Peppers are a warm-season crop that is usually started from seed. Pepper plants need full sun and well-drained, fertile soil.
Find out how to grow peppers, including the best pepper plants to grow for your garden, plus tips on planting and caring for your pepper plants.
Why grow peppers?
Why grow peppers? The answer may surprise you. Peppers are not only a tasty addition to your meals, but they offer a host of health benefits as well. Below are few reasons to grow peppers.
1. Peppers improve digestion.
Peppers contain an enzyme called capsaicin, which is known to stimulate the digestive tract and help the body break down food more efficiently.
2. Peppers are good for your heart.
Capsaicin has also been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, both of which are risk factors for heart disease.
3. Peppers can help you lose weight.
Capsaicin is a thermogenic compound, meaning it helps to increase the body’s internal temperature. This can lead to a higher metabolism, which in turn can help you burn more calories and lose weight.
4. Peppers boost the immune system.
Vitamins A and C, both of which are found in peppers, are essential for a healthy immune system.
5. Peppers are anti-inflammatory.
Capsaicin has been shown to reduce inflammation throughout the body, as well as in the gut.
The best time to plant peppers.
The best time to plant peppers is in the spring, after the last frost has passed. Peppers need warm weather to thrive, so it’s important to wait until the temperatures are right before planting them.
If you live in an area with a short growing season, you can start your peppers indoors about six weeks before the last frost date.
Peppers grown indoors will need to be transplanted into the garden when the weather warms up. You need to make sure conditions are right before transplanting your pepper seedlings or they might get transplant shock.
What kind of pepper plant should you choose?
Not sure what kind of pepper plant you should choose? Check out our guide on the best types of pepper plants for your garden!
Types of Pepper Plants for Your Garden
1. Bell Peppers
Bell peppers are a type of pepper plant that is popular in many gardens. They are easy to grow and produce large, colorful peppers. Bell peppers come in many different colors, including red, yellow, orange, and green.
2. Jalapeño Peppers
Jalapeño peppers are a type of pepper plant that is popular in many gardens. They are easy to grow and produce large, flavorful peppers. Jalapeño peppers come in many different colors, including green, red, and yellow.
3. Cayenne Peppers
Cayenne peppers are a type of pepper plant that is popular in many gardens. They are easy to grow and produce large, spicy peppers. Cayenne peppers come in many different colors, including red, yellow, and orange.
4. Habanero Peppers
Habanero peppers are a type of pepper plant that is popular in many gardens. The habanero (Capsicum chinense) is a hot chili pepper. Unripe habaneros are green, and they turn red, orange, white, or brown as they mature. It is one of the hottest peppers in the world, rated 100,000–350,000 on the Scoville scale.
5. Ghost Peppers
The ghost pepper (Bhut jolokia), also known as the Bhut Jolokia, is an interspecific hybrid chili pepper cultivated in Northeast India.
In 2007, Guinness World Records certified that the ghost pepper was the world’s hottest chili pepper, 400 times hotter than Tabasco sauce. Ghost peppers are used as a food ingredient in Indian and Nepali cuisine.
How to plant your pepper plant.
Planting your pepper plant is easy, but there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure your plant thrives.
First, start with healthy pepper seeds or seedlings. If you’re planting more than one pepper plant, make sure to space them out so they have room to grow.
Second, make sure the soil you’re planting in is well-drained and rich in organic matter. Peppers need a lot of nutrients to grow, so adding some compost or manure to the soil before planting is a good idea.
Finally, water your pepper plants regularly, especially during the hot summer months.
If you give your pepper plant the right care, you’ll be rewarded with a bountiful harvest of delicious peppers.
Caring for your pepper plant.
You’ve finally done it. You’ve started your own pepper plant from a little seedling. Now what? How do you care for your pepper plant to ensure a bountiful harvest of peppers? Here are a few tips.
Space Pepper Plants Properly
Depending on the variety of pepper plants you are growing, you will need to space the plants 12 to 24 inches apart. It’s best to grow pepper plants in rows spaced 2 feet apart.
If you plan on growing more than one row, then place the rows 3 to 4 feet apart. You may have to reduce the spacing of your plants if you are planting them in containers.
Pruning Your Pepper Plant
Pruning is a good idea to keep your plant from becoming unruly and also to increase its yield. Once your plant has reached 12 inches tall, cut it back by about half that size.
When your plant blooms for the first time, remove any flower buds. Doing this will encourage the growth of healthier leaves.
Give Your Pepper Plant Lots of Light
First, your pepper plant needs lots of light. If you’re growing your plant indoors, place it in a sunny window or under grow lights.
Peppers need at least six hours of sunlight per day. If you’re growing your pepper plant outdoors, make sure it gets full sun for most of the day.
If you live in an area with very hot summers, you may want to provide some afternoon shade for your pepper plants.
If your pepper plants do not receive enough sunlight, you might end up getting leggy pepper plants.
So it’s very important that your pepper plants get the amount of exposure to light, preferably sunlight, they need.
Make Sure Your Pepper Plant Has Good Drainage
Next, make sure your pepper plant has good drainage. Peppers won’t tolerate soggy soil. You may need to add perlite or vermiculite to your potting mix to ensure proper drainage.
Pepper plants do best in well-drained soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. Add some organic matter to the soil before planting. Compost or well-rotted manure are good choices.
Also, always make sure your pot has drainage holes so water can drain out if you are growing your pepper in containers.
Water Your Pepper Plant Regularly
Your pepper plant needs regular watering. Pepper plants need about 1 inch of water per week. The best way to water your plant is to water deeply once or twice a week, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings.
