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indoor Growing Bhut Jolokia Indoor and succesfully setting fruit

Hi all
 
I hope this post helps anyone who has had similar problems growing Bhut Jokia peppers and hopefully answer some of those questions regarding causes of flower drop and lack of pollen from flowers.
 
I currently have an indoor grow room as I live in an apartment in the UK and weather is useless here, especially this summer (2015).
 
I have been growing pretty much all the superhot Chinense varieties this year under 200W PRAKASA COB LED lights in a few grow tents and have been extremely happy with the results.
 
Chinense Varieties:
 
Bhut Jolokia (Personal favourite)
Trinidad Moruga scorpion
Carolina Reaper
Cornish Naga (same as Dorset naga)
Naga Morich
Orange Habanero
Lucy
Katie (New British record holder)
Red Savina
 
I have tried to keep most varieties isolated once flowering to ensure true strain seeds although not always possible so Orange habs are in with Red Savina's etc. 
 
My Experiences:
 
All plants flourished under the LEDs and vegetative growth was great, then all varieties started to bud and flower.  This I was really pleased with and started hand pollinating although nothing was really happening.  I then noticed that 1 of the 4 Bhut Jolokia plants started to set a fruit, only the one, but I was very hopeful of a bountiful harvest.  As Bhut jolokia's are my favourite variety I was delighted but then to my disappointment nothing more was happening fast!
 
At first I was having major issues with flower drop and no setting fruit (apart from the single fruit on the Bhut as mentioned before) so I started to think of what the causes could be?  After a lot of googling and trawling through forums I found various advise and it made sense to me that humidity and temperature was the biggest factor of the flower drop.
 
So I went out and got a humidity and temperature gauge/meter and after leaving in one of the tents for a while I could see the humidity levels were very low in relation to where the chillies originate (India, Trinidad etc). 
 
As the LED lights do not give off excessive heat light HPS or MH I didn't have to worry about keeping temperature down so I just used a simple plastic spray bottle and misted the grow room periodically.  This worked for a bit but soon the humidity levels dropped again so I thought perhaps it would be better to spray the walls of the grow tent and sure enough it keeps the humidity level between 73 - 85%.  I only need to spray the walls a little every few days to keep it constant and is far cheaper than a humidifier or mister.  The new humidity solution now also keeps the temp constant between 70 - 85 degrees too.
 
Sure enough after a few days the Moruga's and Carolina Reapers responded to the higher humidity and started to set fruit like mad and I could see plenty of pollen from the flowers, although the Bhut Jolokia's were completely different. 
 
The Bhut Jolokias had the same humidity and temperature levels but the flowers just kept falling off and I'm talking shed loads, I know as I had to keep sweeping them off the floor of the tent!  :tear:
 
I ended up picking the single chilli from the plant to see if it encouraged fruit to set but it didn't, just kept dropping flowers.  This happened for a weeks, if not a month and I was at my wits end thinking I would never get them to fruit indoors, but the single pepper kept me thinking I must be doing something right, be patient. 
 
Sure enough after about 1.5 months of the plants flowering and hand pollinating every other day, less flowers were falling off and I finally started to see pollen from some of the flowers.  There didn't always appear to have visible pollen and as I work during the week was unable to ascertain exactly what time of day the flowers produced the pollen.  I then made it my quest to check all weekend and was able to see that between 11 am and 3 pm was the most productive time as the flowers opened right up, so I started the hand pollination during these periods.
 
Finally success, I started seeing fruit setting and I was delighted although with working was not able to perform this during the week.  The simple solution was to push the plants close together ensuring the branches were overlapping and then I used a small 6" clip on fan to blow across the top of the plants for a few hours of the day, primarily between 11 am and 2 pm.  This has worked a treat and the 4 plants are now fruiting like made although I'm still hand pollinating to increase my odds.
 
Final thoughts:
 
Bhut Jolokia are by far the hardest chilli I have grown and understanding how to grow them indoors successfully is a science in own right.  One piece of advice I read time and time again, was have patience and they will come good in the end and I completely agree. 
 
You must have patience with this variety, especially indoors, but humidity is the key to ensuring you get pollen and expect the flowers to be dropping for a good month or so but finally you will notice the majority of the flowers stay on the plant and hand pollinating becomes far easier.
 
Also remember to check certain times of the day for the flowers to be completely open as pollen production is at it highest at these times (usually between 11am- 3pm) so hand pollinate then.
 
Good luck with this variety, I'm certainly going to be growing loads more!! :party:
 
Will post some pictures soon of the grow rooms and the fruiting plants for anyone who is interested.
 
