Chillies, Capsicums and Eggplants

This is the last in a series of updates on the state of my summer crops as at the end of November (which already seems a long time ago….).

This year I’m growing 3 varieties of eggplant – it would have been four except for the slugs/snails that ate the only two Thai green eggplant seedlings that germinated.  I will try these again next year as I still have some seed that Bek sent me.  What I am growing this year, and that are looking reasonably happy in the garden are:

2 plants of Bonica – which now have a couple of flowers on them.

Bonica Eggplant

2 plants of Lebanese eggplant and one plant of Listada de Gandia (also coutesy of Bek).  The Listada de Gandia was sown about a month later (in August rather than July) than the other two and is about a quarter of the size.

Listada de Gandia

And that is about it for eggplants – they are growing well, are a long way off fruiting but I don’t usually get eggplants until the  end of summer at the earliest and most of them come in Autumn so their development is absolutely fine for this time of the year.

As you will have noticed I am growing my eggplants in the ground.  My peppers however I am growing in pots.  This is partially for reasons of space and partially because I want to overwinter them and it saves the hassle of transplanting them.  I have gotten a little excited with the number of pepper varieties I am growing this year.

Pepper seedlings

From last (and previous) year/s I have 2 mature Scotch Bonnet chilli (known by different names outside Australia – cardinels cap being one such name) plants which are now in their 3rd year.  1 mature long cayene chilli also in its third year.

Long Cayenne

Incidentally I thought this plant was dead it took so long to come back in Spring but it definitely came back which I thinks justifies a lazy approach to clearing out my pots.  Finally, in its second year I have a mini Mama capsicum.  The mini Mama has flowers all over it and fruits developing as of mid December.

Scotch Bonnet

I also have a large range of capsicums and chillies that I sowed this year:

  • Birdseye
  • Alma Paprika
  • Tobago Seasoning
  • Cayenne
  • Hungarian Yellow Wax
  • Californian Wonder
  • Golden Californian Wonder
  • Capsicum Cherrytime
  • Purple Beauty
  • Marconi Red
  • Sweet Mama (which I bought as a seedling)
  • Peperone Topepo Rosso
  • Poblano/Ancho
  • Pimientos de Padron
  • Tree chilli/Rocoto (capsicum pubescens) (which is perennial and frost tolerant – or so the packet says.  It also says it grows to 2m so goodness knows where I’m going to put it but still….)

The first three are all courtesy of L at 500m2 in Sydney.  The Cherrytime & Golden Californian Wonder seed were from Diana.  Thankyou to both of you, as well as Bek for the eggplants.

Now the number of peppers I’m growing is entirely ridiculous of course.  I have nowhere to put all these plants, and I’ve been banned from adding any more pots (do you think he counts them????) so goodness knows what I’m going to do when they need potting up again.  I currently have them all (except for a couple of well developed ones) in 15cm pots which is way too small to expect them to crop in so I will have to do something else with them soon.

Cayenne Chilli

For the moment I’m watching them happily develop a flower or two and I’m dreaming up chilli and capsicum dishes to use them all in.

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22 Responses to Chillies, Capsicums and Eggplants

  1. Our peppers were poorer than poor this year and we struggle to fruit aubergine/egg-plants at the best of times. One day!

  2. Mark Willis says:

    What a great collection of chillis. How on earth could anyone try to ration you on them??? In fact I think you ought to tell “Him” that I said you really ought to get some more. They do better in large herds you know! 🙂

  3. Michelle says:

    Oh my, you’ve caught it, chile (chilli) fever. There’s no cure, it’s hopeless, you are doomed to an ever increasing desire to grow more…

    You’ve got a great selection. I’ve grown a number of them and can’t think of a bad thing to say about any of them.

    I can attest to the hardiness of C. pubescens. I have one growing in a large pot and it is going into year 4, if I allow it to. It is growing in a semi-protected spot next to the house partly under the eaves and has survived nighttime lows down to 28°F. It looks horrible in the winter but after a good trim in the spring it comes back seemingly better than ever. And it does like to sprawl.

    • Liz says:

      I’m really looking forward to seeing how it does. I may need to give one to my parents as their garden would get down to that on occasion, mine never really gets much colder than about 38-40F (3 or 4C)

  4. Frogdancer says:

    I’ve got a lone capsicum plant that I overwintered in a wicking bed close to the house. It looked pretty sad for a long while but I noticed yesterday that it’s starting to flower.

