How to Grow Peppers from Seed in 5 EASY Steps (2023 Guide)

How Do You Grow Peppers From Seed?

This can be a difficult question to answer for gardeners because of complex factors like temperature, lighting, watering, soil needs, and even the length of the growing season.

This article will help solve this problem with 5 EASY Steps for growing peppers from seed indoors.

And I recommend scrolling to the bottom of this page to find answers to the 6 most frequently asked questions most gardeners have when growing peppers from seed.

Step #1: Start Pepper Seeds Indoors

You should start your pepper seeds indoors 8 weeks before the last frost to help minimize the risk of weather, pests, and disease.

  • Begin by taking a 3 inch Peat Pot and fill it up to approximately 80% full with Seed Starting Mix. Seed starting mix will provide your pepper seeds with the nutrients it needs for the best growth.

  • Place your gardening pot into a tray. This will make it easy to move your pots from indoors to your garden and will prevent a mess that can happen from spilled dirty or water that may overflow.

  • Next, spray your soil 5 to 8 times with a spray bottle. You will want the soil to be moist, not damp. Moisture promotes seed germination, but damp soil can cause unwanted fungus.

  • Then take 2 to 3 pepper seeds, plant them 1/8 inch deep (size of a pencil tip) and gently brush the soil over them.

  • Then spray again 5 to 8 times until the soil turns a darker shade of brown.

Related: Here is the BEST Time to Start Pepper Seeds Indoors

Step #2: Provide the Right Amount of Heat, Light, & Water

germinating seed

Once you initially sow your pepper seeds, you then have to provide the right amount of heat, light, and water for 8 straight weeks for your seeds to germinate and plant to grow.

  • You should provide your pepper seeds 8 hours of light a day by placing it by a sunny window or under a Grow Light (4 inches away from the light) if your windows do not receive enough sunlight. Continue providing 8 hours of sunlight until you transplant your pepper seedlings into a vegetable garden.

  • Then spray your soil twice a day for approximately 10 days until your seeds germinate or pop through the soil. Continue spraying twice until your pepper plant is 3 inches tall (this may take another 2 weeks).

  • You will also want to keep the room temperature between 65 – 70 degrees Fahrenheit so that your seeds can turn into plants. If you don’t have an area that will stay that warm, a Heat Mat is a great alternative.

Step #3: Transplant your Pepper Seedlings into a Larger Pot (Indoors)!

prune and transplant tomatoes

Once your pepper seedlings reach about 3 inches tall you will need to transplant them into a larger pot.

  • Before transplanting, you need to take scissors and snip the smallest plants right at the soil line. This will allow the healthier pepper plant to grow to its full potential.
  • Next, take a 5 gallon pot, fill it 80% full with potting mix and then dig a hole 3 inches deep (the size of your pepper plant).

  • Then place it in your 5 gallon pot and fill it with soil. The soil should go no higher than the base of the pepper plant (where the plant meets the roots).

  • Spray the soil 5 to 10 times until the soil turns dark.

  • Leave your pepper plant in this pot and continue to spray it once a day (for 5 to 10 times) until the last chance of frost. Also, continue to keep it in sunlight for 8 hours a day and at temperatures of 65- 70 degrees fahrenheit.

Step #4: Introduce your Peppers Outdoors

tomato outdoors

Introducing your peppers outdoors is what most beginner gardeners miss, but it is critical to your success.

  • For about two weeks, you will want to slowly introduce your peppers outside.

  • On the first day, you will want to place your peppers outside (in pots) for approximatley 2 hours. Each day thereafter, place the peppers outside for an additional hour until you build up to 6 straight hours. Don’t forget to bring your peppers inside if there is a frost or if there is poor weather like strong winds that can destroy your plant.

Step #5: Transplant Pepper Plants into a Vegetable Garden

transplant tomatoes outside

Once the last frost of the year has happened you can transplant your Tomates outside. Never do it before because you risk your plant quickly dying.

  • About 1 month before you plan on transplanting your peppers into a garden, dig holes in an area that will receive at least 8 hours of light. Dig the hole about 8 inches deep and fill it 30% full with compost. Space the holes 12 – 18 inches apart to promote full growth.

  • After the last frost transplant your peppers into the garden by simply turning over your gardening pot, pinching the bottom of the pot, and slowly pulling your plant out. Place your pepper plant into the hole and fill it with garden soil (to where the soil meets the base of the plant). It is also beneficial to add a 6 inch layer of mulch around your plant.

