Hello to everyone. I have started a new chili pepper project. PaulG who is very active on theHotPepper forum sent me a new variety of chili pepper called Purple Thunder plus 2 different Bhut Jalokia variant's. That just means Bhut Jalokia with different colored pods. I saw his Purple Thunder project on theHotPepper forum and contacted him. He sent me some seed so we could see how it does in Panama. Paul lives in Oregon. Paul starts his plants indoors and mentioned to me that he has to keep his plant inside for the first 5 months. This plant is a slow grower and does not tolerate cool temperatures well. What is Purple Thunder you might be asking? Well, its the name of the variety obviously. Paul was growing a hybrid variety that his friend Trippa sent him from New Zealand. The hybrid was a cross between Pimenta de Neyde and Bonda Ma Jacques. You can google these 2 variety's if you would like. This variety was crossed with his Hybrid Red Bhut Jalokia. And, Purple thunder was born. You can see more information on how this variety was developed to its present stage on TheHotPepper forum. Purple Thunder is an f-4 at this stage. It will be completely stabilized after f-8 is grown out.
These are a few foto's of very young seedlings. I planted the seed on 29 Dec 2019. Germination started in about 9 days. The purplish seedlings are Purple Thunder. The very green seedlings are Bhut Jalokia. They were planted in large 10 gallon pots and there will be 2 in each pot. These plants can grow very large I am pretty sure if grown in the ground or if one plant is grown in a 10 gallon pot. The first time around I am going with 2 specimans per pot. Plants will be smaller. I will periodically take fotos and add it to this post so you can keep up with the progress of these plants. It should be interesting. This type of pepper is rare in the USA and also in Panama. I have been advised that these peppers are spicey. If we are successful with this trial we will find out.
I decided to include a link to PaulG's Glog, or, grow log that is located at theHotPepper forum. It is correct and proper to give credit where credit is due here. PaulG is the developer of this new chili pepper. I highly recommend that you go to this Glog and read over it if you are interested in Purple Thunder or pepper breeding in general. PaulG uses a very good camera. His foto's are incredible. He is also a very competent gardener.
The appeal of this pepper to me is the plants color. Purple. Absolutely beautiful. The peppers themselves vary in color.
It isn't going to be easy for me to grow plants as beautiful as PaulG's plants. I am using poor quality yard dirt in large pots to grow this chili. My climate is harsh. Extreme heat and humidity-some of the most extreme in the world. Right now it is super windy outside. It sucks the water right out of the pots and plants. This will be an extreme trial for Purple Thunder.
Also, here in Panama we have an extreme short day length. We discussed this more in depth on the AfricanX okra thread but it needs to be mentioned here as well. Day length is less than 12 hours almost every day of the year due to Panama's proximity so near the equator. Day length does indeed affect the growth cycle of all plants. This trial is very important actually for Purple Thunder. How does Purple Thunder respond to life in Short day land? Is Purple Thunder photoperiod sensitive? My money is on Purple Thunder thriving in Panama's climate but only time will tell. After all, where does Bhut Jalokia come from? Well, somewhere in India. And, Bhut Jalokia is famous for its love of extremely humid hot climate. So, that is in our favor. I should google Bhut Jalokia and see where it comes from exactly and check on the day length in that province of India. Bet its a short day climate though.
PaulG says this about Bhut Jalokia-The Bhut Jolokia comes from Assam, India. Sometimes the varieties are called Naga Jolokia, or other names with Naga in them, but they are all variants of the same type.
I also know this much. There are 2 basic pod styles of Bhut Jalokia. Smooth skinned. And, mottled skinned. Bhut Jalokia is a naturally occurring cross. I guess that just means that someone found this plant growing in the yard and tried a pod, got torn up from the floor up, liked it, and Bhut Jolokia was born.
I have also read where Labs have done tests. Apparently some sites say that Bhut Jalokia is a mix of C Annuum and C chinense. Some say its a mix of C Frutescens and C Chinense. I don't have any other definitive information on this pepper. It has been grown and eaten in India for several century's. The West was introduced to it in 2002 or there abouts.
The other 2 pepper variety's that make up this cross.
Bonda de Jacques-this is a beautiful yellow bonnet pepper that comes from French Antilles. It is spicey-about as hot as a Jamaica Scotch Bonnet. Its a C Chinense.
Pimento De Neyde-is a purple colored pepper plant that a lady somewhere in Brazil found growing in her back yard. The peppers are also purple in shading and coloring. Peppers are spicey but not as spicey as the Bonda de Jacques. This variety is grown primarily as an ornamental plant. I love the color of these plants. Also a C Chinense.
These foto's of several Bhut Jalokia variety's was taken today, 1.25.2020. About 13 days has passed since the first foto's. This is a stressful time since the weather is exceedingly hot now and the sun is intense. I have given these seedlings as much shade as I dare. I planted these seedlings in yard dirt. Mixed with a small amount of organic material. The soil is probably acidic. Somewhat mucky and drainage is probably not so great. I am stressed out with these seedlings because I have never grown Bhut's or Bhut Variants before. This is a mix of variety's. The little seedlings germinate slow and grow slow. Some seem to practically not grow at all. I dare not thin the plants out yet. Some may die. Some look fairly good. Once the seedlings look like they are out of the woods I will thin to 2 plants per pot. Next year I may have to just grow 1 plant in each pot depending on how they look this go round. This is an experimental trial. I have no idea if these plants are going to do well in Panama in the conditions I have given them. I have not fertilized hardly at all. I did give them a lite shot of water soluble fertilizer a few days ago. I am afraid to give them much. One little bad decision could kill these seedlings. Its touch and go.
This foto shows my row of experimental Bhut Jalokia plants. PURPLE THUNDER they are called. Some are 100% Bhut Jalokia so it is a mix. I am trying to imagine what they will look like later. Will they survive the harsh conditions?
Very windy outside. Not the best photo's but its the best I can do. This is a mix of different crosses and 2 different colors of Bhut Jalokia peppers. All the peppers have Bhut Jalokia in them. It has been hot and windy all month. Highs about 34 C or 94 F. Very hot at night also. I have to watch these plants now and make sure they have moisture since they are very small seedlings. Growing very slow. Plants are about 6 or 7 inches tall. Now over a month old.
The purple fades in the super hot sun. Its just a hunch, but I don't believe that the purple color gives the plants the same level of protection that the green color provides for the plants. I have the plants where they can get at least 2 or 3 hours of direct sun each day. Its during about 1230 to 230pm or there abouts. The plants are struggling in my weather conditions. But, it does appear they will survive. Growth rate is painfully slow and wind is very persistant. I have fertilized. I won't add fertilizer again for awhile. I don't want to burn them up.
Bhut Jolokia grows so slow for me that I thought I would web surf and maybe learn something about where this pepper comes from and a little bit about its history. This is the best article I have seen on this King Naga chili.