Smallest Container Size for a Habanero Plant

charlesnycMay 20, 2010

So, this morning I was walking around the neighborhood running a few errands and the local flower shop was selling plants in seed starting containers.

For 2 dollars, I got myself 4 small habanero plants (the image on the label makes it seem as if they are of the golden variety, but one can never be certain, right?).

Anyways, I came home and transplanted 3 of the plants into a larger container with the understanding that one or two of them will end up getting culled.

The fourth plant I transplanted into a gallon jug of milk with the top cut off.

What is the smallest container you've ever used to grow a habanero plant successfully? What are my odds of being able to keep the plant in the gallon jug?

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I overwintered one this past winter, in a pot that was less than 1 gallon. Definitely not recommended but it made it through the winter with some fertilizer now and then, and now it just went in the ground with a few peppers and one looks about ready to ripen. Oh and it was potted up in the fall with the garden soil it was growing in (on the clay side) which is even worse on top of such a small container, but again it did fine over the winter.

So to answer your question I'd say at least 3 gallons in potting mix for one plant. Just a rough number that I think will work.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 12:00AM
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stefpix(6b NY [Brooklyn NY])

Well you can google "bonchi" and see this site where they show how to make "bonsai" peppers.
I live in Brooklyn and I got myself 4 Scotch Bonnets for $2 from a store on Nostrand ave.

Also at the Union sq Farmers' Mkt a lady sells all these fancy heirlooms.
I do not have space for 3 gallon pots really [have a banana in one of such size]. For $2 it is worth trying what works. But would look at that finnish site re the bonsai chilies.


Here is a link that might be useful: chili site/ bonchi

    Bookmark   May 31, 2010 at 11:14AM
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dickiefickle(5B Dousman,Wi.)

You are growing in milk ?

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 9:04PM
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My father in law purchased this habanero from the HD in the spring and has it in gallon size container. A storm (pre-iorene) knocked off its only fruit bearing branch. My mother in law patched it up with some packaging tape and 2 weeks later, the plant looks pretty amazing (yes, its ridiculous). The branch is an inspiration to all other branches. I don't have the heart to tell her the it would be much more successful without those two habs sucking that plant dry.

Here is a link that might be useful: check PEPPERMEISTER for recipes, growing tips and chile info

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 10:12PM
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Peppermeister, those "habs" look more like Bhuts. But I am not an expert. I had a branch of one of my Bhuts break off at the junction and it was a pretty bad break. I didn't pull it off because it had several fruits on it. It happened a couple weeks ago and it is nearly severed and I haven't tried repairing it or propping it up at all but it is still just as green and vibrant as the rest of the plant. I guess they are pretty durable.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 12:37AM
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madferret(UK 8b-9a)

I use 2l pots only with peat,perlite, vermiculite. You have to watch the watering and feed but it works fine I've harvested about 20 per plant.

Orange Hab


    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 5:35AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Nice pic, Nick ;-)


    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 9:36AM
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I think with the proper nutrients and soil you could grow anything in any size container. May not get a 6 foot monster but you can get a nice plant.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 9:58AM
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I'm not an expert, but my hab plants stay very small, probably not more than 10" or so. They do produce, and I give them only 1 square foot in my SFG. I wouldn't think you need a huge pot.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 1:19PM
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The size of the pot will directly affect how big and bushy your plant gets.

A good example, I grew bhuts in containers this year (first set got killed, had to start a new batch several months into the season, needed to be able to bring them inside if needed), and while I gave most of them away to friends and family, I kept two.

One is in a 10" pot. Its rather spindly, not very bushy at all, but it does have all of two peppers on it right now.

The other is in a 20" pot, and it is roughly twice the size of the 10" pot one, very bushy, lots of leaves, and must have a good two dozen pods or more on it right now.

So, moral of this tale is "The bigger your pot, the better your plant". They'll grow and produce small amounts of fruit in a small container, but peppers have big root systems, the more room you give them, the better you'll be in the long run.

Since you're going to have to bring those in (if they're still small now, there's no way you'll get ripe fruit before it freezes up there in NY), just go with the biggest container you have space for by the window.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 2:08PM
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I agree, the bigger the better --- this will give you better conditions for soil/nutrients and watering. Although we're in So. FL, we have hurricanes/cold spells, so we actually keep all our bhuts in containers, typically 5-10 gallon size which allows plants to hover at about 6-7'. If you go with a decent size pot, then you can get that bushy look :) and of course more pepppers!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 11:31AM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

The problem with the milk jug is not the size, it's the fact that it is not drained. Very easy to over-water with no way for the excess water to get out. Get yourself a moisture probe (can't think of the common name) and only water when it shows dry. Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 7:49PM
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I have some in 1 gallon and 5 gallon pots. I got about twice the yield in 5 gallon pots. I suspect going larger will even go bigger, although the 5 gallon pots were still not rootbound.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 10:34AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)


Here is another OLD thread about container size for peppers.

As someone said it, if you provide the nutrients that a plant needs, the moisture level at proper level, the size of pot is not that important as log as it allows for certain amount of root mass to grow in it. Needless to say that say a Hab gown in a solo cup is not going to be anything like growing it in a 5 gallon pot.
Perhaps there is an optimum economical pot size when you are growing pepper as annual where your summer grow season is less than 6 month (Plant out till cold, May to Sep). And that in part would also depend on variety. In general 5 gall. should do it and 3 gall might also work fine.


    Bookmark   November 21, 2014 at 11:15AM
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