Add some spice and flavor to the kitchen by learning how to grow bell pepper plants from the comfort of your home or backyard garden!
There are few plants that are quite as tasty, versatile, and satisfying to grow as bell peppers. With countless varieties to choose from, these warm-weather plants are referred to scientifically as Capscium anuum.
If you’re ready to learn how to grow bell pepper plants, you are in the right place. Because here at Hydrobuilder, we are the gardening experts. We have a wide range of different grow guides for veggies and flowering plants alike.
We’ll explain why you should consider growing these plants, along with which varieties to choose. After that basic information is out of the way, we’ll explain how you can get your own bell pepper garden up and running.
We’ll include what you’ll need to grow this plant, and tips and tricks to see the process through to a tasty harvest. There is a lot to cover so let’s dive right in!
What Are Bell Peppers?
Bell peppers are plants that grow in a compact firm with deep green leaves and brightly-colored fruits.
Native to Mexico and South America, these vegetables are perfect in salads, pasta dishes, tacos, egg dishes, and more.
They provide a delicious crunch to what would otherwise be a bland meal. Perennial in tropical areas, bell peppers must be grown only during the summer months for the vast majority of growers.
In cold climates, they are usually grown as annuals since they have very little cold tolerance.
Are Bell Peppers Easy To Grow?
Though they might seem somewhat daunting for the beginning gardener, peppers are actually quite easy to grow.
You can grow them from seed or by transplanting seedlings. Whatever you choose, you're sure to love growing these delicious plants in your backyard garden.
The key to making bell peppers easy to grow is to understand their unique needs - and to meet those needs for watering, fertilizing, mulching, and more to the best of your ability.
How Long Does It Take To Grow Bell Peppers?
Usually grown as annuals, bell peppers take a minimum of 90 days to mature. If you aren’t feeling like this long of a wait, there are some short-season varieties you can choose from.
However, in most cases, you’re going to need to provide your plants with at least 90-100 days to get a fruitful harvest. The sooner you start seeds indoors, the better!
Can You Grow Bell Peppers From Store Bought Peppers?
Many growers have heard of tricks to clone existing food into a rooted, reproducing plant. Can you grow bell peppers from store bought peppers?
As long as you start with the right store-bought peppers, then yes! In many cases, you can dry the seeds of peppers you purchased at the store and use those as fodder for your new plants. The key is getting the seeds to germinate.
You may have a harder time germinating the seeds from store-bought peppers, but if you give yourself plenty of time (and room for trial and error) you shouldn’t have any problem growing bell peppers from store-bought peppers.
You’ll follow the same steps for planting seeds and caring for your plants as you would when using regular seeds, as described below.
Keep in mind that if you are using seeds from hybrid varieties, the peppers you get might not look exactly the same as the ones you purchased at the store.
Also, hybrid seed is sometimes sterile, which might make it impossible for you to grow bell peppers from your store-bought ones.
How To Choose Which Bell Peppers To Grow
There are several varieties of bell peppers you can choose from. All can be grown from seed or started as seedlings. Some of the most popular bell pepper varieties include:
- ‘Cabernet’ Sweet Bell Pepper
- ‘Cupid’ Sweet Pepper
- ‘Sweet Chocolate’ Sweet Pepper
- ‘Gourmet’ Sweet Pepper
- ‘Canary’ Bell Pepper
- ‘Big Red’ Pepper
- ‘California Wonder’ Pepper
- ‘Purple Beauty’
Of these, ‘California Wonder’ is one of the most popular. The fruits of this plant can be harvested green or you can leave them on the plant to ripen more fully.
Either way, the four-lobed plant makes for a delicious stuffed pepper and in many cases, is tobacco mosaic virus-resistant.
Of course, if you’re looking for a variety that’s a bit more unique, you should consider ‘Purple Beauty.’ This cultivar takes only 70 days to reach maturity and produces dazzling, purple-black fruits.
What Do You Need To Grow Bell Peppers?
Bell peppers aren’t finicky. To grow them, you just need some garden pots and soil that is well-aerated and well-draining.
Ideally, this soil should be rich and loamy. The pH should be near neutral.
Do Bell Peppers Need Full Sun?
Bell peppers need to be grown in full sun. Although they can tolerate a small amount of shade, you will have the best results when growing these plants in as much sun as possible. Remember, they like to be warm!
