How to Plant Bell Peppers

How to Plant Bell Peppers

Bell peppers are a great addition to any vegetable garden. They are pretty easy to grow and will provide an abundant amount of peppers throughout the season.

One cool thing about growing bell peppers is they can be found in a variety of great looking colors, such as red, purple, orange, yellow, and green.

A very popular variety is California Wonder. It is a large, green bell pepper that will turn red if you leave it in the bush a bit longer. It’s one of my favorite bell peppers.

Growing a couple bell pepper plants of each color will give you a burst of color in your vegetable garden, and also your meals. They can be added to salads, stir fry, and sandwiches.

If you are interested in growing a few in your vegetable garden, here’s an easy guide on how to plant bell peppers.

How to Plant Bell Peppers

Planting bell peppers is pretty easy and straightforward. This method of planting can really be used for any type of pepper, whether it’s a bell, jalapeno, or habanero.

First, prepare the soil where you intend to plant the bell peppers by adding compost and working it in six to twelve inches deep. You can add well-aged manure, earthworm castings, or leaf mold for organic matter.

If you are planting bell peppers of many different colors arrange them in an alternating pattern to give them an interesting look once they have started producing fruit. I like to lay my pepper plants out onto the bed to get an idea of the arrangement before planting.

Purple Beauty Bell Pepper Transplant

Once you have the arrangement you like, simply dig a planting hole that is as deep as the container the bell pepper transplant is in.

You want the soil line of the container to be the same height as the soil line of your garden. If the soil line of the transplant is a bit higher, that’s fine, but you don’t want the transplant too deep.

Remember, a bit higher is fine, but too low is not good.

Place the Bell Pepper Plant In the Hole

As you can see in the above photo I placed this bell pepper transplant a bit higher than the soil line of the garden. I can now mound soil around it.

Again, avoid mounding the soil up higher than the existing soil the bell pepper plant is in from the container.

With the first bell pepper planted, simply repeat the same process for all of your pepper plants (if you are growing more than one).

Once you have them all planted water them well saturating the soil. You may want to stick your finger a couple inches down into the soil to check how well the soil is watered. If the soil feels dry a couple inches down, continue watering. If it feels moist you should be good to go.

Water the plants well each day (depending on rainfall amounts) until the transplants are well established. You will know the transplant is doing well when you begin seeing new growth on the bell pepper plant. It should generally take about a week to ten days.

After the plant has become established you should supply at least an inch of water per week. You can also do the finger check, like described above, to see if the soil is dry or moist, and water depending on the results of the check.

You want the soil to be consistently moist, but not soggy. Add a layer of mulch around the plants to help preserve soil moisture and suppress weeds.

You can give them a small sprinkle of organic fertilizer about three weeks after transplanting them into the garden. An organic tomato fertilizer works well for peppers since they are in the same plant family as tomatoes, and have the same nutrient requirements.

You should be able to start harvesting bell peppers anywhere from 55 to 75 days from transplanting depending on what varieties you are growing.

28 Comments on How to Plant Bell Peppers

  1. Adetoun Sanders // April 27, 2011 at 9:35 am // Reply

    I planted a variety of peppers this spring and they all seem to be doing well. I did notice that they are slow growing compared to my tomato plants. I was wondering if you have ever had to stake your pepper plants as you do a tomato plant? One of my pepper plants snapped at the base of the plants due to high winds in my area yesterday. I went ahead and staked the plant and I am hoping I don’t lose the peppers on that plant.

    • Hi Adetoun – Yes, you may need to stake your pepper plants when they get really heavy with peppers. Once you get three or four really big peppers towards the top of the plant it may lean over or, as you said, snap at the base. You don’t really need a huge stake for peppers – something two to three feet tall should work pretty good.

      If your pepper plant partially snapped at the base I would carefully remove the soil around the base to expose the break. Use something like a popsicle stick and tie it to the stem of the plant so the stick is centered at the break. Use soft twine to tie the stick to the stem (snug, but not super tight). Tie it in two places, one above the break and one below it. Replace the soil back around the area and water the plant well.

