Growing pepper plants at home is a great way to have fun with indoor gardening while growing delicious, colorful ingredients for your favorite spicy (or mild) pepper recipes. Growing peppers indoors also allows you to enjoy them all year long, not just in late summer and early fall, like outside peppers. Pepper plants that are cared for properly can live and produce peppers for several years.
Fortunately, most pepper plants are easy to grow indoors, as an indoor space often already has the right conditions for the plants to thrive.
Temperature for Growing Pepper Plants At Home
As you might guess, pepper plants do well in warm climates. So, keeping the space where you have them growing at a constant 65ᵒ to 75ᵒ is perfect. This temperature is vital to ensure your plants continue to produce peppers throughout the year.
Soil Care for Pepper Plants
Whether transplanting pepper plants or growing from seeds, use a rich soil-based compost in your container. A mix that contains vermiculite or perlite for drainage is also a good idea. You’ll want to fertilize your plants with a 10-10-10 or 2-2-2 mix of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium every two weeks to a month. You can also use a high-quality liquid fertilizer concentrate.
Pepper plants generally like a lot of direct light. In fact, unless you have them in a window that gets plenty of light throughout the day, you’ll want to put them under grow lights. However, when planting from seeds, you will want to start them off with indirect or filtered light until they grow a bit.
Water for Pepper Plants
It’s easy to give your pepper plants the right amount of water. Simply add water to the pot when the top of the soil begins to feel dry. Never water so much that a pool of water forms on the soil, as this will cause disease in your plants.
Pepper plants are particularly sensitive to air quality. You’ll want to keep them away from cigarette or other smoke as well as any other air pollutants.
You’ll know your peppers are ready to pick when they are shiny and bright, and the color is vibrant. To harvest the fruit of your pepper plants, simply cut the peppers off the plant with a sharp knife. This is better than trying to pull the peppers off, which could damage the plant.
Transplanting Pepper Plants
As your pepper plants begin to grow larger, you may need to transplant them into bigger containers. The first transplant should not happen until after the plants have grown two to four sets of leaves. After that, it’s ok to replant your pepper plants whenever they outgrow the container they’re in.
Pepper Varieties to Grow Indoors
Just about any type of pepper plant can be grown indoors. All of them need a lot of light, once sprouted, and they all like warm areas. Beyond that, there are a few things to keep in mind about various types of pepper plants.
Hot peppers, like Jalapenos, Serranos and Habaneros, originate from hot, sunny climates. The closer you can get to the conditions of their native lands, the better luck you’ll have. In many cases, this will mean using grow lights up to 24 hours a day, even if you can put your indoor pepper plants in a sunny window. Don’t expect hot peppers grown indoors to have the same heat as outdoor peppers, but they can still get pretty high on the Scoville heat scale, and they are just as tasty as garden hot peppers.
These delicious, mild peppers are great in a salad, stir fry, or just about any fresh vegetable dish. And they come in several beautiful, vibrant colors to add some fun to your home – and your cooking. It takes a little more care to be successful with bell peppers, but it’s still easy to grow bell peppers indoors. One additional step for bell peppers is at the seed stage. You’ll want to soak your seeds in warm water for a few hours before planting them. Bell peppers also like a lot of warmth, so consider placing seed trays on a seedling heat mat.
Some types of chile peppers can be grouped into hot peppers, but in some ways, they are in a category of their own. For the most part, you’ll be able to care for your chile pepper plants the same as other pepper plants, as outlined above. But chile peppers tend to take longer to grow. Expect the germination process (from seed to seedling) to take up to 28 days, and you’ll wait another 90 days for your chile pepper plants to produce fruit.
Whatever variety of peppers you choose to plant, growing pepper plants at home is a fun, useful addition to any indoor garden. What are your favorite peppers to grow indoors? Share with the community on our social media channels!