If you are into homegrown produce, such as bell peppers, then knowing how to grow bell peppers in pots properly would help.
Although many people say that bell peppers are a tropical plant that loves warm surroundings and space, you can grow one in a container or a pot.
Growing one in a container would be the perfect option if you don’t have a huge garden or don’t have much space.
To grow a healthy bell pepper plant, you need to combine water, fertilizer, sunlight, and the right plant type. Ensure that you pay attention to the small details before starting your planting journey.
Choose Big Pots
The first thing in learning how to grow bell peppers in pots is to choose the proper sized container. Bell peppers need enough space so their roots can spread.
You want to pick a pot with 12 inches of diameter. Don’t be discouraged when you see a young plant seemingly small in such a big container. Rest assured that it will fill the pot out when it’s mature and reach full size.
You also want to choose a pot with holes on the bottom. The container is supposed to be a well-draining spot to ensure the proper growth of your plant.
If you can’t find such a pot, you can drill your holes to have enough drainage. Keep in mind that peppers need moist soil consistently, so you may want to consider a metal or a plastic pot.
Use Organic Potting Mix
You also want to use potting or seed starting mix for the peppers.
They can help with the drain thoroughly when compared to the garden soil. The potting mix is the key to preventing peppers from being waterlogged.
The next step in growing bell peppers in pots is to find an organic and natural potting mix, especially the ones that have been formulated and created for containers – having nutrients already added.
A good mix should be able to retain moisture while also providing vital nutrients and aeration to the roots.
Bell pepper plants are sensitive to the blossom end rot. It’s the condition where the veggies’ ends would turn black because they don’t get enough calcium.
You can prevent this by having calcium granules during the planting time. Depending on the brand you buy, add it as instructed.
Follow the directions on the package.
Choose the Right Plant
Another step in how to grow bell peppers in pots is to start with seedlings. Some people may advise you to use seed packets. It’s basically up to you, but the seedlings can help to maximize your growing season.
It’s advisable to choose the compact varieties that are perfect for containers. You should know that there are several different bell peppers, and some can grow tall up to 3 feet in height.
But you may be glad to know that many of the pepper plants are small. But if you want to make sure, you can ask the clerk or the shop assistant.
Ensure the plant gets plenty of sunlight
As mentioned before, bell peppers appreciate tropical temperatures, which means they love sunlight so much.
Hotter climates aren’t an issue. If you look closely, you will see that most bell peppers would peak in the summer months – well, at least that’s in America.
The plants thrive in temperatures ranging from 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit at night.
One tip in growing bell peppers in pots is keeping everything moderate – not too much and not too little. Too cold isn’t good for growing, nor is it too hot.
Misshapen fruits and plant distress are the common issues when it happens. You want to start growing after the last frost takes place.
If you’re growing bell peppers in containers, ensure they get at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. If you grow one in a covered patio or a shaded backyard, the results may be disappointing.
Some people may say that you can grow one with a grow light, but it won’t be maximum or satisfying.
It’s better to place your pots on the (sunny) front porch. If possible, try the driveway.
Watering Regime and Feeding the Plants
Bell peppers need moist soil most of the time. It also means that you may need more watering when compared to growing the pepper in the ground. You may want to try watering the plant daily.
You may want to water the plant several times a day in midsummer. Here’s a tip on how to grow bell peppers in pots: check the soil before you start watering.
If the topsoil inch is dry, then you should water it. If it isn’t dry, then don’t water it. You will only risk overwatering it.
It’s also a good idea to water it in the morning. If you do it during the daytime, the water evaporates too fast before it can provide enough benefits to the plant. What about the nighttime watering?
It can make the plants wet – for too long. It is usually the reason for waterlogging, leading to fungal and bacterial growth.
When it comes to watering equipment, you don’t need anything fancy. A simple watering can be just enough.
Alternatively, you are also free to use a hose with a spray nozzle but choose the gentle setting one. You don’t want to break the plant while watering.
When you water the plants, you want to aim for the base instead of the leaves. It would be much more effective.
Another thing that you need to learn about how to grow bell peppers in pots is to make sure of their feeding routine. Choose organic and natural plant food that is designed for veggies and fruits.
Make sure that you apply the fertilizer as instructed by the label. Usually, you need to apply once every 7 days to 14 days. The feeding would be crucial while the plants are in the flowering stage.
Proper Harvesting Time
In most cases, bell peppers would be ready within 60 days or 90 days after transplant.
The next step in growing bell peppers in pots is to know the proper harvesting time. You should know that there are different bell pepper types out there.
When you choose a particular type, you should know the color when it is mature and ripe. Some bell peppers can be easily picked when green.
Be sure to harvest it when it has been firm and reached full size. But some types may require you to leave them until they turn red, orange, or yellow.
The Bell Pepper Is Ready
Once you pick the bell peppers, you are free to prep and eat them in any way you like.
There are tons of tasty recipes that aren’t only easy to make but are also healthy.
Aside from knowing how to grow bell peppers in pots, you can also learn about the proper preservation of the peppers.
Feel free to enjoy the fresh peppers, or you can preserve them with the (sweet) pickling brine.
The Best Varieties
It’s good that most bell peppers are compact and small plants, although some of them can be tall and huge.
