The Zimbabwe Bird Chili, as you can tell by its name, derives from Africa. In both Africa and Portugal this pepper is extremely popular because it is so spicy and flavorful. One of the most common dishes which includes this pepper is the Piri Piri Chili dish. Often times, the pepper is dried and then ground into powder to use to flavor food up.
The plant itself when it is fully grown has a oval-like bright red pepper shape and the plant is thin and long. It belongs in the Capsicum family and has the official scientific name of Capsicum frutescens. The pepper plant is considered to be annual/perennial depending on whichever one suits its environment better. Annual means that its life cycle is within a year while perennial is when its life-cycle is 3 or more.
The plant itself typically grows up to two feet. It typically yields a couple hundred fruits. It takes about 90 days for the plant to be mature, give or take a few. With this in mind, you must understand that this pepper is considered to be one of the slowest sprouting peppers. Give it time and do not lose hope too easily. The germination for the plant can be pretty erratic too which is why the sprouting is slow but give it at least 3 months. The plant is moderately difficult to grow which is why it needs a lot of care. It does not need as much care as many of the other pepper plants but constantly checking up on it and making sure it meets all of its pH levels, water levels, nutrient level, etc. will help the plants growth tremendously.
Ideal conditions are when the soil is moist and approximately 75 degrees Fahrenheit. A pH of the soil of around 7.5-8.5 is best. The final grown plant pepper is extremely spicy-just be careful. The plant should be lightly watered about two times a day-the key is not so much the amount you water but the dampness of the soil. It should be slightly damp but not wet or too dry. The sun exposure for the plant should be minimal but it should be exposed to the sun.
Too much sun will dry out the soil and the plant. If the sun is too hot, keep the plant inside. A heat incubator may be a good investment if you wanting to seriously breed this plant because you will have more control of the heat exposure for this delicate plant. Lastly, just make sure this plant is no where near the cold. It is too fragile to be frosted over. Overall, the plant is beautiful and a great addition to any garden or meal.
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Photo Credit: Feuer Chili