Give pepper plants at least 5 gallons of dirt per plant and use pots that are at least 12″ deep with good drainage. If you plan on overwintering the pepper plants keep it to one plant per pot.
One Plant – Having one pepper plant per pot gives the plant plenty of room and makes it easier to move. If you’re going to over winter the pepper plant it’s a good idea to keep one plant per pot.
Having one pepper plant per pot is also a necessity for bonsai chiles. They are an extremely cool example of what can be achieved through pruning pepper plants.
Two Plants – If you want two pepper plants in a pot, use at least a 10 gallon pot and space the plants reasonably apart in the pot. You’ll need to do some training and pruning in the middle of the pot as they grow.
Three Plants – If you want to grow three pepper plants in one pot you need to use at least a 15 gallon pot and you’re definitely going to need to do some pruning and training.
A nice way to do this is to put three stakes at the edges of the 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 training a plant in a pot use plastic pots, stakes, eyehook screws, and plant tie to really train the bell pepper plants to the side. I wish I had a picture but I hope the following description will paint the picture.
Put the eyehook screws on the outside of the pot at the same place that the stake is placed. The screws can be tough to get into the plastic pots so use a small screw driver to poke a hole where it will go.
Once the plants reach around two feet tall bend the main stem over the side of the pot and tie the top of the main stem to the eyehook screw. Prune growth that is low and in the middle to avoid congested foliage in that area.
You can also train a single bell pepper plant like this. Top the plant once for it to have two main stems and top it twice for four main stems.
Do Peppers Grow Well In Pots
Peppers fit and grow well in pots and they also look great in them. Tomatoes and peppers both have a bushy growth habit and both are great choices for container growing. Peppers get the edge IMO because their branches are a little stronger.
Should I Prune My Pepper Plants
It is not necessary to prune pepper plants but it can be helpful to plant health and yield. Pepper plants that produce smaller peppers like jalapenos, habaneros and cayenne peppers will benefit more from pruning than larger pepper varieties like bell, cubanelle, and poblano.
Pepper plants that produce larger peppers naturally grow into a Y-shape and have less branches than smaller pepper plants.
Here are some times when it makes sense to prune pepper plants.
- Early Growth of Small Pepper Varieties – Small pepper varieties should be “topped” when they reach around 8″ high to force the plant to grow into a Y-shape that will form a more organized branch structure.
- Prune Off Bottom Growth – Cleaning up the bottom 6″ of the plant by pruning off all of the branches and leaves there can help the plant avoid pest and disease issues.
- Pinch Off Early Flowers – When pepper plants flower while they’re are still inside or right after transplant consider pinching off the flowers to force the plant back into vegetative growth. More vegetative growth will result in a bigger plant with higher yields. Consider how much time is left in your growing season before doing this. After flowering pepper plants need 60-90 days to produce mature fruit.
- To Increase Air Circulation – If you have pepper plants packed tightly in a bed or multiple plants in a container you may need to prune some of the growth in between plants to increase air circulation and avoid disease that can occur with foliage right on top of foliage.
- Overwintering Peppers – If you plant to overwinter peppers prune back 1/3 or so of the growth before bringing the pepper plants indoors.
Best Peppers To Grow In Containers
There are something like 2,000-3,000 pepper varieties grown across the globe. I think the number of varieties is so high because people enjoy peppers so much.
Anyways, choose peppers that you think you will enjoy or that are nice to look at. I prefer to have a variety of sweet and hot peppers for diversity at the dinner table.
- Chocolate Bell Pepper – These bell peppers have a beautiful chocolate colored outside with a bright red inside. They look great on the plate.
- Round of Hungary – These are cherry peppers that are ribbed and flattened instead of round. They are mildly spicy and sweet and commonly served filled with pimento cheese.
- Thunderbolt Hybrid – This is a stockier plant that produces 10″ long sweet peppers.
- Chinese 5 Color is a variety of a tabasco pepper that turns all different colors at the same time. Any variety of tobasco pepper is a cool looking plant because the peppers grow straight up.
- Candy Cane Red – This is a sweet pepper plant with striped foliage and peppers that are also striped as they change color ending in a solid red color.
- Sweet Pepper Plants – Pepperoncini, banana peppers, or poblano peppers are all mildly spicy and sweet and can be enjoyed differently than hot peppers.
- Super Hot Peppers – For the bold palate and dare takers ghost peppers, carolina reaper, and trinidad scorpion are some of the hottest peppers on the planet.
- Cayenne Peppers – Cayenne peppers are the types commonly found in Chinese or Thai dishes. They are a medium/hot spicy level and can be ground up and used as a spice or in a sauce. Some varieties like Amazing 2 are better for making into a spice and others like Red Rocket better to use fresh.
- Habanero Peppers – These are small roundish peppers that produce heavily and look great. They are hot peppers with a Scoville rating between 100,000-300,000 SHU’s.
Hybrid varieties of peppers usually have more insect and disease resistance than heirloom varieties. If you have had problems in the past with pests/disease in peppers pick one of these. There are plenty of disease resistant varieties of peppers to choose from.
Please comment below with your thoughts on growing peppers in containers or anything else related!