Last Updated on September 6, 2022 by Cristina
You should have a pretty good idea about when to pick ghost peppers if you want yours to have the right amount of heat.
Like other chili pepper, these little red burners need to mature enough before being harvested. If you pick them when they aren’t ready, your peppers will taste and burn unlike they should.
In his article, I share when you should plant ghost peppers to get the most out of your plant, how many peppers you can expect to harvest, and when the best time is to pluck them.
The Best Time To Plant Ghost Peppers
Ghost peppers really take their time to grow! I guess they try to give you enough time to prepare yourself and buy gallons of milk for the much-anticipated burn you’ll feel after the harvesting season!
Germination on its own can take more than a month, and you may even have to wait a full 4 to 6 months before you can harvest your first ghost peppers.
Your plants need a very long growing season to produce perfect ghost peppers. You can ensure this by starting your seeds indoors to keep them warm. Start about 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost date.
Your ghost pepper seedlings will be ready to grow outside about 6 to 8 weeks after germinating. If you work your dates out right, you’ll be able to transfer them outdoors during Spring.
Spring is the best season to get your hot little peppers going outside. The night temperatures aren’t as cold, and the sunny days won’t scorch your plants.
Ghost peppers don’t generate heat from the sun, so you can place them in shaded spots or areas with indirect sunlight.
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The long growing season will be well worth the wait because ghost pepper plants aren’t shy. These spicy little pepper trees can produce many ghost peppers per season.
One plant can give you a whopping 50 ghost peppers! This estimate is only from a single harvest. Sometimes you can get up to 100 ghost peppers from a single plant in a season!
You’ll have enough ghost peppers to use in food, dry for spices, and make sauces, and other bottled goods by only planting one ghost pepper tree.
Ghost peppers have an impressive Scoville heat rating of more than 1 million units! A plant with more than 50 of these bright red, shriveled little chilies is one spark away from starting a fire. Imagine that!
When To Pick Ghost Peppers: Signs
When you notice chilies forming on your ghost pepper plant, you’ll be burning to pick them! But don’t go just yet. There are some signs you should look for to know when your ghost peppers are ripe and ready for harvesting.
Check The Color Of Your Ghost Peppers
The color of ghost peppers is the first sign indicating whether they’re ready to be harvested. A fully ripe pepper will be bright red – if you think it’s red enough, wait for it to become even redder!
Your ghost pepper should have no yellow, orange, or especially green shades. These colors indicate that ghost peppers aren’t ripe enough to be picked yet. Peppers that aren’t ripe are milder and have a bitter taste.
Feel Your Ghost Peppers – When To Pick Ghost Peppers
You should squeeze your ghost peppers to see if they’re ready for harvesting. Ripe ghost peppers should be firm. If they budge when you press them, they’re overripe.
Remember to wash your hands before and after touching these peppers. Actually, wearing gloves and goggles or glasses would be even better! It can lead to a somewhat massive catastrophic event if you touch your eyes or lips with some leftover ghost pepper residue.
Don’t Rely On The Skin Of Ghost Peppers
Since ghost peppers are so hot that they start wrinkling up, you won’t be able to tell the ripeness by just looking at their skin.
If your pepper is smooth, you have a different variety of ghost pepper than the most common ones, or you mistakenly planted some other pepper. Wrinkles don’t indicate readiness, either!
Go With Your Gut!
If you think your peppers aren’t safe from the winter frost heading your way, you can pick them when they’re almost ripe. They might have some orange tones in them, but saving them at this stage is better than losing your entire harvest.
You can ripen ghost peppers if you picked them while unripe. The process won’t be as quick and simple, but it’s possible!
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Before You Burn, When To Pick Ghost Peppers
You should never underestimate the burn of ghost peppers. Remember to wear gloves when harvesting them and take caution when using them in meals. Ghost peppers are popular thanks to their spice, but most people can’t stomach them.
If you’re ready to take the heat, ensure your ghost peppers mature fully before you harvest them. Unripe peppers don’t taste as good. Look at their color, firmness, and wrinkles!
I hope this article was helpful and great to read. If you have more ghost pepper-related questions, pop them in the comments, and I’ll get back to you.
What color should ghost peppers be when picked?
Ghost peppers should be bright red and firm. If your peppers have other color tones in them, they aren't ripe enough yet.
Why won’t my ghost peppers turn red?
If your ghost peppers have trouble turning red, they might need some help from the sun. Place them in a sunny spot on the windowsill. Reddening can take a few days to weeks, so be patient.
Why are my ghost peppers not hot?
Ghost peppers generate heat thanks to the membranes around their seeds. If your peppers aren't hot, it could be due to poor soil.
Do ghost pepper plants come back every year?
Ghost peppers plants can come back in some hardiness zones. During the winter, they lose their leaves and enter dormancy. Once temperatures rise, your ghost pepper trees will look alive again.