Bell Peppers

Planting, Growing, and Harvesting Bell Peppers

Yellow Bell Peppers


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Peppers are a tender, warm-season crop. Here’s how to grow peppers in your garden! 

Peppers resist most garden 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.


  • Start seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before last spring frost date.
  • The temperature must be at least 70° 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 into 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° F, as 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. These give the plants a bit of sulfur, which they like.


  • Soil should be well drained, but be sure to maintain adequate moisture either with mulch or plastic covering.
  • Water one to two inches per week, but remember that 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. Or, build your own garden supports.
  • 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 60° F and above 90° F.
  • 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° 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.

Recommended Varieties

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.


Cooking Notes

To learn how to make pickled bell peppers, watch this video!

Get more tips on cooking with peppers.

Reader Comments

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what kind of soil do I use to plant red peppers

I am a beginner planter and I want to plant some red pepper. What should I put in the soil. I know they like sulfur. Can I plant red peppers in container planters.

thanks vjsmith

Peppers grow well in

Peppers grow well in containers. Mix some compost into the potting soil and make sure the soil is not too heavy. Peppers grow best in light well-drained soil. Sprinkle sulfur or Epsom salts into the hole before planting the seedlings. Good luck!

What state

I want to build a farm but I don't know what the best state would be. Can you tell me what the best state would be?

Tall young peppers

Wandering if I can sink the stems of the peppers to make a sturdy plant.I know this world well with tomatoes,not sure about peppers?

I just read earlier on

I just read earlier on another gardening site that unlike the tomato plant, the pepper plant will not grow an extended root if transplanted too deeply. I am interspersing pepper plants amongst my tomatoes this year, my first time cultivating peppers. Hopefully they will get along with each other.

Pinching blooms?

I live in Canada. We have had phenomenal success with a sweet cherry pepper variety. They make little spherical peppers, good for salads and cooking. This will be the 5th year for planting them. But .... they produce 2 crops per plant: once in July (about 6 peppers per plant) and then again in September (about 30-40 peppers per plant! much bigger plants by then). The problem is: the 2nd crop is the BIG crop, but they dont have time to ripen in September and I usually must pick them green to save them from frost. What can I do to get the 2nd crop to come earlier? Should I pinch off the July blooms to speed it along? Is it driven by rhythm of climate or by the rest pperiod between crops? I buy the plants as seedlings, so I cant really control how early they get sprouted. I'd like to see the big crop come in August, when there's time for them to ripen.

i heard that if you hold back

i heard that if you hold back from watering you can induce the fruit to start blushing. once a pepper begins to chang color you can pick it and it will finish turning color off the plant.

Feed the Seed

I bought concentrated seed starting mix to germinate my seeds. Will this be enough or do I need to add plant food/soil as well?

You can use the starting mix

You can use the starting mix as is or you can mix it into soil or other soil mixes.


Hi - I just wanted to let you know that a bell pepper is a fruit, not a vegetable.

Yes, though a pepper, like a

Yes, though a pepper, like a tomato, is botanically a fruit, it is commonly considered a vegetable and eaten as a vegetable, thus categorized that way for growing.

Starting seeds & planting

In instructions on ur page it says to put 3 seeds in pot then thin out to 2 ok then when u plant them in garden do u separate them or plant as is in pot because in ( ) it says keep paired plants close to touching , it sounds like u have to separate? Please explain further. Thank u

Curious too for clarification

I didn't see another post that addresses this question. I too and curious about transplanting seedlings outdoors 18"-24" a pair but keeping paired plants close to touching. How close is too close?

Ideally you should plant

Ideally you should plant peppers at least 18" apart. If you have 2 seedlings in a starter pot separate them carefully before planting. Some readers have suggested that you can plant 2 peppers close together (the way they are in the pot) and you'll get a bigger "plant" that will do better in gardens with high winds that will bend small stems.

Yes, you can plant two

Yes, you can plant two peppers close together. This happened to me accidentally, actually, but as you said, they kind of support each other, and they have nice, woody, established bases. They're in their second season now, and I'm getting decent peppers. Some are larger and green, with a normal shape, while others are quite round, small, red, and have no seeds. I'll take whatever it gives me! =)

life time

how long can they remain productive?

Bell pepper plants can live 3

Bell pepper plants can live 3 to 5 years and produce fruits given right conditions, i.e., mild climates. Harvesting regularly will encourage the plant to keep blossoming and setting fruit, especially early in the growing season.