HB
 
 
 
 
 
This sounds about like my growing season, except outdoors! By Bhuts took forever to start producing. I was eating ripe reapers before the bhuts had pods bigger than my pinky finger!
 
nice, I'll be moving mine indoors very shortly and this info should help keep me happy through the winter months.
 
HotBhut, thanks for the observations.
 
It's not clear from your message: Were you providing fans to more the air in the tents?  Pepper should self-pollinate but I think air movement is crucial.
 
 
For humidity, put a humidifier in the room.  You know, the kind that your mom used when you got a chest cold.  (Or maybe your grandma.)
 
Originally I used a fan to circulate the air but stopped as it was drying the plants out too much.
This made no difference to the Bhut Jolokia's until I solved the issues with the flowers not producing pollen as obviously no pollen, no pollination, no fruit!
 
Once I solved the humidity issues I then had the fan on a timer to come on during 11am - 3pm and directed the flow over the top of the plants.  This I assumed would assist blowing the pollen to the other flowers as this is an indoor grow room. 
 
Most of the success has been through hand pollinating as Bhuts are tricky and I found that the usual chilli growing processes for pollination go out the window with this variety.
 
The conditions in the grow tents are all very similar and the other Chinense varieties (Morugas, Reapers, Habs etc) were fruiting like mad and producing loads of pollen so again no need for excessive fan usage. 
 
Hand pollinating is time consuming but can increase your yield ten fold so I will continue to do this, but the point of the post was more relevant to solving the Bhut Jolokia flower drop and flowers not producing pollen issues.  This seems to be common with Bhut jolokia so thought I would share.
 
The spray bottle works fine for me but did look at those humidity misters you mention.
 
Will add some pics soon.
 
HB
 
Okay here are some pics of mainly the Bhut Jolokia plants all grown under LEDs indoor.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
All the above are taken in my kitchen after removing one plant from Bhut Jolokia grow room, you see the amount of set fruit and the plant has been kept relatively small in a 3 litre pot.  This is the second fruit set after first harvest and are nearly ready, this is the results I got hand pollinating.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
All the above are the rest of the Bhut Jolokia's in grow room, doesn't do them justice as most chillies are hidden by folage.  In case you wonder what the purple tinge is on the leaves, it is just the light from the LED lamp as it is full spectrum COB.
 
See below a few pics of Trinidad Moruga Scorpion and Carolina Reapers, both fruiting still after two harvests so far.
 

 

 
And finally one of the lamps used
 

 
Let me know what you think
 
HB
 
This is a fantastic thread!! I was getting the very same problem with my setup. Insane vegetative but then crazy flower drop. It's very dry where I am. Humidity and patience is the answer.
 
20150315_154711_resized.jpg

 
 
I think you've convinced me to set up a grow tent good sir....
 
Wow.....
 
I have just started my first grow, no tent or grow room, no special lighting, I got nothing. I didnt top my plants because they are my first plants I have ever been able to grow taller than 2" so I was/am scared.
 
Nice bushy plant you got there in that 3 litres pot. What size the plant is? 60-70 cm?  How many plants you had in one tent?
As for your remark about best time to pollinate flowers, i think that depends on your lighting schedule. Or is your LED lamps always on?
 
   I had the same problem with my bhut under the LED. My fix was a more powerful led and one in which I could control the light settings. The light has three modes seedling, growth and fruit. I set it on fruit mode and hit the plant with some high phosphorus guano and got peppers in a snap.
 
Hi All
 
Really glad you like the post and hope it is providing some useful info!
 
The "Bhut Jolokia" plant on the kitchen side was from the grow tent and was topped at an early stage which obviously caused the bushy growth, this plant was around 60-70 CM high yes.
 
I use 2 x grow tents, this time one of which was for Bhut jolokia and Naga's and the other for Caroliner Reaper and Moruga scorpion peppers.
there were around 4 or 5 Bhut jolokia plants (all topped) and extremely bushy, each plant had a yield of around 40-50 peppers each so I had plenty at the end.  I had another 4 x Naga Morich on the other half of the tent although if you fill the tent with the same varieties or you are not worried about potential cross pollenation then I could fill with around 20 topped plants comfortably.
 
I also have a smaller tent which I used for Oranage Habs and Red Savina, which currently have Lucy and Katie (new British record) peppers growing in it.
 
I would always advise anybody to top there plants to ensure they bush out and produce a higher yield but the correct conditions are important and is probably better to practice until you are comfortable with growing peppers first.
 
The light cycle for all my LED lamps are 18 hours during veg cycle and then I usually decrease to 16 hours once the plants are mature and flowering as I found this promotes more buds forming.  So presumably the time I stated for hand pollenating would pretty much be same as the outside light conditions as my timers are in sync with normal daylight hours.
 
Wish you all luck.
 
HB
 
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