If you have a limited garden space, plant a few bell peppers in pots. A containerized pepper does not require an abundance of soil or sun to grow. If you plant indoors, you can move the pots outside after a frost-free period.
Bell peppers, or Capsicum annuum, belong to the nightshade family (Solanaceae) along with potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, and chile peppers. This family also includes other vegetables like tomatillos, sweet peppers, and jalapenos.
Peppers have long been grown in the kitchen for their unique flavor and shape. They originated in the Americas and Africa, but now they are found all over the world.
Bell peppers are not true vegetables, but fruits. Their soft, edible flesh is actually the result of two smaller fruits inside — the seed pod and the tiny, hard fruit we call a pepper. In the case of bell peppers, both the seeds and the peppers are edible.
When should You plant for Bell Peppers
You can buy fresh or frozen bell peppers in the supermarket in the summer months, but it is also possible to grow them yourself throughout the year. Sow them as soon as the soil is workable in spring.
They like warmth so the greenhouse or conservatory is ideal. Sow them into a tray of seed compost and keep the tray in a heated propagator until the seedlings have reached about 30cm high. Keep the compost moist at all times but make sure they do not dry out. If you grow them in pots, put them into individual pots after about 2-3 weeks. You can sow more than one seed into a pot.
How to Grow From Seed for Bell Peppers
- Sow peppers in early spring for a hot summer crop.
- Choose peppers that have been certified disease free (this means that they have been tested and found not to be carrying any kind of disease).
- To sow, use seed-raising mix and sow four to five seeds in each compartment.
- You can also buy pre-germinated seedlings, but these should be planted straight away – there’s no benefit to waiting and growing them yourself.
- Make sure you plant them in full sun, and keep them well watered until the roots have reached three inches deep. After this point, reduce the watering by half.
- Transplant into their final location when they are at least eight weeks old.
- After a few months, thin them out if they’ve grown too close together – you should have around 10cm between them – and water regularly.
- Feed peppers with a liquid fertiliser every month or so.
- If you plan to grow bell peppers as an outdoor crop, plant them in raised beds, which will help prevent them from being hit by rabbits, slugs and snails.
- A trellis can also be used, as can bamboo canes or poles, which will provide support for climbing vines such as climbers or peas.
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Best Varieties Bell Peppers for containers
Bell peppers (Capsicum annuum) are a classic summer vegetable. They’re also one of the easiest vegetables to grow in containers. You don’t need much space to plant a couple rows of peppers, and they’re relatively easy to grow from seed.
1. Crenshaws’ Hungarian Wax: It is one of the most famous varieties of bell peppers. It has sweet, red fruit with a mild pepper flavor. It does not need much room for proper growth. They can grow anywhere from two to five feet tall. Crenshaws’ Hungarian Wax comes in different colors. You can choose your favorite ones.
2. Early Sweet: This variety of bell pepper features dark green, almost black fruits, and it ripens earlier than the Crenshaws’. It grows up to three feet tall.
3. Fat Jack: These bell peppers have larger fruits than most other bell peppers, and they are very tasty. They are also quite sweet. These fruits have a thick skin that makes them harder to peel than many other bell peppers. Fat Jack’s grow up to eight feet tall.
4. Golden Sweet: This is another variety of bell peppers that is highly sought after because of its long shelf life. These peppers do not need much space to grow, so you can easily grow them inside or outdoors. They have a good shelf life, and they taste like candy. They can be grown in the greenhouse, but you must be careful when picking them so that you do not damage the fruits. They are usually picked when they are green, and then left to ripen in a paper bag until they turn yellow.
5. Goldrush: These are the gold-colored bell peppers, and they are extremely juicy. They are one of the sweetest varieties of bell peppers. You can grow Goldrush inside or outside, but you need to keep an eye on them because their fruits can bruise easily. They usually ripen in around four weeks.
6. Red Bell: This variety of bell peppers has fruits that are red, shiny, and large. It has a very sweet flavor and is ready for harvesting around the fourth week after planting.
