Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Sunday, 15 February 2015

GBBD: Chilly Chilli Update

Overwintering chilli plant on my windowsill

It's not the best photo I know, but I loved how yesterday's sunshine provided a range of contrasts on my overwintered chilli plant. It's time to update you on progress - as you can see I have new chillis forming with a few blooms showing promise of more to come.

I was surprised to find buds on January 29th and as the resultant chillis are forming on an indoor, overwintered plant, I now know it's self-fertile. A number of you asked about the perils of aphids when I posted in January; so far they've been mercifully absent, but instead I've had to be vigilant over mildew. Prompt removal of affected leaves, increased watering and brief airings on sunny days have helped keep this peril at bay.

Today marks the wonderful day when my garden - and windowsill - receives 10 hours of light, so it won't be long before repotting duties beckon.

This month's walk around my garden for Blooms Day also provides a cautionary tale. Note to self: I must never buy mini-plug plants ever again, no matter how tempting the offers are.

If I'd stopped and thought about it last autumn, I would have realised the pictured violas stood absolutely no chance of providing any winter interest, apart from the latest kind.

I'll have a few short weeks to enjoy these emerging first flowers before they're hoicked out of their pots to make way for my choice of summery blooms.

What lessons have you learned from your garden this month?

Garden Bloggers' Blooms Day is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.


Latin without tears

Rose's comment reminded me that I should have added my new Latin section to this post. She didn't know chillis could be overwintered and neither did I until I looked up the latin name for them. That simple act started me on the path to trying to overwinter mine...

There are five major species of the genus Capsicum which according to The Free Dictionary could be from capsa, the Latin for box and probably refers to the shape of the fruit. Within these species there are hundreds, if not thousands of different cultivars.

The species are:
  • annuum - which unsurprisingly means annual. It includes the non-fiery salad peppers (bell peppers), plus cayenne, paprika and jalapeƱos
  • baccatum - with fleshy berries, and includes the aji chillis
  • chinense - from China, and includes habanero chillis
  • frutescens - shrubby or bushy, which includes malagueta, tabasco and Thai peppers
  • pubescens - downy, and includes rocoto chillis
According to Wikipedia, chinense and frutescens chillis are sometimes included with C. annuum. There seems to be a botanical debate about whether these are separate species or not.

I wonder which species my supermarket originated chilli plant hails from?

NB Rose referred to my chilli plant as chili. These plus chile are all accepted versions of the common name.


  1. Amazing to see the chili blooming again!
    Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!

    1. I wasn't expecting them until the summer, Lea!

  2. Congratulations on the chilis! I had no idea they could be overwintered. I'm enjoying the extra hours of sunshine, too--only six more weeks till spring!

    1. Rose - it depends on the chilli species. This is a supermarket bought specimen of unknown type, so it's been a bit of an adventure seeing what it can do!

      There's a detectable change in the light's quality at this time of the year - I love it :)

    2. You've reminded me, that I haven't done my Latin without tears section - thanks Rose!

  3. I love violas and will have tubs of them again this summer. Last year I kept dead-heading and they flowered for months. Can you dig up the violas and pop them in a pot?

    1. Hi Sue - I'm pondering leaving them where they are and building my summer pots around them. Technically they're perennials and it would be a shame not to enjoy them now they've come so far...

  4. I think that the term 'winter flowering pansy' is a con trick. No such thing! Great to see that you have chillis on the way. Is it a matching pot or a trick of light?

    1. Hi Anna - it's a matching pot :-)

  5. I'm overwintering a jalapeno and there are a few buds and a couple of chillies forming. It might be the way to go I think, if it all works out okay, as I find chillies sown from seeds don't have ripe fruit until really late in the season.

    1. Chillis need such a long and warm growing season here in the UK CJ. I don't have a greenhouse, so this seems to be the way to go for me too!

  6. apologies if this is the second time, but I don't think the first attempt published.
    My chilli plant is now getting on for three years old, and in this last year has not really stopped flowering - I just harvested the third crop last week, and it has yet more (just a few) flowers on it now. It obviously likes the sunny (east facing ish) windowsill that it's on.
    And by the way it was from seeds you gave me! - wish I could remember the name...

    1. That's fantastic news Haikuista :-) The seeds I gave you were Basket of Fire


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