  • Immediately after you transplant your peppers outside add Plant Food and water the soil for about 30 seconds.

  • Finally, water your peppers once a day for about 30 seconds in the morning or evening to minimize the chance of evaporation. Continue doing this every day until you harvest your peppers mid-summer.

Frequently Asked Questions (6 Questions)

#1. What type of Pepper Variety Seeds should I use?

planting seed

There are four types of seeds that can be used to grow peppers; heirloom, organic, hybrid, and GMO.

I recommend using heirloom or hybrid pepper seeds. Gardeners do not have access to GMO seeds and organic seeds are a marketing term and not truly a type of seed.

A. Heirloom Peppers

  • Heirloom pepper seeds contain peppers’ original traits, meaning it will produce some of the most beautiful and best tasting peppers out there.

  • The downside of this type of seed is that it is the costliest (due to its rarity). In addition, expect the least amount of yield from this type of seed due to the susception of disease and other elements.

B. Hybrid Peppers

  • Hybrid pepper seeds were made by combining the genes of the same group of plants. This is not a bad thing. The goal with hybrids is to produce a plant that contains the best features of both parent plants.

  • This type of seed is what most gardeners use when learnings how to grow pepper from seed and is critical if you want the most resistant plant against mother nature’s elements, insects, and diseases or want the most yield.

#2. What are the BEST Peppers to Grow from Seed?

While there are hundreds of varieties of peppers you can grow, I am recommending 7 types to choose from.

A) Bell Peppers

Bell Peppers

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.

B) Jalapeno Peppers

Jalapeno Peppers

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.

C) Habanero Peppers

Habanero Peppers

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!

D) Poblano

poblano pepper

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.

E) Banana Peppers

banana pepper

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.

#3. What Type of Fertilizer Should I Use for My Peppers?

The Best type of fertilizer for peppers is compost.

And if you don’t have the time or ability to create compost then I recommend buying Peat Moss or Plant Food for your peppers.

  • What I like about this product is that you only have to apply it once every 3 months and it contains natural ingredients and micronutrients that support root strength and plant development.

  • In addition, the benefit of compost, peat moss, or plant food is that it will provide you peppers will the nitrogen that is critical to plant growth and an abudance of peppers.

#4. What Type of Soil Should I Use for My Pepper Plants?

If you will be keeping your pepper plants in containers all year then you will want a well-draining potting mix that provides the correct amount of nutrients like Miracle-Gro Potting Mix.

If you will be planting your peppers into a garden then you will want to add a nutritious garden soil mix into the ground, such as Miracle-Gro Expand N Gro.

And as an added bonus I highly recommend adding a 6-inch layer of mulch around your pepper plant (whether in the ground or in a pot) to help minimize evaporation, fungus, and diseases.

#5. How Do I Care for my Pepper Plants Once they begin growing?

caring for tomatoes

Below are caring tips for your peppers throughout the summer:

  • Keep Your Soil Healthy – Quickly inspect your soil for fungus, harmful worms, and weeds before you plant and throughout the summer. Remove and replace it with new soil as needed.

  • Mulch – Mulch around your plants with compost at the beginning of the year. Using mulch will minimize evaporation and protect your pepper plants from fungus, disease, and weather.

Related: Best Mulch for Peppers

  • Water the soil, not the plants. By watering leaves you increase the risk of spreading fungus and other diseases. And increase the risk of evaporation.

  • Remove diseased and dead plants. This is the easiest way to prevent the spread of deadly diseases. If you notice yellow spots on leaves it means you have blight fungus and will want to remove the leaves.

  • Plants your peppers at a new spot yearly. This is key to preventing seasonal diseases and insects from attacking the same plants year in and year out.

  • Prevent Insects. The best way to prevent them is through an insecticide. If you don’t want spider mites, stink bugs, or Japanese beetles ruining all your hard work I recommend purchasing Sevin Bug Killer.

#6. When do I Harvest Peppers?

Below, are several tips to remember when harvesting peppers:

  • Harvest Peppers 8 to 12 weeks after planting.

  • Leave your peppers on the vine as long as possible. This will allow them to ripen the most effective way and retain their flavor.

  • You will want to pick your peppers when the whole fruit is solid red and firm. Firmly hold the fruit as the stem with one hand and the stem with another. Twist the peppers and gently pull away from the plant.

  • If insects are eating your peppers before they fully ripen it is okay to pick them when they are orange colored and place on your windowsill.

  • 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 peppers.

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