Growing Pepper Plants (Overview)

John's Mystery Pepper Plant -- Purple Variant
John's Mystery Pepper – Purple Variant, 2018

What makes a pepper plant great? Here, beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. Flavor, spiciness, size, visual appearance, disease resistance and production are all potentially desirable characteristics. With an estimated 50,000 cultivars, there's a pepper plant (or two) for nearly everyone!

To get the most from your chosen variety, growing a robust plant is key. Luckily, growing pepper plants is usually quite easy. Following a few simple guidelines, most growers should see great results…

  • Properly harden plants before transplanting outside. Plants being moved outside need a gradual transition period to adjust to direct sunlight, wind and changing temperatures.
  • Soil should have good drainage. Soil should be allowed to dry out slightly between watering. Yellow droopy leaves are a sign of over-watering or poor drainage.
  • Give them plenty of sun. Pepper plants love full sun, while many of the pests that affect them do not. One exception is bell peppers which, depending on your climate, may do better in part shade.
  • Give them room. Many pepper plants, especially those closely related to habaneros, like to grow large. Planting too close together, or in too small of a pot, limits their yield and may require frequent watering. Large pepper plants do best with a four foot spacing in a garden, or in pots at least 20" in diameter.
  • Give them plenty of calcium. Green, wrinkly leaves are usually a sign of calcium deficiency. A good sprinkling of bone meal worked into the bottom of the hole when transplanted, and once a month thereafter, will help keep pepper plants looking good.
  • If leaves start wilting, increase watering amount and/or frequency. This is especially true for potted pepper plants – when they grow large, they can become root-bound and use up water quickly.

While growing a few pepper plants is generally quite simple, there is more – starting seeds, transplanting, avoiding issues as well as additional pepper growing tips. Our Step by Step Growing Guide takes a deeper dive into these topics for those looking to maximize results.

We hope you enjoy your pepper growing experience! If you'd like to ask questions, feel free to contact us here. You can also visit us on YouTube and Facebook to see more of what we're doing – and to join our communities dedicated to the enjoyment of chile peppers.

Additional Resources