By Jennifer Poindexter
Habanada peppers sound a lot like habanero peppers, doesn’t it? It’s because this is the non-spicy version of a habanero pepper. These small peppers are shaped like a banana pepper and have the vibrant orange color of a habanero pepper.
This pepper has a sweeter flavor profile without all of the heat habanero peppers tend to carry. If you’re interested in growing this variety of pepper, you’re in the right place.
Here’s what you should know to start growing this plant in your garden as soon as the weather permits:
Growing Conditions for Habanada Peppers
Habanada peppers (Capsicum chinense ‘Habanada’) have similar growing conditions to most other peppers. They enjoy warm temperatures and plenty of sun.
You may grow these plants in containers or in the ground. No matter where you choose to plant them, ensure you provide a growing location which receives at least six hours of full sunlight each day.
Also, be sure to provide soil that drains adequately and is high in nutrients. Peppers need even moisture as they can’t thrive in areas that are oversaturated.
If you can supply these few basic needs in a growing location, you should be able to encourage healthy plants within your garden.
How to Plant Habanada Peppers
Habanada peppers are typically started from seed. Since they aren’t one of your more common peppers, it may be difficult to find seedlings at a local nursery.
When starting the seeds, you may need to start them indoors if you’re in a location with a shorter growing season or if you’d like to get a jump on the growing season.
Seeds should be started indoors approximately eight weeks before the final frost date. Fill a growing tray with seed starter mix and plant two seeds per cell in the tray at ¼ inch depth.
This is to serve as a germination insurance policy in case one seed doesn’t germinate. If they both do, pick the stronger seedling and cut the other off at soil level.
Habanada peppers take ten to twenty-one days to germinate. Place the growing trays on a seed starting mat as receiving heat from the bottom of the tray encourages a better germination rate.
Make sure to spritz the soil with water. This should help keep it evenly damp without oversaturating the seeds as this can lead to rot.
Once the seeds have sprouted, move a grow light over them or place the tray in an area with bright, indirect lighting.
Continue to water the plants and keep the soil damp. As the seedlings develop true leaves, it’s time to move them to their own starter pot.
Sometimes people use the biodegradable options, so at the time of transplant, you can plant the entire container and avoid disrupting the roots.
After the final frost is over, start hardening the plants off for a couple of weeks. When this is complete, transplant your seedlings.
Dig holes in your growing location. Each hole should be deep enough to support the root system of the seedling. Place three feet between each plant and each row in your inground growing space.
If you’re growing in a container, you should only grow one plant per container.
Another option for growing habanada peppers is to sow the seeds directly into the soil. Since these peppers take longer to reach harvest, this method is only recommended if you live in a higher planting zone.
Till the garden soil to prepare it to receive seed. From there, sprinkle seeds into the rows. Keep the soil evenly damp until the seeds sprout.
Once this happens, thin the plants to where there’s two to three feet between each. Continue to supply water to the plants to help them become established.
You now have two different ways to start habanada seeds. Select the method that works best for your planting zone and begin growing a new variety of pepper in your growing space.
Caring for Habanada Peppers
Habanada peppers are easy to care for. They need water, fertilizer, and support to thrive. When watering peppers, it’s wise to practice the deep watering method.
This method allows you to water for longer periods of time, fewer days of the week. It encourages the plants to develop a deeper root system which equates to healthier plants.
Plus, watering your plants deeply helps avoid overwatering them and reduces the amount of work on you as the gardener.
You’ll know it’s time to water your pepper plants by testing the soil. Insert your finger into the dirt next to the plants.
When it’s dry to your first knuckle, it’s time to water. If not, wait a day or two before testing the soil again.
Next, you should fertilize your habanada peppers with a 5-10-10 fertilizer at least once per month. You should also add calcium to the base of your plants to discourage blossom end rot.
Should your peppers develop this issue, a dose of powdered milk could help treat it.
The last thing you should do is stake your habanada peppers. You don’t want your peppers to fall over under the weight of the fruits.
By staking them to provide support you protect the integrity of the plant and ensure none of the fruits are too close to the ground which could lead to rot.
These are the few steps you must take to provide adequate care to your habanada pepper plants and encourage a larger harvest.
Garden Pests and Diseases Which Might Impact Habanada Peppers
When growing any plant, it’s wise to understand what may threaten them in their growing location. Habanada peppers have a few enemies in the garden that you should take note of.
However, be sure to treat at the first sign of a problem or the infestation can quickly become out of hand and have a negative impact on your plants.
The most common disease to impact this variety of pepper is leaf spot. This disease may be treated with a fungicide, but you may also remove any damaged part of the plant.
You can deter this disease by keeping water off of your leaves or watering early enough in the day where the leaves have time to dry prior to the cooler night temperatures.
By remaining alert to these few issues, it could make all the difference in your growing experience.
How to Harvest Habanada Peppers
The final thing we must discuss about growing habanada peppers is how to harvest them. It takes approximately one hundred days for the peppers to be ready to pick.
Once the fruit is approximately three inches and orange, they’re ready for picking. At this point, gently pluck the peppers from your plants.
After, store your peppers in a plastic bag or airtight container in your refrigerator. They should last between one and two weeks.
Habanada peppers are low-maintenance, gorgeous vegetables that provide beautiful color, a sweet flavor, and skip the heat that many peppers contain.
If you’re interested in adding this flavor profile to your vegetable garden, utilize the tips provided here to care for your peppers from planting to harvest.
Growing Habanada Peppers Quick Reference Chart
|8 weeks before the final frost date (indoors)
|Directly outdoors in higher planting zones
|At least 6 hours of full sunlight daily
|Even moisture, practice deep watering
|3 feet between each plant and row
|5-10-10 fertilizer, monthly
|Cutworms, flea beetles, aphids
|Approximately 100 days after planting
|Peppers 3 inches long and orange
|Plastic bag or airtight container in refrigerator
- Habanada peppers are a non-spicy, sweet alternative to habanero peppers with similar growing conditions.
- Grow in warm temperatures with plenty of sun, in well-draining, nutrient-rich soil, and ensure even moisture.
- Start seeds indoors 8 weeks before the final frost date, or sow directly outdoors in higher planting zones.
- Habanada peppers require water, fertilizer, and support to thrive; practice deep watering and fertilize with a 5-10-10 fertilizer monthly.
- Common pests include cutworms, flea beetles, and aphids; treat with insecticides as needed.
- Watch for leaf spot disease; treat with fungicides or remove damaged parts of the plant.
- Harvest peppers when they are around 3 inches long and orange in color, approximately 100 days after planting.
- Store harvested peppers in a plastic bag or airtight container in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.