Chilli Potting Soils. We often get questions from customers asking about the best soil to use for chillies. So we are dedicating this page to Potting Soils.
There are a few factors to take into consideration when talking about soil and chillies.
Chillies hate wet, soggy soil
This is a fact. Chillies hate wet soggy soil that has their roots water-logged. These are generally compact/dense claggy soils - such as clay soils. Chillies may grow in wet, soggy soil but they will be plagued with issues. Development/growth may be poor. They will suffer with fungal issues at root level and above ground and plants will remain small and unproductive - may even end up dying!
Chillies like loamy soil
Chillies love light loamy soil. A little bit of silt, lots of rich organic matter with lots of nice air pockets and good drainage. We recommend a good quality Potting Soil from your local nursery.
Now we know what you are thinking - what? And your impulse is going to be to add stuff to the mix to grow better chillies than anyone else. That if you add this and that to your potting mix, your plants will grow faster and bigger and you will get super hot monster pods... are we right??
If you are a first time grower... our advice is to "Keep it simple". There are many things that can go wrong on your first grow season. Make your life simple and let the soil just be Potting Mix. We know this sounds really boring, but messing with other ingredients will only run the risk of disaster. We encourage first time growers to go and get themselves a nice, good quality organic potting soil from your local nursery.
Give your roots space
Another factor that is relevant here is space. Obviously when planting into the garden, plants will grow naturally without constraint. When growing into pots, we are effectively constraining the root bowl. The size of your container or pot is important. Constraining your plants roots will constrain your plants size and development. You want to be able to give your plant sufficient space to never feel root bound. For this we would recommend 10 liter pots for small plants and 20 liter pots for large plants.
Larger containers are also easier to manage. Plants that are in pots too small for them will need too much watering and will also require supplements. Chances are the plant will run you ragged with needing watering. So it is always best to go with as large a container as you can.
Advanced potting soil mixes
For the more advanced chilli growers, you may wish to start looking at special soil/potting mixes. Again, we would not recommend this for first time growers, as many of the listed ingredients below can harm your plants if used without knowledge.
At this point we are going to recommend you check the internet for potting soil mixes for chillies. You will find that there are chilli growers such as yourself, the world over. and each, will have his or her own special potting mix. Literally thousands to choose from and really depends on personal preference and depth of pocket. The ingredients below can add up and special potting mixes can get very expensive on the pocket.
Do we have any recommendations? We can't really say. When we come across a mix that stands out, we will definitely let you know. But we would recommend you do a search on the internet for what looks good.
What we can tell you is that from what we have seen, there are certain ingredients that seem to appear consistently in the various recipes and these will include among other ingredients:
So, the items above are just some of the things chilli growers will throw into the mix. If you feel confident enough, you can look and find a recipe online that has been tried & tested and is recommended. Just a word of caution, that trying to come up with your own mix without knowing the effects can result in burning roots, ill plants and possibly even plants dying. So, know what you are doing before you attempt this.
Very often growers will want the best. In a fuzzy logic we throw everything that looks good into the mix and are surprised when rather than monster plants we get plants that are disfigured and loosing leaves. Nature has a very fine balance. too much of a good thing and you will end up with undesirable outcomes. So, steady as you go!