How To Grow Bell Pepper Plants From Seed To Harvest
Growing bell peppers is simple, provided that you follow these simple steps. Ideally, you will need to keep temperatures between 70 and 90 degrees and provide at least one to one and a half inches of water each week.
How To Plant Bell Peppers
Bell peppers need to be planted only when the soil temperatures are warm enough to support their growth.
They won’t produce much fruit when temperatures are cooler than 70 degrees, so wait until the danger of frost has passed to do any transplanting.
That said, if temperatures are too hot, the plants will drop blossoms before they set fruit. Proper timing is key.
What Month Do You Plant Bell Peppers?
Because of their need for extremely warm temperatures (they will be stunned when nighttime temperatures fall below 55 degrees), bell peppers are normally planted in the late spring or early summer (May or June, in most places).
You will therefore need to get a headstart on the growing season by starting seeds indoors. Start your seeds about eight to ten weeks before the last spring frost date.
Plant about ¼ of an inch deep and keep them warm (ideally with a germination heat mat). Your pepper plants can be transplanted after the last frost.
Harden them off first by setting them outside for longer periods of time each day. Start in the morning and bring them in later and later until you’re sure the plants have adapted.
When you transplant, dig a hole that is just as wide and about as deep as the root ball. Leave about 18 inches between plants.
Water deeply and add an inch or so of mulch to protect the fragile roots of the plants from temperature swings.
If you are growing a large pepper variety, install a trellis or stake at the time of planting so that you don’t have to worry about disturbing the plants later on.
Bell Pepper Garden Care
Water your plants at least one to two inches per week. If you live in a particularly dry, warm climate, you may find that you need to water every day.
It’s best to fertilize the soil prior to planting to ensure that the garden is fertile and has a neutral pH.
You can do this with rich compost or another well-balanced fertilizer. You may also want to fertilize after your peppers have been planted.
Wait until after the first fruit set - again, a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer is recommended, as a fertilizer that is too high in nitrogen may encourage foliar growth at the expense of fruit production.
Weed carefully around your plants to avoid disturbing the roots. Mulch can help prevent weeds and limit the amount of work that needs to be done.
Bell Peppers Pest & Disease Prevention
Bell peppers are finicky plants that, unfortunately, are prone to several pests and diseases. Fungal diseases are the most common.
These can almost always be prevented by providing plenty of space between your plants and by watering first thing in the morning so that the plants have time to dry out before nightfall.
One of the most common fungal diseases known to befall peppers is anthracnose. Though easy to prevent, it can be treated with a fungicide if symptoms become severe.
Peppers are also prone to blossom-end rot, which is more of a nutritional deficiency than a disease.
It is caused by a lack of calcium and too much nitrogen. Affected fruits must be removed - there’s no coming back from this disease, though it’s easy to prevent by testing the soil and planting at proper soil temperature.
When it comes to pests, aphids are some of the most common. These pests cause leaves to become yellow and misshapen.
You can prevent them by growing companion plants, like nasturtiums or basil, or you can use an insecticidal soap or a strong blast from the hose to get rid of them for good.
How To Harvest Bell Peppers
Harvesting bell peppers is by far the most enjoyable part of growing these plants! Here are some tips.
How Can You Tell When Bell Peppers Are Ready To Pick?
Harvest your bell peppers when they are roughly the color and size you want. Keep in mind that al peppers, regardless of the variety, will start out green and then change colors as they mature.
How Many Bell Peppers Do You Get From One Plant?
The number of bell peppers you can get from one plant varies. In general, varieties that produce large, thick-walled fruits will only produce up to five or six peppers, while smaller varieties may produce 50 or even 70 peppers in one season!
Why Are My Bell Peppers So Small?
Some bell pepper varieties are meant to be small, but if they are very small, there’s a good chance that they aren’t getting enough water.
That said, undersized peppers can also be caused by the climate (it might be too hot or too cold) or how they are planted (they night be competing with other plants or weeds for nutrients or resources).
Final Thoughts On How To Grow Bell Pepper Plants
Peppers are some of the most common and beloved garden vegetables you can grow.
Once they begin to take on color, they’re ready for harvest - or you can harvest early for a crunchy green delight.
No matter which varieties of peppers you choose to grow, learning how to grow bell peppers plants is simple. You can find all the supplies you need at Hydrobuilder - so get growing today