Knowing how to grow weeds from seeds as well as vegetables is an excellent way to get more in touch with your food and gain access to a wider variety of produce. Learning how to grow peppers from seeds is fulfilling and fun and is likely much more accessible than one would think. Continue reading for the steps of growing peppers from seed and all the essential information you need to pay attention to.
Pepper Growth Stages
Starting from seeds involves going through all the pepper growth stages before getting your harvestable veggies – from seed to seedling, to immature plant, to the flowering stage, and finally to fruit. All color bell peppers are the same pepper, just at different stages.
Seeds – It is the starting point; it can take a few weeks until it sprouts to become a seedling.
Seedlings – Once your seed has sprouted some leaves, it becomes a seedling. Your seedlings will still need to be cared for more intensely than in other growth stages.
Immature – Not quite big enough to flower, yet too large to be considered a seedling. Your plant will likely stay at this stage for a month or so.
Flowering – This is the first step in producing fruits. During this period, you will want to make sure you are providing the necessary fertilizer and water; pollination also occurs during this time, which is integral for the flower to develop fruit.
Fruiting – Your peppers are starting to appear and must mature enough until they are ready to harvest. There are different-colored bell peppers; the color corresponds to ripeness.
Green peppers are not yet ripe, but they are already edible. Yellow, orange, and red peppers are all ripe, though the darker the color, the sweeter it will likely be.
How to Grow Peppers from Seeds Step-By-Step
- Growing peppers from seeds is not a complicated process. Once you’ve got your seed packet, some potting medium, containers, and a place to set everything up, you are ready to start.
- It is best to start seeds indoors to properly control variables such as temperature and light. Using fresh potting mix, pot up some soil in a small container and place 2-3 seeds about ¼ inch (0,6cm) below the surface, covering loosely with soil. You can also opt to soak your seeds in warm water the night before to help with germination speed.
- Water your seedlings gently, just to wet the soil’s surface and the seedling. Provide bright light from either a southern-facing window or via grow light, placed about 6 inches (15 cm) above your seedlings. Ensure you have set up your seedlings in a warm place with ample humidity. A dome or lid-like covering can be used on top of the seeds to keep in humidity.
- To increase the rate of germination, set your seeds on top of a heating pad. Usually, germination time can vary based on what type of pepper you are growing, but it is about two weeks with a heating pad for bell peppers. If you don’t have one, your seeds will still germinate, but it might take longer.
- Keep your seeds moist (not soaked) to provide hydration and increase germination likelihood.
- Within a few weeks, the plant sprout will give way to a seedling. Transplanting seedlings into larger pots can be done once you have a few sets of leaves and are about 3 inches (7cm) tall. Use slightly larger pots or growing vessels that you can make drainage holes in to grow the seedlings a bit larger before transplanting outside or planting peppers in a pot for container gardening.
- Once your greenery has a few more sets of leaves and a strong central stem, you will want to begin the hardening-off process. This gets your crop ready to survive outdoor conditions without shocking them too much. To start, place your seedlings outside in an area that gets partial sun for half-hour to an hour. Each day, gradually increase the amount of time spent outside until you are able to leave your plant outside for an entire day.
- After you’ve hardened off your veggies, they can be transplanted into the garden. Raised bed gardens are popular, but relocating directly in the ground works well, too. Peppers need at least 6 hours of direct sun, so find a sunny area to relocate your green friends.
- When you are planting your seedlings, ensure you are spacing them out enough. Plant spacing for peppers should be about 12 inches (30cm) from each other to ensure each individual has enough room to grow a robust root system. You can begin a fertilizer regiment here while they are still growing. Pinch off any blooms you see so your herbage can focus on growing larger and stronger before putting energy into flowering.
- Once your plant flowers, you will have about another month or two before fruits are formed and become fully mature. Take care to be diligent with watering when appropriate. Tying them to stakes will help keep fruit off the ground as well as help keep your stems upright.
- To harvest the fruits, pick the preferred color for your tastes and pepper variety.
Keep in mind that, unlike many other fruits and vegetables, peppers will not continue ripening off the plant.
How to Grow Hot Peppers from Seed**
While both sweet peppers and hot pepper have mainly the same growing requirements, there are a few key differences to consider when growing hot peppers.
- Hot peppers take longer to germinate than sweet peppers. Start pepper seeds indoors during the winter if hot pepper is your plant of choice.
- Since hot peppers should be started earlier, you might need some equipment to facilitate germination, such as grow lights and a heating pad to set your seeds on. Keep the temperature around 80ºF (27˚C) and provide ample humidity by using a dome or lid to place on top of your seedling containers.
- Use the same methods to grow hot peppers from seed as you would for sweet peppers.
- Knowing these peculiarities of hot peppers growing will help you avoid any problems with the plants at the ripening stage.
When to Plant Pepper Seeds
The best time to plant peppers is about 8-10 weeks before the last frost. This will give time for germination and the hardening of the process of transitioning plants to the outdoors.
How Long Does it Take for Pepper Seeds to Germinate?
Germination time can vary depending on what kind of pepper is being grown. Generally, quick-growing peppers can germinate in as little as 7 days if all the conditions of growth are met, whereas hot pepper seeds can take longer, up to 6 weeks, to germinate.
How Long Does it Take to Grow Peppers from Seed?
From seed to harvest, it can take 100-150 days. This is also dependent on the type of pepper grown and the conditions they are grown. By answering how much sun do peppers need, you can see that the fastest growth will be when the greenery receives at least 6 hours of sunlight.
How to Make Peppers Grow Faster
There are some almost magical tips which will aid in caring for pepper plants.
Use a heating pad when starting out your seedlings to help speed up germination time.
Begin a fertilizer regiment once you start to see true leaves appearing on your plant. This will help your greenery grow faster and stronger than just soil, water, and light alone.
Grow fast-growing varieties of peppers such as bell peppers, early jalapenos, and shishito peppers.
How to germinate pepper seeds fast?
A good way to germinate seeds fast is to keep temperatures between 80-90ºF (27-32˚C). To grow peppers indoors, use a heating pad, which is a common method to ensure your seeds stay warm. Additionally, soaking seeds overnight before planting them can speed up germination time.
How to plant pepper seeds from a fresh pepper?
Remove the seeds from your fresh pepper and set them out on a paper towel to dry for about a week in a dry and shaded location. Then, plant the seeds in potting mix and care for them as you would any other pepper seed. Keep in mind not all pepper seeds in store-bought peppers are viable.
Do pepper seeds need light to germinate?
Peppers rely on warm temperatures to germinate more than light. However, once the seed has gone to the seedling stage, light is a necessity.