Growing the Carolina Reaper is almost as easy as most other peppers and vegetables, though they do like a warm germination period, and need a long growing season and lots of sun to grow the hottest pods in the world.
Once they sprout, we like to give the little Carolina Reaper seedlings a brush with our hands daily, or put a fan on them. This helps strengthen the stems and keeps the seedlings from “damping-off,” which is a devastating fungal disease which affects the new plant stem just at soil level.
Transplant the Carolina Reaper seedlings into pots once they're a few inches tall with a couple sets of leaves, and grow until there are 6 true leaves on the plant. When it's starting to get warm enough outside both day and night (peppers don't like temperatures below 60˚), you can bring them outdoors. Make sure to harden them off by bringing them outside for a couple hours of sun a day, working up to leaving them outside for a couple full days before planting. This will ensure they won't be shocked when first outdoors, and it also strengthens their stems with the natural breezes.
Plant them directly into rich soil, 30” apart or into containers, and grow in full sun. Pretty soon, you'll have the Hottest Pepper in the World growing in your garden! It's a great conversation starter with friends, and, while we don't recommend eating Carolina Reapers whole*, they actually are delicious in hot sauce and salsas.
Here's a recent customer question and our quick top tips:
I want to start my own Reaper plants, any tips?
1. Start your seeds early since they take a long time to grow!
2. Use a heat mat to germinate seeds (80-90˚ F is best)
3. Don't Overwater your seedlings, they hate wet feet!
4. Use pots and soil with good drainage to avoid drowning them
5. Transplant them into bigger containers if they are getting rootbound
6. Don't over fertilize with nitrogen,
which can result in bushy plants but no pods
8. Only transplant them into the garden after nightly temperatures are above 50˚F consistently
We carry both the classic Red Carolina Reaper as well as the Yellow Carolina Reaper seeds. Both are super wicked hot, and are perfect for adding to salsas, or making hot sauce. Here is a great Carolina Reaper Salsa Recipe as well as a Fermented Hot Sauce Recipe. You can also make our Carolina Reaper Powder Recipe which is great for sprinkling into any recipe!