A number of people enjoy growing peppers indoors due primarily to the fact that it is not actually that difficult to do and will not require you to have any kind of specialist gardening knowledge in order to get some fruit. However, anybody is going to want to know the basic steps that really should be followed in order to really enhance the possibility of you being successful in growing your pepper plants. After all, if you are completely new to it then how are you going to ever know in advance about the soil they like, the temperature they enjoy, or anything else?
Well, this is going to be a lot easier than you are perhaps aware and what we have here are nine basic tips that will ultimately make a huge difference to the way in which you approach the entire process of growing peppers indoors.
Tip 1: Am I Actually Able to Grow Peppers Indoors?
Before we really go into all of the details of how to grow peppers indoors we need to answer this rather simple question, can you actually grow peppers indoors? The answer to this is a resounding yes and to be absolutely honest they are going to be one of the easiest plants that you can ever hope to grow indoors and then get something back from them in return.
You see, peppers are quite adaptable and the conditions that they enjoy are easy to replicate indoors thanks to you using the correct equipment and just some common sense. In most instances, growing peppers simply involves you planting them and standing back and watching them grow, well with a few drops of giving them some care and attention thrown in for good measure.
So, are you able to grow peppers indoors? Absolutely although it is worth thinking about these points.
- Peppers are very easy to grow indoors.
- It eliminates the issue of colder nights.
- They are adaptable to conditions.
- They just need to be planted and then step back and watch them grow.
- Anybody can do it just with some common sense.
Tip 2: Pepper Varieties You Might Want to Try.
This tip is going to focus more on the different varieties of peppers that you might want to consider trying to grow because there are several out there and not all are going to be as easy to germinate or get the peppers from in the future.
There are five different varieties that we would like to mention here and the best part is that any of them are able to be grown indoors.
1. Sweet Bell Peppers.
These peppers are available in different sizes and colors and they are one of the most common varieties that are grown. The fruit will also change color as they mature.
2. Speciality Sweet Peppers.
They are often small in size and if you are looking at some names to look out for, then we recommend frying peppers or pimentos.
These peppers are capable of providing you with a range of heat and they are often going to develop later in the year. If you have a shorter summer then they may not be the one for you.
4. Speciality Hot Peppers.
These peppers will have a real kick and they can range from jalapenos to cayenne and up to habaneros.
5. Ornamental Peppers.
These are slightly different. The foliage can be colorful and the fruit might also be quite spicy and range in colors.
Tip 3: What Do You Choose? Seeds or Plants.
Now this is another important question to answer as it is one that the absolute beginner is perhaps going to struggle with, do you choose seeds or plants as your starting point?
Well, there are going to be benefits and issues with both and it is important that we go ahead and look at each side to provide you with a balanced opinion as to which direction you should head in. Obviously the end decision is going to be entirely up to you, but let us see what both options entail.
Now, trying to get seeds to germinate is not always going to be easy and that is why growing from plants is going to be the best option especially for those individuals that are completely new to this kind of thing. Growing from seed is going to take longer until you get to the stage where you are able to pick the peppers and if you are unable to wait that long, then perhaps the short cut of using seedlings is going to be more beneficial to you.
If you are growing from seed, then do so up to 10 weeks before transplanting. In order to get them to sprout you need temperatures of
So, seeds or plants?
- Seeds take longer and you need to germinate the seeds.
- Seedlings are easier and yet you have less options with varieties.
- If growing seeds place them in between two sheets of paper towels.
- They need between
70Fand 80Fto germinate.
Tip 4: Handling the Cultivation.
No matter which option you selected above it is important that we now look at how you cultivate the plants and this is the point where it is all too easy for things to go wrong. Now, once again we are not talking about anything that is too complex.
For example, when it comes to the cultivation then we have to first of all look at the water situation.
People often make the mistake of believing that you need to use a lot of water and even though these are rather thirsty plants from pretty much the outset you do still need to be careful with how you go about watering them.
You see, there is a difference between providing a lot of water and saturating the soil that you plant the peppers in because if their roots are left in soil that is soaking wet then you are going to see them developing root rot and you can then say goodbye to your plants. This then goes back to points regarding the soil that you use because you need something that is quite well draining and yet is also able to hold onto the moisture for some time as the water simply flying through the soil is not exactly the ideal solution either.
Another thing to think about is the amount of fertilizer that you are going to give the plants because, once again, there can be a fine line between not giving enough and giving them too much that you end up with plants that are simply reaching for the stars and yet not producing enough peppers for their size.
The problem with over fertilizing the pepper plants is that the plant itself is going to primarily focus on being able to produce leaves that are luscious rather than it focusing on getting to the flowering stage. The reason for that is because even though peppers are thirsty plants they are not exactly the hungriest. In actual fact, if you work some fertilizer into the soil before you transplant them then there is a pretty good chance that it is going to be more than enough for the entire duration of their growing period.
