February 4, 2018

Hardy Chili (Capsicum flexuosum)



Hardy Chili (Capsicum flexuosum) it is deciduous woody shrub about 1-3m (=3-10ft) tall, which creates mildly (in case of my plants they are really pungent) hot, very sweet in taste, small (3-7 mm = 0,12-0,28 inch), round, red fruits and black seeds.
A branch of plant in fruits
 This very rare wild chili species is native to southern Brazil and extremely northern adjacent part of Argentina and eastern Paraguay. It is incredible cold and frost resistant - to about 5-14 F degree [= (-10)-(-15) C degree] or even less in preferred conditions. Plant very difficult to propagation from seeds. The best use GA3 (2000ppm by 24h) + chamomile tea to soaking the seeds before sowing (or covering seeds in a chemical fungicide instead the chamomile). The seeds germinates slowly and irregular (sometimes after a few months since a sowing date). The best germinates fresh seeds just removed from fleshy, never dried fruits, but dried seeds also germinate. They should be sown surface in well drained light soil substrate. Small seedlings are very, very susceptible for rotting. Larger plants (above about 10-12 cm = 4-5 inch in tall) are much more resistant. Later it is very easy to growing. It is resistant to drought and likes well drained soil. The best for it is “cactus mix” soil if plants are grown in pots. They should be fertilized regularly. The plant can be also easily propagated vegetative by half-wood, green cuttings (the best with a feel), which roots easily in pots in sunny window sill (in mix of large amount of sand and peaty soil mix – in proportion about 1:1). In literature there is often described that this species is self-incompatible, so to obtain fruits there are necessary at least 2 various genetically plants, but I observed that the one single plant can sporadically create fruits without pollination by pollen of other plant, outside and inside (also without a pollination by bees). But to harvesting good crop there are necessary at least 2 genetically various plants and insects. In such case plant creates very numerous fruits. The plant has been used to crossing with other chilies. It has very valuable “frost resistance” genes. The number of chromosomes of C. flexuosum it is the same as cultivated chili species (2n = 24). Maybe in the future thanks its genes would be created frost hardy, large fruit chilies? I heard that there are starting attempts of such hybridization. I am keeping fingers crossed…

The flower

Plant in fruits and last flowers
 There exists numerous various strains of Capsicum flexuosum - if you have avaliable seeds (or cuttings) of any of them please write to me.

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