This is an overwintered chilli plant. It’s the Portugal variety, which normally fruits earlier than other varieties, but with the head start of already being established it should be producing hot red peppers sooner than ever. They’re beautiful when maturing, individual fruits often showing patches of vivid red and lime green at the same time, as in this photo from last year.
That’s a very deliberate layer of sand covering the soil. This plant has suffered from fungus gnats in the soil but the sand should see them off by preventing them getting in or out. With the old foliage previously trimmed off, the increasing daylight has encouraged some new shoots. Bushing out like this will hopefully lead to a healthy and prolific plant later in the year.
Earlier today I potted on some of the very young chilli plants that I’d sowed five weeks ago. They were getting close to touching the lid of the propagator, which can be problematic in terms of leaves getting too damp and wilting.
So I potted them in some nice lidded pots which i picked up at a discount store. They came with quite roomy clear domes with a small vent in the top.
I’ve put a layer of vermiculite on top of the soil to keep moisture in. Like tomatoes, chillies can be planted deep, with much of the stem buried in the soil, which leads to extra lateral roots, strengthening the plant. I did so as much as possible, but worry that the plants will outgrow these pots very quickly.
Therefore I’ll keep these well away from direct sources of heat like the propagators, to let them slow down a little. But that’s offset by needing to give them as much light as possible so that they don’t get too leggy and stressed hunting for light. It’s a fine balance, one which makes a dining table next to some large windows a very useful indoor greenhouse!