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6 June 2018

This guide will show you how to grow chili peppers of all types in your own home garden and includes answers to many of your growing questions, such as pepper plant spacing, sun needs, length of growing season, chili pepper growing tips and more.

Let’s talk about growing chili peppers. Chili peppers start off a bit slow, so it is helpful to start to grow your plants indoors a few weeks (anywhere from 8-12 weeks) before transferring them outside. Keep the early soil and budding plants constantly moist, but do not over water.

Keep them warm (80 -85 degrees is best) and in a sunlit place. If this is your first time growing your chili peppers from seeds, learn more about growing chili peppers from seed.

Once there is no worry of frost, you can plant your pepper plants to your garden or chosen spot. Choose a location with full sunlight, as chili peppers LOVE the sun. Mix in some mushroom compost or other organic compost to make the soil fertile and moist.

Growing Chili Peppers

How much space do peppers need to grow?

Space the chili pepper plants 18 – 36 inches apart with about 2 -3 feet between rows. The plants will eventually grow to nearly 3 feet high.

Water! Keep the soil constantly moist, but not soaking wet. Chili peppers love water as much as they love sun, but you don’t want to inundate the plants, or you run the risk of rotting. Water every other day or every third day. Include a good plant food product. Learn more about growing chili peppers in the ground or garden.

Keep your chili pepper garden well weeded. You don’t want nasty weeds stealing the water from your chili peppers.

Learn more about growing and harvesting chili peppers through the links below, including:

Best Soil for Growing Chili Peppers

Choose a good quality soil or potting mix for growing your pepper that allows for good drainage. Add compost or manure before planting if you’d like.

Watering Your Pepper Plants

As with growing chili peppers in general, keep the soil moist but do not overwater them. For pepper plants in pots or containers, do not let the soil dry out completely. When peppers start to grow, cut back on your watering schedule a bit, but again, do not let the soil dry out.

Growing Chili Peppers - Chili Peppers Love Water

Optimal Growing Temperature for Growing Chili Peppers

The ideal growing temperature for chili pepper plants is between 70-90 F (21-32 C).

Best Fertilizer for Growing Chili Peppers

Tomato fertilizers work well for chili pepper plants, as do compost and well-rotted manure. A good 5-10-10 fertilizer is usually sufficient for peppers. Work it into the soil before transplanting, about 3 pounds per 100 square feet. We use a solution of fish emulsion and seaweed.

Once the peppers begin to appear, fertilize one more time. You can also use manure or compost, which releases more slowly into the soil. Much, however, is affected by your soil, so you may want to consider a soil test if you are having issues.

Diseases and Pests That Affect Pepper Plants

Stay vigilant with your pepper plants. Keep a constant eye out for common diseases like bacterial spot, mildew or rotting. Pests like aphids or spiders are common as well, so watch out for them.

Frequently Asked Questions about Growing Chili Peppers

I get a lot of questions about growing chili peppers. Here are some of the most frequent.

Do chili plants need sun or shade?

Chili peppers grow nicely in full sun. They will grow in partial shade, but they won’t be as productive. A sunny spot is best. I have very successfully grown many varieties of chili peppers under my backyard deck, which is about 12 feet high. There is partial shade, but the garden gets a good dose of sunlight, so they grow very well.

How long does it take to grow peppers?

The length of growing time for chili peppers varies from pepper to pepper, though most mature in 60-150 days, which is a big range. Sweeter peppers typically mature in 60-90 days, with hotter peppers taking longer.

Consider, though – the number of days to maturity noted on seed packets means h the days after transplanting until the pepper plant bears mature peppers. It does not take into consideration the time it takes from planting seeds to growing into a seedling that you can transplant, which is about 8-10 weeks, so keep this in mind.

How long does a pepper plant take to bear fruit?

The length of time for chili pepper plants to start bearing peppers varies from pepper to pepper, though most mature in 60-150 days, which is a big range. Sweeter peppers typically mature in 60-90 days, with hotter peppers taking longer, up to 150 days.

