5 Secrets to Growing Better Peppers from Seed | SHIFTING ROOTS

5 Secrets to Growing Better Peppers from Seed

Peppers are fun to start from seed and are a welcome distraction to the bitter February cold. But pepper seedlings can be tricky to grow well. You might frequently find yourself asking, “why are my peppers not growing?” and be tempted to throw the whole tray into the compost.

I’ve been growing peppers indoors for quite a few years, and have finally figured out the best ways to avoid the biggest pepper growing problem and get the results everyone wants–good side growth and strong, thick stalks.

So grab your jiffy pods and seed starting equipment and let’s get you growing your best peppers yet!

Growing peppers from seed doesn't have to be an impossible task!  Even a beginner can grow lots of peppers in their vegetable garden.  Here's my best pepper growing tips for healthy plants, and good pepper yields!  #peppers #gardening #tips #vegetable
This was the first pepper from seed that I grew really well. It took me years to get it right, so yes, I am insanely proud of it.

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The Basics of Starting Peppers from Seed

Before we get into the secrets to growing strong pepper plants from seed, let’s just make sure you’ve got your seed starting basics covered. All the tricks in the world won’t help you if you don’t have these things in order. You’ll need:

If you’re having trouble deciding what pepper varieties to plant, here’s my favourite pepper varieties for beginners.

New to seed starting in general? Here’s my primer on seed starting from your window. All the pictures of peppers in this post have been started my me personally in my south facing window.

Finally, peppers can take a long time to germinate. Don’t expect to see any green until around 2 weeks after you’ve sown the seeds.

With that out of the way, on to my 5 pepper growing tips!

1. Plant Two Pepper Seedlings to a Container

Peppers will grow well just by themselves, but they’re more productive if you plant two of them together. I started these peppers separately in jiffy pods, then grouped them together when it was time to move them to bigger pots.

As you can see, the stem growth isn’t affected and they are looking very healthy.

Growing peppers from seed doesn't have to be an impossible task!  Even a beginner can grow lots of peppers in their vegetable garden.  Here's my best pepper growing tips for healthy plants, and good pepper yields!  #peppers #gardening #tips #vegetable

P.S. Curious about these newspaper pots? Here’s how to make them.

2. Start Indoors 8-10 Weeks Before the Last Frost Date

What is the best time to plant peppers? Ideally you’ll start the seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before your last frost date, harden them off to survive the outdoors the week after the frost date, then plant them in the ground the week after that.

Peppers have a longer growing season, so if you’re gardening in zone 3 like I am, or some other cold climate, you must start them in that time frame.

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For me, that means I’ll start them mid to late February, harden them off mid-May, then set them into the garden in late May or even early June.

Sure, they’ll get quite large and you’ll have to top them off (more about that later), but you’ll be able to harvest peppers all season long, as opposed to one pepper at the end of the summer.

Growing peppers from seed doesn't have to be an impossible task!  Even a beginner can grow lots of peppers in their vegetable garden.  Here's my best pepper growing tips for healthy plants, and good pepper yields!  #peppers #gardening #tips #vegetable
I don’t know if you can notice, but these plants are so big that my 7 year old is curled up behind them, hiding.

3. Keep the Grow Light Close (or use a South-Facing Window)

Nobody likes leggy seedlings! (Leggy seedlings are when your plants are stretched out because they’re trying to reach the light source). You can avoid this fate for your plants by keeping the grow light only 1 or 2 inches away.

If you’re growing your peppers in a south facing window, you won’t have to move the light, but you will have to move the plant. Turn your peppers around every few days so they don’t lean to one side. You’ll likely turn them every day after they first germinate, then every few days once they’ve established a bit more.

Growing peppers from seed doesn't have to be an impossible task!  Even a beginner can grow lots of peppers in their vegetable garden.  Here's my best pepper growing tips for healthy plants, and good pepper yields!  #peppers #gardening #tips #vegetable

4. Pinch Pepper Plants at the 8 to 10 Leaf Stage

Want strong stems and lots of side growth? Then you need to prune your pepper plants!! When the plant reaches the 8 or 10 leaf stage, pinch off the last 2-4 leaves on the top of the plant.

Yes, you will likely feel like a plant murderer for topping off your plants. But–I promise you that you will be rewarded with thick stalks, a bushy pepper plant, and lots of peppers!

Here’s a video showing exactly how easy it is to top off your peppers:

5. Plant in the Right Location

Once you grow that perfect pepper from seed, your job isn’t done! Peppers do not grow very tall and like as much sun and heat as possible. Plant them in a container, or in a spot in the garden that gets 6 or more hours of sun a day, in the hottest spot possible. (If you live somewhere very warm, you might want to ignore the hottest-spot-possible advice. Where I garden in zone 3, this is very good advice.)

Finally, don’t plop the pepper right next to a vegetable that will be tall. My peppers have suffered next to tomatoes or zucchini, because both plants have grown larger than anticipated and shaded my poor peppers out.

I have much better luck planting my peppers beside shorter crops like bush beans, lettuces, and root vegetables.

Growing peppers from seed doesn't have to be an impossible task!  Even a beginner can grow lots of peppers in their vegetable garden.  Here's my best pepper growing tips for healthy plants, and good pepper yields!  #peppers #gardening #tips #vegetable

There you have it–my best tips and tricks to growing beautiful peppers! With the right light, water, and a little know-how, you can grow your own peppers like these.

Learn the Basics of Gardening in Just a Few Minutes

Gardening doesn't have to be complicated. Learn the basics in minutes, get started with your first garden in a day or less, and start your lifetime gardening adventure.

Enter your name and email address to download the Quick Start Garden Guide. You'll also get a mini-email course and weekly gardening tips and advice.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit
Kristen Raney

Kristen Raney

Kristen is a former farm kid turned urban gardener who owns the popular gardening website, Shifting Roots.  She is obsessed with growing flowers and pushing the limits of what can be grown in her zone 3b garden.  She also loves to grow tomatoes, but oddly enough, dislikes eating them raw.

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Kristen

Welcome!

Hi, I'm Kristen and I help new gardeners learn to grow their own vegetables and beautify their yards. I also share recipes that use all that delicious garden produce. Grab a coffee (and your gardening gloves) and join me for gardening tips, simple recipes, and the occasional DIY, all from the lovely city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

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