How to Grow Peppers from Seed (7 EASY Steps)

Are you interested in learning How to Grow Peppers from Seed in the easiest and most effective way?

Do you want a step by step guide that will help you produce bigger and better peppers?

I have searched far and wide and have yet to find instructions that are easy to follow for ALL experience levels of gardeners.

So, after much research, talking to experts, and trial and error, I have compiled 7 EASY Steps on How to Grow Peppers from Seed.

Step 1: Choose Your Pepper (5 Types)

pepper variety - how to grow peppers from seed

There are almost 100 different types of peppers in the world.

Each pepper comes in unique sizes, shapes, and flavors. And each pepper contains different nutrients that are beneficial for your health.

With so many choices, how do you know which peppers to grow?

When learning how to grow peppers from seed, the below 5 are the easiest!

1. Bell Peppers

Bell Peppers - how to grow peppers from seed

Bell Peppers are the most popular choice of peppers to grow from seed. They are incredibly easy to grow, can grow to almost 1 lb in size, and have a sweet taste that is good for any dish.

The bell pepper has many uses, including being great in salsa, vegetable dishes, and even just to have on its own.

The longer you keep your bell peppers on your plants the bigger they can grow. They typically will also turn different colors than what you planted the longer you leave them on the stem.

2. Jalapeno

jalapeno - how to grow peppers from seed

Jalapeno peppers are another great option to grow from seed. This is the most popular hot pepper in the United States. It is small, green, and is HOT!

This type of pepper is great for salsa. It is also a great addition to any dish you want to add heat to. And it is also easy to can!

Best of all is that one plant can produce a large amount of quantity.

3. Habanero

Habanero Peppers - how to grow peppers from seed

If you thought jalapeno peppers are hot then you need to try habanero peppers!

Habanero Peppers are incredibly popular worldwide and are very easy to grow from seed.

They are slightly rounder, smaller than jalapenos, and come in many different colors. They are sweet, but also very hot.

Like jalapenos, they are great in salsas, Mexican dishes, and canned!

It should be noted that you should pick, clean, and prepare these peppers only if you are wearing gloves. The seeds and “hotness” can last on your hands for days and can even cause burns!

4. Poblano

poblano pepper - how to grow peppers from seed

If you are looking for one of the more fun peppers to grow from seed then I recommend poblano peppers.

Poblano peppers are slightly harder to grow than Bell peppers, but shouldn’t be a problem for your average gardener.

These type of peppers are great in Mexican dishes and are delicious when stuffed with meat, vegetables, and cheese.

5. Banana

banana peppers - how to grow peppers from seed

I have grown banana peppers for over ten years with constant success every year. If you want a hardy pepper that can weather pests and disease then this is your choice.

If you are looking to grow a pepper from a seed that provides a great taste, but is not as hot as jalapenos then you have found it.

Banana peppers can be eaten raw, are great stuffed, and are delicious in meat and poultry dishes.

Step 2: Purchase These 5 Supplies

gardening tools

Before you begin growing peppers from seed you need to make sure you have the proper supplies.

Purchasing the proper supplies will help you grow your peppers as easy and as effective as possible.

1. Buy These Pepper Seeds!

If you want to help ensure the success of growing healthy and tasteful peppers then you need to purchase the correct seeds.

If you google pepper seeds there are more options than you can count.

So how do you know which pepper seeds you should purchase?

I typically recommend my readers purchase one of two types of seeds.

1. Heirloom

This is my favorite type of seed. 

It is passed down from generation to generation.  Typically, this type of seed will produce the best tasting and looking peppers.

While this is my favorite type of seed to use for growing peppers it is also the most difficult seed to grow.

Because it is passed down over generations, it contains its original properties. While your vegetables will look at taste better they will also be more prone to disease and pest. You also won’t get as many vegetables from one plant.

2. Hybrid 

The second type of seed that I typically recommend gardeners use is hybrid seeds.

This is what the average gardener uses. 

The goal with hybrids is to produce a plant that contains the best features of both parent plants. 

This is critical if you want the most resistant plant against mother nature’s elements, insects, and diseases.  In addition, this type of seed will yield you the most crop!

It should also be noted that hybrid seeds pose no health risks to people who eat the peppers.

3. Other Types of Seeds

There are two other types of pepper seeds. There are GMO seeds and Organic Seeds.

GMO seeds are typically used by farmers and large commercial companies.

I usually do not recommend this type of seed due to it being injected with genes from other plants and animals. Because of its mutations, we do not know the risks it poses to humans who eat these type of vegetables.

The other type of seed is organic.

Don’t be fooled by what you read, organic seeds are no different than heirloom or hybrid seeds. It is just a marketing name.

Organic seeds offer no better health benefits to those who eat it and offer no better vegetables than other seeds.

Where to Buy

While there are numerous places to buy pepper seeds, I recommend keeping it easy and cheap.

I recommend purchasing your seeds from Amazon! You will find a wide array of seeds at a fair price.

