Peppers are believed to be one of the first plants to have been domesticated, and chili pepper seeds from over 6000 years ago have been found in Peru and Mexico. Residue of the peppers has also been found on various ancient cooking tools.
Growing peppers from seed requires a certain amount of patience. Generally, you start your seeds in the winter indoors. Exactly which month you’d like to start is up to you, but January – February is a good starting point. Before you plant your seeds, soak them overnight in warm water. Sow into small pots or seed trays filled with moist seed compost. Most seeds will germinate, so only sow a few more than you need, in case of losses.
Place in a heated propagator at about 18–21°C (65–70°F), or on a warm windowsill and cover pots with a clear plastic bag or clear lid to keep the warmth and moisture in.
As soon as seedlings appear, take the pot out of the propagator or remove the plastic bag. Keep plants at 16–18ºC (60–64ºF) in good light and water regularly. Transplant seedlings once they have two true leaves into their own 7.5–9cm (3–3.5in) pot, maintaining a high temperature to encourage growth.
Different Types of pepper seeds
There are countless varieties of pepper seeds. In our webshop we sell the following:
- Organic Mexican Pepper Jalapeño
- Organic Cayenne
- Spanish Cayenne
- Bhut Jolokia Red
- Hot pepper mix (mix of various types of peppers)
- Yellow Habanero
- Habanero Color Mix
- Picante Calabrese
Growing of peppers
Sweet peppers grow best in a greenhouse, polytunnel or conservatory, but will also grow outdoors in a very warm, sheltered, sunny spot (at the base of a wall for instance), but may produce a smaller crop. Each plant needs a large container – 30cm (12in) or more – filled with good quality potting compost. They can also be planted in growing bags (two or three plants per bag) or in the ground. Space plants 38–45cm (15–18in) apart, depending on the variety. Cover with fleece or cloches initially, preferably until the end of June.
The soil you grow peppers in should drain well and ideally have a pH range between 5.5 and 7.0. Also, work a 2-inch layer of compost into the top 6 inches of soil to promote drainage, because peppers can't thrive if their roots are soaked.
How Often Do You Need to Water a Pepper?
Whether you're growing sweet or hot peppers a proper watering process is essential to your success. Peppers are a warm-season vegetable that can't thrive without a moderate amount of water. Deeply water the plants with 1 inch of water per week, and adjust the amount or frequency during hot, dry periods, after rainfall or if your soil is sandy and drains fast. Instead of flooding the soil with water when it's dry, keep it evenly moist.
Watering peppers too much or not enough can stress the plant and affect your yield. Overwatering the plants, for instance, might trigger standing water. This can lead to sunburned fruit and might cause the leaves to drop. Additionally, the excess water dilutes the nutrients in the soil, which also affects the plant's growth. If you neglect to water pepper plants, they might not set fruit and can wilt or their blossoms and buds might drop.
In addition to proper watering, use mulch and provide well-drained soil, because these can also help to regulate the moisture delivered to the plants during the growing season.
Pepper Plant Diseases And Pests
- The most common diseases in pepper plants are fungus related. Plants may get discolored, grow poorly and develop spots. You may see leaves turning yellow and dropping. Don’t forget that healthy pepper plants require loose, well-drained soil. Destructive strains of fungus can flourish in an environment where there’s too much water.
- Cutworms are usually the most damaging to peppers and they especially like the young seedlings. Aphids will cluster beneath pepper plant leaves, excreting honeydew, which attracts other insects. Aphids create spots, distort the plants' leaves and will make them wilt. By taking care of enough ladybugs in the garden, you prevent the pepper plant from being eaten by aphids.
Harvesting of peppers
To make harvesting peppers easier, we have put together some examples of the most common peppers. If you are growing a different variety, just follow the basic principles of harvesting peppers:
- Changing color
- Growth stops
- Softening flesh
- Easily picked from stem
- Corking (on some varieties)
Peppers as a houseplant
Indoor pepper plants need the same requirements as those grown outside. They need enough space in a container for their roots to grow. They need plenty of sunlight; a south- or west-facing window is ideal. If you don’t have enough light available, use a grow light.
Where can I buy pepper seeds?
In our webshop of course!!