When To Plant Pepper Plants

Pepper plants should be started indoors for at least 8 weeks before being transplanted outside. They can be planted outside when all threat of frost has passed and night time temperatures average 55 degrees or above.

Pepper plants are usually started indoors 8-10 weeks before they are transplanted outside both in the garden and in commercial pepper growing operations.

When you buy a pack of pepper seeds the time listed to maturity is typically between 60-90 days and that time starts from when the peppers are transplanted outside.

Although 8-10 weeks is the typical time peppers are grown indoors you can start them inside whenever you like. You can start them in a south facing window or under supplemental grow lighting, or both.

As long as the seedlings don’t stretch, become thin and spindly, and fall over on themselves they are getting enough light. If they do this add a small grow light.

You can start peppers in a single tray or container and then move them to individual pots later. Peper plants need about 5 gallons of dirt apiece.

Remember that to germinate seeds a warmer temperature is optimal, a soil temperature of 85 degrees is optimal for pepper seeds to germinate, but once the seeds sprout plant seedlings prefer cooler weather between 55-75 degrees.

While pepper plants are indoors if any flowers appear on the plants you should pick them off to keep the plant in a vegetative growth state. More vegetative growth means a bigger plant come the end of the season which means a bigger harvest!

Use Supplemental Lighting To Start Pepper Plants

This T-5 fluorescent grow light is great for vegetative growth of plants. It has 8 bulbs that draw 54 watts each so it is outputting 432 watts. Used for around 16 hours a day the bulbs will last for 1 year at near full power and will work well for a second year but will be around 70% of full power.

By using this light and a cheap timer switch you can keep plants in a vegetative state and grow big bushy pepper plants before they even get outside. A pepper plant that is 3’x3′ and then put outside to grow for 3 months will produce a serious amount of peppers come harvest time.

Check out “How To Plant Jalapeno Seeds” for more in depth information on how to plant pepper seeds.

When To Plant Pepper Plants Outside

Move pepper plants outside when temperature lows average 55 degrees or above and 2-3 weeks after the last frost date. Soil temperatures should be 65 degrees or above when planting peppers outside.

A soil thermometer is a simple gardening tool that looks like a meat thermometer but reads down to lower temperatures. It’s a great tool to know when to direct seed plant most garden plants.

If you plan on direct sowing pepper seeds you’ll need to have a long growing season. Peppers grow best with temperatures between 55-85 degrees and will flower and produce fruit better with temperatures between 65-85 degrees.

From seed the majority of pepper plants take between 120-150 days to grow fully ripe peppers.

Harden pepper plants by gradually taking them outside outside. Take the seedling pepper plants and put them outside for 3 hours at first and then progressively longer for 7-10 days until they are outside for a whole day.

This process gets the pepper seedlings used to the outside conditions like UV rays, wind, and humidity levels, gradually so that when you do transplant them they don’t suffer shock and get stunted.

When a plant is stressed enough it will just stop growing for 7-14 days until it recovers. That’s what a stunted plant does and you don’t get that time back so the plant will be a little smaller and produce a little less than it would have by having optimal conditions and consistent growth throughout its growing cycle.

When Are Peppers In Season?

Peppers are in season mainly from July through December but are imported from Mexico and so are available all year round.

Peppers can be grown earlier in a greenhouse setting. Most pepper plants are grown in the field but started in a greenhouse. In warmer areas with long growing seasons like Texas peppers can be direct seed sown.

Texas also has two growing seasons for peppers a spring and fall growing season. The spring peppers are planted sometime between January-March and the fall season peppers are planted between June-August.

In California fresh peppers are available from May-December. Top producing counties in the state include San Joaquin, Kern, San Benito, and Ventura counties.

Florida produces the most peppers available from June-October with most of the growth coming from southern parts of the state and some around the Tampa Bay area.

You might also be interested in “When To Pick Peppers?

What’s the Best Month To Plant Peppers?

The best month to plant peppers depends on the climate where you live. Peppers grow best with temperatures regularly between 55-85 degrees.

In Michigan peppers are planted outside in early May but in Florida peppers can be planted outside in February or March.

In northern states peppers need to be planted with enough time to reach full ripeness before temperatures get too cold and in southern states growers need to be careful that pepper plants are not flowering and producing fruit when temperatures are regularly above 90 degrees.

Temperatures that go below freezing can kill pepper plants and when temperatures become cooler pepper production will slow down. Temperatures 90 degrees and above can cause pollination problems and fruit drop.

Shade cloths can be used to help keep plants cool and out of the blazing midday sun.

Is It Too Late To Plant Peppers?

Peppers are warm weather, sun loving plants, that require a long growing season of 120-150 days with temperatures in between 55-85 degrees. If you’re running short on time check local plant nurseries and see if there are any pepper starter plants available.

For some ideas on what to plant with pepper plants check out Companion Planting Peppers

Please comment below with any thoughts you have on when to plant pepper plants or anything related!

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