      If the inside of the stem hasn’t dried out at the break it might fuse back together. The popsicle stick will help support the stem as it heals.

      I’ve done this with tomato plants before and it worked pretty good. I hope it helps your pepper plant 🙂

  2. Elizabeth Barclay // May 5, 2011 at 2:10 pm // Reply

    Hi, My name is Elizabeth and I am new to growing bell and banana peppers. I am growing two Hot Banana peppers and one red bell pepper. I bought both of the plants partially grown about 7-8 inches tall at Lowes and transplanted them in my garden successfully. But about a week later my banana peppers seemed to stop growing and started to wilt a little bit and become a lighter green in color. This same thing started to happen to my bell pepper and on the main stem of my plants is a dark colored line coming from the ground up and is starting to show on the leaves.( Is this normal?) Also they are planted in my backyard that gets 6+ hours of sun a day and I don’t over or under water them. It is also mid spring and around 70 everyday and have had 80-90 degree weather not long ago but it is back to normal now. I don’t know if I have done something wrong or not but I would love to know what you think and if I have a chance of bringing then back to life.

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      I’m sorry to hear you are having some troubles with your pepper plants. The banana peppers may need a little fertilizer. You can use an organic tomato fertilizer because they have the same nutrient requirements as tomatoes (they are in the same plant family). You can also use fish emulsion or seaweed extract to give them a boost.

      Keep an eye on the dark colored line. if it gets worse it could be a sign of fusarium wilt which is found in peppers and tomatoes. Symptom of the wilt is brown streaks found in the stems and leaves.

      I would give them both a bit of organic fertilizer and keep them watered. Check to see if the wilting worsens or if the leaves begin turning yellow and dying. If they perk up a few days after adding the fertilizer I wouldn’t worry too much.

  3. Hello,

    I recently planted a my garden with a green pepper plant about 6″. It happens that this plant already has one pepper about 2″ in diameter. Should I remove this pepper to encourage future blooms or should I let it grow?

    BTW, Love the site and I have bookmarked it for future reference.
    Thank you,

    • Hey Brian,

      That’s kind of a small plant to already have a pepper on, but I think it will be fine. If the plant has more blooms on it just let the pepper grow on out. If there are no other blooms, or it doesn’t look like it’s producing any new blooms then you may need to pluck that pepper in hopes of coaxing the plant into producing more blooms.

  4. Hi Tee,
    I planted my bell pepper transplants back in February and I have yet to have a successful harvest. I moved them to another raised bed that had more room for them. They are getting ample amounts of water and I have given them some fish emulsion and they looked green and strong. The fruit are about 3 to 4 inches big and have been for a couple of weeks. I shade them in the hottest part of the day, it has been reaching 115 degrees here in Phoenix. Are these poor little fruits ever going to ripen or should I just harvest them now before the birds do? Thank you, Adrianna

    • Hi Adrianna – It can depend on the variety you are growing as to how big they get. Many people are used to the huge bell peppers in the grocery store, but many home grown peppers just do not get that large. There are a couple varieties I’ve grown that do grow to a good size – California Wonder and Big Belle.

      I would say to go ahead and harvest those 3 – 4 inch peppers and use them in salads, or whatever you like, if they are not getting any bigger. Does you have more blooms on the plant? If so, harvesting those peppers will help concentrate more energy on growing more peppers.

      • I do have blooms and they are developing into new little peppers. I will harvest the small peppers, but when do they change color? These peppers are suppose to be yellow and red but they are green.
        And does your garden have an abundant amount of springtails? They are driving me crazy!
        Thank you!

        • Hi Adrianna – Good! I’m glad you are getting more peppers. The peppers will turn colors once you live them to fully ripen. Even some green peppers will turn reddish if you leave them long enough.

          I’m not familiar with springtails. What are they?

          • Springtails are very, very little oval shaped bugs that jump all over the place. They love to be around moist areas, like under a planter. They are more of a nuisance and don’t bring any bacteria. Very annoying though.

