When it comes to indoor gardening, only a few things are as versatile as the pepper plant. Whether sweet, hot, green, or red, peppers can add a touch of sophistication and flavor to any dish. So, learning about growing peppers indoors is an excellent idea for any indoor gardener or would-be chef.
Generally, there’s a belief that peppers don’t do so well in the winter. However, you don’t have to limit yourself to enjoying peppers’ goodness at specific points during the year. Peppers are perennial plants, but these vegetables can thrive year-round if given the right amount of care.
This guide will explain growing peppers indoors through every season and how you can easily get it done.
Techniques for Growing Peppers Indoors
Generally, there are two ways that you can grow your peppers indoors. You can either start your peppers from seeds or bring an outdoor pepper plant indoors.
Starting from Scratch Indoors
The technique for growing peppers from seed is relatively simple, and you can start the process any time of the year. Most experts recommend that you start indoors from the beginning and leave the peppers inside through their lives.
When you start from seeds, you have the advantage of being able to select a variant that will grow to the perfect size for your indoor planting space. You can easily grow larger plants like Hungarian wax peppers and red bell peppers if you have enough room. However, if you don’t have so much space, variants like dwarf chilies will be ideal for you.
Make sure to plant the seeds using an organic potting mix made for edible plants. Place two pepper seeds in a small pot close to its center and dig them in just below the soil’s surface.
Remember to keep the soil moist but not overly wet. Also, be sure to put the planting pot in a spot where it will always get direct sunlight.
Taking Outdoor Pepper Plants Inside
If you have outside pepper plants and want them to thrive throughout the year, you can bring them indoors. This method allows you to be ahead of the game in a sense. You already know what you have and can work with it to ensure you can enjoy growing peppers indoors.
If your peppers have been planted directly in the ground, the process of bringing them inside might not be easy. You can’t just uproot the plant and bring it inside as you wish. To get this done, use a sharp garden shovel to dig around the plant. Also, be sure to capture plenty of soil with it. Immediately lift that portion out of the ground and place it into a pot.
It’s best to transplant in the evening to give the plant time to cool off overnight and recover. Place the plant, with the soil, in a plastic plant pot. Avoid materials like terra cotta during this stage of the process.
If you have room in the planting pot, now is an excellent time to add some compost. Try to refrain from adding any more garden soil. Water the plants, place them in a shady spot and leave them to rest for a while.
Care for Peppers Brought in from Outside
Bringing plants inside also requires that you be vigilant with them. Many outdoor pepper plants tend to attract pests, including aphids. So, you’ll want to ensure you didn’t bring any into your house. If you find any bugs on the plants, take them out and rinse them very well. If pest signs are numerous, quarantine the plant away from other plants. Then, you can treat it with an organic plant pesticide to get rid of the pests.
As expected, you will need to place the plant where it will have easy access to sunlight. If that isn’t an option, you can use inexpensive grow lights to provide the needed light.
Growing Peppers Indoors in Cold Climates
In truth, peppers do better in hotter climates. However, nothing stops them from growing well indoors when it’s cold outside. However, growing peppers indoors in winter may require some additional work.
Here are some tips for successful winter growing of pepper plants:
- Choose Quick-Maturing Peppers: Try to select pepper varieties that will mature quickly and have adapted to cool temperatures. This way, the peppers will grow and ripen before your first frost.
- Start the Seedlings Early: If you’re growing from prepackaged pepper seeds, be sure to read the package. The date to maturity you see is typically the date from the transplant stage to the harvest stage. Unlike other seed packages, this isn’t the date of germination. You’ll need an additional six to eight weeks to that date if you’re growing a transplant.
- Get a Heat Mat: You can always use a plant heat mat to help the seedlings emerge faster from the soil. Once they surface, you can take them off the heat mat and switch to natural sunlight — or grow lights. If you’re using the latter, keep the lights about two inches from the seeds.
- Fertilize Your Seedlings: Once you see that leaves are developing, start feeding the seedlings with an organic pepper fertilizer. For the best results, carefully follow the manufacturers’ instructions.
- Mulching: You can always mulch the soil surface with straw or an organic peat moss blend to improve the soil’s ability to hold moisture. Try to keep the mulch away from your pepper stems so that the mulch doesn’t interfere with the plant’s growth.
- Choose the Planting Location: As we all know, peppers do best in the heat. So, get a well-draining planting tray and place it in a location that gets 6-8 hours of sunlight daily. Adding some compost to improve soil moisture is always a good idea as well.
Frequently Asked Questions for Growing Peppers Indoors
Indoor pepper plants will need much of the same things as those grown outside. They need enough container space for their roots to grow, enough sunlight, and proper watering — about once a week should do fine.
Depending on the pepper variant, you should notice germination between 14 and 28 days.
Under the right circumstances, a pepper plant should be able to live for over five years while indoors.
Ensure your peppers get watered at least once a week. Check on them more often in seasons of extreme drought and heat.
Peppers grow best in the summer season. However, with the right precautions, you can certainly grow them indoors in winter too.