Bell Peppers

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Peppers are a tender, warm-season crop. They resist most pests and offer something for everyone: spicy, sweet or hot, and a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. For this page, we will focus on sweet bell peppers.

Yellow Bell Peppers

Botanical Name: 

Capsicum annuum

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  • Start seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before last spring frost date.
  • The temperature must be at least 70 degrees F for seed germination, so keep them in a warm area for the best and fastest results.
  • Start pepper seeds three to a pot, and thin out the weakest seedling. Let the remaining two pepper plants spend their entire lives together as one plant. The leaves of two plants help protect peppers against sunscald, and the yield is often twice as good as two segregated plants.
  • Begin to harden off plants about 10 days before transplanting.
  • A week before transplanting, introduce fertilizer or aged compost in your garden soil.
  • After the danger of frost has passed, transplant seedlings outdoors, 18 to 24 inches apart (but keep paired plants close to touching.)
  • Soil should be at least 65 degrees F, peppers will not survive transplanting at temps any colder. Northern gardeners can warm up the soil by covering it with black plastic.
  • Put two or three match sticks in the hole with each plant, along with about a teaspoon of fertilizer. They give the plants a bit of sulfur, which they like.


  • Soil should be well-drained, but maintain adequate moisture either with mulch or plastic covering.
  • Water one to two inches per week, but remember peppers are extremely heat sensitive. If you live in a warm or desert climate, watering everyday may be necessary.
  • Fertilize after the first fruit set.
  • Weed carefully around plants.
  • If necessary, support plants with cages or stakes to prevent bending. Try commercially available cone-shaped wire tomato cages. They may not be ideal for tomatoes, but they are just the thing for peppers.
  • For larger fruit, spray the plants with a solution of one tablespoon of Epsom salts in a gallon of water, once when it begins to bloom, and once ten days later.


  • Aphids
  • Flea Beetles
  • Cucumber Mosaic Virus
  • Blossom End Rot appears as a soft, sunken area which turns darker in color.
  • Pollination can be reduced in temperatures below 60F and above 90F.
  • Too much nitrogen will reduce fruit from setting.


  • Harvest as soon as peppers reach desired size.
  • The longer bell peppers stay on the plant, the more sweet they become and the greater their Vitamin C content.
  • Use a sharp knife or scissors to cut peppers clean off the plant for the least damage.
  • Peppers can be refrigerated in plastic bags for up to 10 days after harvesting.
  • Bell peppers can be dried, and we would recommend a conventional oven for the task. Wash, core, and seed the peppers. Cut into one-half-inch strips. Steam for about ten minutes, then spread on a baking sheet. Dry in the oven at 140 degrees F (or the lowest possible temperature) until brittle, stirring occasionally and switching tray positions. When the peppers are cool, put them in bags or storage containers.

Wit & Wisdom

The popular green and red bell peppers that we see in supermarkets are actually the same thing; the red peppers have just been allowed to mature on the plant longer, changing color and also gaining a higher content of Vitamin C.


Add new comment

too much fertilizer

Hi, My pepper plant's got quite a few peppers growing on it but then about 2 weeks back I fertilized the soil and I think I put in a little too much. Now all the new blossoms have fallen off and the little ones that were developing too. Will the peppers growing on it get affected as well and how long will it take for the excess fertilizer effect to wear off?

Has it been extra hot

Has it been extra hot outside? Often, blossom drop is because daytime temperatures got about 90 degrees (F) and nighttime above 75. Bell peppers prefer to grow in temps 70 to 80 degrees. Also, avoid overfertilizing and do not disturb the soil around the plant. At this point, it's hard to say when the fertilizer will wear off; it depends on the amount of rain and how much you added, but you'll need to leave the peppers alone.

Not too hot

Hi, the temperature has been around 28 degrees(C).I have kept the plant away from direct rain as it has been pouring quite a bit.Since my plant is in a container, I'll have to be extra careful next time I fertilise it, which I don't think I'm going to do in a while now.
Thanks alot for your help.

