Growing Tips: Shishimai

Learn how to grow this Shishito pepper, which is named after the Japanese version of the lion dance, as the head of the pepper is said to resemble a lion! This seasonally grown sweet and small capsicum is typically grown in the warmer months as flowering temperatures are between 72 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Germination

When germinating any pepper plant, the seeds should be sown straight into seedling/transplant trays, then transplanted once established. Note: It is not recommended to direct seed peppers.

When germinating Shishimai seeds, just like any other pepper, it is very important not to overwater as this can create hardening of the soil. This can cause a crust-like layer to form above the seed that in turn, prevents it from germinating. 

Once the first true leaves have been established, intermittent watering schedules can start. 

Transplanting

Before transplanting, the plants could need anywhere between 55 to 65 days before they are ready depending on temperatures and the season.

Once the Shishimai roots are well-established, you can safely pull them from the plastic tray with care, transplanting the plant into the soil at 12” inches apart. 

When transplanting, it is important to make sure that the plug and stem are planted deep in the soil all the way up to the plant’s first true leaves. 

Cultivation

Make sure to apply a thorough amount of water but not too much, as pepper plants tend to go dormant if they are overwatered. 

After transplanting, shock may occur causing your plants to turn somewhat yellow in color. Don't worry, after ten to fourteen days they will regain their green and start growing again.

Once the plant has been transplanted it typically takes 65 to 75 days before fruiting. During that time, it is important to maintain the planting beds, keeping competition from weeds down, and managing pests and insects. 

It's also important to prune. Once the first flowers have bloomed, prune back the first three to five flowers in order to promote more plant growth and thicker canopy, allowing higher-yielding Shishimai plants. Pruning is very important because Shishimai will flower repeatedly during their lifecycle… as long as they are continually harvested as fruit!

Harvesting

Healthy fruit sizes will be anywhere between three to five inches when ready to harvest, with a deep green color. 

It's important to harvest as soon as they reach that size, as over-mature fruits will turn red and can become hot and spicy, rather than sweet and mild.
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