How many peppers per plant?

Is there a certian number of peppers that a plant will produce to full maturity?

The number of fruits per

The number of fruits per plant varies with the variety. Bell pepper plants may produce five to eight fruit per plant. However, do not be surprised if you get one or two. Peppers are sensitive to temperature and need consistent moisture, especially during dry periods.


I live in Southern Africa, and i would like to start a pepper mini-farm on a piece of land i own. do i need to cover it with net because of the heat?


If its to hot (over 110 Degrees) yes, more shade the better. I get my best production here in the Mojave desert in the fall and Spring. Summer I just have to get my plants through it or sprout new plants so they are read to fruit in fall.

I agree with keeping 2 plants either in a container togother or close by. This ensures Bio diversity

Most people get to grow through summer, I have to plan for the hot months and grow mellons and Okra.

Not fully grown

I grow my bell and chilli peppers in my conservatory it's late November and they are all pritty small ?

Even indoors, peppers require

Even indoors, peppers require not only warm but bright conditions. Thought there is sunlight, they need the intensity of light. I'm not sure where you live, but if it's in the north, you may need to investigate a grow light or two.

overwintering vs. starting from seed

My four peppers (some basic variety of large red peppers) gave good yield in pots in a SW-facing balcony. Now they're finished, and I'm wondering about going to the trouble to overwinter them indoors, vs. starting fresh in a few months with seed. What's the benefit of overwintering? I assume we'd get peppers faster from these plants than we would waiting for seed to become mature plants, but what about the quality of the peppers? Thanks!


I have space so I would go for the overwinter to get a jump on the spring fruits. Bell pepper plants can live 3 to 5 years and produce fruits given right conditions.

If you do not have the space and want to grow something else then I would just start over from seed.


Hi we live in the middle east, we have nice pepper plants in the window facing south, the plants groe well, we get the white flower but no fruit, please advice

Usually, lack of fruit is due

Usually, lack of fruit is due to temperature. Optimum temperatures fall between 70 degrees and 80 degrees F. Peppers like it warm (though not too hot)!


It could be no good bugs are visiting your plants to spread pollen. Take a cotton swab and use it to rub the inside of the flowers 1 by 1.

i have a sweetpepper plant

I have a sweet pepper plant and it seems healthy. You know how the flowers are supposed to fall off but the pepper stays on the plant? Well, when my flowers fall off, so does the pepper. What should I do? I need help bad. Do you know what may be the reason?

It may be a case of

It may be a case of inconsistent watering and/or temperature fluctuations. Peppers need nighttime temperatures to stay above 65 degrees.


I have 1 pepper plant that i planted late and since it's getting cold i brought it inside, because someone told me they don't do well in the cold. About a day after i brought it in, it started wilting. The soil is pretty moist, and i put some compost in it. Why is it wilting?

A couple thoughts: Did you

A couple thoughts: Did you rinse the plants off really really well and inspect for pests? Peppers are magnets for mites. Is it too cold? Peppers are very sensitive to cold and do best between 60 and degrees and never colder than 55. They also like very bright light so you might need to supplement. Just water to keep soil from drying out.

Can I grow them in my window?

Can I grow them in my window?

Growing peppers indoors

Are you overwintering your peppers or are you starting from seed? Peppers aren't the best houseplants. They can be overwintered if they have bright light and warm enough temps.

replanting bell peppers

I have 8 bell pepper plants that produced very nice bells early in summer. Do I need to replant new plants for fall or can I keep these ones going

Give your pepper plants a

Give your pepper plants a little fertilizer and water and they should do fine. Peppers need warmth and sun. With the days getting shorter you may not get as many peppers as you did in early summer.

Over winter

I have two plants in containers on my deck (I'm in zone 4)
- I'm ready to harvest them. Should I discard the plants or can they be over wintered indoors for next season?

Over winter

Saving pepper plants over the winter months is tricky. Harvest the peppers and bring the containers indoors. Make sure that you don't bring in any outside insects. You may want to repot the plants in new soil. Place the plants in a cool shady spot (about 55 degrees). Water about once a week and let the plants go dormant. The leaves will fall off. Prune the plants by about 1/3. One month before your last frost date in the spring place the plants in a warm sunny spot indoors. Give the plants more water and you should see some new growth in about a week. Move outside when the temperatures have warmed up.

