Bhut Jolokia – The World’s Hottest Pepper

Bhut Jolokia is the reigning world’s hottest pepper.  The most pungent tested over 1,000,000 Scoville Units.  That’s beyond hot!

I decided to grow some jolokia in my garden, along with some mustard habanero and some scotch bonnet peppers.  The ultimate comparison should be quite interesting!

About Bhut Jolokia

Bhut Jolokia, Hottest Pepper in the WorldThis nuclear-heat chile pepper is known by several names.  In addition to Bhut Jolokia, it’s also known as Naga Jolokia,  Nai Miris, Ghost Chili, Ghost Pepper and Naga Morich.  Yes, it’s a little confusing (to say the least).

This chile pepper comes from the Indian sub-continent, and thought to have originated in Northeast India, in Nagaland.

There’s been some controversy over this pepper; some say that the testing (done by 3 different labs) was hoaxed and nothing could top 1 million Scoville.  But, the Chile Pepper Institute, run by New Mexico State University, ran tests in 2005 and yes, it was over 1,000,000 Scoville.

In February 2007, Guinness World Records certified the Bhut Jolokia (Prof. Bosland’s of the Chile Pepper Institute’s preferred name for the pepper) as the world’s hottest chili pepper.

There’s a question if the jolokia pepper is a member of the capsicum chinense or capsicum frutenscens family.  I’m going to go with c. chinense, because the plant looks very similar to the Mustard Habanero plant I am growing in a different part of the garden. 

(You can read read my pepper types post for more information on the different species.)

Growing Bhut Jolokia

The seeds aren’t exactly cheap (I paid about $1 per seed), and I started 2 seeds.  Both sprouted, but one was felled by (I assume) the weather.  The other one is doing beautifully!

The photo above is about a week before I planted it in my new raised bed garden.  Since it’s been in the raised bed it has flourished and is a beautiful plant.  It’s just now starting to form some flower buds, and before the buds open, I am going to bag the blossoms, so I can be sure of having more seeds going forward.

I’ll be posting more about Bhut Jolokia, the world’s hottest pepper, in the future, especially once the peppers start to form.  And it will be quite interesting to compare it against my Mustard Habanero and Scotch Bonnet Early peppers.

Stay tuned!

18 Responses to Bhut Jolokia – The World’s Hottest Pepper

  • Alison says:

    So exactly what do you plan on doing with these? They must be too hot to eat…

  • Gail says:

    That’s certainly a reasonable question, Alison! I plan to dehydrate some of the peppers and grind them up very fine for a “hot pepper dust”. I little pinch is enough to flavor a dish.

    Also, one of my neighbors adores hot peppers, and eats scotch bonnets like candy. She’ll be getting quite a few of the jolokia peppers.

    And then of course I will be saving some of the seeds. :)

  • Gail says:

    Sadly, I don’t have any peppers available — just some seeds, as it’s about time for planting here. Thanks for asking, though!

  • Cooper says:

    I’m growing a Bhut Jolokia, as well. Currently the plant is about 22″ and I transferred it to a new larger pot, and lowered it in the soil about 3″ or 4″ for better stability. It started forming pods about a month ago, and blossoming about 2 weeks ago.

    From your experience when should I expect to see peppers forming?

    I’ve been doing as much research as I can about the best soil/nutrients, temp, light cycles, ect… to get the max heat possible. If, you have any tips I’d appreciate it. Thanks in advance.

  • Gail says:

    I didn’t see much in the way of peppers at first, but once my plant started really blossoming, I began to see tiny peppers a few days after the petals fell off the blossoms.

    Peppers like heat and don’t like to dry out too much, so lots of sunshine and warmth are your best bets for heat! And remember to let them turn really red before picking, so the peppers are at their hottest.

    Best wishes!

  • tristan says:

    What light cycles do these take for veg and flower for them to effectively grow them indoors

  • Gail says:

    Hi Tristian,

    While I am sure you can grow these indoors, they would require at least 16 hours, I would think. And likely the peppers would not be as hot as if they were grown outdoors in a hot climate. (On the other hand, these peppers are really hot, so that might not be a bad thing). For me, they grow most effectively when they get dappled shade in the afternoons, because the sun is really strong in South Florida in the summer (not to mention the heat and humidity). So to answer your question, they do like the sunlight, so as much natural sun as they can get, supplemented with gro lights to toal 16 hours should do it.

  • Jack Bethea says:

    Do you have any seed for sale now. I love pepper jelly and these would cut down on the amount it would take of the habanero to make batches. I’ll probably have to wait until next tear to grow them, since it’s so late in the season.

  • Gail says:

    Hi Jack,

    Thanks for asking, but I don’t have any seeds for sale at the moment. Just as an FYI, though, when I buy seeds a lot of time I go to ebay and/or Amazon to get my seeds (especially if they aren’t all that readily available at the usual places).

    Hope this helps!

    Gail

  • Jim says:

    FYI, be careful about buying bhut jalokia seed from Amazon. I bought 2 packs and they all turned out to be habaneros. Look at the ratings and you’ll see that a lot of others have gotten the same deal.

    Jim

  • Gail says:

    Hi Jim,

    Thanks for the reminder that it’s a good idea to check the ratings and comments when buying. I’ve bought off ebay without a problem (the bhut jolokia), and have bought other seeds from Amazon without issue. However, when looking for a special hard-to-find seed, it always pays to do homework.

