How old do chilies grow?

How old chili plants can get depends on the variety and climate. There are about 28 wild forms of the Capsicum. With the beginning of agriculture in Central America more than 8,000 years ago, chillies were started to be cultivated for yield. This has resulted in five varieties that are used for the cultivation of chillies to date.

Depending on the type of chili, the plant can grow to different ages:


Capsicum is the botanical name for chillies, peppers and peppers. Chillies can live between 1.5 - 15 years depending on the species. The wild species Chilitepin grows perennially as a small bush. In the region of Texas, Arizona and Florida this wild variety can survive without frost for 35 - 50 years. This can make the presumed precursor of the Capsicum annuum the oldest chili plant in the world in two ways.

C. annuum🌶

Annuum means one year, which literally does not apply. Any chili can be grown as an annual, if it dies of frost in winter. However, if Capsicum annuum chilli plants are protected from frost, they usually still bear fruit the following year. Experience has shown that this variety can easily reach 18 months of age. Two to three years are quite possible. In our experience, annual chilli varieties produce a lot of fruit in the first season. After the chillies are ripened in the second season, the pepper plant dies.

C. chinense🌶

Chinense means “from China” which is not true. Also Capsicum chinense originally comes from America. From the Amazon basin it spread to all of South America. After the discovery of America, chilli seeds came to Europe and finally to China. In Asia the chili was cultivated in such masses, which later led to the assumption that its origin was also here.

Habanero Plant
Habanero Plant

Capsicum chinense chilli plants grow relatively slowly. If you want to have a good harvest in the first year, you have to start early with the cultivation. Habaneros and Jolokia belong to the hot representatives of Capsicum chinense. Here you can expect a good harvest between 3 and 5 years.

C. baccatum🌶

Chillies of the baccatum plants can grow up to 4 meters tall. Normally around two meters. Their varieties often bear the name “Aji” and usually grow between 4 and 6 years old.

C. frutescens🌶

These plants grow compact and bushy. The one to four meter high bushes are full of countless hot chillies. Some report that they have been wintering Tabasco plants for eight years. After about five years, the plant would have lost its productivity. Nevertheless, it would be a pity to let the plant die and therefore it would get its mercy bread.

C. pubescens🌶

Pubenscen’s plants grow very old for chillies. The hairy plant spreads up to eight meters. It is considered difficult to grow. However, the climate in Germany is quite suitable. Rocotos grow in the Andes and like high day/night temperature fluctuations. They can also tolerate light frost.

Most Capsicum pubescens plants grow about 2 meters tall and grow similar to wine. Woody branches are formed already in the first season. It is reported from 15 year old Rocotos.

Capsicum species ∅ Age
Capsicum annuum 1.5 - 3 years
Capsicum baccatum 4 - 6 years
Capsicum chinense 3 - 5 years
Capsicum frutescens 3 - 8 years
Capsicum pubescens 5 - 10 years