Peppers

bell peppers

Peppers are a tender, warm-season crop. They resist most pests and offer something for everyone: spicy, sweet or hot, and a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. For this page, we will focus on sweet bell peppers.

  • Botanical name: Capsicum annuum
  • Plant type: Vegetable
  • Sun exposure: Full Sun
  • Soil type: Loamy
  • Soil pH: Neutral

Planting

  • Start seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before last spring frost date.
  • The temperature must be at least 70 degrees F for seed germination, so keep them in a warm area for the best and fastest results.
  • Start pepper seeds three to a pot, and thin out the weakest seedling. Let the remaining two pepper plants spend their entire lives together as one plant. The leaves of two plants help protect peppers against sunscald, and the yield is often twice as good as two segregated plants.
  • Begin to harden off plants about 10 days before transplanting.
  • A week before transplanting, introduce fertilizer or aged compost in your garden soil.
  • After the danger of frost has passed, transplant seedlings outdoors, 18 to 24 inches apart (but keep paired plants close to touching.)
  • Soil should be at least 65 degrees F, peppers will not survive transplanting at temps any colder. Northern gardeners can warm up the soil by covering it with black plastic.
  • Put two or three match sticks in the hole with each plant, along with about a teaspoon of fertilizer. They give the plants a bit of sulfur, which they like.

Care

  • Soil should be well-drained, but maintain adequate moisture either with mulch or plastic covering.
  • Water one to two inches per week, but remember peppers are extremely heat sensitive. If you live in a warm or desert climate, watering everyday may be necessary.
  • Fertilize after the first fruit set.
  • Weed carefully around plants.
  • If necessary, support plants with cages or stakes to prevent bending. Try commercially available cone-shaped wire tomato cages. They may not be ideal for tomatoes, but they are just the thing for peppers.
  • For larger fruit, spray the plants with a solution of one tablespoon of Epsom salts in a gallon of water, once when it begins to bloom, and once ten days later.

Pests

  • Aphids
  • Flea Beetles
  • Cucumber Mosaic Virus
  • Blossom End Rot appears as a soft, sunken area which turns darker in color.
  • Pollination can be reduced in temperatures below 60F and above 90F.
  • Too much nitrogen will reduce fruit from setting.

Harvest/Storage

  • Harvest as soon as peppers reach desired size.
  • The longer bell peppers stay on the plant, the more sweet they become and the greater their Vitamin C content.
  • Use a sharp knife or scissors to cut peppers clean off the plant for the least damage.
  • Peppers can be refrigerated in plastic bags for up to 10 days after harvesting.
  • Bell peppers can be dried, and we would recommend a conventional oven for the task. Wash, core, and seed the peppers. Cut into one-half-inch strips. Steam for about ten minutes, then spread on a baking sheet. Dry in the oven at 140 degrees F (or the lowest possible temperature) until brittle, stirring occasionally and switching tray positions. When the peppers are cool, put them in bags or storage containers.

Recommended Varieties

Look for varieties that ripen to their full color quickly; fully mature peppers are the most nutritious—and tastier, too!

  • Green to Red: ‘Lady Bell’, ‘Gypsy,’ ‘Bell Boy,’ ‘Lipstick’
  • Yellow: ‘Golden California Wonder’

Wit & Wisdom

The popular green and red bell peppers that we see in supermarkets are actually the same thing; the red peppers have just been allowed to mature on the plant longer, changing color and also gaining a higher content of Vitamin C.

There are many types of peppers that can be grown in the garden. So many, in fact, that you are certain to find one that suits your particular needs, even if it’s in a container. The care of pepper plants is easy once you know how to handle common pepper plant problems that are likely to crop up. To avoid most pepper plant problems, we have included lots of handy information for growing peppers successfully. Keep reading to learn all about the care of pepper plants and the different types of peppers you can grow.

what is eating holes in my pepper plant leaves

What Is Eating Holes In My Pepper Plant Leaves: Remedies to Know About

You’re growing your pepper plant successfully and see some fruits sprouting out… Awesome! But wait, what do you see? Holes on your pepper leaves? This...
tiny black spots on pepper leaves

Tiny Black Spots on Pepper Leaves and How to Get Rid Of Them!

Growing peppers is fairly easy but even with the tender loving care and the ideal environment, there may be uncontrollable issues. One of them...
how to tell what kind of pepper plant you have

How to Tell What Kind of Pepper Plant You Have: The 6 Proper Steps

Growing and harvesting peppers don't need to be tough, though you will need to learn how to identify your pepper plants. This will teach...
tomato pepper hybrid

What Is a Tomato Pepper Hybrid? Let’s Talk About Cross-Pollination!

What’s very interesting about gardening is that you can combine various seeds and plants to make a hybrid? This can happen when you start...
why do pepper seeds take so long to germinate

Why Do Pepper Seeds Take So Long to Germinate? The Answers Revealed

The first step to planting pepper seeds is having it germinate. The germination time varies greatly for peppers, so if it takes longer than...
planting tomatoes and peppers together

Planting Tomatoes and Peppers Together: Is It Possible?

Are you familiar with companion planting? This is where you would grow certain plants next to each other, with them forming some kind of...
how much sunlight do pepper plants need

How Much Sunlight Do Pepper Plants Need? Learn to Care For Them Well!

A lot of us gardeners know that warmer soil and air can help give us even better and hotter peppers! That’s why we want...
why are my pepper plant leaves turning yellow

Why Are My Pepper Plant Leaves Turning Yellow? Stop Discolor!

A lot of us love to grow peppers because of their low maintenance and cost-effectiveness. But what happens when you notice that their leaves...