Learn How to Grow Bell Peppers in Pots and Containers, it is a clever idea if you’re short of space or live in a cold climate as it requires warm soil.
USDA Zones— Pepper plants are short-lived perennials in the tropics, but in cold and temperate regions, they are grown as annual.
Soil pH— Slightly acidic to neutral
Due to the fact that the pepper is a warm-weather vegetable crop and requires considerably more heat than cucumbers and tomatoes, growing bell peppers in pots is an excellent idea if you live in a cold climate.
How to Grow Bell Peppers in Containers
Growing bell pepper in the pot is easy. The first thing you have to do is buy the plant from a nursery or propagate it from seeds.
Choosing a Pot
Planting bell pepper in containers requires a pot that is at least 10-12 inches deep and wide and has sufficient drainage holes. You can grow up to 2-3 plants (smaller varieties) in such a pot. Avoid using the black color container if you’re growing bell pepper in a tropical climate.
Buy good quality seeds from a local garden store or buy them online. Also, buy seed starting mix or make yourself. Fill small pots or seedling trays with the seed mix and plant two seeds 2-3 cm deep in each pot.
Start seeds 6-10 weeks before last spring frost date. Usually, in a subtropical and tropical climate, you can start seeds anytime except in harsh summer.
The seeds will germinate in 1 to 3 weeks, depending on the weather conditions and seed quality. Once they germinate, thin out and only keep one plant per pot. When seedlings have two true leaves, they are ready to be transplanted into the desired containers.
Requirements for Growing Bell Pepper in Containers
Peppers love the sun. The most productive pepper plants are grown in warmth and heat. When growing bell peppers in pots, keep them in a position that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight daily. That place should be sheltered from strong wind.
Good soil is the key to productive pepper plants. Buy the best quality potting mix that is well-drained, loose and fertile or make your own potting mix. The potting mix must be rich in organic matter. Add well-rotted manure or compost in the combination of peat moss/coco peat and vermiculite or perlite (alternatively, sand). You can also add 5-10 grams of neem cake at the time of soil preparation; it will protect the young plant from soil-borne diseases and pests.
Growing bell peppers require regular watering to keep the soil slightly moist; growing medium should never dry out completely. The best way is to water at the foot or around the base of the plant. Also, pepper plants in pots suffer from constant overwatering, so be careful that your plants don’t sit in water. In any case, avoid wetting the foliage as overhead watering may cause fungal infection.
Growing bell peppers require soil temperature above 60 F (15 C) for best growth. The optimum seed germination temperature is above 68 F (20 C). It can tolerate temperatures up to 95 F (35 C) and down to 50 F (10 C) easily. The ideal growing temperature is between 70-90 F (21-32C).
Bell Pepper Care
For your convenience and to reduce the evaporation of water, do mulching. Cover the base of the plant with organic matter such as leaves, pine barks, straws, paper or whatever that is readily available to you.
Pepper plants like tomatoes are heavy feeders, and you’ll need to fertilize the plant every 15 days or so. When fertilizing, remember too much nitrogen-rich fertilizer can promote foliage growth. You can also feed the plant with tomato fertilizer.
Also, once a month, feed the plant with compost or manure tea. Using Epsom salt (2tsp/gallon water at the time of watering, you can also spray the plants with this solution) each month improves the health and increases the yield of tomato and pepper plants, so it must be applied too.
Pinching and Pruning
In the early stage, when the plant is young, pinch growing tips regularly to make it bushier. Pruning is not necessary but can be carried out if required.
If your pepper plant is flowering too early, deadhead the flowers, it is important. This will direct the plant’s energy into growing and becoming healthy. You can also stop the formation of new fruits if you want to speed up the maturation of pepper fruits that are already growing on the plant by pinching off emerging flowers.
Pepper plants are self-fertile, so you don’t need to care about pollination, but to get better fruits and to improve productivity, you can gently shake the plants when they’re in bloom.
You may need to support the plants. Either use tomato cages or simply poke a stick near the main stem and tie the plant to it.
Pests and Diseases
Growing bell peppers in pots require care from aphids as they are the number one enemy of pepper plants. In hot and dry weather, you’ll also need to keep an eye on spider mites.
Bell peppers are ready for harvesting in 60-90 days after transplanting. You can harvest them green when they reach full size and remain firm. If left to ripen, the color will change into orange, yellow or red.
A Fact: Pepper is one of the richest sources of Vitamin C (more than oranges).
I got the bellpepper seeds from a bellpepper from the grocery… the seeds sprouted but died after about 10 days to 2 weeks. Am i doing something wrong? I used loam soil.
I realize your comment is from 2016, but your experience sounds very similar to mine.
I recently sprouted some seeds from an Anaheim pepper that was store-bought, along with other seeds that I bought from seed retailers. I dried the pepper seeds 2-3 weeks before sprouting them in damp paper towels in a sunny spot near a window. They sprouted very little but mold started growing on and among the seeds. I only planted 6 of the best looking seeds in soil, but I don’t have high hopes for them.
Did we do anything wrong? I don’t believe so.
I’ve heard that if seeds come from a different country or travel across boarders, that the produce is exposed to small amounts of radiations to kill any future germination in the seeds inside the produce.
Everything else I sprouted at the same time were all from seed retailers not saved from store-bought groceries.
If what I heard about produce being exposed to radiation when crossing boarders, isn’t true, then I find it pretty fishy that it wouldn’t grow and yet everything else was successful.
My husband on the other hand, has been successful with store-bought produce seeds.
Do I have any suggestions?
Try sprouting seeds from local growers or roadside produce stands.
