Chilli cultivation and farming practices in Punjab


Chilli is one of the most valuable crops in India.The crop is grown mainly for its fruits all over the India. Major chili farming States in India are Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, TamilNadu, West Bengal.


Climate and soil required for Chilli cultivation

Chilli performs well under the humid weather. It is photo-insensitive and day length neither affects flowering nor fruit setting. A frost-free period of about 130-150 days with a temperature range of 15-350C is optimum for chili production. Generally, chilli will not set fruit when night temperature is above 300C. Temperature beyond 400C result in poor fruit set and increased fruit drop. This is further aggravated if the relative humidity is low and is accompanied by dry winds.

Chilli can be grown on a wide range of soils but well drained loamy soil rich in organic matter is best suited for its cultivation. It can not withstand water-logged conditions for more than a day. Although chili can be grown on soils with a pH range of 5.0 to 8.0 but it performs best at a soil pH of about 6.5.


Improved Hybrids/Varieties of Chilli


1.CH-3 (2002):

This hybrid has been developed by crossing MS-12 x S-2530. It is an early maturing hybrid with dark green foliage and pendant fruits. The fruits are long (8.2 cm). The color of the immature fruit is dark green and turns dark red at maturity. The fruits are mild in pungency with 0.51% capsaicin content, high dry matter (22.5%) and good Vit. ‘C’ (109.95 mg /100g ) content. The deep red colored fruits make it especially suitable for making chili paste for export purposes. The average yield of red ripe fruits is 110 q/acre.

2.CH-1 (1992):

It is a hybrid between MS12 x LLS. Its plants gain one meter height and more branching. Plants continue bearing fruits for a long time. Fruits are light green when immature and attain deep red color at maturity. Fruits are of medium size (6.62 cm long) and weigh 2.7 g each. This hybrid is tolerant to viral and fungal diseases. Its fruits are highly suitable for drying and used as salad. The yield of red ripe chili is 100 q/acre. Its fruits are used in the processing industry. Fruits on an average have capsaicin content of 0.80%.


1.Punjab Sindhuri (2013):

Plants are dark green, compact and medium tall. It is an early maturing variety and first picking (red fruits) is possible 75 days after transplanting. Fruits are long (7.14cm), thick-skinned, dark green when immature and deep red when mature. Fruits are pungent (1% capsaicin content) and rich in Vitamin C content (155 mg/100g). An average yield of red ripe fruits is 76 q/acre. It is suitable for fresh market and distant transportation.

2.Punjab Tej (2013):

Plants are light green, spreading and medium tall. It is an early maturing variety and first picking (red fruits) is possible after 75 days of transplanting. Fruits are long (6.80 cm), thin skinned, light green when immature and deep red when mature. Fruits are highly pungent (1.32% capsaicin content) and rich in Vitamin C (115 mg/100g). The average yield of red ripe fruits is 56 q/acre. It is suitable for processing/powder making.

3.Punjab Surkh (1995):

Plants are medium tall, leaves dark green, fruits long (7cm), green when immature and dark red on maturity. It is a dual purpose variety which makes it suitable for salad and drying, this variety is also tolerant to fruit rot and moderately resistant to mosaic virus. It is the early bearing variety which yields 80 q/acre of red ripe fruits. Fruits have capsaicin content of 0.80% on dry weight basis.

4.Punjab Guchhedar (1995):

It is a selection from material introduced from Indonesia. Plants are tall. Fruits are small (5cm), erect and borne in clusters of 5-16. Fruits have de-stalking habit which leaves the stalk while picking. It is tolerant to fruit rot, highly resistant to mosaic and tolerant to leaf curl virus. Fruits are late bearing and yield 60 q/acre. Fruits are rich in capsaicin (0.98%) and deep red in color.

Agronomic Practices of Chilli

1. Sowing Time

The seed is sown in the nursery during end October to mid-November. Transplanting is generally done in February – March.

2.Seed Rate

Seed rate is 200 g per acre when sown in the nursery. Sow nursery in one marla (25m2) area to transplant one acre.

