprout above the surface. I would suggest planting 2-3 seeds per Jiffy pot. I’ve had an 80% germination success rate where I even get a sprout at all. If you get multiple seedling you can pull the smaller struggling ones out and leave the large strong plants. Adding a little bit of water each day works well but no longer then 3 days while its a seedlin. In a work environment where you will be enjoying the weekend away from your seedling add a little extra so that your piri piri will be happy over the weekend.
An advantage to using a Jiffy pot is that the cloth mesh is very delicate and flimsy. You can plant the entire thing in the ground or permenant pot and the roots will grow right through it. I would actually suggest this as I have lost several very nice sprouts to trying to pull off the cloth mesh.

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