7. Romenesco: This bell pepper has large, sweet, round fruits. It has a very thick skin, which makes it a bit difficult to peel. It has a unique flavor.
8. Sweet Italian: This bell pepper has dark green, almost black fruits. It has a mild, sweet flavor and ripens quickly.
9. Sweet Cherry Bomb: This variety of bell pepper has dark green, almost black fruits that are very sweet. The fruits have a cherry shape, and they get sweeter as they ripen. You can harvest these fruits up to the third week after planting.
10. Sun Bell: These bell peppers have golden yellow fruits with small, tight buds. They are easy to peel, and they have a fruity flavor.
11. Yellow Bell: These bell peppers have bright yellow, crisp fruits. They are very sweet and have a nice flavor.
12. Zebra Bell: This is a yellow bell pepper that has a white band along the sides of the fruits. It has a mild, spicy flavor.
How to Choose The Right Container to Grow for Bell Peppers
These peppers grow best in full sun, but don’t need a lot of space. Their roots grow down into the soil, so you can use small pots or even pails.
- Choose containers that offer plenty of light and room to grow.
- Make sure your containers have drainage holes.
- You can grow several bell peppers together by planting them in a large pot or planting in groups of four to six plants in a 6- to 8-inch pot.
- Bell peppers like a long season of growth — so they can stay outside all summer — so make sure you plant early.
How Long Does it Take to Grow from Seed for Bell Peppers
In general, growing bell peppers from seed takes around four months. This includes all of the months until you’ve harvested your first sweet, delicious bell pepper. The more sun you give your plants, the faster they’ll grow and the earlier you’ll be able to pick. You can start off by sowing peppers indoors during winter or spring, depending on where you live. However, if you don’t get any sunlight or heat into your garden, you can grow them outdoors.
When you sow peppers, you’ll need to ensure that you’ve got a good soil type that drains well. Choose a light, loamy soil and keep it moist. Don’t add any extra nutrients, as they’ll encourage the growth of root rot bacteria. You can sow your peppers in small pots. Keep them outside for around 10 days, then bring them inside. As with most vegetables, you can sow your peppers in late winter/early spring, and harvest in early summer. It’s important not
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How to Care for Bell Peppers Seedling
Peppers can be started indoors or directly in the ground. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages. I recommend starting them inside because it allows for a shorter time to harvest.
You can start them outside when it is sunny. They will thrive during the winter when the sun isn’t available.
Water thoroughly after planting and keep the soil consistently moist.
Start them off with a complete fertilizer, then once the plants reach about 8 inches tall, switch to a low-nitrogen fertilizer. It’s not necessary to fertilize them every week.
Once they have about 4 true leaves, they are ready to be repotted. Choose a container that has drainage holes.
Common Problems You May Face When Growing From Seed in Containers for Bell Peppers
Bell peppers are one of the most popular vegetables among home gardeners and backyard farmers. They are easy to grow, don’t require much space and are very tolerant of poor soil conditions. Here are some common issues you may encounter with bell peppers grown in containers.
- Thrips – Small, green insects that suck the juices from the leaves and stems of your plants, causing them to wilt. A few well-placed drops of water should knock them off.
- Cucumber beetles – These little black beetles attack pepper blossoms. Handpick the beetles or spray your plants with insecticidal soap.
- Grapefruit psylla – This tiny, green fly lays eggs in the fruit, which hatch into maggots that destroy the fruit’s flesh. Handpicking can help control these pests.
- Mosquitoes – Grower’s tip: “Keep the soil around the plants moist. This will reduce the amount of water the plants need. It’s a lot easier to control weeds than it is to control a plant that needs a lot of water.”
- Leaf curl – This disease is usually found on pepper foliage and causes the leaves to fold inward, making them look wilted. Keep an eye out for early signs of this disease, such as unevenly colored leaves.
- Pepper moths – This large moth lays its eggs on the undersides of pepper leaves. They then crawl along the leaf surface until they find their way to the fruit, where they lay eggs. Handpicking is the easiest way to get rid of these pests.