Before newer, hotter cultivars began to challenge each other almost every year for the record of being the hottest chili, the bhut jolokia (bih jolokia) was at the top of the list for a relatively long time (2007-2011). The plant originally comes from the Assam region in India and is a naturally-developed hybrid of the two species Capsicum chinense and Capsicum frutescens. Scores of different names are used online to describe the bhut jolokia pepper, including bih jolokia, naga jolokia, naga morich, rajan mircha, however, essentially they all refer to the same species, it is simply called by a slightly different name in a different region or is a regional variation of the same cultivar. It was grown and used in north-eastern India for many years before it became famous.
In 2005, investigations by the Chile Pepper Institute resulted in a heat level of 1,001,304 SHU, making the bhut jolokia the very first chili pepper to exceed the magical one million mark.
The elongated bhut jolokia chili peppers ripen from green through orange to a bright red, they have a rough, uneven surface and a fruity, aromatic flavour. When growing, they require a lot of warmth, whilst at the same time the peppers have a very long maturation period, meaning that around 160 days can pass by between planting the seeds and harvesting the fruits.
Care: Germination temperature is between 22°C and 28°C (germination period: 8-21 days); it is therefore recommended to use a greenhouse and a heating mat. The plants need fresh, well-fertilised, permeable soil, and do not tolerate waterlogging. They should be planted in a sunny, protected place with at least 6 hours of sunlight – preferably more. Put the plants outside approx. 2 to 3 weeks after the last frost. As the plants have a particularly long maturation period, it is recommended to grow them in a pot, so that you can easily bring the plant inside when the temperature falls below 12°C during the day, allowing all the fruits to ripen. To keep the plant over the winter, cut it back by 20cm after harvesting and place in a light place where it is at least 15°C.