Spiciest Ever: How to Grow Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Peppers

How to Grow Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Peppers
Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers are said to be the spiciest in the world. But that doesn't mean they are difficult to get. Gardenerdy will tell you how to grow Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers yourself at home, and how easy it is to care for this plant.
Gardenerdy Staff
Last Updated: Mar 26, 2018
Did You Know?
A single Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper is as hot as 2,000 jalapeño peppers put together!
The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper is a variety of an extremely hot pepper native to the Moruga district in Trinidad and Tobago. The stalk of the pepper is sharp and shaped like a scorpion's sting, giving it the name 'scorpion' pepper. This pepper was declared 'The World's Hottest Pepper' by New Mexico University's Chile Pepper Institute, but the official Guinness title belongs to the 'Carolina Reaper' pepper. The hotness of peppers is measured in a unit called the Scoville Heat Units (SHU). Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers have exceeded 2 million SHUs, but mostly average around 1.2 million SHUs, earning the pepper its fiery reputation.

The plant is tropical in nature, growing to height of about 3 - 4 feet when grown outside. Preferring bright sunlight, humid air, and dry soil, the plant bears fruits which contain small, horn-like projections, instead of being smooth-skinned. They are generally green when raw, and change from orange to red on ripening. In the culinary sphere, it finds use in a number of recipes, such as hot sauces, soups, stews, and curries, to name a few. These peppers are famed for their heat, more than anything else. It is believed that depriving the plant of water for long periods and exposure to strong sunlight may accentuate its fiery spiciness. Growers even go as far as constructing an enclosure around the plant to increase the temperature it is subjected to, hoping to harvest even hotter fruits from it. With just a few requirements, almost anyone can grow this plant, as is explained below.
Supplies Needed
➤ Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper seeds
➤ Styrofoam or plastic container
➤ Polythene sheet
➤ Germination mat
➤ Seed-starter mix
➤ Mulch, 2 inches
➤ Paper towels
➤ Latex gloves
Warning: Always handle this pepper and its seeds while wearing a pair of latex gloves for protection. Keep it away from kids and pets.
Steps for Growing the Plant
  1. Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper seeds have to be germinated 6 - 8 weeks before the last frost date. To germinate them, soak a few seeds overnight in warm water. Or instead, place a few seeds between two moist paper towels, and keep wetting them from time to time. You can use a germination mat for warmth.
  2. Wait for a couple of weeks (around 20 days) for the seeds to germinate. Being tropical in origin, this may take longer in cold regions.
  3. Fill a seed-starter mix in a plastic container, taking care to leave some space at the top, so that on watering the water doesn't spill over. It should have some holes at the bottom for drainage.
  4. Dig a small hole in the soil, about ¼" deep if you live in a cold region, or ½" deep if you live in a warmer one.
  5. Place the seeds in the hole and gently cover it with soil. Water the soil until moist.
  6. Keep the container at a window sill where sunlight is abundant.
  7. In a few weeks, the saplings will emerge from the soil. Regularly add only enough water so as to keep the soil moist.
  8. You can prune the growing bud when the plant is about 5 - 6 inches tall to encourage bushy growth.
  9. Apply mulch, such as chipped wood to the soil when the plant undergoes flowering. This will conserve moisture and also provide nutrients to the plant.
  10. Use a liquid fertilizer or a slow-release pellet fertilizer regularly.
  11. The plant grows to be about a meter tall in a pot. To make it grow larger, it has to be transplanted outside. Before transplanting, expose the potted plant to the outside atmosphere for a longer time, along with steadily reducing the water supplied. This will ensure that the plant stem becomes thicker, which is more preferable. This hardening process is not required in warm weather.
  12. When the climate becomes colder, it's a good idea to move the pot indoors. Alternately, wrap a polythene sheet around the surrounding soil to create a greenhouse-like warm atmosphere. You can also build a pepper-box around the plant to warm it up.
  13. In about 2 - 4 months, the plant will start producing peppers. The peppers will first be green, then orange, and finally red or golden yellow on ripening. They are now ready for harvesting. Cut the peppers free using a pair of scissors or a knife.
Trinidad moruga scorpion pepper
Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper
Care and Suitable Conditions Required by the Plant
Light
Bright sunlight is a must for the Trinidad Moruga Pepper plant. The plant must be exposed to at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day. It is believed that the brighter the sunlight, the hotter its peppers will be.

Temperature
Due to its tropical origin, the plant cannot handle temperatures lower than 60°F. The tolerable range is 60°F to 95°F, with 85°F as the most suitable temperature.

Soil
The plant requires friable, moist soil, containing a little bit of sand, and rich in magnesium. Clayey soil is not recommended. A potting mix made up of ⅓ parts of each of garden soil, vermiculite, and sand can be used. The pH range of the soil should be 5.5 to 7.5. The plant doesn't mind acidic soil, but can't tolerate salt.

Water
Watering should be done moderately. Water-logging should not occur so as to prevent rotting of the roots. Insufficient fruiting takes place when water is supplied in less quantity, and the fruits formed will be bitter. Avoid wetting the leaves when watering, to keep plant diseases at bay.

Fertilizers
The plant requires adequate fertilization. An N-P-K fertilizer (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium) with low-nitrogen, high-phosphorus, and high-potassium content should be used, because high concentrations of nitrogen may lower the number of fruits formed. 5-10-10 is a good N-P-K ratio.
The procedure for growing Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers is similar to the planting of ordinary pepper plants. The only things to keep in mind are; to provide adequate sunlight, moderate watering, protection from freezing temperatures, and you can grow one of the world's hottest peppers right at your doorstep!