If you’re planting a garden in a plot of land the common sense way of knowing how far apart to plant is to plan it out to. Bell peppers typically grow to 18″ wide in a season, so a bell pepper plant will be 1.5′ x 1.5′ feet at maturity. This means we should plant the bell peppers 18″ apart in a row so the planted pepper will have 9″ on either side of center to grow and space rows with a little extra space to be able to walk through the plants for fertilizing and pest control. If you have large transplants, overwintered peppers, or a long growing season give them more space.
Bell pepper plants transplanted into the garden should be planted 18″ apart in rows spaced 30″ apart. If you expect large pepper plants, something like 2.5′ x 2.5′, plant 30″ apart in rows spaced 42″ apart. Plant deep enough to cover the top of the transplant root ball with a 1/2″ of soil.
A large transplant would be like 18″ tall with good side growth. A long growing season is 5 months or more with night time temperatures not being below 60 degrees.
If you ordered a seed packet of bell peppers keep in mind that the days to maturity listed on the packet is after transplant. The 60-90 days listed to maturity is assuming you have started the seeds indoors for 8-10 weeks. So from seed, bell peppers will take 120-150 days to reach maturity.
You should only be directly sowing bell pepper seeds into the ground if you have a long growing season. If this is the case for you follow the directions on the seed packet for how far apart to plant the bell pepper seeds. A general guide is plant them every 9″ and thin them out to every 18″ once they are 4″ tall. Plant the seeds 1/4″ to 1/2″ deep and water after planting. Watering seeds after planting gives them the moisture they need to germinate and keeps light seeds from being blown away.
Importance of Spacing Bell Peppers
Proper spacing is important for bell pepper yields. Plants spaced too close together will compete for sun, nutrients, root space, and water and will not produce well. Foliage on top of foliage will invite disease. This is the same for all plants. Corn grown in the fields will generally have one large ear but corn plants on the edge of fields will regularly have more than one ear because the extra space gives them increased access to water, nutrients, and sun.
Bell pepper plants have large fruits and come in a wide variety of colors making them a pretty nice ornamental plant. They are self pollinating so growing them in a single row in a flower bed is just fine. If they are too sheltered from the wind they may need a little help pollinating. Just shake the branches or swirl a paint brush inside the flower or use this thing that resembles a vibrating toothbrush to hand pollinate and give every flower the best chance at becoming a pepper.
How Many Bell Pepper Plants Per Pot
You can plant 1-3 bell pepper plants in a medium size pot. Pick a pot that is at least 3 gallons and 12″ deep and has good drainage. If you have a large container plant the bell peppers 9″ apart in every direction. Place pots in an area that will get at least 6 hours of full sun. Remember if your pots are sheltered from the wind to hand pollinate once flowers start to appear.
One Plant – Growing bell peppers in a pot is a good idea if you have limited space or plan on overwintering the bell pepper plants. If you plan on overwintering the bell pepper plant you’ll want to have one plant per pot. If you’re going to spend the time and love to keep the plant alive for multiple years I recommend spending the money for Smart Pots.
Two Plants – For two plants go with a 5 gallon pot. Two plants is probably the right choice for most growers. You can train and prune the plants or leave them be and they should do well. Plant the two plants 9″ apart.
Three Plants – If you want to grow three pepper plants in a medium sized pot or a 5 gallon bucket you’re going to need to do some pruning and training. A simple way to do this is to put three stakes at the edges of pot in a triangle and to bend and tie the plant to the stakes when they reach a foot tall. If you want to go all out you can use plastic pots, stakes, eyehook screws, and plant tie to really train the bell pepper plants to the side.
Put the eyehook screws into the outside of the pot at the same place that the stake is placed. The screws can be tough to get into the pot so use a small screw driver to poke a hole where it will go. Once the plant reaches two feet tall bend the main stem over and tie the branch to the eyehook screw. Prune growth that is low and in the middle to avoid congested foliage in that area.
How Far Apart to Plant Bell Peppers In A Raised Bed
Raised beds soil temperatures warm up faster in the spring and stay about 5 degrees warmer than ground soil temperatures. This is great for warm temperature plants like bell peppers. Another nice thing about raised beds is that you don’t need space to walk through because you can always reach the middle of the bed. A good raised bed always has one dimension that is 4 feet or less for this reason. This feature also means no compacting of soil or trampled plants from walking through rows.
Plant bell pepper plants 12″ apart in every direction or 1 bell pepper plant per square foot. This means a 4’x10′ garden will have 40 or 46 plants. 40 if planted parallel in rows and 46 if staggered in rows called triangle gardening.
Square Foot Gardening Plant Spacing
One of the more popular methods of intensive gardening is called square foot gardening. This involves taking a raised bed and dividing it into square foot sections. A literal grid made of wood, wire, or irrigation hose is used to physically create the square foot sections.
This method commonly uses interplanting, or planting assorted vegetables in one bed. Thishas a benefit in managing pests and keeping them from ravaging a whole bed planted as a monoculture.
Square foot gardening leads to more efficient use of space because you know exactly how much space is available and what you can do with it. If you see one square foot block being unused you can use plant spacing guidelines to fill it. You can disregard the recommended space between rows.
|Plant||Recommended Spacing||# of Plants Per Square||Space Between Rows|
|Baby Leaf Spinach||1"||144||N/A|
|Artichokes||18"||2 squares per plant||N/A|
|Brussel Sprouts||24"||4 squares per plant||N/A|
Here’s a calculator made by the University of Minnesota you can use to determine how many plants to put per square foot.
How to Plant Bell Pepper Seeds
Plant bell pepper seeds by using a stick to draw a straight line where you want your row to be. These bamboo poles are useful for lots of things and can be used to mark rows. When you draw the line aim to dig down about 1/2″. You want to plant the bell peper seeds 1/4″ to 1/2″ deep. Cover with dirt and water the rows.
Remember to water after planting to give the seeds the moisture they need to germinate and also to keep the seeds from blowing away. Remember that the days to maturity on the seed packet is most likely time from transplanting and if you’re growing from seed bell peppers will need 120-150 days to maturity. The first number is generally the time the bell peppers will reach full size and the second number the time the color of the pepper will gave changed and they have reached full ripeness.