Habanero chili plant

Habanero is a beautiful and hot chili variety. The chilli is popular for gardens and balconies as it grows compact and bushy. In a flower pot, the deep green plants reach a height of 60 to 90 cm after about 70 days. Soon afterwards they carry small peppers.

Habanero Fruits

Eating often leads to violent outbreaks of sweating. No wonder, because the Habanero fruits are between 100,000 and 400,000 Scoville hot. Some varieties reach nearly 600,000 SHU.

The hottest chilli in the world today, Carolina Reaper, is probably a cross of one with Red Habanero. Maybe you’ll still taste some of the fruitiness of the Habanero until you’re over 2 million! Scoville can be knocked down.

After the discovery of America by Columbus, Habaneros were shipped from Cuba to Europe. Hence the name Habanero: inhabitants of Havana or coming from Havana. Today botanists assume that Habaneros come from the Mexican state of Yucatán. Cuba is about 300 km away from Yucatán. In between lies the Caribbean Sea. Birds have spread from the mainland to the island.

Habaneros belong to the genus Capsicum chinense. The nightshade plant forms enormous amounts of flowers and chillies when well cared for. It likes warmth and sunshine and shrinks in light frosts. With good care and without frost Habaneros form beautiful flowers and fruits for four to six years.

Chili fruits

Habaneros have a pleasant, fruity aroma. The multi-faceted peach or lemon aroma is difficult to describe. Fresh Habaneros spice dishes with their unique taste. They are also popular with salsa or chili sauce. If you don’t like it brutally hot, you can also grow milder varieties such as Aji Dulce.

The typical appearance of the fruit is that of a minipaprika with strong wrinkles. Usually in a lantern or lantern shape, less often pointed. As if a fire throws bubbles in them, the sharpest varieties have a bulging surface. After about 100 days after flowering, the ripe Habaneros are harvested. Mostly in red, yellow and orange. Habanero Chocolate ripen chocolate brown. Seeds of white and black Habanero varieties are rarer.

Habanero Plant

Habanero varieties

You can buy countless Habanero species from online merchants. Popular varieties for breeding are the Red, Chocolate, Lemon and Dulce-Habanero.

Habanero Red

Beautiful, high-yielding Habaneros with lampion-shaped red chillies. Compact growth with broad crown. The plant, about 90 cm high, is ideal for the balcony and as a tub plant. Sharpness: 10

Habanero Lemon

A hot variety with a pronounced lemon aroma. The chilli ripens after a lemon yellow. Particularly suitable for drying and as chili powder.

The plants sometimes carry so well that you can hardly see anything of the trunk and branches. Sharpness level: 10+.

Habanero chocolate

The dark green fruits ripen to a shiny chocolate brown. A particularly tasty chilli variety, which tastes best fresh. Also interesting is a smoky or nutty note that can sometimes be clearly tasted. Up to 64 pigments determine the colour of chillies. According to research carried out in 2014, it is mainly chlorophylls and carotenoids that determine the chocolate colour of brown pods.

It is the perfect chili for an ingenious and fiery Chili-con-Carne.

Aji Dulce

For those who like the aroma of chillies, but not the brutal spiciness. This variety is slightly larger than many other Habanero varieties. With about 500 Scoville, it is one of the mildest chilli varieties from tropical Central America.

Habanero Mustard

A real recommendation for breeding. The plants grow about 80 cm high. The name is given to the variety because of its colour. Mustard means mustard. These Habaneros are ripe when you have reached a beautiful mustard colour.

Super fruity and juicy, perfect for homemade sauces.

Sowing

For sowing, it is worth buying a greenhouse with a heating mat. The germination rate is highest in the 23 °C - 27 °C range. A nutrient-poor, loose growing substrate is important. Coconut swelling tablets have proved to be very effective. Place one chili seed each in a 1.5 cm deep hole in a spring pot and cover it with soil. A windowsill greenhouse is best placed on a south window. The young plants need at least 6 hours of sunlight. The more, the better. Perhaps you are considering the purchase of plant lamps.

After 10 to 20 days the Habanero seeds should start to germinate. Isolate seedlings that are too close together by pricking them into larger pots. For the cultivation of chilli in the garden you should start 8 - 12 weeks before the last expected frost. Tip: Start sowing in January or February at the latest. So you can transplant preferred plants from mid-May to the outside.

Care

Habaneros are nightshade plants that have their roots in the Caribbean. When caring for them, you should pay special attention to the requirements for light, warmth and high humidity.

Fertilizing

Do not start fertilizing the chili plants until the first real leaves are formed. For the germination process there are enough nutrients in the seed to form cotyledons and roots. Then you need to help the plant grow. A good fertilizer makes the plant strong, allows it to grow quickly and ensures a good harvest of juicy fruits.

Tomato fertilizers are optimally formulated to meet the needs of the nightshade family. Compost as fertilizer and soil conditioner is also suitable. However, always make sure that the plant is not over-fertilized.

Watering

Stagnant moisture is quite dangerous for chili plants. You can reduce this danger with a well-permeable soil. More important, however, is correct watering behaviour. Check the weight of the flowerpot to see if watering is necessary. With time you can easily feel this.

If you are unsure, put a finger about two cm into the substrate. Ideally, it is only slightly damp here. Water with rainwater if possible. Otherwise, use water that is low in lime. If your tap water is too hard, it may be worth purchasing a water filter.

Diseases

If the leaves of the plant turn yellow or fall off, there can be various causes. Basically it can be due to temperature, water, fertiliser or pests. Therefore, check: the temperature should be at least 5°C and at most 40°C.

Harvest

Chillies are harvested about 90 days after flowering and 240 days after sowing. The chillies grow to a length of 2.5 - 7 cm. After some time, the chillies change their green colour and finally become really sharp. If the tip has also changed its deep green colour, it is time for the harvest. Cut the fruit from the plant with a knife or scissors. Chillies taste best freshly harvested.

Too much or too little water. The most common problem is waterlogging. Since the plant begins to wither, is poured after without checking. This causes more leaves to wilt and fall off. Also too hard water can damage your chili in the long run.

When wintering the plant gets too little light. A plant lamp or moving to a brighter room can help. Pay attention to a humidity of at least 50 to 60 %. Vermin such as lice or spider mites will cause the leaves to fall off. A treatment with neem oil or a pesticide for vegetables is recommended.

Use

It is better to wear rubber gloves when processing. Habaneros are sharp. If the capsaicin comes into the eye or on mucous membranes it can be painful. Many recipes can be refined with Habaneros from our own cultivation. Popular are salsas, chicken, fish, seafood and of course chili with fresh Habaneros. They can also be dried well and ground to a grandiose chili powder. This chili can also be preserved in oil. The olive oil also soothes the heat a little.

Degree of sharpness

How hot a Habanero is depends on its capsaicin content. Wilbur Scoville had developed a method in 1912 for measuring sharpness. According to this scale, Habaneros have an average of 350,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU). This is about 10 times sharper than a Jalapeño or Cayenne chili. The unusually mild variety “Dulce” with 500 Scoville has hardly perceptible hotness, Scotch Bonnet has around 200,000 SHU and Red Savina 577 thousand hotness units.

Habaneros, like most Capsicum chinense, are among the hottest chillies.


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