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Eaten raw or cooked, bell peppers are one of the most sought-after vegetables around the world. Its lush verdant leaves, compact form, and strikingly colorful fruits make this plant a contender for even the most formal gardens. Both sweet and hot peppers are a part of the Grossum cultivar group of the species Capsicum annum and are native to North and South America.
If you’re looking forward to learning how to plant peppers in your home vegetable patch or the best way to boost their productivity, you can select from a wide range of varieties. Read on to find this comprehensive guide on growing a beautiful and thriving garden with healthy and strong plants that you would be proud of!
Types of Bell Peppers You Can Grow
A wide array of bell peppers can be grown for varying degrees of spiciness and assortments of flavors. Here is a list of its different types:
- Red Mercury: This sturdy plant grows block-shaped red bell peppers that are the sweetest. Their medium-green color changes to golden yellow and then red color.
- Color Mix Bell: These open-pollinated bell peppers are a combination of white, yellow, lemon, purple, orange, chocolate, golden yellow, and red colors that are spicy yet sweet after they are fully ripe.
- Mini Bell Blend: This miniature plant bears smaller but heavy yields of red, brown, and yellow peppers that are sweet to taste.
- Chinese Giant Sweet Red: Although the plants are compact, they produce large 4″x4″ fruits. Ideal for home gardens, the color of this fruit changes from dark green to bright red.
- Lady Bell Sweet Pepper: This hybrid plant grows large, fleshy fruit from this plant for an extended period of time.
- Sweet Peppers: Green and crisp, sweet peppers are usually picked for fresh salads. The brown, yellow, or orange fruits are soft and sweet.
- Cubanelle: This large bell pepper plant of 6 inches in length produces a bumper yield of fruits in yellow-green color. They turn red after they’ve ripened.
- Emerald Giant: These dark green peppers are bigger in size and ripen to turn red.
- Purple Bell Pepper: This plant produces attractive fruits of deep purple color that have thick and fleshy walls.
- Caribbean Red Pepper: This plant yields fiery hot peppers that are red and wrinkled.
- Anaheim Chili: Although least hot, this dark green bell pepper is mostly used for drying. Its fruits of six to eight inches change to red after they ripen.
- Sweet Banana Pepper: This plant produces sweet, pale, and yellow fruits that grow up to six to seven inches. It turns a bright red color after ripening.
- Cascabella: Acidic in flavor, the cone-shaped fruit of this bell pepper plant grows to around an inch in length. Expect bright yellow or red fruits when ripe.
- Long Cayenne Pepper: This plant’s intensely hot pepper fruit grows about five inches long, changing to red from deep green.
- Hungarian Wax: These mildly hot peppers are eaten raw or cooked. Its fruit of 5-8 inches turns red from bright yellow after ripening.
- Habanero Hot Peppers: This slightly wrinkled electric orange pepper of one inch is named the King of the hot peppers.
- Pepperoncini: This plant bears fruits that are mildly hot and sweet after ripening. Its green or yellow fruit changes into red when ripe.
- Jalapeno Pepper: This plant bears dark green fruits 2-3 inches long that turn to a fiery red when ripe.
- Tabasco Chili Pepper: Tabasco pepper is distinctly hot and an important ingredient in salsa and stir-fry recipes. The plants grow to four feet while its fruits of 1/12 inch change from green to orange and finally red after they ripen.
- Poblano: Poblano bell peppers are mildly hot in taste. After maturing, its reddish-brown fruit measures 6 inches in length and 3 inches in width.
- Serrano Chili: The small fruits of this plant are extremely hot and ripen from dark green to crimson color.
- Thai Hot Pepper: This plant grows to about 18 inches tall and is mostly used for decorative purposes. Its bright red peppers are about one inch in length.
How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Bell Peppers in Your Garden
Bell peppers are a warm-weather crop that is remarkably easy to grow. If you wonder, “how tall do pepper plants grow?” the answer would be that it depends on how big they were when transplanted outside? Most types reach up to 4-6 feet tall and 4-6 feet wide by the forthcoming growing season. You need to choose the exact variety of bell pepper, considering its spiciness, before deciding on a plant. Since it is imperative to know how long does it take for peppers to grow or all about pepper plant care to have a flourishing garden, here are some steps to follow:
1. Sow Seeds Indoors
For those starting with planting seeds, look for information on the back of the seed packet on the perfect soil temperatures, spacing between plants, lighting needs, exact days to harvest, and germination techniques. Considering its long growing season, you can germinate bell pepper seeds indoors at first. Put soil in a planting tray and sow your bell pepper seeds up to a depth of a quarter of an inch. Water the plants and allow sunlight, or place the seeds near a heating pad to keep them warm in temperatures of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Transplanting Seedlings Outside
After the seeds are left for germination for one to three weeks, their seedlings start to sprout. As bell peppers are more susceptible to transplant shock, be careful while transplanting them outside. Gently introduce your seedlings to exterior conditions for small amounts of time per day, about 10 days before planting. Gradually increase the amount of time to acclimatize them to the outside environment and stop them from getting wilted or growth being stunted.
After you’ve transplanted the bell peppers in the garden soil, they grow within a day. Ensure that they receive a day temperature of at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit and night-time temperatures at 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Maintain a gap of 18 to 24 inches between seedlings and bury them in well-drained sandy or loamy soil. A good quality soil may include kelp meal, bat guano, and worm castings that provide adequate nutrition. Bell peppers prefer soil pH ranging between 6.0 and 6.8. The root ball can be under, but the seedlings’ leaves can still be on the top layer.
4. Bell Pepper in Cold Weather
Using black plastic sheeting helps to absorb sunlight and retain warmth in the soil under chilly weather conditions. Grass clippings can strangle weeds that could damage the delicate root system of bell pepper plants. Spreading mulch can help to keep the soil warm, safeguard against insects, and aid with drainage.
Watering up to a height of one to two inches per week is ideal for maintaining the soil’s moisture. Water the plants twice a day in hot weather conditions. Dry conditions will yield peppers that taste bitter. Excess watering can choke the root system or make them diseased. You can explore various irrigation techniques to water these plants.
As sunlight is a key factor for the growth and ripening of bell peppers, keep them in a sunny spot of the garden. A shade cloth or shady plants can protect the bell pepper plants in extreme heat or under intense sunlight to manage temperatures.
A fertilizer with low nitrogen content can enhance the growth of the bell pepper plant. As the calcium content of organic fertilizers can alter the soil’s pH balance, test it before introducing it to the soil. Begin by hoeing or tilling the soil lightly. As soon as the first fruits of the plant grow big, put about two tablespoons of fertilizer about 6 inches away from the stem all around the bottom of the stem. Watering immediately can help to increase the yield and quality of fruit.
In case you want to keep your bell pepper plant upright and protected, staking is the answer. Keeping them off the ground protects them from pests and lessens sunscald in direct sunlight or exposure for a longer duration.
9. Pests and Disease Control
Using organic insecticidal soap for natural and chemical-free pest control can keep aphids, cut-worms, and flea beetles at bay. Fungi and bacteria cause leaf spots that can be treated with neem oil, sulfur, or other fungicides.
10. Ideal Plant Companion
Bell pepper plants can be grown with companions like corn, cucumbers, and carrots. Planting such companions can help the bell peppers share resources and grow much better, leading to a better crop and abundance of vegetables.
Bell peppers in your garden can be harvested all season long. Even if you lack space, they can look attractive in a container, on the patio, or on your deck. All you need to do is put a little extra effort into creating an ideal environment to grow green peppers that can act as inspirations for your culinary experimentations.