So, what are the key points with cultivation?
- Never over water the plants.
- Do not saturate the soil as it will rot the roots.
- Use well drained soil.
- Never over feed as peppers are light feeders.
- Mix in fertilizer at the transplanting stage and that will be enough.
Tip 5: How to Effectively Grow Peppers.
As you may imagine, there are a number of tips on how to grow peppers more efficiently and effectively and it is always going to be in your best interests to follow these few tips. Now, you must remember that there is not exactly any kind of guarantee that these tips will lead to you having the greatest ever production of peppers, but you would like to think that they can make a bit of a difference if you are careful with what you do.
1. Plastic Mulch.
The first tip in this section that we are going to look at is the idea of using plastic mulch and this is primarily aimed at those individuals that want to get their pepper plants started earlier even though they live in a colder part of the world. The idea is that you cover the soil in dark plastic for a week before you transplant. By doing this, you are going to allow the plastic to slowly build up the heat in the soil (this takes time hence doing it for a week) and it will ultimately lead to the soil turning into the absolutely perfect growing conditions for your pepper plants. Remember, putting them in the correct environment is always going to have a profound impact on how they then develop.
2. Companion Planting.
Another thing to consider doing, and this has had a considerably positive impact, is the idea of companion planting and if you do not know what this is, then let us explain.
It is known that certain plants work well together as they will either help one another to grow or help to keep certain diseases or pests away from the other one. In other words, they work in harmony with one another and you can see how that is going to be rather beneficial.
In the case of peppers there are various plants that you might wish to consider putting alongside them simply because of the way in which they can protect the peppers from a whole host of pests. The best plants that you can have alongside them includes tomatoes, basil, parsley, and carrots. However, never place fennel or even kohlrabi near them or you are going to have to suffer the consequences of doing so.
3. Using Staking.
This is another cool tip, using staking to your advantage. You have to remember that pepper plants can end up becoming rather heavy when they are in the fruiting stage and when you have all of that extra weight it is no surprise if the plants themselves end up breaking and you rather quickly lose all of the fruit that you have worked so hard to grow.
In order to combat this, we recommend that you stake the plants and the first stake should go in right at the very beginning so the plant can be effectively trained up it. You should use garden string or nylon to tie the stem onto the stake at various stages as this will provide the plant with some extra support.
There are of course a number of other positive things that you can do with the planting, but in this section we have looked at these following important points.
- Use plastic mulch for a week before planting to increase the temperature of the soil.
- Doing so will also improve the humidity leading to perfect conditions.
- Consider companion planting to help protect your plants.
- Use tomatoes as a nice mix but avoid fennel.
- Always stake the plants to give them some extra support or they will snap when fruiting.
Tip 6: Dealing with Pests and Diseases.
Peppers are just like any other plant in that they are susceptible to various pests and diseases that can severely hamper the growing process, fruiting process, and even potentially kill the entire plant. Obviously you are not going to want this to happen since you have been putting in so much effort in getting the plant established but thankfully there are various signs that something may be wrong for you to identify before things get too bad.
The list is rather extensive, so to make things easier we are going to focus on the most common issues that have to be addressed.
Aphids are small greenfly that tend to be on the underside of plants and even though they are not that common on peppers they can still be an issue. Clean them off with soapy water.
Flea beetles can be annoying and are capable of destroying your peppers. They are able to eat the leaves in next to no time but you should avoid using a pesticide to remove them. Use complimentary planting to help the situation including marigolds.
Cucumber Mosaic Virus.
The cucumber mosaic virus is going to confuse a number of people as it is not something that just affects cucumbers. The fruit will become distorted and yellowing and there is no real cure for the virus. You should disinfect the tools you use and keep your hands clean and if a plant develops the virus then you should just remove it before it spreads.
Blossom End Rot.
Blossom end rot is annoying in that it can really damage the plant and ruin the development of the fruit. You will be able to notice it without much difficulty as the fruit will develop a rotten part at the bottom where the flower has come off.
You need to try to avoid pollination to stop the plants from focusing on producing seeds rather than fruit. Alter the temperature to below 60F at times and above 90F at others as this will reduce the impact.
You need to be careful with the amount of nitrogen that you give the plant because even though it can help growth in some plants that is not the case here. In actual fact, too much nitrogen is going to result in the plant reducing the amount of fruit that it can then produce.
In order to tackle pests and diseases consider these points.
- Keep a close eye on the plant for the first sign of pests.
- Use companion planting to keep some pests away.
- Watch the leaves and fruit for signs of diseases.
- Avoid using too much nitrogen.
- Keep your tools clean to stop cross-contamination.
Tip 7: Useful Tips on How to Harvest Peppers.
If we can now jump forward in time to the point where the peppers are ready to be harvested and clearly this is what you have been looking forward to since you initially planted either the seeds or the seedlings.
