How Far Apart to Plant Bell Peppers

Bell pepper plants transplanted into the garden should be planted 12″ apart in rows spaced 30″ apart. If you expect large pepper plants, something like 2.5′ x 2.5′, plant 24″ apart in rows spaced 42″ apart. Plant deep enough to cover the top of the transplant root ball with a 1/2″ of soil.

If you have large transplants, overwintered peppers, or a long growing season give the plants more space. For more on overwintering bell peppers and how spacing affects yields check out “How Many Bell Peppers to Expect Per Plant?

A large transplant would be around 18″ tall with good side growth and a long growing season 5 months or more with night time temperatures not averaging below 60 degrees.

If you have bell pepper seeds the time to maturity listed on the packet is most likely time from transplanting and is assuming that the plant was grown inside for 8 weeks before transplanting outside.

Common time to maturity for bell peppers is listed as 60-90 days but if you’re growing from seed you need to add the 8 weeks back so it’s 120-150 days.

Bell peppers planted directly outside will not get as big as bell pepper plants that are started inside and can be planted closer. If you’re planting from seed outside expect bell pepper plants to reach around 1.5′ x 1.5′.

Another way to plant is to put bell pepper plants 18″ apart in every direction and to stagger them in this way. If it’s not in a raised be you can reach across remember to add space where you can reach the plants to fertilize and do pest patrol.

How Far Apart to Plant Bell Peppers According to the Experts

SourceBell Peppers In-Row SpacingBell Peppers Space between rows
International Journal of Vegetable Science 12"31.5"
Journal Central European Agriculture12"20"
University of Georgia Extension Service12-16"36-42"
African Journal of Agricultural Research6"24"

Remember that commercial growers are all about efficiency, high plant densities, and total yields by weight. They will never be growing overwintered bell pepper plants or growing bell pepper plants to a big size that isn’t efficient for them to do with a whole field.

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. Plants spaced too far apart waste growing space.

Corn grown in the fields will generally have one large ear per plant but corn plants on the edge of fields will regularly have more than one ear because the extra space on the edge gives them increased access to water, nutrients, and sunshine.

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 Far Apart to Plant Bell Peppers In A Raised Bed

Plant bell pepper plants 12-18″ apart in every direction. Square foot gardening, talked about below, calls for 1 bell pepper plant per square foot.

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.

Square Foot Gardening Plant Spacing

square foot garden

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. This has 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# of Plants Per SquareSpace Between Rows
Baby Leaf Spinach32N/A
Lettuce Head2N/A
Melon2 squares per plantN/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 Many Bell Pepper Plants Per Container

Bell pepper plants should have 5 gallons of dirt apiece to grow. If you use a large container you can plant multiple bell pepper plants per container.

A nice thing about planting bell peppers in individual containers is the easy maneuverability and option to overwinter the bell pepper plants in the pot they are in. When the bell pepper plants break dormancy in the spring of their second growing season they will likely need a bigger pot.

Planting Bell Peppers In a Garden Plot

You have many options for planting bell peppers in the garden. Judge what size you think the plants will grow to by assessing how long of a growing season you have left and the size of the transplants.

Plant the bell pepper transplants somewhere between 12″-36″ apart and rows 18-36″ apart. Or plant bell peppers 18″ apart in every direction. Plant the root ball 1/2″ under the soil.

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You should only be directly sowing bell pepper seeds into the ground if you have a long growing season of 5 months of weather with average lows above 60 degrees.

Soil temperatures should be 60 degrees or higher for bell pepper seeds to germinate. A cheap soil thermometer looks just like a meat thermometer but measures down to lower temperatures.

How Deep to Plant Bell Pepper Seeds

Plant bell pepper seeds in holes 1/2″ deep outside or in pots and 1/4″ deep in starter pots planted inside.

Water after planting to give the seeds the moisture they need to germinate and also to keep the seeds from blowing away.

To learn when to plant bell peppers from seed or transplant check out “When to Plant Bell Peppers?

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