How Far Apart To Plant Pepper Plants

Pepper plants should be spaced 12″ apart in rows spaced 18″ apart. The spacing of peppers is similar for all pepper plants. Bell pepper, tabasco, and cayenne are larger pepper plants and may do better with 6″ more of space so space them 18″ apart.

One factor that impacts the correct pepper plant spacing is if you start the peppers indoors and how long you grow them indoors.

Pepper plants that are grown indoors for 10 weeks and then transplanted outside will be substantially bigger then direct seeded peppers at the end of the season.

The following are guidelines for how far apart to plant pepper plants from different sources.

SourceIn-Row SpacingSpace Between Rows
Burpee Seed Distributor18" apart24"-36"
JohnnySeeds seed distributor18" apart24"-36"
University of Minnesota Extension18" apart30"-36"
Texas A&M Agrilife Extension18" apart36" or more
PennState Extension18" apart24" or more
North Carolina State Extension12"-24" apartIn a bed 12-24" apart in every direction
Iowa State University Extension18" apart 24"-30"
Georgia State University Extension12"-24" apart36"
Michigan State University Extension18" apart24" apart or more
Illinois University Extension18" apartIn a bed 14"-18" apart in every direction
New Mexico State University8"-14" apart24"-30"
ufseeds seed distributor12"-18" apart24"-36"
LSU Agricultural Center15"-18" apart36" apart or more
Washington State University Extension10"-12"12"-24"

Pepper Spacing Vs. Yields

Typically commercially grown produce is grown with tight spacing. Tight spacing of plants leads to smaller fruits and less fruit per plant but overall greater yields.

You can see the tight spacing between these pepper plants in the field.

You might also be interested in “How Do Peppers Grow” that has a section on how peppers are grown commercially.

Study #1

In this study paprika pepper plants were grown with plant densities ranging from 13,333 plants/hectare to over 500,000 plants/hectare.

For reference – 1 hectare = 2.5 acres = 109,000 square feet

The yield per hectare increased the most from 13,333 plants/hectare to 200,000 plants/hectare but continued to increase slightly as the plants per hectare went higher.

Somewhere between 100,000-200,000 paprika pepper plants per hectare produced the most efficient yield. That equals somewhere between 1 pepper plant per 1.1 square feet and 1 pepper plant per 0.55 square feet.

Study #2

In this study (click on the pdf button to view the whole thing) pepperoncini plants were grown in two consecutive years with different intra-row spacings. The intra-row spacings used were 7.5, 15, 22.5, 30, and 45 cm or 3″, 5.9″, 8.9″, 11.8″, and 17.7″.

It’s important to note that the pepperoncini plants were direct seeded and not transplanted into the field. Transplants grow bigger by the end of the season and need more space.

During the first grow year the highest yield came with pepper plants spaced 7.5 cm apart. The following is the yield of pepperoncini in tons per hectare for the year 1992.

Plant SpacingYield of Pepperoncini Peppers
7.5 cm11.1 Tons per Hectare
15 cm7.8 Tons per Hectare
22.5 cm7.7 Tons per Hectare
30 cm7.1 Tons per Hectare
45 cm6.1 Tons per Hectare

During the second year the highest yield came with pepper plants spaced 15 cm apart. These are the yields of pepperoncini in 1993.

Plant SpacingYield of Pepperoncini Peppers
7.5 cm8.4 Tons per Hectare
15 cm8.6 Tons per Hectare
22.5 cm6.6 Tons per Hectare
30 cm5.1 Tons per Hectare
45 cm3.6 Tons per Hectare

Study #3

In this study published in the American Society for Horticultural Sciences the yield of jalapenos was studied with different intra-row spacings used.

The different in-row spacings were 8, 16, 24, 32, 40, and 48 cm. There was not much difference in yield found but yields were less at the 40 cm and 48 cm spacings.

For comparison 8 cm = 3.15 inches, 24 cm = 9.5 inches, 48 cm = 19 inches

What Happens If You Plant Peppers Too Close Together?

Planting peppers too close together can lead to increased competition between between plants for nutrition, sunlight, and water. If they are too close together the plants may not have enough of what they need to produce fruit.

Another problem of plants being too close together is that foliage will sit on top of eachother. This leads to poor air circulation and can lead to disease problems like powdery mildew.

How Many Pepper Plants Per Container

You should plant one pepper plant per 5 gallons of soil. So if you use a 10 gallon container you can put two pepper plants. If you plan on overwintering the pepper plants indoors then you should plant one plant per container.

Pepper plants are commonly grown as annuals but can live for 5+ years. In most areas they need to be brought indoors over the winter to survive until the next season. Growing peppers in containers makes this easier to do.

If you plan on overwintering peppers using a larger container and growing only one pepper per pot makes sense. You can always transplant into a bigger pot later.

Check out “How Many Peppers Grow Per Plant?” for more on how long pepper plants can live.

Square Foot Gardening Pepper Plants

Square foot gardening is a form of intensive gardening. It’s commonly done square foot sections physically divided by wood trim, wire paneling, or irrigation hose.

Peppers are given one square foot section per plant in typical square foot gardening layouts.

Square foot gardening is also planted as a polyculture, meaning different plants in the same bed. A polyculture leads to less insect and disease problems because different plants are affected by different pests and disease.

Square foot gardening makes it easy to see what spaces are available in the garden and to know what you can fill them with.

Spacing Pepper Plants in Raised Beds

An easy way to space pepper plants in raised beds is to space them 12″ apart in every direction. If you’re transplanting pretty large starter plants you should increase that to 18″ apart in every direction.

You can also plant the peppers in rows with plants spaced 12″-18″ apart in rows that are spaced 18″ apart.

How Far Apart To Plant Banana Peppers

Banana peppers should be planted 12″-18″ apart in rows and rows should be planted 18″ apart. Larger transplants should be given more space, something like 18″ apart in rows with rows spaced 24″ apart.

Please comment below with your own thoughts on correctly spacing pepper plants or anything related!

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