How To Stress Pepper Plants

Do you want to know how to make your pepper plant spicier? The first thing to look at is the growing conditions. That can influence the amount of capsaicin produced in a pepper plant. However, you have to understand that everything you add to the plant improves its overall growth of the plant. 

Knowing how to stress pepper plants involve increasing the amount of capsaicin in the plant. It’s done by mistreating the plant in such a way that it imitates the harm that insects and animals cause to the plant. Once you mistreat the plant, the behavior causes it to produce more capsaicin. 

The love of spicier pepper motivates more people to find a way to make them hotter than before. But before looking at the myths, let’s see what you can do in the garden to make pepper hotter. 

What makes pepper hotter?

There are different types of pepper, and all contain different amounts of spice. When eating chilies, there is a searing, tingling feeling on the tongue and throat. That feeling comes from a natural chemical produced by chilies known as capsaicin. 

This chemical only produces a tingling feeling and doesn’t have a flavor or odor, so you can’t taste or smell it. 

Capsaicin is found on the seeds and the fleshy part of the plant. However, the hottest part of hot pepper is on the membrane attached to the seeds. The membrane is a white part, and it’s known as a placenta.

So, how does capsaicin work? 

Capsaicin works by exposing pain receptors in the mouth that are responsible for detecting heat and pain. Besides the mouth, other body parts, such as eyes or exposed tissues, can detect capsaicin. 

Also, herbivores can detect capsaicin when they chew on the plant. So, ensure that you protect it from animals.

How to stress pepper plants. 

When plants get stressed, they produce a chemical to help them survive. This chemical helps them to survive and continue reproducing until conditions return to normalcy. 

An external condition often causes stress. In most instances, it is unintentional and dangerous to cause plant stress. That’s because stress can result in plants having a shock, which can make them die. 

So, to stress pepper plants, you have to be careful to avoid killing your plant. Once the stress is successful, you will have hotter pepper. And that’s how you make pepper hotter. 

Here are the different ways to stress the plant to make it spicier. 

Use minimum amounts of water.

Often people misunderstand the meaning of giving a plant minimal water. Stop starving your plants; they will die if you don’t provide them with water. The best way to minimize giving water is to only water when the plants look droopy. 

When you reduce the water you give your plant, it becomes stressed and starts to find a way to feed the fruit. 

Reduce watering pepper plants when it’s setting fruits. 

Apply little nitrogen or high nitrogen.

As you know, the intent is to stress the plant. You stress it when you apply small or large amounts of nitrogen to a plant. As a result, a stressed pepper plant will produce more capsaicin to make it hotter. 

When applying fertilizer to a plant, it can be hard to know if you have normal or small amounts of nitrogen in the soil. Since you can’t measure the amount of fertilizer present, it’s better to use high amounts of nitrogen to increase the pepper’s hotness.

On the other hand, high nitrogen levels increase both hotness and high yield in your plant. 

How to make pepper hotter

Other than stressing the plant, there are other things that you can do to make hotter chilies. These things include; 

  • Place them in indirect sunlight.
  • Pick them when ripe
  • Give the plant enough nutrients.
  • Pick hotter varieties.

Place them in direct sunlight.

Pepper plant grows well in direct sunlight. As the fruits start to grow, place them in an area with direct sunlight. The sun helps the plant to create more capsaicin to make it hotter. Also, you get high yields when grown in full sun. 

Pick them when ripe

Peppers are spicier when they are mature. They will have less heat if you let them sit for a few more weeks. 

Once the fruit is ripe, start harvesting it. If you want to wait until it turns red, you will likely lose some heat from the fruits. It’s believed that green peppers are spicier than red ones. 

Harvest them 40 to 50 days after the fruits have been set or when the fruits have stopped growing in size.

Give the plant enough nutrients.

Nutrients are essential for the growth of a plant. Providing it with enough nutrients can increase yield and also increase its spiciness. 

As you’ve seen above, large amounts of nitrogen can make pepper hotter. So, ensure that the plant receives enough nutrients. 

Pick hotter varieties 

Selecting the variety to plant will depend on the amount of spiciness you receive from the chilly. 

Some of the hottest varieties of pepper include; 

  • Carolina Reaper
  • Trinidad Moruga Scorpion
  • 7 Pot Douglah
  • 7 Pot Primo
  • Trinidad Scorpion Butch
  • Ghost Pepper.

Frequently Asked Questions

What triggers pepper plants to flower?

To make your plant flower, you must reduce the fertilizer’s nitrogen content. Reducing nitrogen encourages a plant to start producing flowers. 

How do you encourage pepper plants to fruit?

To encourage your plant to grow fruits faster, you can pinch off flower buds right after transplanting to enable them to grow before it starts to flower. Once flowering starts, it will take more time before the fruits begin to grow. 

Also, ensure you pick peppers once they are ripe. Harvesting encourages the plant to produce more peppers. 

What is the best fertilizer for pepper plants?

The fertilizer you choose for your plant depends on the soil condition and climate. You can also use any fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium (NPK). 

This type of fertilizer contains nutrients that provide a balanced ratio of nutrients necessary for the growth of the pepper plant. 

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