    Gail

  • Vini says:

    Gail,
    I have a huge, over six feet bhut jolokia, more than two years old and it always puts out a bunch of peppers-I give them away, warning folks about the extreme heat. I live near Tokyo and move it into my small upstairs greenhouse during the winter. I also have a little baby, around two feet tall, that has its first couple of peppers now.

    I got my seeds from pepperjoes. If you can’t get any, I’d be happy to share.

    I also have a two year old, over six foot chocolate habanero in the greenhouse.

  • Roseanna says:

    Hi Gail,

    Last year I purchased a couple of orders of fresh Bhut Jolokias from a lady in Texas. I LOVE these peppers! I also bought ground powder on eBay and picked up some of Dave’s Ghost Pepper sauce! I am so addicted to Bhut Jolokias and have to put it on 99% of anything I eat! I even carry the hotsauce and a vial of the ground pepper in my purse! lol

    I live near Orlando and bought 4 plants this spring from a local nursery and also started a couple plants from seeds that I purchased from the Chile Pepper Institute. Yes, the seeds are pricey but I wanted to be sure I was getting the real deal. I too had heard that there are a lot of seeds sold on eBay that are not true Bhut Jolokia seeds.

    I’ve harvested hundreds of peppers from the plants I purchased from the nursery they look and smell like Bhut Jolokias (even have the little goose pimples on ‘em) but sadly the peppers are about as hot as a jalapeno. I’m guessing that the seeds they used to grow the plants must have been crossed from other chili plants. :(

    On the other hand, the plants I started from seeds are still a little too small to produce any peppers but I am hopeful that I should get some before the weather cools or hopefully next spring. :D

    I was wondering what you meant by “bag the flowers” in your comment; “It’s just now starting to form some flower buds, and before the buds open, I am going to bag the blossoms, so I can be sure of having more seeds going forward.” Do you cover the flower and stem with a plastic bag and tie it to prevent crossbreeding with another pepper?

  • Gail says:

    Hi Roseanna,

    You are partially correct. :) What I do is get some gauze bags (like you would find in a craft store) that are very, very fine, to prevent insects from cross-pollinating. Then I would put the bags over the flower and branch (picking off a few leaves if needed). if the bag has a drawstring, I’ll cinch it snuggly around where the branch joins the main stem. If there is no drawstring, an old piece of torn pantyhose (cut up into ribbons) or even a twist tie will work.

    I’ll only need to keep the bag on until I see that the flower has dropped its petals. After that I tag the branch with a piece of ribbon to remind myself which peppers have been bagged.

    I was fortunate on ebay to get some nice seeds (pricy, but good) a few years back, so I use those peppers to continue along with the seeds for new plants.

    Two things could be happening with your less-than-nuclear-hot peppers. First, they could have crossed with another pepper — it’s certainly possible. In addition, I sometimes find that normally super-hot peppers get “cooler” as the season wears on, especially if a plant has been producing heavily earlier in the season. But cooling to jalapeno-strength is cooler than I would expect. Could it be that it only seems that cool since you are so used to the heat of these wonderful jolokia peppers? :)

    Best wishes with your plants grown from seeds — it’s possible that they could last the winter and then start growing again next spring, but you will have to do some serious protection from the weather — I used to live in Orlando and I know how cold it can get in the winter. Keep them warm and with as much sunlight as possible and they may do dormant, and start to grow again in the spring.

    Gail

  • Roseanna says:

    Thank you so much for the info. I will put it to good use!

    I’m definitely not use to the Jolokia’s heat. I ate a whole Habanero about a month ago and quickly regretted that decision lol!I can’t imagine eating a whole Jolokia that is about 3 times hotter!

    I had been ordering fresh Jolokia’s from a lady in Texas before trying to grow my own. I’ll have to order some more from her again until my baby Bhuts start producing.

    Yes, Orlando weather…it gets too cold or too hot for plants! How crazy is it that we have to cover/uncover our plants and trees with comforters and blankets several times during winter to protect them? I plan on keeping the Bhuts in my bathroom with my orchids during the winter to keep in safe and warm. :)

  • john says:

    i live in nj and brought 2 plants in my house see how they do over winter

  • Andrew says:

    I guess Im lost. I think my peppers must had been crossed with something. theyre way too smooth. the bottoms look very pointed theyre the right length but i think they must be cooler. Ive tasted the pepper before but and the taste is the same, but again they dont seem as hot as i remember. maybe I am just used to eating them? I still need milk if I take to large of a bite but… Idk Im worried they may be crossed with a jalapeno or something. Can you tell by the leaves or something?

  • Gail says:

    Hi Andrew,

    It’s possible that it got crossed. I don’t know if they are seeds from peppers you grew, or seeds you bought, but crossing can easily happen. If you saved the seeds from your own garden and there were other peppers around (even in a neighbor’s garden, if you live in an area where houses/apartments are close to each other), you almost need to bag the blossoms for peppers you save.

    Another possibility is that they just didn’t develop as much capsaicin as usual. If your summer has been cooler or the sun isn’t as strong (more shade), they can be somewhat milder.

    Of course, it might be that you are used to them! Scotch bonnets don’t seem all that hot to me anymore…LOL.

    Best wishes!

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