Vegetable Science

Chili and Capsicum

Botanical Name: Capsicum annum var. annum

                           Capsicum annum var. grossum

Family: Solanaceae

Chromosome number: 2n=24.

Origin: Central and South America (Mexico)

Other Name: Chilli (Hot pepper), Capsicum (Sweet pepper & Bell pepper)

Important Points

  • Chilli is day neutral crop.
  • Male Sterility present in chilli
  • The bitterness of chilli is due to capsicin.
  • Maximum production of Capsicum in the world in China.
  • Maximum area, production, and consumption of chilli in the world in India.
  • India’s share in total export of chilli in the world is 4%.
  • Dry chilli generally contains about 6% stalk, 40% pericarp, 54% seeds.
  • Green to dry chilli ratio 10:1.
  • Varieties with thin pericarp, less seed, and strong spikes are suitable for drying or powder making.
  • 5-10 days of sun drying is required to reduce the moisture by 80% to 10%.
  • Anthesis time 5am.
  • In India, the leading supplier of off-season chilli is Himachal Pradesh.
  • Chilli is the richest source of Vitamin C.
  • Arka Abir: Suitable for colour extraction (Paprika- Capsicum fruitscence)
  • pubescence has purple flowers other sp. have white flowers.

Area and production

  • The major chilli growing states are Andra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharastra, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Bihar.
  • Area of chilli 309 thousand ha. and production 3592 thousand tonnes.

Table: Area and Production of Chilli and Capsicum in 2018.





Area (000 ha)

Production (000 MT)

Area (000 ha)

Production (000 MT)

Area (000 ha)

Production (000 MT)















Source: NHB database 2018

Table: Major Chilli growing states in India


Area (000 ha)

Production (000 MT)

Andhra Pradesh












Madhya Pradesh






Source: NHB data Base 2018

Capsicum also known as Bell pepper is restricted to cooler regions of the country and the periphery of cities with cooler weather. As such capsicum growing around cities like Bangalore, Belgaum, Mysore (Karnataka), Nilgiris (Tamil Nadu), Pune, Thane (Maharashtra), Ranchi (Jharkhand), Darjeeling (West Bengal), Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir and hills of Uttar Pradesh.

Economic importance and uses

  • Chilli is mainly used for the culinary purpose of adding flavour, colour, and pungency. Dry chilli, powdered or ground into a paste, and even green chillies are used for curries, sambars, rasam, and other savory dishes to impart pungency, colour, and flavour to food items.
  • In food and beverage industries chilli is being used in the form of oleoresin which permits better distribution of colour, flavour in food.

Varieties of chilli


Kalyanpur Yellow

Sabour anger

Arka Lohit






Pusa Jwala



Pant -C-1

Andhra Jyoti

CH-1 (using GMS line)



Pusa Jwala, Pant C-1:- Leaf Curl Resistant Varieties

Punjab Lal, Punjab Surakh:- TMV, Leaf curl, Wilt and Dieback resistant varieties (Multiple disease-resistant varieties)

K-2:- Fruit Rot Resistant Variety

Utkal Rashmi, Arka Gaurav:- Bacterial wilt Resistant varieties.

Arka Lohit:- Tolerant to powdery mildew.

Bhaskar:- resistant to thrips and mites.

Bell pepper varieties


Sweet Banana

California Wonder

Golden Wonder

Yollo wonder

World Beater

Chinese Giant





Arka Basant, Arka Gaurav, Arka Mohini


Pusa Deepti

Green Gold

Early Bounty

Bharat (resistant to TMV)



Pusa Meghdoot




Chilli performs well in warm humid tropical and subtropical regions. It is being cultivated from sea level to almost 1000 m above MSL. An optimum temperature range of 20-250C is required for chilli cultivation. Comparatively milder climate conditions are preferred for sweet or bell pepper. The prevalence of low temperatures during fruit ripening is likely to delay colour development of fruits. Temperature beyond 400C results in poor fruit set as well as severe fruit drop.


