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How to Quickly Germinate Carolina Reaper Seeds

Are you planning on growing some Carolina Reapers from seeds? To grow Carolina Reapers from seeds, you’ll need to germinate them first. For successful Carolina Reaper seed germination, it is essential to have the right equipment, know-how, and troubleshooting abilities if there are any issues. In this post, we’ll share all the information you need to accomplish successful germination.

Photo of Carolina Reaper seeds planted in a seed tray
I like using bootstrap farmer seed trays when germinating my Carolina Reaper seeds. Photo by Spicy Trio

Having the right equipment is vital to ensuring your Carolina Reaper seeds will germinate properly. Like you, I will be growing Carolina Reaper pepper plants from seeds this season. I’ve spent hours researching and buying all the equipment needed to do so. Below I’ll share with you what I purchased and what each piece of equipment does:

Note: There are many ways to germinate Carolina Reaper seeds with different equipment. I wanted the highest likelihood of germination success, so I went with an optimal, but more expensive setup.

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ItemWhat it doesRecommended Product
Carolina Reaper SeedsThe most important thing for successful germination of Carolina Reapers peppers are viable seeds from a reputable sourceSandiaseed or Puckerbutt Pepper Company
Seed Starter KitThis kit contains a soil plug tray that can be filled with a seedling mix in which you’ll plant your seedsBootstrap Farmer Seed Starter Kit
Seedling MixThis is the growing medium for your seedsSun Grow’s Black Gold Seedling Mix
LED Grow LightAfter Carolina Reaper seeds sprout and develop leaves, they need light. This comes with rope hangers, so you shouldn’t need extrasVIPARSEPCTRA P1500 LED grow light
Rope HangersUsed for hanging LED grow lights – Only if your grow light doesn’t come with themVIVOSUN 2-Pair 1/8 inch Rope Hanger
Heating MatMaintains stable heat at ideal levels between 70°–80° Fahrenheit (21° -27° Celsius)VIVOSUN Seedling Heat Mat and Digital Thermostat Combo
Plug-in TimerHelps regulate how long your grow lights are onBN-LINK 24 Hour Plug-in
Grow TentA controlled environment makes it easier to regulate temperatures and lightYield Lab Grow Tent
Spray BottleA good spray bottle helps keep your seed starter nice a moist during the germination processEmpty Spray Bottles
A table showing the equipment I use to successfully germinate Carolina Reaper seeds quickly.

How to Germinate Carolina Reaper Seeds – Step-by-Step Guide

5 Steps to take before planting your Carolina Reaper seeds

  1. Refrigerate seeds for three days before planting. Seeds are genetically preprogrammed to sprout after lying dormant in cold soil during winter
  2. After the three days have passed, remove the Carolina Reaper seeds from the fridge and bring them up to room temperature
  3. Brew a cup of black tea and let it cool to room temperature, after which, drop the Carolina Reaper seeds into the cup. Allow the seeds to soak for roughly 30 minutes. This step helps soften the seeds’ outer shells, making sprouting easier
  4. Fill a large bowl with your sterile growing medium.
  5. Add water to your sterile growing medium until it is moist all the way through, but not soaking wet. You should be able to make a fist and gently squeeze the growing medium and have it hold its shape without lots of water running out. A good time to do this step is while your Carolina Reaper seeds are soaking in the room temperature tea.

Planting your Carolina Reaper seeds – 7 Easy Steps:

  1. Pull out your soil plug tray and pack in the moist growing medium halfway into each plug you want to plant a seed in. Don’t be afraid to push down and make it compact for the first half.
  2. Now place a firm but less compact layer of sterile growing medium on the compact one. Make sure it’s not too firm, or the seed will have a tough time sprouting.
  3. Place your Carolina Reaper seeds in this mix, and then use a pen or other tool to gently push the seeds about an eighth to a quarter of an inch in the mix.
  4. Put your seed plug tray into your seed tray and place them on top of your heating mat if you’re using one. Otherwise, put your seed trays in a warm part of your home that will keep the soil between 70–80 degrees Fahrenheit (21-27 degrees Celsius).
  5. Use a squirt bottle to lightly mist your seed plugs, ensuring the growing medium is always moist but not soaking wet. Some people also bottom water to make sure the growing medium is moist from top to bottom.
  6. Put a cover on top of your seed tray, helping trap in some humidity, which keeps your growing medium nice and moist. Make sure to vent your seed tray every once in a while, to get some fresh air circulating.
  7. If you’re using grow lights, go ahead and leave them on until the Carolina Reaper seeds sprout. Once sprouted, reduce the length of light to 10 – 12 hours a day.

