How Many Peppers Grow Per Plant?

Most pepper plants will average around 30 peppers per plant. Generally, the larger the peppers on the plant the less peppers you’ll get per plant. A bell pepper plant will produce between 5-10 peppers and a cayenne pepper plant will produce around 70 peppers.

How big the plant is when it starts to flower and produce fruit is an important factor in how many peppers grow per plant. The larger the pepper plant the more peppers it will grow.

If you can start your pepper plant indoors for 12 weeks before transplanting it outside it will produce more than a pepper plant that was only started indoors for 4 weeks, all other factors equal.

How Plant Spacing Affects the Number of Peppers Per Plant

In general, the more space a plant has the more peppers it will produce. Although tighter spacing of plants lead to less fruit per plant, planting more plants with tighter spacings usually leads to a higher overall yield by weight.

You can see the tight plant spacing used in this commercial pepper field.

Study #1

In this study paprika pepper plants were grown at different plant densities ranging from 13,333 plants per hectare to >500,000 plants per hectare. A hectare equals 2.5 acres.

  • 12,500 plants/hectare = 40 peppers per plant = 500 peppers/hectare
  • 25,000 plants/hectare = 30 peppers per plant = 650 peppers/hectare
  • 50,000 plants/hectare = 23 peppers per plant = 750 peppers/hectare
  • 75,000 plants/hectare = 13 peppers per plant = 850 peppers/hectare
  • 100,000 plants/hectare = 10 peppers per plant = 950 peppers/hectare
  • 200,000 plants/hectare = 6 peppers per plant = 1,100 peppers/hectare
  • 300,000 plants/hectare = 4 peppers per plant = 1,200 peppers/hectare

As the plant density increases the number of peppers per plant decreases but the number of peppers per hectare or total yield of peppers increases.

Study #2

In a study published in the American Society for Horticultural Science jalapeno plants were grown with different intra-row spacings.

  • 10 cm between plants = 4 peppers per plant
  • 20 cm between plants = 7 peppers per plant
  • 30 cm between plants = 11 peppers per plant
  • 40 cm between plants = 15 peppers per plant
  • 50 cm between plants = 18 peppers per plant

Do Pepper Plants Keep Producing?

Most pepper plants will produce for around 4-16 weeks and then require a period of dormancy before flowering and producing more peppers. Some pepper plants, like Big Thai. will produce all of their peppers at once. The South American varieties aji amarillo and aji limon are known to grow into big bushy plants that produce year round in the right environment.

The Brooklyn Farm Girl had a jalapeno plant that she brought indoors in November and the plant was still producing jalapenos in January.

You can encourage pepper plants to produce more peppers by picking some while they are still immature. You will get peppers sooner in the season this way and free the plant up to grow new peppers.

You’ll notice a taste difference in immature and fully ripe peppers. Fully ripe peppers have more sugar and capsaicin (the chemical that gives peppers their spiciness). They also have higher nutrient content.

How Long Do Pepper Plants Live?

Pepper plants are perennials that can live for years. According to Sandia Seed Company the different species of peppers will live for different lengths of time.

  • Capsicum annuum – Includes bell peppers, cayenne, jalapenos, paprika, serrano peppers and all of the fast growing jalapenos. Live for up to 3 years. I’ve heard of bell peppers lasting for 5+ years.
  • Capsicum baccatum – Includes aji amarillo and aji limon. Will live for up to 6 years.
  • Capsicum chinense – Includes the hottest peppers – habaneros, scotch bonnets, ghost peppers, trinidad scorpions and carolina reapers. Will live for up to 5 years. I’ve heard of an orange habanero that lived for 15 years.
  • Capsicum frutescens – Includes tabasco peppers and thai hot. Will live for up to 8 years.
  • Capsicum pubescens – Includes rocoto and manzano peppers that grow naturally in the Andes mountains. They will live for up to 10 years.

You might also be interested in “Where Do Peppers Grow?

How Many Peppers Are Harvested Per Acre?

According to wikifarmer a good pepper harvest from the field is 63-125 tons per acre and a good pepper harvest from a greenhouse is 250 tons per acre.

In the 1st plant density study linked above paprika pepper plants were produced at 1,250 peppers per acre at the lowest plant density and at 3,000 peppers per acre with a plant density of 300,000 plants/hectare.

Here is a cost study done by UC Davis that breaks down the costs and profit estimates of farming peppers.

  • Land Prep (discing, fertilizer) = $469 per acre
  • Transplant (installing drip tape & mulch) = $1,732 per acre
  • Growing (fertilizer, weeding, pest control, etc.) = $2,703 per acre
  • Harvest & Marketing (pick, grade, pack, haul, sell) = $5,400
  • Disposal of Crop Residues (remove stakes and twine, drip tape, and mulch) = $442
  • Overhead Cash (land rent, insurance, stakes, drip tape) = $2,265
  • Total Operating Cost + Overhead Cash Per Acre = $13,131
  • Gross Returns (1,800 crtn @ $11/crtn = $19,800)
  • Net Returns Above Total Cost = $6,565 per acre

Different Types of Peppers

How Many Jalapenos Grow Per Plant?

Jalapeno plants will grow 25-50 jalapenos per plant depending on the size of the plant, weather, and plant spacing.

To get the most jalapenos per plant start plants indoors and give them as long of a growing season as possible. Another option is to overwinter jalapeno plants indoors. If successful the jalapeno plant should reach a much larger size in its second year and produce more jalapenos.

How Many Banana Peppers Grow Per Plant?

Banana peppers are 2-4 inch long peppers with a mild spicy level between 0-500 SHU’s. A typical harvest of a banana pepper plant will yield 25-50 peppers.

Banana peppers mild spicy and sweet flavor compliment sandwiches, pizza, and salads well. It’s nice to have some sweet and hot peppers in the garden for the variety.

How Many Cayenne Peppers Per Plant?

Cayenne peppers are long skinny peppers with a scoville rating of 30,000-50,000 SHU’s making it a medium level spicy hot pepper. A single cayenne pepper plant in its first year will produce between 30-70 peppers. It is commonly turned into a powder and used as a spice.

Cayenne peppers can be picked while they are green but will be at their spiciest when they have turned red and completely ripened.

How Many Habaneros Per Plant?

Habaneros are smaller peppers and you can expect to harvest 50-100 habanero peppers come harvest time. A large habanero plant in its second year could produce 500 habanero peppers.

Habaneros are hot peppers with a Scoville rating between 100,000-300,000 SHU’s. They can be turned into powder and used as a spice.

How Many Anaheim Peppers Grow Per Plant?

Anaheim peppers are larger peppers and you can expect 20-40 peppers per plant. Anaheim peppers are a mild pepper with a Scoville rating between 500-2,500 SHU’s.

The peppers get their name from Anaheim, California where the pepper landed when a farmer named Emilio Ortega brought seeds of the pepper from New Mexico to Anaheim in 1894.

How Many Serrano Peppers Grow Per Plant?

Serrano peppers are a similar size to jalapenos and you can expect between 30-60 peppers per plant. Serrano’s have a medium spiciness level between 10,000-25,000 SHU’s.

Serrano peppers are commonly used to make salsas and can be harvested while green or red.

Thanks for reading and please post what you think about how many peppers grow per plant below!

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