Bell peppers are extremely popular and part of that popularity is not just down to their amazing taste but also the way in which anybody is going to be able to grow them with just a limited amount of knowledge. In actual fact, some would argue that they are the perfect starter pepper for people to get acquainted with due to the way in which it is rare for things to go wrong.
However, you do still need to be aware of the basics surrounding these particular peppers and in this instance we are going to focus on how you grow them in containers and the key steps to work through to make life easier for you.
Step 1: Make Sure You Choose the Correct Container Size.
Constantly transplanting a plant because you have repeatedly made a mess of the pot sizing. It is absolutely fine to choose something that is too big but you have a problem if you have opted for something that is too small. Also, you have to remember that it is rare for peppers to grow taller than
- If the mature plant is under
12”then you need a 2 gallon pot.
- Anything bigger you should be looking at a 5 gallon pot.
- This equates to roughly 16 inches in diameter for a good sized pot.
- It gives the roots more than enough room to grow.
Step 2: Make Sure You Prepare the Containers.
This is a step that is often overlooked by people but there is a very real need for you to prepare the containers before you go ahead and start planting as you are unable to just purchase any container and get planting without checking it all out first. Now, you should have already purchased a container that has drainage holes but even with this there is still some work to be done before the container is going to be ready for the soil and eventually the plant as you must give it a good home for it to then thrive.
- Check the size of the drainage hole.
- If it is small then drill several more as good drainage is essential.
- Use coffee filters as a screen and lay them over the base of the pot.
- Get ready to add the soil although you need to know which type to use.
Step 3: Knowing the Correct Soil to Use.
Bell peppers need very good drainage or else you are going to encounter all kinds of problems and the plant itself might not even survive. You cannot go and use normal garden soil for this plant because of the way in which it holds onto moisture. However, even though you cannot just take soil out of your garden that does not mean that you have to purchase an expensive soil elsewhere. In actual fact, you can mix your own potting mix if you have the time and skills to do so although most people prefer to be lazy and have something that has already been mixed. A bell pepper needs fantastic draining so you must think of the following when choosing the soil due to the fact that this really is so important when it comes to the future development of the plant.
- Consider a good quality potting mix.
- The soil should be light and free draining.
- Add some sand, perlite or vermiculite to aid the drainage.
- It must allow air to get to the roots so if it sticks together it is the wrong soil.
Step 4: Dealing with the Early Transplanting.
When it comes to growing bell peppers you can either do it from seed or seedlings and either one is going to work if you know what you are doing. Now if you have bought them then they are going to be in small individual plastic trays that can be thrown away. Also, if you grew from seed then they might be in biodegradable pots that rot into the soil. No matter which one it is you need to consider the following.
- Make sure the hole in the new pot is as deep as the plug you are putting in.
- If removing from plastic, carefully squeeze the plastic and wiggle the root.
- If using peat pots cut the top off them and put into the hole in the container.
- Have the hole wider than the root ball you are transplanting.
- Fully bury the root ball.
- Close the hole up to secure the plant.
- Gently squeeze it down to help it to start to bind to the soil.
Step 5: Getting to Grips with Feeding Your Bell Peppers.
Knowing how to correctly feed your bell peppers as they sit in their containers is important because you have to get this kind of balance right for the plant itself to really flourish. However, people are often guilty of making mistakes and over feeding or not giving enough and doing so at the incorrect times and the plant itself is not exactly going to be thankful for any of those situations. This means that you need to have a better understanding of feeding before you start and it is easier than you might have imagined.
- Start to really feed the plant when you see the first signs of the first fruits.
- Add the fertilizer to the roots and do so every three to four weeks.
- Use an organic fertilizer that is balanced between nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus.
- Alternatively, use compost tea or other home made fertilizers.
Step 6: Adding Support Thanks to Either Staking or Caging the Plant.
Now, even though these pepper plants might not grow that tall there is no doubt that if you are able to get a good yield then they are going to grow a substantial amount of fruit that can add a lot of extra weight to the plant. This is going to cause problems if the plant itself is not properly supported as the main stem is going to struggle to deal with the weight especially if the plant has been stretched due to you trying to force on the vegetative growth. So, if this does indeed sound familiar then you need to consider staking or caging as it helps in this way.
- Add a main stake when the plant is young and close to the main stem.
- As the plant grows tie more and more of the main stem to the stake.
- Alternatively, build a cage like a trellis framework to help the plant.
- You can then tie on different branches to the cage to help support it.
- Supporting the plant will lead to less chances of it breaking.
- You can lose the fruit if you do not support the weight of the plant.
Step 7: Watch What You are Doing with Water.
Watering your bell peppers in their containers is where a lot of people end up going wrong. They think that because peppers are almost all water that this then means they need a lot of the stuff in order to grow. Now, we do accept that it is important that you are quite generous with your watering of the plants but at the same time they hate sitting in water all of the time. If this happens, then the roots are going to rot and you can also pick up all kinds of fungal infections on the plant. So, when dealing with the watering aspect do consider these following points.
- It is important that the soil is kept moist.
- Water them on a regular basis and not just when you think that they need it.
- Never pour on the water to the point where the soil is saturated.
- Watch for the water coming out of the drainage holes and stop straight away.
- Incorrect water levels will lead to a more bitter tasting pepper.
Step 8: Being Aware of the Lighting Needs.
Plants need light in order to grow and the bell pepper is no different. However, you also have to be aware of the amount of light that a plant needs in order for it to effectively grow to the best of its ability. In this instance, it is perhaps not a surprise to discover that bell peppers enjoy a lot of light and heat thoughout their entire growing phase and as you are growing them in containers then it makes it easier to provide them with what they need.
- If growing indoors use LED grow lights to make life easier.
- They need at least five hours of quality light per day to grow.
- Others argue that they need at least eight hours.
- Never be afraid to use artificial light to help them on their way.
Step 9: Regular Fertilizer Means Nicer Peppers.
The final step is really just a reminder of the role of the fertilizer when it comes to growing peppers. They need all of those nutrients to really flourish and to encourage the plants to move from the vegetative side of things to the flowering and then fruiting part of it all. However, there are several things that you can do in order to just help them along and it is rather useful to examine them for the sake of providing you with as much information as possible on how to keep your pepper plants as happy as we can.
- Consider adding some manure to the initial soil mix to help feed it for longer.
- Use a light and slow release organic fertilizer.
- Slow release means the soil and roots get the benefit for longer
- It is more balanced and they will grow more naturally.
- Too much feeding at random times will lead to spurts of growth.
- Spurts of growth can be bad for the plant and even make the fruit weaker.
So, those were the nine different steps that you really should consider following if you are serious about trying to grow bell peppers in containers. As you can see, there is nothing that taxing about it and if you follow the steps then there is no reason why you will not be successful. However, nothing is guaranteed of course but you do stand a much better chance than before. The real key is in just providing them with the basics that they need because these plants are going to really just do the rest for you. In short, you can set them up, give some feeding, water, and light and just sit back and watch for the fruit to develop, it really is as simple as that.