|How to collect and prepare sweet and chilli pepper seeds for propagation|
Like many plants from this family, sweet pepper flowers are self pollinating and will easily set fruit without the need for insects. However there is a downside to this as they will cross pollinate not only with other varieties of sweet peppers but will readily hybridize with chilli pepper varieties too. Even if you are only growing one variety, you will need to be aware of the risk of pollen contamination from those varieties growing in adjacent gardens or allotments.
For your seed to have any chance of growing true to the parent plant, they will need to be kept in a contained and isolated environment. Because it's difficult for these fruits to ripen properly in England without the added heat generated by a greenhouse or conservatory, they already have the advantage of being protected from wind borne rogue pollen by a physical glass barrier.
Place your seeds into warm dry environment until they harden. If you can bend the seeds then they are not dry enough. To maintain their viability try to keep them stored somewhere dry, cool, and dark. One popular method is to keep them in the bottom of a fridge protected by an air tight plastic container. They can be stored in this condition for up to three years and still remain viable for germination.
WARNING - never rub your eyes when handling chilli seeds as this can be both embarrassing and extremely painful. Trying to wash it off can actually make it feel worse so a better way to deal with the pain is to try applying milk or yogurt to the affected area. These products contain an ingredient which will slowly counteract the capsaicin oil and sooth the pain. Although it may not seem like it at the time capsaicin oil doesn't actually cause any long term physical damage to the body.
Main image credit - Math Knight and Zachi Evenor https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
For related articles click onto the following links:
HOW TO COLLECT, PREPARE AND SAVE OKRA SEED FOR GERMINATION
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HOW TO GROW JALAPENO PEPPERS FROM SEED
HOW TO OVERWINTER CHILLI PLANTS
HOW TO PROPAGATE AND GROW THE BELL PEPPER FROM SEED
Kew Chilli Pepper