How to Grow Peppers in Containers - Backyard Boss
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How to Grow Peppers in Containers

Do you love the tangy, crisp taste of fresh peppers? You can grow this tasty vegetable outdoors in large plots or raised beds, but don’t fear if you have limited space! With just a few supplies and some know-how, growing peppers in containers is an accessible gardening activity for beginner and experienced gardeners alike.

All it takes is patience and hard work to turn those little seedlings into thriving plants bursting with flavor that your family will love all season long. Learn how to start a container pepper patch specifically tailored to small spaces.

What You’ll Need

Pepper Seeds
Image credits: Richard Elzey via Openers

Here’s what you need to grow your peppers in containers.

  • Pepper seeds
  • Soil
  • Container (4-inch and 5-gallon)

Guide to Growing Peppers in Containers

With a bit of love, attention, and patience, you can start enjoying watching pepper plants grow in your container garden.

Step One – Choose Your Peppers

Jimmy Nardello peppers
Image credits: Kate Carosio via Shutterstock

The first step in growing peppers in containers is selecting the type of pepper you want. There are hundreds of varieties available, so research the type of heat and flavor profiles each offer.

Cultivars that do well in containers include Jimmy Nardello, ‘Criolla de Cocina,’ Thai, and Jamaican yellow mushroom peppers.

Jimmy Nardello peppers are delicious, glossy-red peppers and are sure to be a hit in any dish. These 10-inch-long vegetables have a mild, spicy flavor that is perfect for frying. ‘Criolla de Cocina’ are unique Nicaraguan peppers with a sweet, strong, and complex flavor. They’re thin-walled and wrinkled like an oversized habanero and remain firm and crisp. Plus, they last longer in the fridge than many other peppers. Try Thai or Jamaican yellow mushroom peppers if you’re after something spicier.

Step Two – Planting Your Pepper Seeds

Woman hand holds seeds in hand, close up. Planting seeds. Gardening, sowing seeds in pots. Sow chili peppers.
Image credits: Marco de Benedictis via Shutterstock

Once you’ve selected your pepper varieties to grow, it’s time to plant the seeds. Six to eight weeks before your last frost date, plant your seeds ¼ inch deep in pods in a high-quality potting mix. Water the pods thoroughly after planting.
Next, cover your pods with a plastic tray and place them indoors atop a heating pad. Aim for a soil temperature of about 85 degrees Fahrenheit. At that temp, your pepper seeds should germinate in approximately seven to 10 days. Do not allow the soil temperature to get below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Your pepper seeds will not germinate in that temperature range.
Once you notice new growth, place your pepper pods in full sun. Once the pepper seedlings have two leaves, they are ready to be transplanted!

Step Three – Prepare Your Containers

Image credits: JulieK’s Images via Canva

Once your seedlings have grown, it’s time to prepare your smaller containers for planting. A standard 4-inch pot is ideal for most varieties but include drainage holes at the bottom of your container for proper water flow. Consider adding a layer of stones at the bottom of the pot, as this will help with aeration and drainage. Water well.

Transplant the seedlings into 4-inch pots and place them in a sunny and warm location. A greenhouse, if you have one, is ideal.

Step Four – Transplant in Larger Containers

garden center filled with various planter pots and containers
Image credits: Francisco Leão via Pixabay

With the proper preparation, your pepper plants will be ready to make the big move into their permanent 5-gallon containers in a few weeks. Start by hardening off your pepper plants. This process involves gradually introducing them to the outside environment so they can acclimate.

Next, choose a quality organic soil mixture that contains nutrients specifically suited for peppers. Adding some compost to the mix can also provide extra nourishment and help keep the soil moist. An alternative option is to use equal parts peat moss, coconut coir, and one part vermiculite or perlite.

Once you’ve gathered your materials, it’s time to transplant! Place your pepper plants into the container, gently patting down the dirt as you go. Lastly, give them plenty of water to help them settle in their new home.

Place your plant in a sunny location with six or more hours of direct light daily.

Pro-Tip: Trellis or stake your pepper plants to help them stay upright as they grow.

Step Five – Water and Mulch

Leaf Mulch In A Garden
Image credits: Elif Bayraktar via Shutterstock

Watering peppers is a balancing act. You want the soil to stay moist but not soggy. Check the top few inches of soil for moisture and if it feels dry, give your peppers a good drink. Alternately, lift your container; if it feels light, that’s a sign your pepper plant needs some hydration. Generally, peppers need about an inch of water a week.

Don’t get any water on the leaves, or you may invite fungal diseases like powdery mildew.

Mulching is also important when growing peppers, as it helps maintain consistent temperatures in the soil during extreme heat waves. Use organic mulches such as bark chips, straw, leaf litter, or grass clippings. Mulch helps keep the soil warm and moist by reducing water loss from evaporation.

Step Six – Fertilizer

Plant Liquid Fertilizer
Image credits: Teona Swift via Pexels

Fertilizing your pepper plants is key to keeping them healthy throughout the growing season. An all-purpose fertilizer will provide essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium for optimal growth and yields.
Fertilize your pepper plants during their growing season by dispersing it around the base of each plant.

Once fertilized, water your peppers thoroughly to help the nutrients reach the roots. Replace the mulch and water again.

Step Seven – Harvest Time

Farmer cuts the sprouts into the peppers with scissors for a good harvest
Image credits: VITALII BORKOVSKYI via Shutterstock

Harvest time is the most exciting part of growing peppers in containers! Depending on the variety, this could take anywhere up to 60 days.

When harvesting peppers, use clean kitchen shears and cut the pepper off without damaging the stem. Once harvested, store your freshly picked, unwashed peppers in a perforated container in the refrigerator for up to one week. If you wish to freeze your peppers, make sure you store them in an airtight container. This way your peppers will store for up to nine months.

Pick a Potted Peppers 

Now that you’ve successfully grown peppers in a container, it’s time to enjoy them! Peppers are incredibly versatile. From salads and salsas to stir-fries and stews, you can add them to numerous dishes.

Growing peppers in containers is a rewarding experience that anyone can do at home. You now have all the tools you need to grow your own peppers today.

If you have any tips on growing peppers in pots, leave a comment below! And share this with your family and friends.
Happy gardening!