Chiltepin FAQ

1.) Q: I have heard that chiltepin often refuses to germinate. Is that true?

A: Well, it’s not far from the truth. True wild chiltepin often does show seed dormancy; some people go so far as to try to replicate what normally breaks dormancy: the passage through a bird’s digestive tract. Usually, given enough warmth and time, viable seeds will germinate. The main problem seems to be that some web shops abuse the chiltepin’s difficult behavior, selling seeds which simply are no good.

2.) Q: Chiltepin come from desert regions. So, I guess they need at least as much sunlight as the other peppers, if not more…

A: Careful with that. There may not be anyone with a parasol nearby, but chiltepines grow under nurse plants. They do not do well with too much direct exposure to the sun.

3.) Q: Okay, I finally have a small plant – but it seems not to grow. What’s up with that?

A: At the start, chiltepines tend to grow rather slowly. After about a month, however, they should start to take off. If not, it’s either that the pot is too small, the conditions are not right (too much sun, too little humidity, too much water), or there is a more serious problem. However, also note that some do not grow much taller than 1 foot (though for most, 3-6 feet is more likely).

4.) F: Now what… I get chile pepper pods, but they have a conical shape. I thought chiltepin was spherical?

A: One of the strange issues… A chiltepin should be a chiltepin both botanically and by pod type. So, the flowers should have the typical form, and the pods should, too. However, some plants do look to be C. annuum var. glabriusculum, but fall into the pequin pod type (with more conical pods): Tarahumara Chiltepin, for example. When the pods become even larger than pea-sized and/or longer than double their width, it’s either something else entirely, or at least a result of cross-pollination.

5.) Q: More questions? I’d be happy to answer…

Leave a Reply