How To Grow Red Peppers

Imagine plucking a sun-warmed red pepper straight from your own garden, its vibrant glow reflecting the satisfaction of homegrown bounty. Sounds delightful, doesn’t it? Well, with a little know-how (included in this guide on how to grow red peppers) and some dedicated TLC, this delicious dream can become your backyard reality!

This guide is your friendly roadmap to pepper-growing success, tailored specifically for beginners. We’ll break down the key steps, dispel common myths, and equip you with the secrets to nurturing those tiny seeds into delicious red gems. So, grab your gardening gloves, and let’s dive in!

About Red Peppers

When a recipe calls for “red pepper,” it usually means red bell pepper. 

Bell peppers are typically green when unripe, but ripen into red by being left on the plant longer. The color and flavor of peppers are determined by the variety of the pepper plant and when it’s picked. For example, the Permagreen variety of bell pepper keeps its green color even when fully ripe. There are many pepper varieties that turn red when fully ripe.

Bell peppers come in many colors, including red, yellow, orange, green, white, chocolate, and purple. The most common varieties are green, yellow, orange, and red. 

chocolate bell pepper

(Chocolate Bell Pepper Pictured Above)

Red, yellow, and green bell peppers are the same vegetable at different stages of ripeness. Green peppers are often immature red peppers, and there are some cultivars that stay green even as they ripen. 

Bell peppers are considered the most mild pepper and have varying levels of sweetness. Green is not sweet, yellow is mild, and red and orange are the sweetest. 

Bell peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C, especially the ripest red peppers. They are also a good source of vitamin A and fiber.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive into the details on how to grow red peppers.

Best Red Pepper Growing Conditions

Red peppers crave around 6-8 hours of daily sunlight, so pick a spot in your garden that basks in the sun’s warm embrace.

Peppers love loose, well-draining soil rich in organic matter. Amend your existing soil with compost or aged manure to create a happy pepper playground. If you are growing in containers, a quality potting mix will provide ideal red pepper growing conditions.

Red Peppers are heat-loving plants that thrive in warm weather, ideally above 70°F (21°C). So, if you’re in a cooler climate, consider starting your seeds indoors or using a cloche for some extra warmth.

How To Plant Red Peppers

Seed Sowing Serenade: Starting from seeds is budget-friendly and allows you to choose your favorite varieties. Sow seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost, providing consistent moisture and warm temperatures.

Transplant Trot: Don’t have the time or space for seed starting? Opt for healthy pepper seedlings from your local nursery. Choose sturdy plants with deep green leaves and avoid any with wilted stems or yellowing foliage. The advantage to transplanting seedlings if the time saved.

The trade off for that time saved is the expense of the seedlings. If you want to save money, knowing how to grow red peppers from seed is your best option.

Bonus Red Pepper Planting Tips

Give your pepper plants ample room to spread their wings (or leaves, in this case!). Space them 18-24 inches apart to ensure proper air circulation and prevent overcrowding.

Gently dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball of your seedling. Place the plant in the hole, ensuring the soil level sits just below the lowest set of leaves. Backfill the hole, tamp down the soil gently.

Spread a layer of organic mulch around your pepper plants to retain moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature. Give them a deep watering and move on to the next step.

growing red peppers

How To Care For Red Peppers

Consistent moisture is key, but avoid soggy soil when watering your pepper plants. Aim for about 1-2 inches of water per week, adjusting based on your climate and weather conditions. Deep watering encourages strong root growth, so aim for the soil below the surface rather than just a quick sprinkle.

Peppers are hungry little things! Fertilize them every 4-6 weeks with a balanced fertilizer diluted according to package instructions. Organic options like compost tea or fish emulsion are excellent choices for keeping your soil and peppers happy. In Ace’s Garden we use Myco Bliss (check price on Amazon here) in all our pepper plants.

As your pepper plants grow taller, provide them with support in the form of stakes or cages. This prevents them from toppling over under the weight of their ripening fruits.

Keep an eye out for common pepper pests like aphids and caterpillars. Neem oil or insecticidal soap are effective organic solutions for pest control.

Do You Need To Prune Red Peppers

Whether or not you need to prune red peppers depends on several factors, but isn’t strictly necessary like it is for some other vegetables. Here’s a breakdown:

Reasons to prune red peppers

  • Increased air circulation and sun exposure: Light pruning can remove suckers (small shoots growing between branches) and low foliage, allowing air to circulate better and sunlight to reach all the fruits. This can potentially lead to larger, healthier peppers.
  • Disease prevention: Pruning can improve air circulation and reduce leaf density, making it less hospitable for fungal diseases like blight.
  • Early ripening: If you’re in a short-season climate, pruning about 3 weeks before the first frost can encourage the remaining peppers to ripen faster.

Reasons not to prune red peppers

  • Potential yield loss: Pruning removes foliage, which is the pepper plant’s food factory. Excessive pruning can reduce the number of flowers and fruits your plant produces.
  • Stress on the plant: Pruning can stress the plant, especially during hot weather or if done incorrectly.

Overall, light pruning (removing suckers and a few lower leaves) is generally safe and can offer some benefits, especially in dense plantings or short-season climates. Always avoid heavy pruning, especially late in the season, as it can significantly reduce your harvest.

Observe your plants. If they’re healthy and producing well, pruning may not be necessary.

How To Harvest Red Peppers

Red peppers are ready for harvest when they turn from green to a vibrant, deep red color. Feel free to pick them at any stage of ripeness, as green peppers are perfectly edible too! Just like tomatoes, you can leave your green peppers in a sunny windowsill and they ripen into red peppers.

Use sharp shears or pruners to harvest your peppers, leaving a small stem attached to the plant. This reduces stress on the plant saving your remaining harvest.

With proper care, your pepper plants can produce fruits for weeks, so keep harvesting and enjoy the fruits (pun intended!) of your labor. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different varieties next season to discover your new favorites!

Remember, gardening is a journey of learning and exploration. Embrace the occasional hiccup, celebrate your successes, and most importantly, have fun! With a little dedication and this handy guide, you’ll be well on your way to harvesting a basketful of homegrown red peppers in no time.

If you enjoyed Ace’s guide on how to grow red peppers, but need a little more spice in your life, check out How To Grow Jalapeno Peppers.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top