Growing Chili: Carolina Reaper Chocolate

Growing Chili: Carolina Reaper Chocolate

In this post I will write about my experience with growing and tasting one of the world’s hottest chilies; the Carolina Reaper. But first you will also find some short information about the chili variety.

Carolina Reaper

The Reaper is, like the Apocalypse Scorpion Chocolate, a really hot chili pepper. In fact, the red Carolina Reaper got into Guinness record book as the “world’s hottest chili” 2013. The world record is based on an average of 1,569,383 Scoville and a maximum value of over 2,200,000 Scoville. The plants grow just over one meter with large leaves and fruits with the size of a golf ball.

The plants thrive in sunny windows, outdoor space, greenhouse, outdoors in a sunny and sheltered location during the summer. If you are growing this chili in the winter months it usually requires some form of grow lights (I use LED grow lights). Pollinate the flowers by either shake the plants or use a small brush.

Growing Carolina Reaper

Although the seeds I got was supposed to be a mutation of the Carolina Reaper with brown pods all pods, that have ripen this far is red.

The reaper is, as the Apocalypse Scorpion, a Capsicum Chinense variety. This year (2017) I grew two Carolina Reaper plants and as with all of my plants I grow them indoors in pots. I have had some problems with both plants. It seems like they need a lot more calcium compared to my other plants (e.g., Jamaican Bell, Poblano). The leaves of the Carolina reaper plants (and actually also the Apocalypse Scorpion plant)  sort of curled after some time. I have added egg shells to the soil (on top of it) and this seem to help.

Another problem I have with the Capsicum Chinense plants is that they are dropping leaves. According to some, this can be due both that the plant doesn’t get enough water. But it can be the other way around; they get too much water. In my case, it may be something else but I have to do some more reading before next season.

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Carolina Reaper dropping leaves

Right now I have the other Carolina Reaper plant in my grow tend under a 800w LED grow light (more on this in a later post). There are plenty of flowers on the plant so hopefully I will get more than the 7 ripen pods I have now.

My thoughts on growing the Reaper

So what do I think of the taste of this super hot chili fruit? Well, as much as I do enjoy hot food and tastes my experience with this one was not that good. I put a small piece of the first ripen pod in my mouth. It had a sweat taste but the extreme heat took over almost immediately.  I must say it is the most pungent chili fruit I’ve ever eaten. It do have a lovely smell that I would describe as sweet. Aesthetically, I think the fruits are quite beautiful! Not as beautiful as my Apocalypse Scorpion Chocolate but still very nice.

Apocalypse Scorpion and Carolina Reaper growing in grow tent
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Grow chili in grow tent

I am not yet sure why the leaves are dropping, however. It may be a fungus, it could be PH levels, nutrient deficits (e.g., nitrogen), but I have yet to find out. What is your impression of Carolina Reaper? If you know why chili plants are dropping leaves, please let me know.

Grow Carolina Reaper Peppers at Home
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Red Carolina Reaper

Here are some more posts that you may find useful:

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4 Replies to “Growing Chili: Carolina Reaper Chocolate”

  1. Thank you for your information on the Carolina Reaper. It sure is one of the hottest peppers out there! The burn when you eat it… intense, right?! I was a bit curious about growing chili peppers with LED grow lights? What is your impression of this and also how strong are your grow lights? I am wondering because I was thinking of buying one or two depending on the watts needed, price, etc.

    1. Hello Peter,

      First, thank you for your kind words. I have just started this blog and I have not had time to put so much stuff out there. I will soon do a small how to grow chilies also. I have tested some techniques from seeds to plant, sort of speaking.
      Anyway, concerning grow lights I have a new 800 watts LED light. Previously, I have used 45 watts grow lights and it have worked out perfectly fine. Now I also have a nice grow tent and will grow my chilies inside of it (the light is sooo strong… ). I think that I have to get back to you concerning the watts etc. I guess it depends on a lot. I think I will do a post, later this autumn (or during the winter) on the topic!


  2. I grow reapers year round and Ive found success in giving my plants a lot of nitrogen by using an organic fish fertalizer. I over winter with high intensity bulbs and never let the temperature drop below 50F. Over watering and aphids are the worst especially indoors but nothing that a bit of neem oil cant cure! If you keep up with them they can live years, my eldest is going on 6 years and is a full on tree. It is wonderful having fresh reapers year round for sauces!

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