  5. Sharon Hurlocker // July 1, 2011 at 8:13 am // Reply

    I planted 3 banana pepper plants and 3 bell pepper plants. One of the bell pepper plants died. The rest of the plants grew great. They are tall and strong. However, the banana peppers are blooming and producing fruit like crazy and the bell peppers are not even blooming. What am I doing wrong?

    • Hi Sharon – I’m not sure why the bell peppers are not blooming. Give them a little more time and they may begin flowering.

  6. I’m new at gardening-I have a bell pepper plant (still in the pot) & the pepper is turning black. What could be the cause?

    • Hi Joyce – What color is the bell pepper supposed to be? There are some variety that are purple, and get very dark. They are almost black.

      Is the black pepper soft and mushy? If it is then it is most likely rotting. This could be from blossom end rot or from pests.

  7. Hi Tee
    I am growing sweet bell peppers in a pot with a cage for support, they seem to be growing nicely. But the stalks seem lenky and not very strong, as if they would not be able to support fruit! I don’t want to plant them outside but would prefer to keep them in the pot. Is that how they grow, flimsy stalks and then they get stronger?

    • Hi Lois – how old are the plants? The stem should be fairly firm. If it is very flimsy then you may have a pretty significant issue. I’m not sure what could cause that unless it’s fusarium wilt.

      You can identify fusarium wilt because the stem and branches of the plant will have brown, or dark colored streaks and coloration in it.

  8. Stephen Gazillo // August 6, 2011 at 10:39 am // Reply

    For the past four years, we’ve planted bell peppers in the town community garden. The plants generally look healthy, lots of flowers and then fruit, but the peppers never seem to get much bigger than a baseball, in spite of watering and efforts to use compost and organic fertilizers. The peppers never mature to good size with thick membrane. Do you know what would cause this? Any information or sources where to look to resolve this would be most appreciated. Thank you, Stephen G. –
    [email protected]

    • Hi Stephen – Great question! It can depend on the variety you are growing and your weather conditions. I have grown some peppers that only get to about the size of the palm of your hand, then others that grew pretty large.

      In my experience, the ‘Big Belle’ varieties grew to the best size. If you experience very hot temperatures for an extended period that can affect the size as well.

  9. A lot of my yellow peppers have light brown steaks inside them that are not visible until they are cut open. Are they safe to eat?

  10. Hi! I planted green bell peppers along with my tomatos. The pepper plant started getting holes in the leaves. I looked them over but could not find any visible pests. The tomato leaves were not affected. I covered the plant with seven dust with little improvement. Is this normal for bells? I began to pinch the worst leaves off, no help. However, I am getting blooms and bell peppers. What is eating the leaves and should I be concerned? Thanks, Cindy

  11. Hi Tee,
    One question about planting pepper plants. Why shouldn’t you plant the peppers deeper than they were in their pots? I know that tomato plants can be planted deeper and develop more roots along the stem. Is it because of the difference in the structure of their stems? I’ve noticed that pepper plants have a more rigid stem which is not covered with the small hairs like a tomato plant stem. If you plant them too deep will it cause the pepper plant to become more succeptable to desease? I’ve heard some say it’s ok to plant them deep and some say it’s not. What say you? Thanks for any info that you can provide me.

  12. Im a first time grower, tomatoes and bell peppers. Ive read somewhere that in order to initiate flowering in a tomato plant you should “pinch” cut out the tops. I have arbitrarily done the same with a selection of my bells, they are about 1.5 ft in height. Is this a normal/positive course of action? Because it has been a month since I did this and i do not see any changes/growth or signs of flowering. Is there anything i can do?

  13. I wonder why you don’t plant your deep like Tomato’s? The peppers root from it’s stem as well. I have been doing this for the last two years and have not seen any problems with doing it

  14. hi
    i planted some bell pepper ,s seeds a months ago . now they have 10 centimeters height and have 5 leaves . now we are in the last month of summer and tempreture in next month would be about 25 . what should i do for them to grow in the best way ? thanks a lot

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