Repot when blooming and fruiting

Can I safely move in door bell pepper plants into a larger container when it is already blooming and fruiting?

I purchased them too early (its taken forever to warm up in the pacific northwest) so I put them in a hot window. They bloomed and fruited to my surprise, but they are in their original pots. Can I repot them now or will that shock them too badly?

Yes, you can repot your bell

Yes, you can repot your bell peppers--and should do so. They need to be in fairly large pots for good production--often 5 gallon. Wet them down and let them recover in the shade to minimize shock. Reintroduce to full sun in 1 to 3 days.


I have one particular bell pepper plant that blooms and as soon as it starts to set the stem of the bloom turns yellow and it drops off the plant. This has happened to three blooms all on the lower part of the plant. It is still blooming but has not set an actual fruit yet. Is there something I can do to prevent this? So far it has not happened to my other 6 plants but none of them have set yet either they are all just in bloom.

If you have blossom drop,

If you have blossom drop, it's probably too cool to set fruit. Peppers like hot, humid weather. Be patient if your weather will be warming soon. Other causes: Poor pollination, temperatures under 55F or over 95F degrees. Be sure to fertilize the right amount. Also, peppers don't like the soil around them disturbed so be gentle.

Brown holes in pepper leaves

I have grown tomato plants before but not peppers......this is my first time......I transplanted a bell pepper plant 3 weeks ago, and while it is growing, the leaves have small holes in them and the tips of some of the leaves look almost burned(like old curled up paper)....interestingly, the cucumber plant next to it has the same problem, though all of the tomato plants around these two look great.....any thoughts on what the problem might be?

It's difficult to pinpoint

We advise that you check for insects. The brown edges don’t do any harm if the rest of the plant is healthy. For a natural bug spray, try this:
Stir together 1 quart of water, 1 tsp of liquid dish soap and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Do not dilute before spraying on plants. Useful against aphids and scale insects.

leaves fell off

I planted a green bell pepper plant i bought that already had to peppers growing. It looked great at first but then the leaves drooped but werent dry and crispy. now the leaves have completely fallen off. I dont know what happened or if it can be saved.

It's hard to say without

It's hard to say without pictures or more description. If the leaves don't have holes, then the problem may be 1) they aren't getting enough light, 2) they aren't getting enough heat, or 3) they are very sensitive to temperature change and perhaps there was dramatic change from the store to your home. Make sure they get lots of very consistent heat.

Purple stocks & stems on my bells,sweet bannanas & pepperoncinis

I've got some purple stems on some of my pepper plants as listed above. Is this normal or a sign of some type of deficency? And should I be worried?

Brown spots

This is idicative of a calcium deficiency. Green Light puts out a product for just that problem on tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and melons. You mix one tablespoon of it in a quart of water (I mix mine right in the spray bottle as it is liquid). Spraying this on those particular plants makes the adjustment/correction in their chemistry and - no more of that problem. It is in a concentrated form in a 16 ounce, white plastic bottle which will probably last you into next season if your garden is not huge. Our neighbors now use it because they saw the difference in their yield and ours. Happy harvesting.

need help with my green peppers

I have gotten peppers on my plants but one now developed a soft mushy brown spot on the side. It is not on either end but in the middle. What is causing this? It has been 95 and scorching hot sun. Can someone help me? thanks in advance. I don't wnt to lose all these peppers if they all start to get like that.

Most likely, the peppers are

Most likely, the peppers are suffering from blossom end rot, which can spread to any area of the fruit and is not always on the "ends". Provide a good mulch to prevent moisture evaporation, and shade your plants during the hottest hours of the day. Keep the soil evenly moist like a wrung out sponge, not wet and not completely dried out.

peppers shade

How would provide shade for these bell pepper plants during the hottest part of the day.


If you don't have natural foliage for shade, buy shade cloth at your garden store. Get the lightest weight because you still need sunlight for those peppers!