Growing instructions for Peppers in Containers
Pepper seeds should be started about eight weeks before they need to be transplanted. They take about two weeks to germinate, and they require temperatures of at least 80 degrees F. After they germinate, it will be six or eight weeks until they reach the proper size for transplanting.
They can be transplanted into outdoor pots when nighttime temperatures are consistently above 55 degrees, and daytime temperatures are at least 70 degrees.
Peppers will need a pot that is at least 8 inches deep and 12 inches in diameter. Most varieties will grow to about 12-16 inches, so plan for a decent sized pot. We prefer to grow ours in pots that hold a minimum of 3 gallons of soil.
Container garden peppers need two important things and those are water and light. These two things will determine where you will grow pepper plants in a container. First, your pepper will need 5 or more hours of direct sunlight. The more the light they can get, the better they will grow. Second, your pepper plant will be entirely dependent on you for water, so you will need to make sure that your container growing pepper plant is located somewhere that you will be able to easily get water to it on a daily basis.
A container grown pepper needs a special soil to stay loose, hold water and not get overheated is exposed to sunlight. We only use PMIX02 Premium Concentrated Seed Starting Mix for growing our peppers in containers. This medium provides the perfect growing environment for container peppers. We start all of our seeds in this mix, but we also grow our container vegetables in this as it seems to retain and disperse moisture better than any other medium, it also absorbs water soluble plant food and feeds it out much better than regular potting soil.
They love fertilizer that is rich in phosphorous. Superphosphate and bone meal are good for peppers, and should be mixed into the soil when you transplant them into their large pots. Other nutrients that are beneficial for peppers include calcium, sulfur, and magnesium. Do NOT give them too much nitrogen, or you will end up with beautiful plants and no fruit.
Pepper plants are self pollinating so they do not technically need pollinators to help them set fruit, but pollinators can help the plant set more fruit than it normally would. If you are growing peppers in planters in a location that could be difficult for bees and other pollinators to get to, like a high balcony or an enclosed porch, you may want to try hand pollinating your pepper plants. This can be done one of two ways. First, you can give each pepper plant a gentle shake a few times a day while it is in bloom. This helps the pollen distribute itself to the plant. The other is to use a small paint brush and swirl it inside each open blossom.
It is important to keep peppers warm. They need full sun and very warm weather. Move pots around if necessary to keep them in as much sun as possible.
Your biggest potential problems are probably going to be aphids and flea beetles. These can be dealt with by using a spray made of soapy water and a bit of tabasco sauce. Pepper plants can also be harmed by some of the same things that harm tomato plants, including tomato mosaic virus.
Container garden peppers can be fertilized with a slow release fertilizer once a month.
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