Note: Carolina Reaper seeds require a constantly moist growing medium and consistent temperatures to germinate properly. The easiest way to achieve this environment is by using a vented hood for your seed tray and a heat mat with a thermometer probe.

Photo of a Carolina Reaper seed package held in front of seed germination gear
I’m growing Carolina Reapers using Sandia Seeds this year, Photo by Spicy Trio

Should You Soak Carolina Reaper Seeds Before Planting Them?

Yes, for best results, it is recommended you soak your Carolina Reaper seeds in room temperature black tea for 30 minutes before planting.

As mentioned above, this step helps soften the hard outer shell of the Carolina Reaper seed allowing for easier sprouting. An alternative to black tea is chamomile tea. Some growers use other solutions like lemon juice or diluted hydrogen peroxide.

I prefer using the black or chamomile tea method because it works fine and is not as harsh on the pepper seeds as other soaking solutions.

How Long do Carolina Reaper Seeds take to Germinate?

Typically, Carolina Reaper seeds should germinate in 7 -24 days or 1 to 6 weeks, depending on soil and environmental conditions. If you plant your Carolina Reaper seeds too deep or the soil temperatures are too low (below 70 degrees Fahrenheit or 21 degrees Celsius), it can take longer than 24 days.

Pro Tip: For the quickest Carolina Reaper germination times, keep these three tips in mind: 1) Make sure to plant your seeds shallow, about an eighth of an inch deep; 2) Maintain your soil temperature at around 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius), 3) Ensure the soil is always moist by spritzing water on it regularly.

Carolina Reaper seeds germinating in a grow tent on top of a heat mat
This is my germination setup, you can seed my Carolina Reaper seeds being warmed up by the heat mat under the seed tray. Photo by Spicy Trio

Trouble Shooting Issues When Germinating Carolina Reaper Seeds

What to do if your Carolina Reaper seeds don’t germinate?

If your Carolina Reaper seeds are not germinating in the expected timeframe, check the soil temperature to make sure that it stays consistently between 70–80 degrees Fahrenheit (21-27 degrees Celsius). Low soil temperatures are one of the leading causes of low germination rates in pepper plants. If that doesn’t solve the issue, re-read this guide to complete every step correctly. If you did all the steps correctly and are still not able to germinate your seeds, you could have got a bad batch of seeds and need to get a fresher batch from a reputable seller.

Why are Your Carolina Reaper Seeds Taking So Long to Germinate?

Two primary causes of longer germination times for Carolina Reaper seeds are soil temperatures lower than 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius) and/or seeds being planted too deep. If your soil temperatures are below 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius), we recommend getting a heating mat and setting the temperature at 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius). This should help speed things up. If your soil temperatures are in the right range, but you planted your seed deeper than an eighth of an inch deep, just give it some more time. The deeper you plant your Carolina Reaper seeds, the longer it will take for the sprouts to reach the surface. Try to make sure you plant your Carolina Reaper seeds at around an eighth of an inch but no deeper than a quarter of an inch deep, or it could impact your likelihood of successful germination in a timely manner.

What to do if your Carolina Reaper Seeds Fail to Germinate?

Sadly, if you followed the instructions above correctly and your Carolina Reaper seeds still fail to germinate, you might have gotten an old and/or bad batch of seeds. If this is the case, try another seller of Carolina Reaper seeds and make sure they have good reviews before purchasing! We recommend buying seeds from either Sandiaseed or the Puckerbutt Pepper Company.