How to Grow Hot Peppers from Seeds

Growing one of the spiciest vegetables from scratch takes time, dedication, and the right soil and gardening tools.

Spicy peppers growing in a tray.
Hot, spicy peppers are one of the most difficult vegetables to grow, but the final result is worth the effort.Vivosun

Hot peppers are legendary for being tough to grow, especially if starting from seeds. Everybody knows peppers need a lot of hot sun to build up that capsaicin that makes them so delightful and dangerous to eat. Growing hot peppers (the “real” ones, not those anemic jalapenos) from seeds is a niche gardening skill that requires specific know-how and some standard gardening tools that encourage germination and help create a solid foundation for the production of lots of hot peppers. Here are a few things to get you started.

Germination/Plant Heating Mat

VIVOSUN Seedling Heat Mat and Digital Thermostat Combo Set
This mat controls your germination temperature and will heat at over 100 degrees.Vivosun

Unlike sweet (bell and other) pepper varieties, hot peppers are notoriously difficult to grow from seed, and require high temperatures to germinate. Superhot seeds can take more than 30 days to sprout. You can check any number of hot pepper websites and growing guides for more details and instructions but all have a heat-regulating germination mat in common to boost their hot pepper seed sprouting success. Mats like this one enable you to dial in and maintain a specific temperature most likely to germinate your seeds.

Grow Lighting

Giixer 1000W LED Grow Light
This grow light offers a full spectrum of light options for maximum growing conditions.Giixer

Artificial lighting is a must for those early season starts, when your pepper seedlings need 14 to 16 hours of light per day. Next generation lighting systems like this LED unit offer options specific to your stage of growth, giving your hotties a jump start in the early seedling stages.

Quality Growing Medium

FoxFarm Ocean Forest 12 Quart Potting Soil
This organic growing medium gives hot pepper seedlings a great start.FoxFarm

Your potting soil is no place to skimp if you want to give your hot pepper seedlings the best chance to flourish and produce. Not only does it need to provide the right balance of soil and nutrients, a quality growing medium will minimize harmful bacteria and other pests often inside commercial mixes.