Thailand is an exquisite land of ornate temples, mountainous landscapes, and lush islands veiled in mystery. Out of the rich soil of Thailand grows a small chile which is one of the hottest peppers in the world.
Until just recently, only very hot chiles were grown and used in Thailand. In fact, there is no Thai word for "sweet pepper". Several chiles, along with sweet peppers, have now been introduced to Thailand, but the general population has no use for them.
Thin and pointed, Thai Dragon Chillies fruits have green fruits that mature to a deep glossy red colour. Both colours appear on the plant at the same time making this variety ornamental as well as edible. The plants grow to around 45cm (18in) tall.
Presentation is very important in Thai cuisine and various colours of chiles are used to enhance their dishes. The fruits grow to around 7cm (3in) long but can be harvested and used while still small and green.
Typical of Thai cooking, this hot chile releases a very strong lingering heat and registers between 50,000 and 100,000 Scoville units. They are utilised in Thai cuisine in stews, broths, stir fries, coconut soups, noodle dishes, and authentic Thai curry. Thai chilli peppers can be refrigerated, for up to two weeks. They can easily be dried or frozen for later use.
Chili Pepper 'Thai Dragon' has been awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
Storage of Seeds:
Store seeds away from children, sealed in their packaging in a cool, dry, dark place, or in a fridge. Never store them in a freezer as the sudden temperature drop is likely to kill them. Don't leave the seeds in direct sunlight as the heat generated may kill them.
Sowing: Sow from mid February to mid June
The temperature, moisture, and air circulation all play a role in growing plants from seeds. Too little heat, too much moisture, and lack of air circulation will cause poor results. Do not use jiffy peat pots, plugs, or potting soil as the soil becomes too dry or too wet, which can lead to low germination, disease and fungus.
Fill small cells or trays with a good sterile seed compost and sow the seeds on the surface. “Just cover” with a fine sprinkling (3mm) of soil or vermiculite.
Keep the compost moist - don't let the top of the compost dry out (a common cause of germination failure) If you wish, spray the surface with a dilute copper-based fungicide.
Cover the pot or tray with plastic film or place in a heated propagator, south facing window or a warm greenhouse.
The ideal temperature is around 18 to 20°C (65 to 72°F)
When the seedlings have produced their first pair of true leaves they can be potted on into individual 7 to 10cm (3 to 4in) pots. Use good quality potting compost and mix in some organic slow release fertiliser. Pot the chilli on again before it becomes root-bound.
Water the seedlings regularly, but don't let them become waterlogged as this encourages rot. Don't let them dry out as they rarely recover at this stage. Water the soil, not the foliage. Once the plants have established, it is better to water heavy and infrequently, allow the top inch or so to dry out in between watering.
Seedlings should be grown in good light, but should not be exposed to direct sunlight from late spring to early autumn. Weaker sunlight from autumn to spring is unlikely to do them harm. Once seedlings have put on some growth they need lots of light. Growing them under a grow-light produces excellent stocky plants, as will a warm sunny windowsill. Adult chilli plants need lots of light. However, more than 4 hours or so in hot direct sunlight will dry them out quickly.
Acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 2 to 3 weeks before they are moved permanently outside. Plant them into rich moist soil. Flower do not form and fruit will not set if the temperature is much below 17°C (62°F) for most of the day, so wait until June/July for best results with outdoor planting.
After the first flowers appear, feed every one or two weeks with a half-strength liquid tomato feed. You could also add Seaweed extract to the water once a week.
Pollinating Flowers: (optional)
Chilli plants are self fertile and will generally pollinate themselves. However, if you want to give them a helping hand to ensure that lots of fruit are set indoors, use a cotton wool bud to gently sweep the inside of the flowers, spreading the pollen as you go. The flower's petals will drop off as the green middle part of the flower starts to swell slightly. This is the chilli pepper beginning to grow.
Harvesting: Harvest in 85 to 95 days
The peppers will take a few weeks to develop and a further couple weeks to turn from green to gold. Harvest any time after they are fully developed. Use scissors to snip the fruits so you don't damage the plant.
After being roasted and peeled, Poblanos can be preserved by either canning or freezing. Storing poblanos in airtight containers will suffice for several months.
Be careful handling chilli seeds as they can cause a painful burning sensation: Avoid contact with the eyes or any sensitive skin before washing your hands thoroughly.
These peppers are very hot please make sure whomever tries them knows before-hand !
- Additional Information
Packet Size 20 Seeds Common Name Hot: 50,000 to 100,000 SHU. Other Common Names Bird's Eye Chili, Chile de Árbol Family Solanaceae Genus Capsicum Species annuum Cultivar Thai Dragon Hardiness Tender Perennial often used as an Annual Fruit 7cm (3in) long, maturing from green to red Height 45cm (18in) Position Grown in good light, but should not be exposed to direct sunlight Soil Rich moist soil. Time to Sow Sow from mid February to mid June Time to Harvest 85 to 90 days.