Jalapeño, variously named huachinango, in Spanish means “from Xlapa”, the capital city of Veracruz, Mexico, where the plant was cultivated. A mature Jalapeño can be two to four inches (5 to 10 cm) long.
Jalapeños taste very green and vegetable-like with a slight feeling of heat. You can roast the vegetable to get a richer taste from your Jalapeño. It has heat with the Scoville heat units of 8500 to 40000. This fruit is a rich source of vitamins such as B6, C, E, and K.
If you want to have your supply of these lovely additions to any dish you can quickly grow some on your own. The great thing about growing Jalapeños is that they don’t take up much room. This makes it perfect for growing in small living spaces.
How To Grow?
About three or four months after planting the seeds you will get to harvest your Jalapeños. Jalapeños will thrive in temperatures anywhere between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit ( 21 and 32 degrees Celsius ). You can plant these delicious fruits in late summer or in the spring. Jalapeños grow great in USDA Hardiness zones nine through ten. Make sure to keep your Jalapeños away from drafts and try and keep the humidity levels between 85 to 96 percent.
Make sure to not leave any dishes including Jalapeños around your pets. When your cat or dog should eat that dish they will have problems, including vomiting, an uneasy stomach, watering eyes, and so forth. Although most animals are smart enough to avoid eating dishes containing chilli peppers.
These heat-filled fruit love the sun and need it in the full. Ensure you provide the plant with at least eight hours of full sun daily. If you cant provide full sun for eight hours of the day they will tolerate partial shade but you should provide them with as much sun as possible. You can also grow this plant with artifical plant lights if natural light can’t be provided.
You need to water your Jalapeño once a week. Give the plant an inch of water, making sure the soil is moist but not soggy and saturated. When the top inch (2.5 cm) of the soil is dry, then you can water. Be careful not to overwater the plant as it can lead to root rot. When the leaves turn yellow and the plant droops you might have overwatered your plant.
Soil & Fertilizer
The best soil for your Jalapeño should be rich in organic matter, well-draining, and loamy. To make your Jalapeo happy make sure to use rich and fertile soil. The soil pH levels should be between 6.0 and 6.8, meaning neutral. The neutral conditions would be perfect, however, they will survive in slightly acidic or alkaline conditions.
Before you plant your Jalapeño seeds you should mix fertilizer, all-purpose garden fertilizer, into the soil to help with the plant’s growth. You will not need to fertilize your plant if you grow your Jalapeños in a garden, outside of a pot. If you are growing your Jalapeño in a pot you should fertilize your Jalapeño if the plants’ fruits are too small.
You can prune the Jalapeño plant heavily by cutting away side branches and shoots back by six inches (15 cm). You should remove any branches that don’t grow any fruit. Always remove any flowers or new fruits that will not be able to grow before the first frost. Pruning Jalapeño plants will improve their branching.
You can propagate Jalapeños from cuttings:
- First, find a young branch.
- Cut the branch off the main plant at the base.
- Make sure to use clean and sharp scissors or shears.
- Remove any fruit, flowers, or leaves.
- Prepare a cup with water.
- Fill the cup halfway.
- Submerge the cuttings end into the water.
- Keep the cup with the cutting under indirect light.
- Over time the plant will drink the water and some will also evaporate so make sure to replace the water.
- After a month or so roots should have formed.
- Finally, plant the cutting with roots into the recommended soil, mentioned earlier.
After planting the seeds you should repot the plant into a slightly bigger pot every two weeks as it gets bigger. When repotting make sure there are at least two inches (5 cm) of room on each side of the plant.
This way it will have plenty of room in the pot to grow even bigger. Jalapeños grow quickly so make sure to keep an eye on your plant to plant it accordingly once it’s too big for its former pot.
The most common diseases you can encounter when growing Jalapeños are powdery mildew, bacterial spot, verticillium wilt, and Phytophthora root rot.
When such diseases are spotted, remove any affected parts and provide the plant with adequate fertilizer. You can also spray the plant with a natural fungicide. Make sure to avoid wetting the leaves when watering. Keep an eye on your plant to spot the disease soon for easy treatment.
Common pests you might come across while growing Jalapeños include wireworms, flea beetles, and aphids. The first thing you should do when you discover these pests on your plant is to spray it with a heavy shot of water. You can also use organic insecticide, like neem oil.
If you spot worms or caterpillars then the only thing you can do is just pick the pests off the plant. Make sure to keep an eye on your plant to spot the pests early for easy removal.
Harvesting Jalapeños is all about color. You can harvest the Jalapeños when the fruits are deep green or wait until they have fully ripened and turned red. Typically, the red color means it’s spicier than the green one. Usually, it takes five or six months from planting the seeds to be able to harvest the fruit of the Jalapeño plant.
There are many types of chilli peppers available, there are even different types of Jalapeños:
- Purple Jalapeño – these start green and gradually over time turn purple and finally ripen and turn red. This variety is two times as hot as the original.
- Yellow Jalapeño – these start golden yellow turn orange over time and finally ripen and turn red. This Jalapeño is hot and has a fruity aftertaste, they are also a lot bigger than the original fruit and are perfect for pickling.
- Lemon Spice Jalapeño – these start green, turn vibrant yellow and finally ripen and turn red. These taste spicy with a sweet fruity side taste, making them perfect for salsas.
- Mucho Nacho Jalapeño – these can grow to be four inches (10 cm) long, they start green and turn red. This variety is extremely hot.
- TAM Jalapeño – this variety is perfect for those who love the taste of Jalapeños but not the heat. You should eat these in their red or green stages when they are four or three inches (7 to 10 cm) long.
Jalapeños are easy to grow and very easy to fit into any environment as they do not take much room. The fruits this plant graces the grower with can be added to spice up any dish for the better. Jalapeños are full of greatly needed vitamins.
You can do a million different recipes where your personally grown Jalapeños can be used. Jalapeño seeds can be easily found in any gardening store. Now that you know how to properly care for this plant it is time to put yourself to the test and use the knowledge you’ve acquired.