Between 2006 to 2010, the ghost pepper was given the world's hottest pepper title by Guinness World Records.
This chile is also known as "Bhut Jolokia" and "Naga Morich."
No matter what you call it, this pepper is over 1 million Scoville units hot and three times hotter than the habanero!
If you've had the pleasure of trying the ghost pepper, you probably want more. The best way to do this is to grow it yourself!
(And, you might be surprised to see all the ghost pepper colors you can choose from too.)
Starting Ghost Pepper Seeds
First, select a well draining seed-starting soil mix, then sow the seeds under a shallow layer of of the mix.
Next find a warm spot. The key here is to keep the soil warmed between 75 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can use a heating mat to consistently keep this rating.
Ghost chillies typically become seedlings in 30 days.
Water your soil so that it is constantly damp, but not drenched.
These peppers are sensitive to too much hydration just like other hot peppers. Use a moisture meter to check the water level.
Indoor Grow Light
Keep your young peppers underneath an indoor plant light at least 16 hours a day. You can use a regular fluorescent light for the job, or get something more powerful like a T5.
No matter what you choose, make sure the lamp is no more than 4 inches away from the top of the plants.
If you happen to have a sunny windowsill, that may work too. (Have that plant light on hand just in case.)
Once your ghost peppers have at least four leaves, transfer them to a larger pot. Watch the growth of your chillie seedlings and continue to move them to bigger containers when needed.
Bhut jolokia are generally transferred two or three times before they go outside.
Watching for Pests and Disease
You don't want to go to all the trouble of growing ghost peppers only to see them get damaged by bugs or disease. Apply mulch, use beneficial insects and spray your plants with a blast of water in the evening to knock of any bugs or eggs.
Mature Ghost Pepper Plants
Fully ripe ghost chillies usually develop in 160 days. You can expect orange to red peppers that are 1 inch to 2 inches wide and 2 inches to 3 inches high.
The pepper plants themselves grow up to 4 feet high. They do well when they are at least 36 inches apart from each other in the ground.
When you touch these dented, cone-shaped peppers, wear gloves to protect yourself from the burn. And when you're ready to eat them, keep that milk nearby to soothe the heat in your throat.
Most of all, get ready to brag to your friends that you grow one of the world's hottest peppers!
And for those of you who want a step-by-step, detailed growing guide that explains how to go from pepper seeds to outdoor-ready plants... Make sure to check out the updated and expanded Pepper Seed Starting Guide. I personally use this resource to grow my chillies each season, and I'm always here to answer questions!