Chilli can be grown in a wide range of soils but well-drained sandy loam soil rich in organic matter is best suited for chilli cultivars. Soil pH should be near 6.5 is good.


  • In many parts of the country, it is grown in all three main cropping seasons. During monsoon, the crop is mainly grown for dry red chillies while in other seasons it is mostly for green chillies.
  • In MH and AP – Third week of May to mid of June.
  • In Gangetic regions- June
  • Punjab and Rajasthan- April to May
  • Capsicums are known to perform better in winter or rabi season (August) and in November for spring-summer crops.

Nursery practices

Approximately 250m2 area will be sufficient for raising the seedlings to plant one hectare. Generally, nursery beds are prepared in the size of 7.5 m long, 1-1.2 m wide, and 10-15 cm height. Well, decomposed farmyard manure is properly mixed into the top soil of the bed at the rate of 3 kg/ m2.

For raising healthy seedlings, seeds should be treated before sowing with captan or thiram @ 2g/kg of seed is essential. The seeds are sown in a bed either broadcasted or in a row, at a distance of 7.5 cm between the rows. After sowing, the beds are covered with a thin layer of dry grass or compost, thereafter the beds are irrigated with a rose can. Clipping of capsicum as well as chilli seedlings about 10 days prior to transplanting helps in the better establishment of transplanted seedlings and also accelerates the growth of auxiliary buds resulting in better branching. The seedlings will be ready for transplanting after 4 to 6 weeks of seed sowing.

Seed Rate:

 About 1.0-1.250 Kg of seeds are required to raise seedlings to plant one ha of land.

Preparation of field

The soil is brought to a fine tilth by repeated ploughing and harrowing. 25 tonnes of FYM/ha can be incorporated into the soil.

Spacing and transplanting

Chilli planting at a closer spacing gives a higher yield and spacing of 20X20cm, 30X30cm, 45X45cm, and 75X45cm, giving higher yields.

Bell pepper plant maximum fruit yields are got at a spacing of 45 X 45cm. A spacing of 60X30 with 55,000 plants/ha gave the highest yields of 12.3t/ha in capsicum cv. California Wonder.

Fertilizer and manures

Chilli and capsicum respond well to the application of fertilizers both under irrigation and rainfed condition. The nutrient requirements are mentioned below.




Irrigated (kg/ha)

Rainfed (kg/ha)

Irrigated (kg/ha)













 Generally, in chilli and capsicum 250-500 quintal/ha FYM, 350kg/ha Ammonium nitrate, 175kg/ha SSP and 100 kg/ha Potassium sulphate are applied to get a good yield.

A full dose of P and K and a half dose of N are to be applied at the time of transplanting and the remaining dose of nitrogen gives 35-40 days after transplanting.


In India, the major areas under chillies are mostly rainfed. Generally, in India 8 to 9 irrigation is given depending on rainfall, soil type, humidity, and prevailing temperature.

Weed control

Weed intensity is generally more in red soils than in black soils in the same locality. 2-3 shallow hoeing should be given to the soil to kill the weeds. Weedicides like Lasso @1.5 litre/ ha are also effective. The herbicides tried, Dephenamide, Trifluralin, EPTC, and Nitrofen had given good results in chilli crops. Various mulches such as sawdust, gravels, crop residues, plastic films, etc are used to control the weed population.

Use of chemicals and growth regulators

Chilli plant growth is known to be improved by the spraying of different growth regulators.

Name of the Chemical



NAA (Planofix)


Increased number of branches


10-100 ppm

Increased Fruit set



Increased branching


500-2000 ppm

Increased branching


20-200 ppm

Increased Fruit set


50-200 ppm

Increased Branching

Protected cultivation

Capsicums can be successfully grown either for fruits or for seed production using naturally ventilated poly cum net houses for off-season cultivation in areas where temperatures do not exceed 300C. Using misters or foggers to maintain slightly higher RH and marginally reduced temperature, fruit yields in the range of 30-35 t/ha and seed yield of > 1 kg/100 m2 are obtained.