2. Pots

Once you purchase your seeds you now need the correct pots to grow them in.

You never want to plant your seeds outside. You don’t want to do this because weather, pests, and disease are more likely to kill seeds and infant plants.

Because of this, I recommend starting off by planting seeds into pots during late winter/early spring.

For starting seeds you will want to purchase 3-inch pots to start your seeds off.

How many will you need? 

That depends on how many you would like to grow.  You typically plant two seeds in a pot and lose 20% of these plants due to one element or another.

I would recommend getting a large set to help save you time and money. 

My suggestion is: Peat Pots

If you don’t have the space for a garden or just want to keep your peppers in a much larger pot to allow your peppers to reach full potential.

I personally use for all my tropical plants and recommend:Bloem Terra Pot Planter 16 inch.

3. Bottle Sprayer

A bottle sprayer is critical for water when learning how to grow tomatoes from seed. 

Why? 

Because you cannot just run tap water into the pot or use a normal watering can.  If you do, you will flood the seed and it will quickly die.

I recommend Tolco Spray Bottle 8 oz.

And while we are on the topic of important tools for starting peppers from seed, if you need great gardening tools then I recommend:  Vremi 9 piece tool set:

4. Potting Soil & Fertilizer

If you want to have success growing any type of seed then there is only one type of soil you should be using: potting soil.

So why a potting mix? 

I won’t make this hard.  Simply stated, potting soil is soil that contains all the nutrients needed for your plants, vegetables, flowers, and so on.

And it has the correct properties for correct drainage.

If you are looking for a non-organic potting mix then I recommend Scotts Growing Raised Bed Soil

I am recommending the raised bed soil for two reasons. 

One, it is soil that will provide you with everything you need. 

Two, in case you decide to keep your plants in pots or a raised garden bed you will not have to go out and purchase different soil.

My final note is that any potting mix soil will do. 

The brand does not matter. 

Just remember to purchase potting, not garden soil.  Potting soil contains a mixture that limits the potential for harmful fungus or disease to your plants.  

In addition to purchasing potting mix make sure to purchase the correct type of fertilizer.

If you have a composter than I recommend composting.

But because many gardeners do not have a composter then I recommend using Miracle-Gro Plant Food

5. Sunlight

This is an easy and cheap one if you are learning how to grow peppers from seed.

Make sure you have an area in your house that gets light (where you can put your seeds).  Even if the area you live in gets little sunlight in the winter, your seeds will grow if they are by a window that gets daylight.

If you have absolutely nowhere that gets light or want to start your seeds off in your basement, you will need to purchase a light that emulates the sun.  

I recommend: Hydrofarm Grow Light

The Hydrofarm Grow Light comes in different sizes, can be hung in numerous different ways, and has up to 18,000 lumens of light. 

No matter what plants you grow this will meet any need!

Step 3: Starting Seeds Indoors (6 Tips)

Once you have all the necessary supplies you can now begin to learn how to grow peppers from seed.

Tip 1 

6 to 8 weeks before you transplant your tomatoes outside into a garden or a bigger planter you will want to take your 3-inch peat pots and fill them up about 80% of the way with soil.

After you place the soil in the pots you will want to spray the soil 5 to 8 times. You want the soil to look a dark brown and wet to the touch.

Tip 2

Next, place two seeds per pot about 1/4 inch deep and then gently move soil over the seeds.  1/4 inch is about the size of a pencil tip.

You will then spray the soil again 5 to 8 times again. 

Tip 3

After you have planted your seeds you will want to place the pots in direct sunlight.

You can either place the pots in front of a window all day or approximately 4 inches below your grow light.

*Do not put your pots closer than 4 inches to the light as they will receive too much heat and be “burnt” and die

Try not to put the pots further away than 4 inches as they will not receive enough sunlight to sprout and grow.  

You will want to keep your pots in an area that stays between 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.  This is a critical temperature if you want your seeds to grow into plants.

It should take approximately 15 to 21 days for your seeds to sprout through the soil

*If you do not think the area you have your pots in will consistently stay between 70 and 75 degrees, I would recommend purchasing a Plant Heating Mat.

A Plant Heating Mat is perfect if you need to keep your pots at a consistent temperature.  

Tip 4

Spray the pots twice a day to keep the soil moistened.  Remember, you want the soil to be dark brown and wet to the touch. Spray more than twice a day if needed.

Once the seeds penetrate the soil continue to spray twice a day.  Continue doing this for about 3 to 4 weeks and see Step 5 below.  

Tip 5 

By week 3 or 4 you should have two pepper plants growing.  They should be about 3 inches tall and you should also notice that both pepper plants have two sets of leaves. 

When each plant (or at least one plant) has two sets of leaves it is time to keep the strongest one.

You can do this by taking scissors and snipping the smaller of the two plants right at the soil line.  This will allow the healthier pepper plant to grow to its full potential.  

Tip 6

Approximately 8 weeks after you initially plant your seeds you can begin to move your pots outside.

You will not want to move your pepper plants straight from your house to outside. You want to acclimate them to the outdoor elements slowly.

