Growing Peppers

Category Vegetables
Peppers are a popular vegetable garden choice. This is a page about growing peppers.


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Botanical Name:

Capsicum annuum


Peppers are members of the Capsicum genus, and have been cultivated to exhibit a wide range of tastes, colors and sizes. Most have a strong, hot or sweet flavor and are used often as condiments or to add flavor and spice to dishes.

Planting Time:

spring or summer


full sun


well-drained, nutrient-rich soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6.9.


Start seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost or 8 to 12 weeks before transplanting. Because people usually don't need many, it's easiest to start with purchased plants. Set transplants out 2 to 3 weeks before the last frost date or when soil temperatures reach 65ºF. Space peppers 1 _ to 2 feet apart depending on the variety, and allow 2 to 3 feet between rows. Sow seed directly at a depth and rate according to seed packet directions. Plant peppers near tall crops like corn to provide shade and prevent sun scald in warm climates.


Keep soil evenly moist (not wet).


Side-dress plants with a small amount of compost when they start to flower. Cover plants if temperatures are forecasted to dip below freezing.

Harvesting & Storage:

Harvest peppers (even if still green in color) by cutting them from the stems whenever they are large enough to use. Wear gloves when handling hot peppers. Wash skin immediately if you come into bare contact to avoid burns. Peppers will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks or longer when dried.

Diseases and Pests:

Hot peppers generally act as an insect deterrent for the other vegetables in the garden, but can be prone to some of the same problems as tomatoes.

Tips to Success:

Warm weather and consistent moisture are the keys to successfully growing peppers. Northern gardeners should choose early, cold-tolerant cultivars.
Comment Pin it! Was this helpful? Yes

August 16, 2006


I usually have great success growing peppers. This year the plants have not grown at all since I planted them (2 months ago). The leaves have black edges on them and are curled sideways. I do rotate my crops and do not understand what is going on.

Any suggestions?

Hardiness Zone: 6a

Betty from Slate Hill, NY


Betty, It's tough to say what is causing your pepper leaves to curl and growth to stop, but here are some possible causes that match the symptoms you describe:

  1. It could be Pepper or Tobacco/Tomato Mosaic Virus. Symptoms include stunted plants, distorted leaves and fruits and reduced yields. Check your peppers for aphids and spider mites. They are the common carriers of this disease.

  2. It could be damage due to the application of herbicides (Did you spray anything on other non-edible parts of your garden?).

  3. It could be weather related. Leaves often curl and plants quit growing due to heavy rains or when excessive amounts of moisture stays in the soil for prolonged periods of time. The upper leaves are usually the first to curl. Peppers like water, but they don't do will when over-watered. Keep their soil a bit on the dry side without letting it ever dry out completely.

  4. It could be due to extreme temperatures. Cool temperatures (day or night), especially when peppers are first transplanted, can stunt their growth. Peppers like it hot, but prolonged periods of extreme heat can cause stress and result in permanent damage.

  5. It could be due to a lack of potassium in the soil. This causes brown leaf margins and curling. Many people make the mistake of giving their peppers too much nitrogen. Peppers need care similar to tomatoes and prefer a fertilizer that has a higher ratio of phosphorus and potassium.

  6. It could be root nematode damage. Peppers should never be rotated to an area where members of the nightshade family (e.g. tomatoes) were grown the pervious year. Peppers and tomatoes have certain pests and diseases in common that can be easily passed back and forth between plants.

Check with your neighbors and see how their peppers are doing. If they share your pepper problems, it's probably due to rainfall or temperatures. If not, you may want to contact your county extension agency about getting a soil test.

Good luck!

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June 14, 2012

I am looking for hints on growing peppers.

By Robert J.

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February 19, 2013

This is a page about growing peppers in containers. Most pepper plants will thrive in a container.

Peppers in Containers

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