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Peppers Planting Guide

Peppers add spice to your garden and to your cooking. Sweet or hot, they are so handy to have ready to harvest from your garden for your favorite dishes and they are honestly quite easy to grow. Whether you enjoy the crisp crunch of a sweet bell Pepper or the five-alarm fire of a sriracha, there’s a Pepper for every palate. Read on to get all the guidance you’ll need to grow and pick a peck of Peppers!

Success Snapshot

PLANTING
DEPTH

Pre-Potted; At Soil Line

WATER
QUANTITY

Moderate

SUNLIGHT
QUANTITY

Full Sun

PLANTING
PROXIMITY

18-24 in.

BLOOM
SEASON

Species Dependent; Harvest when ready in Summer

HARDINESS
ZONES

Grow as Annual

Where to Plant Peppers

Plant Peppers in full sun in well-draining soil. Although Peppers love a long, warm growing season, in really hot, dry climates, they will appreciate some afternoon shade.


When to Plant Peppers

Plant Peppers in the spring when the danger of frost has passed, and soil temperatures are regularly above 55℉.


How to Plant Peppers

  • Find a location with full sun and well-draining soil. If you notice that water still puddles 5 to 6 hours after a hard rain, it's best to find a different spot or plant in a raised bed or container.
  • Plant your Peppers as soon as possible after they arrive. If you can’t plant immediately, make sure to give them a drink of water and set them somewhere out of direct sun and wind until you can get them planted.
  • Dig a hole the same depth as the nursery container. Remove the plant from the container and set in the hole. If the roots look compacted, it’s okay to gently loosen them a bit. Fill the hole with soil and tamp down firmly.
  • Water thoroughly after planting to settle the soil around the roots.

How to Grow Peppers

  • Water at least once a week, more often in warm weather; 1” of water at a time is a good estimate. Drip irrigation or soaker hoses help get the water right at the roots with minimal evaporation and reduce the spread of diseases like powdery mildew.
  • Add a light mulch of compost to the surrounding soil to improve drainage, reduce evaporation, and keep competing weeds at bay.
  • Apply a balanced fertilizer or fish emulsion solution after the plants are established but before they set blossoms. Apply a second feeding around mid-season.

Pepper Tips & Tricks

  • Plant Peppers in containers or raised beds if your garden soil is slow to warm up in the spring.
  • Lay down black plastic sheeting around the plants to keep the soil warm in milder climates. That extra heat can really help the roots develop.
  • Provide stakes or cages to support plants that bear larger Peppers.
  • Watch for signs of damage from pepper weevils, aphids, or other insects. Floating row covers can help keep pests away.
  • Harvest sweet Peppers when they are green or fully colored. The flavor will develop more as the color changes.
  • Harvest hot Peppers once they have fully ripened on the plant, with the exception of poblanos and jalapenos, which can be harvested when green. Peppers must be completely ripe if they are to be dried, or else they will rot.
  • Remember that as members of the same plant family as tomatoes and potatoes, the leaves and stems are highly toxic, so only eat the Peppers!