3.Nursery Raising 

Seed of chili is sown on raised seed beds. The beds should be 1.25 m. wide with a height of 15 cm. The soil is loosened with the help of khurpa or spade. If farm yard manure application is required, it should be well decomposed and incorporated well into the soil. Then soil is sterilized with formaldehyde (1.5-2.0%). For this Formalin of commercial grade is taken and 15-20 ml of Formalin is added in one liter of water. The beds are then covered with polythene for a period of 48-72 hours. Afterward, the covers are removed and soil is loosened so that fumes of the chemicals escape into the air and do not hinder the germination of the seed. After removal of the cover, the sowing of seed is done after 3-4 days. Sowing should be done in rows drawn widthwise at a distance of 5 cm.

To ensure successful growing of healthy seedlings from costly hybrid seed of chili, the nursery should be grown under poly house (size 24’ x 13’ x 6’) made of UV stabilized low density polyethylene film of 200 microns (800 gauge) thickness.

Time of sowing under polyhouse Time of transplanting
a) The third week of November Mid February
b) Ist week of February End of April


Thick and stout seedlings perform better than tall seedlings and should be planted on ridges at 75 cm apart with the plant to plant spacing of 45 cm. In the case of mechanized farming, the wider spacing can also be done to facilitate weed control by the protected application of nonselective herbicides between the rows.

Manures and Fertilizers requirements for Chilli

Apply well –rotten farmyard manure (10-15 tonnes/acre). The recommended doses of fertilizers are 25 kg of N (55 kg of Urea) and 12 kg of P2O5 (75 kg of Single Superphosphate) and 12 kg of K2O (20 kg of Muriate of Potash) per acre. All P2O5 and K2O together with one-half of N should be drilled at transplanting and the remaining N should be top-dressed after first picking. Apply 30 kg N (65 kg urea) per acre to hybrid chilli.

Growth Regulator

Due to high temperature in May-June dropping off flowers take place. Two foliar sprays of naphthalene acetic acid (NAA) at 10-day interval @4g, 45 and 55 days after transplanting to increases the green and red ripe fruit yield of chili.

Dissolve 4g NAA in 10-15 ml of ethyl alcohol and make the volume one liter. At the time of spray use this one liter in 100 liters of water.

Irrigation in Chilli

1. Furrow Irrigation :

First irrigation should be given just after transplanting. Subsequent irrigations should be given at 7-10 days intervals. Total number of irrigations required are 15-16. For saving of irrigation water, irrigate the crop in alternate furrow without affecting the crop productivity. With the use of paddy straw mulch @ 25 quintals per acre, the number of irrigations can be reduced to 9.

2.Drip Irrigation :

Drip irrigation in chilli results not only increase in yield but also save 46% of water as compared to conventional method of irrigation. Under this system irrigation should be applied at an interval of two days. While irrigating with drip irrigation, transplant two rows of chilli on 80cm wide bed with row to row distance of 60cm and plant to plant distance of 45cm. Provide 40cm space between the two beds. The chilli crop should be irrigated with one lateral pipe per bed having drippers spaced at 30cm and discharge of 2.2 litres per hour as per the following schedule.

Month Time of irrigation (min)
March 31
April 61
May 137
June 110
July 60
August 60


Fertigation saves 20% fertilizer. Apply 7.9 kg Urea, 3.2 kg Mono Ammonium Phosphate and 3.2 kg Muriate of Potash (white) per acre during first month of the transplanted crop in seven equal doses with every second irrigation (four days interval). The remaining amount of fertilizer 31.4 kg of Urea, 12.8 kg of Mono Ammonium Phosphate and 12.8 kg of Muriate of Potash (white) per acre should be applied in equal doses during the rest of crop season in 21 equal doses with every second irrigation.

Harvesting of Chilli 

For dry powder, chilli should be allowed to turn red. Six or seven pickings will be required. More pickings are possible for the harvesting of green chilies. Dry the ripe red chilies in the sunshine.

Seed Production 

Chilli is an often crops pollinated crop so minimum isolation distance of 400 m between two varieties of chili and sweet pepper should be maintained. A seed crop should be inspected at different stages of maturity to ensure the genetic purity. The first inspection should be done before flowering and off type/extra early plants should be removed. The second inspection should be conducted at full bloom and fruiting stage and the plants which do not conform to the varietal purity such as fruit shape, color, a position of the fruit, flower color, plant spread and leaf characteristics like leaf colour and shape etc. should be removed. The third inspection should be done just before fruit picking and only true to type plants are retained for seed harvest. Red ripe fruits are harvested and dried under sun. The seeds are extracted manually on small scale.


Source-Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana.

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