Harvesting and yield

The crop is harvested for either green fruits or red ripe fruits by hand picking. The picking of green fruits continues for about 2 months at an interval of 10-12 days and they will be five to six pickings for green chillies and 3-4 for red ripe fruits.

The yield may be about 7 to 16 tonnes per hectare of green chillies and 12-20t/ha of non-pungent sweet capsicums or bell peppers. In the case of dry chillies the yield maybe 0.5-1.0t/ha of rainfed & 1.5-2.5t/ha in irrigated crops.


1. Anthracnose:-

Dark sunken spots are formed on fruits and pink or dark coloured dots appear in the centre of the sunken spots. Due to this spot the fruits rot and fall.


  • Seed treated with Cerasan before sowing.
  • Spraying at disease-affected crops with mancozeb (Diathane M-45) @ 2.5g per litre of water

2. Leaf Curl Virus:-

As a result of the disease, the leaf curl becomes deformed. The leaves cure towards the midrib and the plants become stunted the growth. And fruiting was also affected.


  • Soil application of carbofuran or Disultation at 1.5 kg/ha at 10 days interval reduces Bemisia tabaci population.

Insect Pest:

1. Aphid:

Aphids transmit virus disease and cause severe damage to the plant by sucking the sap.


  • Spraying with Parathion, Malathion to control the pest.

2. Pepper Weevil (Anthonomus eugenii):

Adults and larvae feed on the tender parts of the plant.


  • Remove all damaged or dropped fruit from the field as soon as you notice it.
  • Follow crop rotation.
  • Remove all weeds from your field
  • Keep pheromone-baited yellow sticky traps.

3. Thrips:-

 The small insects suck the sap from the foliage.


Spray malathion to control thrips.

Physiological disorders/constraints

Blossom end rot

A disorder of sweet pepper where water-soaked spots first appear on the blossom end of the fruit. The spots soon become light brown and papery as the lesions dry out. This disorder may occur due to

i) Sudden change in the rate of transpiration especially in moisture stress condition

ii) Continuously high evapotranspiration regime and a large leaf area

iii) Increasing level of nitrogen content in the fruits


  1. This disorder is decreased by increasing the frequency of irrigation
  2. Judicial fertilizer application. An increase in the level of phosphate fertilization application declines the incidence of this disorder.
  3. Liming decreases the incidence
  4. Single foliar spray of 0.5% calcium chloride (CaCl2) at the time of fruit development.


A disorder of sweet pepper, it occurs when the fruits are exposed to scorching sunlight. This disorder arises as a soft, light-coloured area in fruit that becomes slightly wrinkled. Plants having enough foliage are less prone to this disorder.

Skin cracking

A disorder of sweet pepper where cracking occurs around the shoulder of fruits. It is often associated with fluctuations in temperature and humidity. High day temperature and average RH increase the incidence of cracking.

Flower and fruit drop:

It is one of the major constraints in chilli cultivation. Flower and fruit drops may occur due to

(1) Low humidity and high-temperature conditions which result in excessive transpiration and water deficit in the plant and cause abscission of buds, flowers and small fruits

(2) decreasing light intensity

(3) Short day and high temperature and

(4) High temperature during early flowering stages.


  1. Irrigation at the flowering and fruit set stage helps in reducing blossom end rot and fruit drop.
  2. Foliar application of 50 ppm NAA at full bloom set stage effectively controls the drop.
  3. Foliar application of 20 ppm NAA at first flower opening followed by two sprays at an interval of 30 days increases fruit set.
  4. Application of Triacontanol (Vipul 1ml/ 2 litre of water) also markedly reduces flowers and fruit drops.