Most store bought product is treated and will not germinate. Try organic. Also, seeds need to come from a very “old” mature fruit, otherwise the seeds are not mature enough and lack energy to germinate.
i have a half-dozen pepper plants growing right now from a green bell pepper i bought at the grocery store. they’re fine. use a plastic bag and moist paper towel. dont put it in the sun – the warmth will enable mold to grow in the perfect humid environment. they germinate in a day or two; immediately plant in soil
Got a couple peppers from the store, after cutting them I put the seeds straight in to the yard. From both of the peppers at least 10 plants are comming up now. They’re about 2″.
I never dry seeds like this first. Only melon seeds is what i dry first. Got from 1 melon about 150 plants growing now.
I sprouted some seeds from a store-bought pepper this season using two methods: one batch was in a clear plastic egg carton full of potting soil on a windowsill, and one was in a regular garden pot full of potting soil on the front porch in full sun. Both containers just got a pretty thorough sprinkling of seeds and I transferred the sprouts to their own pots as they started to get their second pair of leaves. I was surprised to find that the ones on the porch sprouted better and faster, even though night time temps were still in the 40s/50s. But either way, try sprouting in soil!
Some store produce are genetically modified to not germinate and will not grow into plants. This is designed to make farmers buy seed every year. If this is the case with your grocery produce any success you had is to your credit!
Sounds like a condition called ‘damping off’ which is caused by various fungal pathogens and is usually due to overly wet or cool soil but can also exist on the seeds themselves. Best prevention is to use sterile soil (you can sterilize your own by using your oven) and sterilize your pots as well. Once they get a little size, a squirt with a homemade garlic spray helps to forestall fungus attacks.
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Interesting I had Never heard of it.
Do you just use water with garlic ?
I been using dish detergent with water and spray all over till dripping .. can see the white coating when leaves dry. Do it in 7-10 days again (3 total times usually is enough unless having rain but you can tell on leaves color etc).
I bought red, yellow and orange pepper plants but all I got was green peppers. Do you need to do something special to achieve the color peppers you want
Leave them on the plant longer,they will eventually change color. I’ve read that basically all green bell pepper plants are the same as orange red etc,it’s just the length of time left on the plant.
You don’t harvest till the color change from green to red or yellow or orange.
If you leave them on the vine while green, in time as they ripen they will turn in color.
I would say just leave them on the plant as they start to turn into other colours
My peppers are growing quite nicely in 3-gallon grow bags but, today, it looks like I can see some of the roots at the top yet, there’s plenty of soil in the bag. Can they be transferred to a larger grow bag, with more soil added, and survive?
Hey! Thanks for the article. I got seeds from the bell pepper (red and yellow) plants themselves, and they germinated really well. I want to transplant them into larger pots. Can I plant both types of peppers in the same pot?
I am growing mini sweet peppers from the store. The little yellow,red,and orange ones.I grow on my balcony. What is good for the little white bugs that come after them when they start to grow peppers? I was suprised the seeds sprouted and not sure what will grow but I love suprises.
Just want good bug killer for them and my tomatoes. Thanks
Neem oil is great for bugs, and is safe for edible plants and pets. It is from a plant, not a chemical, so is safe. But, do rinse your vegetables before consuming.
I love growing my orange tree but this year they started having rot on the end like tomatoes do, any idea why?
It’s called blossom end rot. Increase calcium and magnesium in your soil. Eggshells and garden lime will fix the problem.
For the end rot, try adding a calcium source such as crushed eggshells and some epsom salt which is a source of magnesium.
Some bell peppers are brown and soft at the bottom
Thank you so much for posting this thorough, informative article. Buying bell peppers in the grocery store is expensive, so if we can grow these highly nutritious and delicious peppers at home it will be a great help — especially to people with limited or low income!
My capsicum/ bell pepper plant is growing but is starting to have curled leaves (either edges are curved or crinkled). I have sprayed them with Epsom salt solution 2 days ago. These plants are grown in garden soil. what probably could be the reason & if it can be tackled. Pls respond.
Also I have a few of them planted in pots ( just transplanted, 4/5 inches only). What preventive measures should I take. I want to have a good yield & I am a beginner into gardening and stuff. A word of advice is welcomed.
Thank you so much for all the information! I am growing peppers, Brussels sprouts, corn and okra now that are all from seeds I started in pots and then transferred to my garden in Jalisco, Mexico. I am trying to get asparagus seeds to sprout now-any suggestions?
I have planted seeds from a pepper I used, the plant is big and beautiful but no fruit. I planted it 2 years ago more or less never fertilized
What shall I do?
Decrease nitrogen. Increase phosphorous.
I dont know what Im doing wrong as I have so many tiny bell peppers
Mine is rotten. Not growing well.
This step-by-step guide will show you how long it takes to grow peppers from seed. How and when to plant the seeds so they grow successfully in pots and containers in a small garden. It will provide all you need to know for sowing, planting and harvesting sweet bell peppers. I also show you how to preserve them with dehydrating and freezing methods.
HELLO THERE I AM IN CANADA I LIVE IN A CONDO SO I CAN ONLY PLANT IN CONTAINERS. I DID PLANT STORE BOUGHT PEPPERS AND IT HAS SMALL PLANTS BUT WANT TO TRANSFER THEM TO BIG POTS AND HOW DEEP A POT IS NEEDED ALSO WAS CURIOUS ANYONE ELSE FROM CANADIAN WEATHER HAS PLANTED
Responding to CJJ:
12 inch Terra cotta pots work best for most plants (except roses or plants that need acidic soil). I can usually grow 2- 4 peppers easily in these sized pots. Don’t use black color planters. I don’t know why. My grandma’s gardener told me not to for nightshade plants eons ago and I always stuck to the rule.
Glad I found this website. Very valuable info for beginning gardeners.