Chillies are not only good to eat!

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Chillies are stunning in a simple wooden container. Chillies are stunning in a simple wooden container. Chillies make great gifts for all occasions, gifts you can easily make at home and which don’t cost the earth either!  To make them special requires only a little flair of your own, so let your imagination run wild and use whatever items you have around the house that can be re-cycled. Red chillies are perfect gifts to give for Christmas, and here a wooden crate is decorated with a red ribbon, but once the chillies are added the magic happens – it’s just that simple!

Next time you visit your local garden centre and spot those little herb pots with chillies in full fruit, grab three or four to take home. Planting two or three of these little plants together in one container will give you the best effect, but even a single plant in an interesting container can be enchanting. You might want to add a couple of extra plants to your trolley for yourself too, because you won’t want to part with all your creations once they are done.

If cared for correctly, potted chillies in full fruit will look good for a couple of months before the fruits begin to shrivel up – outlasting any fresh bouquet!  Plus you can pick them occasionally to add to dishes, so place them near the kitchen or outdoors entertainment areas.

When the plants are in full fruit they will last longer outdoors if the pots are placed in morning sun and afternoon shade, or semi-shade throughout the day. Remember, small containers dry out quickly, so water regularly, especially on very hot summer’s days. Indoors, they can be positioned in a warm room where they receive good light, and even a bit of sunshine, through light curtains.  One or two additional feedings with a liquid fertiliser won’t do any harm either, but is not really necessary. Once the fruits start to shrivel, you can harvest them to dry and use as chilli flakes, and, don’t forget to save some seeds to sow in the garden or into pots next summer.

Whether your budget is tight, or you really want to splurge on a special friend, making your own living gifts can be a lot of fun, and people appreciate it so much more if they know you created it yourself. So, next time you have some spare time and want to get outdoors for a while and have some fun - visit your garden centre to select whichever plants get your creative juices going!