Never let your pepper plant be deprived of water. If you see your pepper plant wilting, that is a sign that it needs water. Check the soil to see if it is dry and give your plant a good watering.
The best way to water your pepper plant is to use a soaker hose. This type of hose releases water slowly and evenly, so your plant can take in as much water as it needs without getting too much at once.
If you have a lot of pepper plants, using a soaker hose can save you a lot of time and effort. You won’t have to water each plant individually, and you can set the hose up once and forget about it until your plants need more water.
To use a soaker hose, simply attach it to a faucet or hose and place it next to your pepper plants. Turn the water on to a slow trickle and let it run for a few hours. Check on your plants periodically to make sure they’re not getting too much water.
If you don’t have a soaker hose, you can still water your pepper plants effectively with a regular hose or watering can. Just be sure to water slowly and evenly, so the roots have a chance to absorb the water.
When to fertilize your pepper plant.
Pepper plants need to be fertilized regularly in order to produce bountiful harvests. The best time to fertilize your pepper plant is after it has been transplanted and before it begins to flower.
You can use either an organic fertilizer or compost to fertilize your pepper plant. Be sure to follow the instructions on the fertilizer package to ensure that you are applying the correct amount.
Pepper plants need lots of nitrogen, so be sure to feed them an organic fertilizer with a high nitrogen content.
Feed your plants once a week when they are blooming, and then reduce the feeding to every other week after they have stopped blooming.
With proper care and fertilization, your pepper plant will thrive and produce a delicious crop of peppers.
How to deal with pests and diseases.
Pests and diseases can cause serious damage to your plants. Here are some tips on how to deal with them.
1. Inspect your plants regularly for signs of pests or diseases.
2. If you find any, remove them immediately and dispose of them properly.
3. Treat your plants with an appropriate pesticide or fungicide.
4. Keep your gardening tools clean.
5. Don’t over-water your plants.
6. Mulch your plants to help prevent pests and diseases.
7. Avoid using too much fertilizer.
8. Rotate your crops to avoid pests and diseases.
9. Plant resistant varieties of plants.
10. Contact your local extension office for more information on dealing with pests and diseases.
Harvesting your pepper plant.
It’s easy to forget about your pepper plant until you’re in the middle of cooking and realize you’re out of peppers. Then you remember that you never harvested them!
Here’s a quick guide on how to harvest your pepper plant so you can enjoy fresh peppers all year long. Wait until the peppers are ripe before harvesting. You can tell when a pepper is ripe by its color. Red, orange, and yellow peppers will be the brightest when they are ready to be picked. Follow these steps to pick your pepper.
1. Look for peppers that are the brightest color.
2. Cut the stem close to the pepper.
3. Gently pull the pepper off of the plant.
Thats it. You successfully picked your ripe peppers. If you had a bountiful harvest, definitely there will be a need to store the remaining ones after using the ones for your meal.
How To Store Your Harvested Pepper.
Pepper can be kept indoors on a windowsill or outdoors in a sunny spot. If you plan on storing your peppers, here are a few tips on how to do so. When storing indoors, place your peppers in a cool, dry place. If storing outdoors, keep your peppers in a sunny spot. You can also store your peppers in the fridge for up to two weeks.
If you plan on storing your peppers for an extended period of time, you can freeze them. First, wash and slice your peppers.
Next, spread them out on a baking sheet and place them in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer the peppers to a freezer-safe bag or container. Frozen peppers will last for up to six months.
Recipes You Can Prepare Which Include Pepper
Peppers are a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of recipes. They can be added to stews and soups, or used as a standalone vegetable dish.
Peppers can also be used in salads, sandwiches, and wraps. In addition, peppers can be pickled, roasted, or stir-fried.
There are many different types of peppers, including bell peppers, jalapeños, and habaneros. Peppers can be mild, medium, or hot, depending on the variety.
When choosing peppers for your recipes, be sure to select the appropriate variety for the dish you’re preparing.
To grow your own peppers, you’ll need to start with pepper seeds. You can plant the seeds indoors in pots about 6-8 weeks before the last frost date for your area.
Once the seedlings have grown to be about 4 inches tall, you can transplant them outdoors. Be sure to choose a spot in your garden that gets plenty of sunlight and has well-drained soil.
Water your pepper plants regularly, and fertilize them every few weeks. Once the peppers have grown and turned red, yellow, or orange, they are ready to harvest.
Cut the peppers from the plant, and enjoy them fresh, roasted, or in any of your favorite recipes.
5 Dishes That Include Pepper as an Ingredient
There are many dishes in which pepper is included as part of the ingredients. Five of them are listed below.
- Peppercorn-Crusted Beef Tenderloin
- Spicy Pepperoni Pizza
- Grilled Salmon with Pepper Jack Cheese
- Roasted Red Pepper Soup
- Pepper-Crusted Chicken
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. I just purchased a young bell pepper plant and it has flowers on it. Should I pull the flowers off in order to get larger bell peppers?
A. It depends. Experiment with some of your pepper plants to see what best works for you. Some gardeners however have found success pinching off flowers from young pepper plants before transplanting same.
Q. Is it okay to plant hot peppers next to sweet peppers?
A. Yes. They make good companion plants.
Q. Are tall, leggy pepper plants okay? Should I stake them to prevent breakage from the wind?
A. Yes, especially when you find yourself in a windy area.
Q. How deep do I need to plant pepper plants in the ground during transplanting?
A. When transplanting pepper plants, you should plant them deep enough so that the top leaves are just poking out of the soil.