I recently purchased some chiles from my local Mexican grocery. This chile is...

Asked March 15, 2015, 8:08 AM EDT

I recently purchased some chiles from my local Mexican grocery. This chile is called a manzano (apple) pepper. These chiles, like most of the fruits and vegetables that the store sells comes directly from Mexico. I'd like to plant some of the seeds from chile, but since springtime already I don't have time to allow the seeds to properly dry out. What are the chances of the seeds producing plants if I plant them without drying out first?

Charles County Maryland

1 Response

Yes, you can certainly try to germinate the seeds from your pepper. I recommend removing the seeds from the raw pepper and letting them air dry at room temperature for 5 days before planting. In order for seeds to germinate, they must be fully developed and not dormant. Produce in the store may not have reached full maturity when they are picked. If you do not get any of the seeds to germinate then it is possible that the pepper was picked before the seeds matured.

If you do get plants to sprout, they may produce peppers that are somewhat different from the one you bought at the store. This is because hybrids (most of the produce in grocery stores) produce more variable offspring than "open pollinated" varieties. Peppers that are grown for seed are also isolated, but those grown for food many have been pollinated by pollen from other varieties of pepper.

If you only want a very specific type of pepper then you are better off planting seed from a reputable seed company. If you want to experiment a bit and see what type of pepper you get, then go for it and give these seeds a try.

The University of Missouri Extension has a good website about starting plants from seed. http://extension.missouri.edu/p/g6570

University of Maryland Extension page on growing peppers. http://extension.umd.edu/learn/vegetable-profiles-peppers