How to Grow Chili Plants Indoors

Worried about trying to grow your own produce at home? This is a low-maintenance, easy plant project that doesn’t require any outdoor space. Feed your family fresh, delicious produce while saving money. All you need is a windiwsill to grow these chilis, which spice up any meal. Just one or two plants will give you a constant supply of fresh chili fruits for a good few months. Learn how to grow chili plants indoors!


Step 1: When you buy a packet of seeds make sure they are suitable for growing indoors—it will say so on the packet.

Step 2: Always plant one extra plant. If you’d like to grow three plants, sow four seeds, as occasionally seeds can fail to germinate.

Step 3: Plant inside your propagator in compost and cover with a thin layer of vermiculite or compost, then water. If you don’t have a lidded seed propagator, it’s easy to assemble a makeshift propagator: just use a pot with some clear plastic covering on the top. For the clear covering, I usually use the lid of an old CD case, but you can also use a food bag secured with a rubber band. Be sure to use something clear because the sunlight will help the seeds to germinate.

Step 4: It can take up to two weeks for the seeds to germinate and seedlings to appear.  Put each seedling into its own small pot—you could use a yogurt pot with a hole in the bottom if you don’t have a small pot as they won’t be in this pot for very long.The seedlings will start to grow and look like this:

Growing Chili Plants: Baby Chili Seedling

Step 5: Once there are around five levels of leaves, it’s a good idea to pinch off the top of the plant. Doing this encourages the young plant to branch out, which is important to ensure a nice, bushy plant and plenty of fruit.

Growing Chili Plants - Step 5

Step 6: Once the seeds are around four inches tall, transplant into an eight-inch pot, still on your windowsill. The plant will continue to grow and should soon start to look like the photo below, blooming with plenty of leaves and branches!

Chili Plant - Step 6

You will soon notice white flowers forming, which is where each fruit will grow.  The fruits are white at first, as in the picture below, which also shows several of the flowers.

How to Grow Chili Plants in Your Home

The fruits will ripen around July if you planted in March/April (colour depends on variety of chili) and are ready to be harvested and eaten.  

How to Grow Chili Plants in Your Home

Because fruits ripen at different rates, you should have a plentiful supply of chili fruits for the next few months. Mine only finished for the year in the middle of November. Be sure to harvest your fruits once they are ripe, as the plant will then put its energy into producing new fruit. If, like me, you love the chili flavor but can’t take too much heat, deseed your chili fruits before using them in cooking. Always take care when handling chili fruits due to the intensity of heat in their oils. There are some safety tips along with a recipe on this Mayo Clinic page.

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