Begin leaving your peppers outside for an hour a day and progress every day for a week until they have been left outside for approximately 8 hours.

Once you have left your peppers out for 8 hours you can proceed to step 4.

Step 4: Transplanting Peppers Outside (4 Tips)

Once you have moved your plants outside for 8 hours it is time to transplant them.

To ensure the most success in transplanting your peppers, I recommend the below 5 step process.

Tip 1

About 1 month before you plan on transplanting your peppers from inside to outside I recommend digging holes about 8 inches deep and filling it with compost or Miracle-Gro Plant Food.

Make sure wherever you plan on growing your tomatoes outside that it receives at least 8 hours of sunlight.  

In addition, please refer to the below link to determine what hardiness zone you live in.  Pepper plants should be planted in hardiness zones 2 to 10. 

USDA Hardiness Zone Finder

Tip 2

After the last spring frost, you will want to dig up your 8-inch holes and transplant your peppers outdoors. 

After digging your holes, simply place your peppers into the holes. Cover the peppers with soil where the roots meet the stem of the plant.

You will want to make sure you plant your peppers approximately 8-10 inches apart from each other.

Tip 3

Immediately after you transplant your peppers outside add fertilizer and then water the soil for about 10 to 15 seconds. 

You will then want to mulch around the stems of the tomato plant.  You can do this with straw, chopped leaves, or leftover compost.  Make sure to mulch about 3 inches thick. 

The goal of mulching is to conserve moisture and prevent weeds.  

Tip 4

Finally, you will want to water your plants about twice a week to start. 

Your peppers will need about 1 to 3 inches a week due to evaporation.  As the summer goes on you will want to monitor the ground and water as needed. 

Step 5: Caring for Pepper Plants

If you want to have the best peppers possible not only do you have to have success growing seeds, but you also need to take the best possible care of the plants.

Below, are a few quick tips to caring for your garden throughout the summer:

  • Healthy Soil & Compost – Quickly inspect your soil for fungus, harmful worms, and weeds before you plant and throughout the summer.  Remove and replace with new soil as needed.
  • Plant the appropriate types of peppers – You want seeds that are resistant to disease, heat, and cold.  
  • Water the soil, not the plants.  By watering leaves, you increase the risk of spreading fungus and other diseases
  • Remove diseased and dead plants.  This is the easiest to prevent the spread of deadly diseases.
  • Rotate your crops.  This is key to preventing seasonal diseases and insects from attacking the same plants year in and year out.  
  • Clean your tools.  This is one of the easiest ways of preventing the spread of diseases.  Wash in either rubbing alcohol or dish soap.

Step 6: Harvesting Peppers

You will harvest your peppers approximately 8-12 weeks from the time you transplant them into your garden.

Below are a few helpful tips to most effectively harvesting your peppers

  • Leave your peppers on the plant as long as possible.  This will allow them to ripen the most effective way and retain its flavor.
  • Pick your peppers when they are firm and the same color around the entire vegetable.  Firmly hold the vegetable at the stem with one hand and the stem with another.  Twist the pepper and gently pull away from the plant. 
  • For some peppers, the time to harvest is right around frost.  My recommendation is to harvest your peppers before the first frost, even if they are not fully ready.  Frost will immediately kill your plants and vegetable
  • If you want to learn more about how to save and reuse seeds for the following year, please check out my friends over at the University of Minnesota

Step 7: Storage

Because pepper plants tend to produce a lot of vegetables most gardeners will want to properly store peppers they don’t eat.

Below, are several suggestions for storing your peppers

  • If you want to ensure your peppers last the longest, then place them in your fridge or a cool area. This will prevent overripening and mold.
  • Keep your peppers away from sunlight. Sunlight will speed up the ripening process and quickly ruin good peppers.
  • Do not store peppers in bags. Peppers stored in bags will typically ripen fast, mold, and spread the disease to other peppers. This can quickly ruin a great crop.
  • Peppers can be sliced (remove their seeds) and frozen if you want to enjoy them all year!

Conclusion

After reading this article you should now have a great idea on how to grow peppers from seed.

In order to have the most success possible you will want to make sure that do the following:

  • Choose the right pepper for you and your garden
  • Choose the right type of seed. I recommend heirloom or hybrid
  • Purchase supplies. Pots, soil, fertilizer, and a spray bottle is a great start.
  • You always want to start your pepper seeds inside. You then want to harden them outside. And then you can fully transplant for the best success
  • Proper care for your peppers once planted outside is key to success! Fertilize, water, and remove dead and diseased vegetable and plants.
  • Peppers are easy to harvest. Just hold the plant and twist the vegetable
  • Make sure to properly store your peppers if you want to enjoy them all year round!

If you enjoyed this article then I recommend reading:

How to Grow Lavender from Seed (15 SIMPLE Tips)

How to Grow Tomatoes from Seed (7 EASY Steps)

How to Grow Lemon Trees in Pots (18 PROVEN Tips)

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