Wondering when to Harvest Carolina Reapers?
Above all, the best thing you can do when starting Carolina Reaper seeds indoors is to keep them warm, 80-90˚ F for fastest germination. Even with this heat, reaper seeds can take up to 21+ days to germinate, therefore, don't give up on them! As a result, starting Carolina Reaper seeds indoors about 8-10+ weeks before transplanting time can really help speed up your harvest and allow you to grow these plants in shorter season growing regions.
Make sure you're also starting with fresh Carolina Reaper seeds, as this can increase your success of faster germination to get you on the road to super hot pepper success! Pepper seeds can be quite viable for 2-5+ years, depending on how they're dried and stored. Carolina Reaper seeds will have lower germination rates over time, so using the freshest seeds available is often going to give you the best success.
Growing Carolina Reaper in Pots
Growing Carolina Reaper in pots is a great idea as you can ensure it has well-draining quality potting soil, and also be able to protect it during cold spells by bringing the plant to a sheltered or indoor location (like the kitchen! 😉 ).
It is wise to use a pot that is at least 5 gallons in size or larger to grow Carolina Reapers in, larger pots are forgiving when it comes to watering because they hold more soil and moisture. Small pots can dry out fast so you'll need to keep a closer eye on them and water more often (sometimes twice a day if it's hot and dry!) On the other hand, make sure that there is plenty of drainage and don't overwater your pepper plants, they dislike wet feet and this will stunt their growth or even kill the plant if the soil is too soggy.
Carolina Reaper Growing Temperature
When starting seeds, make sure to keep the temperature between 80-90˚ F for fastest germination. Once they sprout, 70˚ is fine for growing indoors until ready to transplant outside after it's warmed up. Carolina Reaper peppers thrive in full sun and warm temperatures. We like to wait until it's at least 60-70˚ F. (20˚ C) during the day and no colder than 50˚F at nighttime before transplanting these plants outside. It is also very important to harden off your pepper seedlings before transplanting outdoors into their final growing place so they don't get stunted or shocked by the sun, breezes and temperature swings. It can also get too hot for Carolina Reapers, if it gets above 85 °F these hot temps can cause the plants to lose blossoms and stop producing fruit.
Carolina Reaper Pepper Growing Stages
Happy Carolina Reaper plants will grow slowly at first, that's why its important to start them indoors long before transplanting outside, we suggest 8-10+ weeks. They will grow for the first 60-80 days or so to build up bulk and start flowering, then they'll produce pods closer to 90 days, but often it takes a little longer for the pods to mature to red. A healthy happy Carolina Reaper plant can produce 20 to 30+ peppers when fully grown, and even more if you have all the right growing conditions and plenty of growing time in full sun.
Want more Carolina Reaper growing tips?
Learn more about How to Grow Carolina Reapers »
Check out some of our Carolina Reaper Recipes:
You can make Carolina Reaper Salsa and Carolina Reaper hot sauces with these super hot peppers, which are two of our favorite uses of them. But you can also add tiny slices to salads, stews, soups, sandwiches, pizzas, and so much more to add a big kick of heat. Make sure to wear gloves and be careful when cutting Carolina Reapers, as they are so hot they can really burn your eyes, mouth, nose and other body parts!