Hole in the pepper

I just picked some green peppers, and one of them had a hole in it. The pepper looks and feels perfect (very firm). Can I still eat it?

Hole in pepper

Cut the pepper in half and see if you have an insect or bug inside. If not discard some of the pepper around the hole, wash and use. We suspect that you had a slug chewing on the pepper from the outside.

full bloomed flowers dropping

Off late, all the full bloomed flowers on my pepper plant have been dropping, only the flowers and not the stems. After the flower drops, there are small little tiny peppers that can be seen on the stems but these don't seem to be growing.
What should I do?

Sometimes blooms drop because

Sometimes blooms drop because it's above 90 F degrees during the day and/or above 75 degrees at night. This is too hot for bell peppers. Optimum temps should fall between 70 degrees and 80 degrees.

Homegrown Red Bell vs. commercial product

I've been growing Red Bell Peppers for several years without problems; however, my peppers have thinner, less meaty 'walls' than those sold grocery store. They taste great - just wondering what might be missing.

It could be the cultivar(s)

It could be the cultivar(s) that you are growing; some have thicker walls than others. At market, varieties with thick, smooth walls are favored. Thin-walled varieties may have a less attractive shape. For the home garden, look for cultivars that are described as being thick-walled, such as ‘Big Bertha’, ‘Red Knight’, and ‘California Wonder’.

peppers turning red after picking

I know my peppers will turn red if I leave them on the plant, but, if I pick them when they are green, will they turn red after they have been picked?

Bell peppers change color as

Bell peppers change color as they mature; this happens best and most rapidly on the plant. But if you pick them just as they begin to change colors, they will continue to ripen indoors if stored in a warm place.

Tiny bell peppers

This was our first year for a garden and we planted 12 tomato plants, 4 bell pepper plants. Tomatoes did great and are still producing but the bell peppers are small and not producing very much. What did we do wrong? We have had very dry summer but we watered every day.

Tiny bell peppers

Pepper plants need constant and even moisture. Add mulch around the plants to keep the soil from drying out. Peppers are also heavy feeders. Soon after the plants set fruit feed with a timed-release fertilizer.
Peppers will grow bigger in late summer when nights are cooler. If you have many small peppers on one plant it may help to thin them leaving just a couple to grow big.


I planted different peppers when do they change to red and yellow


After the green peppers ripen it may take 2 to 3 weeks depending on the variety before they start turning color.

how to keep bell peppers from burning

I have noticed my bell peppers plants are getting burn spots on them. I water every day. Any suggestions what to do to keep them from getting burn spots? They are in full sun from about 10am to 8pm in the spring and summer.

To avoid burn spots from an

To avoid burn spots from an intense sun: 1. Plant peppers in blocks to provide foliage to the ground and each other, 2. Set up a frame with shade cloth. 3. Plant in an area that gets some afternoon shade for relief. 4. Plan sunflowers or other plants nearby to provide some shade.

Grow Time Bell Pepper

How Many Days Seed to Picking

See the seed packets for

See the seed packets for accurate maturity dates. Most peppers mature in 60-90 days.

Repotted my green pepper

When I repotted my green bell pepper, I accidently broke off the top of the plant which had some small peppers developing. I've removed this broken stem part and wonder if there is any hope for any other peppers developing/growing since there doesn't seem to be any blossom on the remaining stem?

If it broke above the first

If it broke above the first leaves, the plant should still grow.

peppers not getting bigger


I bought a pepper plant a month or two ago with three peppers already on the plant. Since replanting it in my garden I have gotten no new flowers and the fruit that was already there has not gotten visibly bigger in any way. The biggest one is still pretty small (3-4 in) and the other two are like one to two in... Any thoughts? I think I'm watering it enough. I'm giving it a good dousing two to three times a week...

Some thoughts--Do you have

Some thoughts--Do you have enough sun? Peppers need eight hours of direct sunlight. Ensure good drainage. Peppers easily succumb to wet feet. Have you tested the soil? Peppers require a sweet soil -- pH between 6 and 8, phosphorous-rich -- bonemeal works well, and a soil high in organic matter. Hope this helps.


Thx for the reply. First bet is that it's not quite getting enought sun where it is. It probably gets closer to 5 hrs of sun per day where it is... Not sure about the soil. i think i'll plant my garden in a different spot next year...

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!


Botanical Name: 

Capsicum annuum

Plant Type: 

Sun Exposure: 

Soil Type: 

Soil pH: 

Hardiness Zone: 

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