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How to Grow Pepper Plants

Peppers have always been one of the most popular vegetables in the home garden. Growing pepper plants is easy. Sweet bell peppers, and many hot peppers, are native to Central and North America. A wide range of hot pepper varieties are also native to Asia, most notably Thailand and China.

It used to be that any grower who liked peppers, would plant several sweet green bell pepper plants in their garden. Several weeks later, they would harvest some great tasting fruit. There were no difficult decisions about the variety.

Today's gardeners have the opportunity to select between a tremendous array of choices. You can pick sweet or hot. When it comes to hot, there are varying degrees of heat. The debates rage, as to which variety is the hottest pepper. Varieties from Mexico, China and Thailand are the hottest to be found.

You also get to select color. There are a wide variety of colors to choose from, versus the "plain old green" ones, which were the only choices your parents and grandparents had to choose from. There are a number of yellow, red, and orange colors. There is even a variety with a striking purple color.

After you are done selecting hot versus sweet, and color, don't forget shape. There are traditional "bell pepper" shapes, long and slender, and of course round or "cherry peppers".

Whatever your preference, seed catalogs and garden stores cater to the high demand and wide variety of peppers. Buy Pepper Seeds now

Did you know?: A sweet green pepper is a pepper that is not yet ripe. Let it grow, and it will turn red. The texture will change markedly, and the flavor will change as well.

Garden Humor: A soldier who survived mustard gas and peper spray, is a seasoned veteran.

Varieties of Pepper Seeds:

Types of Peppers - An extensive list of peppers, hot and sweet, along with a description of them.

Learn more about Hot Peppers

Did you know? Paprika is a pepper!

Sowing Pepper Seeds:

Pepper seeds require 14-21 days to germinate.  Seedlings grow slowly, at first. Start pepper plants indoors, eight to ten weeks or more before the last frost date for your area. Pepper seeds can be a difficult seed germinate.We recommend using a seed germination mat, to shorten the germination time and increase the germination rate.

Many growers simply visit their local garden store for seedling to transplant. Avid garden hobbiests find pleasure in a new challenge, and start their own pepper plants indoors.

Tip: Provide bottom heat or heat lamps to raise the soil temperature to 80 degrees. This will promote better and quicker germination.

Buy Germination Heating Mats - for an overall healthy start for your seedlings.

Days to Maturity:

70 to 90 days or more, depending upon the variety. The seed packet will display the days to maturity for the variety that you have decided to grow.

How to Grow Peppers:

Select a location in your garden that receives full sun. Prepare the garden, adding plenty of compost, manure, and a general fertilizer.

All varieties of pepper plants grow best in warm to hot weather. Do not transplant seedlings outdoors until all danger of frost has past, and the soil begins to warm. If the weather is still cool in your area, delay transplanting a few days, if possible.Tender, young seedlings do well in hot kaps and cold frames.

Space 18-24 inches apart, in rows 24 to 36 inches apart. This spacing varies a little for each variety.

Pepper plants prefer moist soil. However, avoid wet soil. Water regularly in the hot, dry summer months.

Add mulch around the peppers to keep down weeds, and to retain moisture. As the peppers develop, switch over to a fertilizer higher in Phosphorous and Potassium. Gardeners often make the mistake of providing too much nitrogen. The result is a great looking bushy, green plant, and few fruit.

Tip: Peppers are self pollinators. Occasionally, they cross pollinate from pollen carried by bees or other insects. To minimize this possibility, don't plant hot and sweet peppers too close. This year's cross will not affect the fruit of this year's crop. The cross will show up in the genetics of the seeds, if you save them.

Also See:

Plant Problems

Soil Temperatures

Ideal Soil pH 


Peppers can be picked as soon as they reach a size which is edible. Most of us just can't wait for that very first fruit to fully mature.

Insects and Pests:

Insects can be a problem, affecting both plants and fruit. Spider mites and aphids are the most common, with an occasional insect borer. In many areas, it is infrequent.

Try using an organic insecticide or dust.


Viruses and diseases of Peppers, is infrequent.

Fungal infections can be treated with fungicides. Apply treatment as soon as you see it.

More on Plant Problem Diseases and Problems


Frost will stunt or kill the plants. Cold weather can cause the plant to slow down or stunt it as well. In the In the spring, use hot kaps to protect tender, young seedlings. In the Fall, cover the plants, if frost is expected.

Tip: Use five gallon buckets for a quick cover-up on cold fall nights.They are the perfect size, and can be quickly placed over the plant.

A little bit about Hot Peppers:

The ingredient in peppers that puts the heat into hot peppers is Capsaicin. A sweet green pepper is devoid of this chemical. The hotter the pepper, the more the level of Capsaicin. It is measured in parts per million (ppm). More on Capsaicin.

All about Hot Peppers

Pepper Links:

Do you know your Hot Peppers? Check out the varieties of hot peppers.

How to Grow Peppers

How to Grow Hot Peppers

Garden Tomato Recipes:

May we suggest:

Buy Pepper Seeds for planting now

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