Jalapeno peppers are perhaps the most popular hot pepper plant in the home garden. With just a little ‘heat”, and a great flavor, Jalapenos plants offer home gardeners a profusion of fruit, from mid-summer, up until the first frost. New growers can learn how to grow jalapeno peppers with this plant guide. Experience growers are certain to pick up a tip or two.
Jalapenos score a rating of 4,000 on the Scoville scale. While many people consider the Jalapeno to be quite “hot”, its “heat” is actually on the milder end of the scale, compared to some of the really hot peppers. For example, Habaneros have a Scoville score of 200,000 and are the hottest hot pepper…. Jolokia Ghost pepper has a Scoville score of 855,000 – 1,041,427!
Easy to grow, lush and attractive Jalapeno plants, produce thick, dark green fruit, that grows about 3 inches long.
Use Jalapenos to spice up your favorite recipes. They are a “must-have” in salsas and on nacho platters. You will find them in a wide range of Mexican and Tex-Mex recipes. They are great pickled and even in jellies.
Like other pepper varieties, it is best to start Jalapeno pepper plants indoors. Sow seeds indoors six to eight weeks or more before the last frost date for your area. Seed germination is slow. It can take 2 – 3 three weeks for the seeds to sprout.
Sow seeds 1/4″ deep, and cover with light, seed starting soil.
Garden Tip: We strongly recommend the use of a heated germination mat, to reduce germination time, and increase germination rate.
Transplant seedlings after the last frost date in your area. But, if the weather is still cold, delay transplanting a few days. Keep the plants in a cold frame, indoors or next to the house.
Grow Jalapeno pepper plants in full sun. Plants grow best in rich, well-draining garden soil. Before transplanting outdoors, add plenty of compost and rotted manure at the planting site. Mix it well into the soil.
The plants like the weather hot.
Space 20-24 inches apart, in rows 24 to 36 inches apart.
Jalapeno Pepper plants prefer moist soil. Add plenty of water during hot, dry summer months.
Mulch around the pepper plants to keep down weeds, and to retain soil moisture.
As the peppers develop, switch over to a fertilizer higher in Phosphorous and Potassium. High nitrogen fertilizer can result in a great-looking bushy, green plant, with few fruits.
Jalapeno Peppers are self-pollinating. They can cross-pollinate with pollen carried by bees or other insects, too. If you are going to save the seeds for next year, do not plant different varieties near each other.
Ideal Soil pH: 5.5 – 7.0. Ideal Soil pH for all vegetables.
Many insects are harmful to Jalapeno pepper plants. Spider mites and aphids are the most common insect pest, along with an occasional borer. Pest problems are usually infrequent. For the infrequent problem, try an organic insecticide or dust.
Deer will eat the plant leaves.
Plant Problems – Diagnosis, causes and cures for many common plant problems.
Disease problems are infrequent. It most often occurs in hot, humid weather.
Fungal infections can be treated with fungicides. Apply treatment as needed.
Days to Maturity: 75-80 days.
Pick jalapeno peppers as soon as they reach near 3 inches long. Young, immature peppers will not have as much heat.
Continuous harvesting promotes new fruit set, and you will be harvesting Jalapenos all the way to the first frost.
Jalapeno peppers are a warm-weather crop. Spring and fall frosts will kill the plant. Cold weather in the 30s can stunt their growth. Cover the plants, if frost or cold weather is expected.
Tip: For a quick cover-up on cold fall nights, use five-gallon buckets. They are a perfect size. And they can be quickly placed over the plant.
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