It takes 130-160 days to grow peppers to full ripeness. Most seed packets list the days to maturity for peppers as 65-85 days. This is because pepper plants are normally started and grown indoors for 10 weeks before being transplanted outside.
Another consideration in how long peppers take to grow is that peppers can be picked while they are still immature. Jalapenos for example will reach full size about two weeks before they fully ripen and change color.
For the most part peppers can be picked at any time while they are still immature but will gain nutrition and flavor as they ripen with peak flavor and nutrition at full ripeness (sugar and capsaicin, the chemical responsible for spice level, are at their highest when the pepper is fully ripe.
How Long Does It Take To Grow Peppers From Seed?
It takes 130-160 days to grow peppers from seed to maturity. Peppers are warm weather plants with a long growing season. For that reason they are normally started indoors.
Pepper seeds will germinate with temperatures between 60-90 degrees but the optimum temperature for pepper seeds to germinate is 85 degrees.
With colder temperatures it can take up to 2 weeks for the seeds to sprout but with warmer temperatures the seeds can sprout as quick as 3 days after being planted. That’s the purpose of heating mats.
If you do use a heating mat make sure to remove it once seeds start to sprout. While most seeds like warmer temperatures to germinate, plant seedlings like cooler temperatures between 55-75 degrees.
If you plan on direct-seeding pepper plants make sure that you have a long growing season. You should have 4-5 months with temperature averages not going below 55 degrees and highs around 70 degrees at least.
In growing areas where temperatures are regularly above 90 degrees shade cloths can be used to shade pepper plants and other garden plants during the hot midday sun.
How Long Do Peppers Take To Grow After Flowering?
Peppers will be fully mature and ripe about 70 days after the first flowers bloom on pepper plants. Flowers will appear on pepper plants around 10 weeks after sprouting.
About two weeks after pepper flowers bloom you will see that some of them have successfully pollinated and will begin to grow into peppers. After a pepper plant flower is successfully pollinated it will grow into a mature and ripe pepper in 50-60 days.
Are Peppers Hard To Grow?
Pepper plants are easy to grow but there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure you are successful.
- The size of the pepper plant – Small pepper plants that produce a small harvest is a common complaint gardeners have with pepper plants. Pepper plants take a long growing season of 4-5 months. If you plant pepper seeds directly into the garden you’ll need to live in a warmer growing zone with 4-5 months of temperatures that are not regularly below 55 degrees. By starting pepper plants indoors the plants have a longer warmer growing season to reach a larger size in. Also pepper plants are perennials that can be overwintered and produce for multiple seasons as a larger plant each season.
- Too hot – Although pepper plants are warm weather plants, temperatures above 90 degrees can cause the plants heat stress. This is especially important during the flowering and fruit setting phases and can lead to fruit drop and no peppers come harvest time. If temperatures are going to be 90 degrees or above for more than a few days use shade cloths to keep the plants shaded during the midday sun.
- Watering correctly – Pepper plants, like all other plants, require less water in the beginning, more water as they get bigger, and the most water as they flower and produce fruit. The best way to know if you need to water is to feel the soil 3-4 inches down. Rub it between your fingers and feel the texture. If it is mostly dry water and if it is mostly moist let it be. For more on watering peppers correctly check out “How Often To Water Peppers“.
How To Grow Peppers Faster
- Make Pepper Seeds Sprout Faster – Use a heating mat to increase the soil temperature in the flat or starter trays you plant the seeds in. A pepper seed can sprout in as few as 3 days with a soil temperature of 85 degrees.
- Give the Plants Space– When a plant becomes root bound it will stunt and slow the plants growth. Make sure to use starter trays or pots with plenty of space to avoid this.
- Use a Grow Light – Using a grow light after the peppers sprout will cause the most rapid and lush vegetative foliage growth.
- Transplanting – Transplant correctly by hardening off the pepper plants gradually to avoid stressing the plants.
- Plant In a Sunny Location – Pepper plants prefer full sun and will grow best in a location that gets at least 6 hours of full sun a day.
- Avoid Stressing the Pepper Plants – Any type of stress throughout the plants life cycle from seed germination to harvest will stunt the plant and cause delayed or paused growth that will lead to smaller plants with less fruit come harvest time. Common causes of stress are improper watering, lack of nutrition in the soil, heat stress, pests & disease.
Best of luck in your spicy and sweet pepper growing adventures. Please comment below with anything related to how long it takes to grow peppers!