Habanero peppers are one of the world's hottest peppers. They take a while to ripen after you transplant them or grow them from seeds. The peppers turn from green to red or orange when they ripen. Habanero peppers thrive in hot weather and acidic soil. The peppers do not require much water. In fact, too much water can cause the produce to have a bitter flavor. While the peppers are very hot in flavor, they are also rich in vitamin C. You can create salsa with the peppers or add them to your favorite dish to add a spicy flavor.
Grow the peppers when the threat of frost passes, because they do not tolerate the frost. Habanero plants require temperatures between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit before they produce peppers. Habaneros can often tolerate higher temperatures during the daytime. Remove small flowers until the plants become established if you are growing them from transplants. Water the plants only once a week to stress the plants to produce the hottest peppers. Watering the plants more often will create milder peppers.
Inspect the habanero peppers between 100 to 120 days after you plant them. The time it takes for the peppers to ripen will depend on sunlight, water and soil conditions. Habanero peppers will remain green when they sprout on the plants, but they will change in color when it gets closer to harvest time. Check on the habanero peppers daily to determine when they are ready for harvesting.
Habanero peppers will transform from green to red or orange in color. You will no longer notice any green on the peppers when they ripen completely. Inspect the size of the habanero peppers. Peppers that are three-quarters inch or larger in diameter are ready for harvest because they have reached the desired size. Harvest the habanero peppers as they ripen so that the plant can dedicate its energy into producing new peppers.
Wear gloves when handling the habanero peppers to prevent irritation to your skin or eyes. Cut the habanero peppers from the plants with pruning shears. Cut the peppers off at the stem, leaving up to an inch of the stem attached to the peppers. Avoid pulling or tearing the peppers from the plant, because you can damage it. Store the harvested peppers in a paper bag in the refrigerator crisper drawer. Wash the habanero peppers off with cool water before you use them.