Growing Chili Peppers - This is a New Mexican variety from my garden.
Growing Chili Peppers – This is a New Mexican variety from my garden.

What is the best food for chili pepper plants?

A good 5-10-10 fertilizer is usually sufficient for peppers. Work it into the soil before transplanting, about 3 pounds per 100 square feet. We use a solution of fish emulsion and seaweed.

Once the peppers begin to appear, fertilize one more time. You can also use manure or compost, which releases more slowly into the soil. Much, however, is affected by your soil, so you may want to consider a soil test if you are having issues.

How long can you keep chili plants?

Most chili pepper plants will only last a season in your garden, but if you transplant them and bring them indoors, and treat them to good conditions, you can keep them through the year and possibly longer. Some people have reported keeping their pepper plants for 3 years or longer.

Can you save seeds from your chili pepper plants and use them to grow plants later?

Absolutely! As a chili pepper grower, you may want to save the seeds from your current batch of chili peppers rather than purchase new seeds each year. Saving seeds also saves money, and ensures your harvest will include your very favorite peppers from season to season.

Luckily for us, chili peppers lend themselves to easy seed saving. Harvesting the seeds is a simple process, and they require very little effort to dry and store.

Learn how to save seeds from fresh peppers to grow later

Space your chili pepper plants properly for an optimal harvest. This is a shot from my garden.
Space your chili pepper plants properly for an optimal harvest. This is a shot from my garden.

Chili Pepper Growing Tips

For successfully growing peppers, keep these growing tips in mind.

Do Not Over Water Your Pepper Plants

Pepper plants love their water, of course, and they need a steady supply, but peppers won’t grow well in overly saturated soil. It waterlogs their roots. Use soil that retains moisture yet has proper drainage. Mulch is useful to prevent water evaporation.

If you are uncertain about watering, don’t. Never over-water. Most diseases and growing problems are due to overwatering.

Do Not Overfertilize Your Pepper Plants

Using a lot of fertilizer may help the pepper plant to develop bright leaves and flowers, but hinders pepper production. A good 5-10-10 fertilizer is usually sufficient for peppers. Work it into the soil before transplanting. We use a solution of fish emulsion and seaweed.

Pinch Your Pepper Plants for Bushier Plants

When the pepper plant is about six inches high, clipping the growing tip will result in a bushier plant. Remove any flowers that appear early, as the early flowers diminish the plants overall energy.

Pinch Flowers off of Early Pepper Plants for Bushier Plants
Pinch Flowers off of Early Pepper Plants for Bushier Plants

Got any further questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. Feel free to contact me anytime and I will do my best to answer your questions. — Mike H.

A Guide to Growing Chili Peppers - This guide will show you how to grow chili peppers of all types in your own home garden and includes answers to many of your growing questions, such as pepper plant spacing, sun needs, length of growing season, chili pepper growing tips and more. | ChiliPepperMadness #GrowingPeppers #GrowingChiliPeppers #Gardening

4 comments

  1. Hi there. Thanks for this article. I have a scotch bonnet plant purchased at a local nursery. It has lots of firm, green fruit on it but now some of the largest ones have started changing to a brownish color and getting pretty soft. I cut the first one off because I thought it was diseased. I left a couple on the plant and they have turned bright red and have firmed up somewhat but they’re still softer than I am used to. I have not been gardening long (this is my first pepper harvest ever!) but I have jalapeno and bell peppers (grown from seed) also that are firm throughout the maturing and harvest so I wasn’t sure if the plant is messed up or if this is normal. Any help will be appreciated. Thanks. PS I am in Las Vegas, no pest issues, 5 gal self-watering container if this info sheds more light.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      MomTom, it sounds like you might have Blossom End Rot, which is a calcium deficiency. Are you experiencing high temperatures? You might want to look into adding some calcium to your soil. Let me know if this helps.

  2. Renate Fuchsluger

    I love your chilirezepts and I want to cook very much .Also I like hot-sosse rezepts.Lovely Greets from Austria

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