Pepper Plant Growing Tips & Plant Care

Peppers are a great addition to any garden and lots of meals. There are a wide variety of peppers with varying sweetness and spice levels and many vary colorful varieties like Chinese 5 Color that are both ornamentals and edibles.

Chinese 5 color are a variety of tabasco pepper that turn all different colors as they ripen. Tabasco peppers in general are very pretty pepper plants because the peppers on tabasco plants grow straight up into the air. These are both ornamental and edible plants.

Below are some FAQ’s about growing peppers that will hopefully help you grow healthy and heavy producing pepper plants. Also check out “How Often To Water Peppers” and “Best Soil & Fertilizers for Peppers“.

Do Peppers Need Full Sun?

Peppers are warm-weather plants that need full sun in order to thrive. They should be planted in a location that receives direct sun for a minimum of six hours per day.

Peppers require a long growing season and gardeners in colder climates almost always start pepper plants indoors including commercial pepper grow operations. A greenhouse extends the growing season by protecting plants from harsh weather conditions. 

Although pepper plants in general love the sun gardeners in hot climates with intense sun should take precautions to prevent flowers from dropping, poor pollination, and pepper fruits from being sunburned in intense afternoon sun.

Check out “Pepper Plants Flower Blossoms, Pollination, & Fruit Setting” for more on how heat and other variables can affect this critical phase in the pepper plants life.

Using a 40% shade cloth to cover the pepper plants during the hottest and sunniest months of the year will help protect the fruit and the plant.

If you’re growing in the south it’s also extra useful to use mulch on top of soil to reduce soil temperatures and increase water retention in the soil. Another trick is to look for pepper varieties that have larger leaves to naturally protect the fruit from sunburn. 

Why Are My Pepper Plants So Small?

Pepper plants that are grow inside for longer can grow to be bigger plants than those started indoors for only 4 weeks or pepper plants planted directly as seed into the garden.

Try growing pepper plants indoors for longer and to avoid stressing the plant at any stage to avoid stunting the plant which can cause most growth to come to a halt.

Check out “How Long Does It Take To Grow Peppers?” for the answer to that question and some guides on how long it takes pepper plants to reach different stages in its life cycle.

Also know that pepper plants are perennials. If you want to have bigger pepper plants try overwintering them indoors so they can start the next season already as a decent sized plant.

To grow truly big bushy pepper plants use supplemental lighting. You can have a 6’x6′ pepper plant ant the end of one season using supplemental lighting like this T-5 fluorescent.

Why Are My Pepper Plants Stunted?

Cold weather is the most common reason for stunted pepper growth. If nighttime temperatures drop below 50 degrees, the plants growth will slow.

This is why it is crucial to plant peppers at the appropriate time of year, once there is no risk of frost and nights are mild.

Another reason for stunted growth is lack of direct sunlight. Peppers need full sun for at least six hours per day, so gardeners must be careful to plant them in a location that is not heavily shaded. 

Peppers can be stunted due to starter plants being root bound inside their growing container. Root bound plants will not grow properly because their roots do not extend outward or downward into the soil. This prevents the roots from taking in sufficient nutrients and water.

Transplant shock is another factor that can stunt pepper plant growth. Make sure to harden off pepper plants before transplanting by gradually introducing them to outside conditions for 7-10 days before planting them outside in the garden.

How To Keep Bugs Off of Pepper Plants

To keep bugs off of pepper plants use neem oil. Neem oil will coat the plants foliage with a wax like coating that makes it unappetizing to insects. It also contains a natural active ingredient, Azidachtrin, that will eat away at bugs exoskeletons and their eggs.

Neem oil is 100% organic and made from cold pressed neem seeds off of neem trees. I use it in the garden to take care of pests of any type that are above the soil.

Combine it with some manual eradication where you walk through and take out bugs and check for eggs on the undersides of leaves and you’ll have your pest problem behind you in no time.

Do Pepper Plants Come Back Every Year?

In mild climates where there is no frost, pepper plants can survive year round. Once established, they will produce fruit year after year in the warm summer months.

In these climates, trim the plant at the beginning of the new growing season as soon as new growth starts to emerge. Focus on cutting any areas that look damaged, spindley, or unhealthy. This will allow the plant to grow fuller with healthy, vigorous leaf growth. 

In climates with low winter temperatures and frost, it’s best to remove pepper plants at the end of the growing season. The plants will not survive through frost. Moving pepper plants indoors is one option to preserve and protect plants throughout the winter months.

Check out “Plant Growth Stages of Pepper Plants” for more information on the life cycle of pepper plants.

Is Epsom Salt Good For Pepper Plants?

Epsom salt is helpful to use when growing pepper plants. Epsom salt contains both magnesium and sulfur, both nutrients are necessary for pepper plants to germinate, grow, develop strong roots, and produce large and flavorful fruit.

It’s not a bad idea to give the plants a dose of these nutrients. Too be more judicious about the process you can do a soil test to determine the levels of these nutrients already present in your soil.

Epsom salt can also be used as a foliar plant spray when mixed into a solution with water or just poured into the soil.

Make a solution with one tablespoon of epsom salt to one gallon of water. To use as a foliar spray pour the mixture into an empty spray bottle or spray tank. Spray the solution directly on the leaves of the plant until they are dripping wet.

What Temperature Is Too Cold For Pepper Plants?

Pepper plants are best planted outside in late spring, well after the last frost. Pepper plants become stressed when night temperatures drop under 55 degrees, causing plant growth to be stunted and leaves to wilt.

The best soil temperature for pepper plants is 65 degrees, which will be achieved when nights do not dip below 55 degrees and daytime temperatures are consistently above 70 degrees.

Please comment below with some of your own tips on growing healthy pepper plants.

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