    I’ve also overwintered a chilli plant, purely as an experiment. The fruit is too mild so I didn’t care if it died, but now it too is starting to flower.

  5. Louise says:

    Wow, fantastic. Love the chilli/pepper varieties. Next year I am going to have to try a bigger variety too – this year its all about just getting somethigns started in poor soil and starting to build the soil – the timing was all wrong to expect much of a crop, I am really two moths behind where I’d like to be with the move and all.

    I’m fancying your Mini Mamas after your post earlier in the year about stuffing them…

    I am having trouble getting my padrons out of the ground – I have only one plant and just started to raise again now. Did you find them hard to raise?

    As for eggplant – I have some Slim Jims and some Listada de Gandia up and a little more advanced than yours. They have recovered from their wind burn and are starting to flower.

    Good luck with them all.

    • Liz says:

      I would be more than happy to send you some Mini mama seed if you want some. Drop me an email if you like. I tend to grow and leave my chillies in pots for overwintering – less disturbance and all that. Glad your eggplants are coming back nicely.

  6. KL says:

    Hi There,
    How have you been? I have been away from the blog world for reasons which can be found in my blog. Ah! summer is back in Australia, a year passed away so quickly!! For your pepper plants which you overwintered, in what size pots were they growing? And, did the branch look all dead and brown as they were overwintering?
    Merry Christmas (if you celebrate it),

    • Liz says:

      We had a slightly colder winter this year and some of them did lose all their leaves and look pretty dead but they did come back in the end. the first year I tend to overwinter in 15-20cm diameter pots. Second year 30cm diameter pots.

  7. Marisa says:

    Ah, so my husband is not the only chilli-growing enthusiast in town… he also has a rocoto which he bought as a small plant last year. It’s nowhere near its full size yet, but like you, I’m already wondering where it will live when it’s 2 metres tall. Oh well, let’s just cross that bridge when we come to it. Did you grow yours from seed? We have just – finally – managed to get some of last year’s rocoto seeds to germinate, but they took a month to come up. Still looking out for scotch bonnet seeds or seedlings but haven’t seen them anywhere – have to get them online I suppose.

    • Liz says:

      I did grow it from seed that I bought. From memory mine took a long time to germinate too. I have some Scotch Bonnet seed that I would be happy to send you. If so drop me an email: and I will put it in the post. I will save some again this year so if you want to wait until next year and next growing season then email me then.

  8. Sarah says:

    You can’t really ever have too many chilli plants! If fact, I’m planning to show your list to my husband next time he suggests my chilli habit is getting out of hand!

  9. Balvinder says:

    If I had been living in Melbourne I would have asked you to give some chilli pepper plants to me. Good luck when all the plants bear fruit, you can make your own chili powder.

  10. AndyB says:

    Hi Liz, long time reader, first time poster here….you mention some chillis are in their third year, how do you keep them alive over the Melbourne winter? do you have a glasshouse or bring them inside? do they fruit better after their first year, I have a couple in the ground that look healthy enough except for the absence of chillis!

    • Liz says:

      Hi Andy, Basically i just leave them outside in the pot they are in and although they look pretty sick during winter they do regrow in Spring. This is variety dependant but I have had success with varieties such as scotch bonnet, cayenne and birdseye. Where I live the micro climate means that we don’t get frost. A friend who lives just down the road does get frost and they have tried and failed to overwinter habanero. If you want to try I would recommend not feeding them or pruning them from about April onward as new growth will be the most suspectible to damage from the cold. Depending on how cold the winter is you may find they look pretty sick but leave them until about October/November and you should be able to see signs of regrowth by then if they have survived. I would leave pruning until that point. I find they fruit earlier and are more prolific in their second year (and hopefully third). Hope that helps.

  11. Jodie says:

    Liz, Do you have any germination tips for growing egg plants- its one of the few things I have never had any luck with…. but perhaps thats more to do with my seed saving technique as well? I would love to give it another go this season- as out of my total expenditure of around $20 for seeds and seedlings this spring about $7 was dedicated to eggplant seedlings (lebanese & one ovoid shaped diggers variety that looks similar to a Thai egg plant)

    • Liz says:

      I have to say I struggle getting them to germinate too. This year I tried sowing fortnightly from July and had a couple of seedlings germinate from each batch so I suspect its more to do with fertility rates than growing conditions but I might be wrong. I do find the seedlings are frequently eaten so you (and I) may be getting higher germination rates than we realise.

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