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Researching growing jalapeños, I've seen people mention how water-starving your jalapeño plants can lead to spicier peppers. How true is this? If there's any truth to it, what tips can you provide about watering amounts? How much is too little? Does this vary by the growth stage of the plant?

What other factors affect the spiciness of peppers?

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    If heat is desired, why not just use a hotter pepper species? (scotch bonnet, etc) – Tim Jun 8 '11 at 19:45
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    Because different peppers taste different. Sometimes you want the flavors unique to a certain pepper and would be disappointed if it lacks kick. – JavadocMD Jun 8 '11 at 19:53
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Planting capsicum varieties that are hotter than jalapenos with other flowering plants on either side can aid in cross breeding. Similarly, this is also how one contrives a heat-less jalapeno.

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    This makes a lot of sense, and I have found that peppers will readily cross-pollinate, resulting in some interesting looking fruit! Come to think of it, this could be why my first Anaheims are disappointingly mild - they are planted next to sweet peppers. – winwaed Jun 8 '11 at 19:23
  • @Win that will do it. Also, High acidity is good for the plants, but I am unaware of whether it will impact scovilles. – mfg Jun 8 '11 at 19:26
  • Some of this genetic sharing occurs by highly specialized nitrogen converting bacteria in the soil also. – BrownRedHawk Aug 20 '15 at 17:35
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Pepper plants can survive short periods with very little water at all, but I find their fruit lose their structure and become soft. In other words it doesn't sound like a good idea.

Here in North Texas the locals tell me you need good hot weather for hot, spicy peppers. So that is something worth trying, although I find the fruits tend not to set during the hottest months of summer. (I usually grow sweet or mildly spicey varieties)

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