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Bell Peppers Plant Care Guide ~ Seeds to garden ~ How to


Botanical name: Capsicum annuum

Plant type: Vegetable

USDA Hardiness Zones: 1234567891011

Sun exposure: Full Sun

Soil type: Loamy

Soil pH: Neutral

Peppers are a tender, warm-season crop. They resist most pests and offer something for everyone: spicy, sweet or hot, and a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. For this page, we will focus on sweet bell peppers.


  • Start seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before last spring frost date.
  • The temperature must be at least 70 degrees F for seed germination, so keep them in a warm area for the best and fastest results.
  • Start pepper seeds three to a pot, and thin out the weakest seedling. Let the remaining two pepper plants spend their entire lives together as one plant. The leaves of two plants help protect peppers against sunscald, and the yield is often twice as good as two segregated plants.
  • Begin to harden off plants about 10 days before transplanting.
  • A week before transplanting, introduce fertilizer or aged compost in your garden soil.
  • After the danger of frost has passed, transplant seedlings outdoors, 18 to 24 inches apart (but keep paired plants close to touching.)
  • Soil should be at least 65 degrees F, peppers will not survive transplanting at temps any colder. Northern gardeners can warm up the soil by covering it with black plastic.
  • Put two or three match sticks in the hole with each plant, along with about a teaspoon of fertilizer. They give the plants a bit of sulfur, which they like.


  • Soil should be well-drained, but maintain adequate moisture either with mulch or plastic covering.
  • Water one to two inches per week, but remember peppers are extremely heat sensitive. If you live in a warm or desert climate, watering everyday may be necessary.
  • Fertilize after the first fruit set.
  • Weed carefully around plants.
  • If necessary, support plants with cages or stakes to prevent bending. Try commercially available cone-shaped wire tomato cages. They may not be ideal for tomatoes, but they are just the thing for peppers.
  • For larger fruit, spray the plants with a solution of one tablespoon of Epsom salts in a gallon of water, once when it begins to bloom, and once ten days later.


  • Aphids
  • Flea Beetles
  • Cucumber Mosaic Virus
  • Blossom End Rot appears as a soft, sunken area which turns darker in color.
  • Pollination can be reduced in temperatures below 60F and above 90F.
  • Too much nitrogen will reduce fruit from setting.


  • Harvest as soon as peppers reach desired size.
  • The longer bell peppers stay on the plant, the more sweet they become and the greater their Vitamin C content.
  • Use a sharp knife or scissors to cut peppers clean off the plant for the least damage.
  • Peppers can be refrigerated in plastic bags for up to 10 days after harvesting.
  • Bell peppers can be dried, and we would recommend a conventional oven for the task. Wash, core, and seed the peppers. Cut into one-half-inch strips. Steam for about ten minutes, then spread on a baking sheet. Dry in the oven at 140 degrees F (or the lowest possible temperature) until brittle, stirring occasionally and switching tray positions. When the peppers are cool, put them in bags or storage containers.

Recommended Varieties

Look for varieties that ripen to their full color quickly; fully mature peppers are the most nutritious—and tastier, too!

  • Green to Red: ‘Lady Bell’, ‘Gypsy,’ ‘Bell Boy,’ ‘Lipstick’
  • Yellow: ‘Golden California Wonder’



Wit & Wisdom

The popular green and red bell peppers that we see in supermarkets are actually the same thing; the red peppers have just been allowed to mature on the plant longer, changing color and also gaining a higher content of Vitamin C.







See Also

How to Grow Peppers in a Container


17 responses

  1. One of the best things someone in a hot climate can grow. Capsicums (what we call them here) are the bomb! You can use them for so many things and they are flavour bombs. Lots of “bombs” going off here but then again capsicums/peppers are related to chillis 😉

    May 1, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    • lol, i can go to jalapeno heat level and that’s it the habeneros and up nooo

      May 1, 2014 at 5:47 pm

      • What about those stinking hot tiny little Asian chillis?!

        May 1, 2014 at 5:56 pm

      • Bird eye chilis? i can take one or two of those in my asian cooking, such as orange chicken to offset the sweet 🙂

        May 1, 2014 at 7:09 pm

      • Might have to grow a few chillies next season. Even though we have a short growing season, we seem to be able to grow them well here in Tasmania 🙂

        May 1, 2014 at 7:14 pm

      • i like chilies and cayennes very much, salsa and chili sauce 🙂

        May 1, 2014 at 8:49 pm

      • Yummo! Its just about salsa and chilli sauce season for you guys. I love hot sauce…on everything 😉 Try it on icecream, it’s DELICIOUS 🙂

        May 1, 2014 at 9:28 pm

      • really? i have to try that lol 🙂

        May 1, 2014 at 10:14 pm

      • May 1, 2014 at 7:10 pm

      • 😉

        May 1, 2014 at 7:16 pm

      • 😉

        May 1, 2014 at 8:49 pm

  2. Pingback: Growing Vegetables - Top Vegetable Plants For A Beginner Garden - Gardening Basics

  3. Booooo……You 2 PIPS can have the chilly sauce and ice-cream in the morning…Yucky 😀
    Not good having you around if you eat that….Makes you fart all day 😀 ..LOL
    I love my capsicums Grilled or Roasted, Pickled with Sauerkraut, Stuffed or in salads.

    he he he

    May 3, 2014 at 3:30 am

    • lol @ fart all day 😛 i love them roasted too, have recipe in drafts i need to post for that

      May 3, 2014 at 3:31 am

      • I would like the recipe that you are talking about. Also I am looking for a recipe for sweet hot salsa. My sister passed away in March and with her the secret recipe that she made up herself. And it was a secret. She had customers as well as family all over the US.

        May 16, 2014 at 5:56 pm

      • ok will do sometime this weekend, maybe this evening if i get chance 🙂

        May 17, 2014 at 1:08 am

  4. Pingback: Plan now for your fall garden | The Ozarks Sentinel - Ozarks News and World News

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