Growing hot peppers in containers can be a fun and rewarding project for the gardener with a love of hot peppers. However, if you aren’t careful, container planting can cause some serious problems.
A few simple tips can help you successfully grow these delicious fruits without a hitch! Here are a few key cultivation tips to keep in mind when cultivating your pepper plants.
Choose the Right Soil
Peppers love rich, nutrient-rich soil. Mix a few inches of organic compost or aged animal manure into the top 4 to 8 inches of your garden soil before planting.
The pH of your garden soil matters a lot to your pepper plants and their fruit. If you live in a region where the soil is acidic, you may want to treat the clay to lower the pH.
Alternatively, you can purchase an all-purpose potting soil that contains all the nutrients your peppers need to thrive right out of the bag. Miracle-Gro Gardening All-Purpose Soil is a great option that includes a healthy dose of slow-release nitrogen sources, compost, perlite and peat moss.
It’s a good idea to fertilize your pepper plants several times during the growing season to help them reach their full potential. Don’t over-fertilize; high nitrogen can promote foliage growth, but reduce fruit production.
Choose the Right Pot
One of the most important things you need to know when growing hot peppers in containers is what type of pot is best for your plants. The right pot will allow for proper water drainage and help the plant grow in a healthy environment.
The type of pot you choose will also affect the size of your harvest and the quality of your peppers. Dark-colored plastic and terra cotta are both good options for wicking moisture out of the soil.
For larger and longer-growing varieties like bell peppers, poblanos, and Hatch chiles, you’ll want to choose a container that’s at least five gallons in volume. The smaller your pot, the longer it will take the plant’s roots to fill it.
For small varieties, you may want to consider using a smaller pot and then cloning your plants as they grow. This process will give you more peppers to enjoy throughout the summer.
Keep the Soil Moisturized
When you are growing hot peppers in containers, make sure the soil is moisturized. This will keep the soil from becoming too dry which can cause disease.
You can also sprinkle a bit of compost over the soil and water it in to give your plant some extra nutrition. This is an excellent practice for any container gardening project.
Peppers like to grow in a warm environment, so set them out about a week or two after your last frost. This gives them time to develop their roots and get used to the cooler weather before planting them outdoors during the day.
When you start growing your peppers in containers, choose a location that gets full sun. You can also grow them indoors on a sunny windowsill, but make sure the temperature is above 60 F (about 15 C).
Keep the Plants Well Watered
Peppers do not tolerate very dry soil for long, so they need consistent watering to stay healthy. Plan on watering your container-grown pepper plants daily in the summer, and more frequently during heat waves.
When you water, be sure to let the plant thoroughly drain so that it does not sit in wet soil for extended periods of time. This will help your pepper plant avoid waterlogging and disease problems.
To ensure that your pepper plants have adequate drainage, choose pots with holes on the bottom. If you use planters with attachable bottoms, you will have to cut these off so that the bottom of the pot does not clog with water.
Keep the plants well watered to promote fruit set and prevent yellowing of leaves. In addition to watering, apply a balanced vegetable fertilizer weekly as needed. This will provide the nutrients your peppers need to grow and produce ripe fruits. Using a good compost around the base of your pepper plants will also add valuable nutrients.