If you intend to cultivate them in containers, here are some of the best varieties. You should know these varieties as you learn how to grow bell peppers in pots.
You want to find yellow, purple, orange, and red varieties.
They mature quite fast, and they will remain compact as they grow. After all, their sweet and unique taste is just heavenly! And they are perfect for all kinds of foods.
Fushimi Sweet peppers
As the name suggests, they are sweet with a thin appearance. They have a crunchy texture. They are delicious, although consumed raw. When compared to Shishito peppers, the Fushimi peppers are tastier and crunchier.
If you want to cultivate simple peppers in containers, go no further. The fruits are beautiful, and they are pretty active in harvesting moment during summer times.
Bulgarian Carrot peppers
The peppers are orange in appearance, they are slender, and they are super hot! This kind of pepper is 3 times hotter than the jalapeno peppers.
This pepper grows on (bushy) plants producing dozens, which would be a great option for pots.
This one has a long and green appearance. The taste is sweet with a little hint of spiciness.
This kind of pepper is common in the culinary world in East Asia.
When sautéed with spices and oil, it makes an excellent snack. This one is the easiest type to grow. Even when you grow one in pots, they will do quite well.
Jalapeno peppers. It’s a part of the hot pepper type having various sub-varieties that can thrive well in containers.
If you want to have a successful growing time, choose the one with a short growing season. You should also choose the shorter stature. It would increase the success rate.
Bolivian Rainbow peppers
This one is a type of ornamental plant because of its beauty. This one is perfect for the front porch or the container garden. The plant can be quite big, and it can produce hot peppers in rainbows, including purple, red, orange, and yellow.
This mild pepper is beautiful with an extra big and deep green appearance. They can be big, but they can do well in pots, but make sure that you choose the big ones.
Correctly Done Overwintering
As the bell peppers are annuals that love warmth temperature, you may want to learn about doing proper overwintering to keep them healthy. It’s one of the ways how to grow bell peppers in pots.
Do this when the peppers start showing dormant signs: they drop production, and they would drop their leaves. What would be your next steps?
Remove the remaining fruits
Check the stems and also leaves for pests. If there are lingering or hidden pests, spraying the plants (with water) will remove them.
If you notice any unwanted pests, try treating them with neem oil. Do this several days before the removal. Then, bring the pots indoors. Remember, you want to keep a plant for every pot.
Find a proper location that gets light exposure or has at least 55 Fahrenheit might be in your garage, cellar, or even your home. Please find a spot where the plant gets natural light.
And then reduce the watering schedule up to several times a week. Always check the soil. If the soil is moist (from your last watering time), wait. DON’T water. Keep in mind that you only water if the soil has turned dry.
With cooler surroundings and less water, the plant would stop growing (and producing) and start going dormant. If the leaves die, it’s a sign that it’s time to start pruning.
Cut the peppers to several (and main) Y-shaped branches. No need to worry; new branches will emerge and grow again when it’s time to be out of dormancy.
Move your bell peppers to a warmer area
Do this about a month before the last frost time. Choose a spot where the plant can get more natural lights, preferably for longer times.
Normally water the plant. If everything is in order, you should notice fresh growth in about a week. You manage to keep the bell peppers alive for this year long!
When you overwater the plant, you can expect direct sowing, but it’s likely possible to bring the containers indoors until the plants can grow big and mature enough and the weather is warming up.
There is a possibility to sprout the seeds in a greenhouse or a sunny window sill before transplanting them to the containers.
The Possible Common Issues
When you learn how to grow bell peppers in pots, you also need to know about the possible common issues. Since it’s a plant, it’s mostly related to pests and growing conditions.
The good thing about growing plants in containers is that it may not have tons of pests issues, especially in the traditional garden.
However, it doesn’t mean that the bell peppers would be 100% immune to pests. Some of the possible problems are:
Bacterial leaf spot
One of the most prevalent issues with bell pepper plants is this. It’s about round yellowish black spots on the leaves. Using fresh soil within every growing season and placing the pots far away from other plants would help prevent this issue. Check the plant regularly. If you see a leaf having black spotting, immediately cut it and dispose of it so the problem won’t spread so quickly.
Blossom end rot
It’s an issue where the peppers’ blossom end turns brown and mushy before the fruit has reached maturity. As said before, the lack of calcium is why this issue happens. If you can combine consistent watering and regular fertilization, you should be able to prevent it.
Some of the common bell pepper issues are whiteflies, corn borers, and aphids. If you see any bugs in the pots, move the pots away from other plants, especially if it’s in the open soil.
Wash the leaves with warm and soapy water to remove those bugs. Yes, you can spray the plant with the solution to make those bugs disappear.
About Support and Pollination
You won’t have to worry about pollination as bell pepper plants are self-fertile. You don’t have to be overly concerned about pollination.
However, if you want to improve productivity and get better fruits, you should be able to shake the plants gently while they are blooming.
Moreover, some people say you need to support the bell pepper plants, while others say you don’t.
It’s really up to you, but you can use a stick or a tomato cage close to the main stem to support the plants.
Poke the stick near the stem, and then tie your plant. It should be enough.
All in all, it’s possible to grow bell peppers regardless of your living surroundings and climates.
If you have problems with the limited garden space, the containers will do the trick.
You should be fine as long as you know how to grow bell peppers in pots correctly and properly.