Vegetable Overview: Bell Peppers

bell-peppers

Discover how to grow bell peppers with instructions on starting seed, transplanting, site selection, care and maintenance, water and fertilization requirements, pests and disease, and harvesting and storage.

Bell Peppers Stats at a Glance

Soil Conditions: Well-drained, fertile soil

Sun: Full sun

Soil pH Conditions: 6.0-7.0

Planting Instructions

Can I Start Bell Peppers from Seed?

In areas with shorter growing seasons, peppers should be started indoors prior to the growing season.

To start indoors, fill individual peat pots with a fertile commercial soil starter and moisten.  Sprinkle the seeds on the surface of the soil, as they need light to germinate. Press them lightly into the soil to ensure contact with growing medium. Place in a room with a constant temperature of 70-75°F.  Cover with clear plastic wrap to maintain the soil moisture and temperature.  Keep the soil moist.  When seedlings appear, remove the plastic wrap and move to a sunny location.

 

When to Start Seeds: 8-10 weeks prior to planting.

Time to Germination: 7-10 days

 

When Do I Plant Bell Peppers?

Peppers require warm weather and warm soil for best performance.  Do not plant before the soil reaches 55°F.  They will perform better when the soil reaches at least 70°F.  Using black plastic or mulch will help to warm the soil faster.

Soil Temperature: 70-95°F.

 

Where Do I Plant Bell Peppers?

Peppers require well-drained, fertile soil.  Incorporate a generous amount of organic matter prior to planting.

Soil Type: Well-drained, fertile

Sun Exposure: Full sun

Soil pH: 6.0-7.0

 

How Far Apart Do I Plant Bell Peppers?

Plant 12-18” apart in rows that are 24-36” apart.

Bell Peppers Plant Care and Maintenance

How Often Should I Water Bell Peppers?

Peppers require a steady supply of water for best performance.  Slow, deep waterings are best.  Adding black plastic or mulch will help to retain soil moisture.  Do not overwater. Peppers have a shallow root system. Too much water can make plants susceptible to diseases.

 

Should I Fertilize Bell Peppers?

Fertilizing decisions should be based on a soil test.  If a soil test cannot be obtained, peppers generally perform well with a 10-10-10 fertilizer worked into the soil prior to planting. Do not fertilize again until the peppers begin to enlarge.  A tablespoon or two sprinkled at least 6” away from the base of the plant should suffice.

Too much nitrogen will encourage lush green growth at the expense of fruit production.

 

Additional Tips

Keep the pepper garden weed free.  Weeds compete for soil nutrients.  Hand-pull weeds that are close to the plant.

Pepper plants may require staking once the fruits have developed to avoid plant breakage from the weight of the fruit.

Bell Peppers Diseases

The most common diseases associated with this plant include blossom end rot, and cucumber mosaic virus.

Bell Peppers Pests

The most common pests associated with this plant include aphids, borers, flea beetle, leaf miner, tarnished  plant bugs.

Harvesting and Storing Bell Peppers

When Do I Harvest Bell Peppers?

Pick fruits when they become shiny and dark green in color.

 

How Do I Harvest Bell Peppers?

Remove fruit from the plant with sterilized scissors or a knife.

 

How Do I Store Bell Peppers?

Peppers are best when used immediately after harvesting.  If they must be stored, place them in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

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