When it comes to the harvesting then you should know that peppers are often harvested when the fruit is still technically classed as being immature. If you are unsure as to what this means, then think about the bell pepper. Often, this is harvested when it is green in color and yet the pepper itself can still turn red or orange when it is mature.
Now, most people will think that harvesting any fruit early would ruin it and in the case of the pepper, the flavor does change as it matures. In other words, you need to think about the color you want and the flavor in order to determine when you are going to harvest the fruit.
There are other important points when it comes to the harvesting as well. If you harvest the plant on a regular basis then you are going to find that the plant develops more fruit. However, as you increase the yield you are also going to be working against the flavor and all that is happening is that the plant is trying to always produce seed and that is why it is going to continue to produce fruit.
With the actual harvesting, then you need to be careful in how you remove the fruit from the plant itself or you could easily damage it. Never tug the fruit from the plant as this could potentially break the plant and even uproot the plant if it is still relatively small in size. Use a knife or even shears in order to remove it carefully.
So, there are a number of things to think about when you are looking at harvesting your peppers. In actual fact, the key points are as follows.
- Peppers are generally harvested when immature.
- Green peppers are immature and red peppers are mature.
- Immature peppers lose some of their flavor.
- Harvest on a regular basis to increase the yield.
- Use a knife to remove the pepper rather than pulling it as plants can break.
Tip 8: Storing Your Peppers Effectively.
Once you have been able to harvest your peppers it is obvious that you are going to have to think about the way in which they should be stored. Now, if you have a number of plants then it is entirely possible that you are hit with a sudden influx of peppers and you do not want them to go to waste.
So, that being said there are a range of options that are available for you when it comes to the storage and it is entirely up to you as to which one you prefer to use.
However, just before getting into the storage options it is important to point out that the best way to eat peppers is to do so on the day that they are picked and when they are at their most fresh. Alternatively, you can leave them in a place where they are able to get some light for a couple of days as that will help them to mature a bit more.
Also, people make the mistake of placing them in the refrigerator as they are not actually able to be stored as effectively in cold temperatures. You must remember that the plant itself is a warm weather plant so you can understand why it is not going to enjoy the colder temperatures.
1. Freezing the Peppers.
One option when it comes to storing is to freeze them and there are certainly a number of benefits of doing this. The one problem is that after thawing out the peppers they are going to be rather soft and that does change how they are best to then be used in the future.
Freezing the peppers is going to be able to keep the flavor. In this instance, the peppers are going to be best used in soups or stews where it is not that big an issue that they have gone soft.
2. Pickling the Peppers.
Another option is to pickle the peppers although the problem is that peppers are low-acid fruit and this does mean that canning them is going to require some pressure so that might put a number of people off giving it a go. Instead, pickling the peppers is going to be a lot easier and in order to do this you should use brine that consists of four cups of water mixed in with four cups of vinegar alongside half a cup of salt that is specifically designed for pickling.
3. Drying the Peppers.
This might not be the best option for a lot of people, but drying the peppers is certainly something that could be worth considering. However, it is also best to only use this option when you are looking at growing the thinner hot peppers. Drying them takes time and using smaller varieties makes the entire process a lot easier.
So, as you can see there are several options available when it comes to storing the peppers and you might want to consider these points.
- It is best to eat them on a daily basis.
- Freezing is the fastest and easiest option.
- Freezing makes them soft when they thaw so best used in soups or stews.
- Pickling peppers involves vinegar, salt, and brine.
- Only use the drying option when growing smaller varieties of peppers.
Tip 9: Some Basic Recipes.
The final tip is focusing on some basic pepper recipes that you might want to try out and the difficulty here is that there are so many out there that you are going to struggle to work out which one to try first. However, these recipes may be quite appropriate.
1. Roasted Red and Yellow Bell Peppers.
This is so easy to do. You simply pick the peppers, place them in the oven and roast them until they blacken slightly. The entire aim is to just char them slightly and they are then going to be a wonderful accompaniment to a number of other dishes.
2. Stuffed Bell Pepper.
Remove the top of the peppers and then you can stuff them with a range of accompaniments including the likes of couscous, flavored rice, or some people even include curry. The main thing is that the pepper (which is cooked) becomes the holder for the stuffing.
3. Sweet and Sour Peppers.
For this, cut up peppers and add to a pan and pour in some vinegar. Add some olive oil and cook for a few minutes. Add some basil and stir it in and then after a couple of more minutes remove from the pan and allow them to settle and the mixture to infuse into the peppers. They are then ready to eat.
As you can see, the nine basic tips that we have included above do not require specialist knowledge or for you to suddenly become an absolute expert in the art of growing peppers. Instead, there are just a few basic rules that really should be followed in order to get the kind of results that you were perhaps hoping for. As long as you follow them, then even an absolute beginner should be able to produce peppers that even an experienced grower would be proud of.