Learn All About Starting Peppers Indoors With This Best Guide!

Starting peppers indoors is an absolute must since they grow like a breeze but they aren’t very easy to start. This is so because a lot of factors make pepper growth a little fussy and make the plants require some extra pampering. We are here to help you with all of it, so instead of panicking, continue to read.


A little history of the pepper plants

Peppers were grown in their native lands of West Indies, Mexico, South America, and Central America for a time as long as before Christ was born. It was then exposed to the rest of the world by the medieval centuries explorers like Columbus and others who first took it to the European land for being sold in the markets. Very soon, the cuisine cultures all around the old world got revolutionized with the introduction of peppers as the people became so fond of the smell and taste of it.

Pepper soon began to be widely cultivated in all of Europe, Africa, and Asia. To date, the popularity of peppers hasn’t degraded by any bit rather increased only to the extent that a lot of its cultivars have been introduced as well as many of them have become ‘exotic’ spices now.

About growing peppers at home

starting peppers indoors

Peppers are such a versatile veggie that every gardening enthusiast can get easily excited about witnessing the process of their growth first hand. There are a few important things that affect the success rate of growing pepper at home-

  • Local climatic conditions
  • Variety of the pepper

Having said that, the hot peppers are relatively easier to start but the same is not the case with sweet peppers. Also, the former has a longer maturity period than the latter. This means that a lot of factors play role in the successful growth of peppers and ultimately it comes down to the right execution of the way peppers must be grown.

For the beginners learning about starting pepper indoors, it would be better to use some of those varieties that are relatively easier to grow like Brush Belle Hybrid, Big Daddy Hybrid Bell Pepper, Milena, Orange Sun, Golden California Wonder, Gypsy, Lipstick, etc. However, we don’t mean to discourage you from growing the pepper variety of your choice as the key part of the process is to go about it correctly. If you do that, then there are high chances that you will get the best and worthy results.

Key aspects of pepper growing

Peppers grow nicely enough but it can get a little fussy to make them give great produce. Here are some of the things to know before you start growing peppers:

  • For starting peppers from seed, you can choose between a plethora of varieties that give uniquely shaped and colored fruit.
  • The maturity periods of peppers differ as per the species but it takes 58 to 100 days on average for the pepper plants to mature. This is the period that spans between transplantation and the emergence of a fully grown fruit.
  • The growth conditions from end to end are the same for all the pepper varieties.

Basic requirements of pepper to grow

Here are the essentials of pepper growth process:

  • The site that you choose for the pepper plants mustn’t have been the bed of any other nightshade plant-like eggplants, potatoes, or tomatoes, etc. previously to prevent the risk of nutrient-led diseases.
  • The pepper plants need full sun to grow better and you must make sure that they receive sunlight for a good 7 to 8 hours a day. The soil bed must be warm enough for the seeds as well as young plants to grow alike.
  • The soil medium required for peppers can have a loamy sandy texture along with having the excellent draining capability. You can try a mix of equal parts vermiculite, sand, and peat.
  • You must amend the soil organic matter or get the potting mixes that have a great nutritional composition.
  • The ideal temperature preferred by pepper plants ranges from 60-80 degrees F.

Method of growing pepper plants

starting peppers indoors

Expect the results of starting pepper seeds to be different but the positive point is that you need to follow the same set of instructions for growing any kind of pepper. Here is a guide for growing peppers at home.

Right time of starting seeds

A lot of people remain confused about when to start peppers indoors. For that, you must check the last date of spring frost in your area and then calculate 8-10 weeks before that. This is the right time to start the pepper seeds which usually falls in January or February.

The right method of starting seeds

A good idea is, to begin with testing the seeds some weeks before beginning actually. Just put some pepper seeds on a damp towel, cover it, and keep it in a warmer location. If they sprout in a week nearly, then they are good to do with.

Follow these steps once you are ready:

  • You can soak your seeds for about 4 hours in warm water for a speedier start.
  • Take a seed tray and clean it thoroughly to avoid any disease.
  • Fill the potting mix in it and then spread the seeds on it. Sprinkle soil over the seeds to cover them lightly.
  • Mist the soil bed and then cover the tray with its lid or any plastic film.
  • Keep the tray in a warm area or use a heat mat.

It would be around one to two weeks when the seeds will germinate if everything goes right.

The right method of changing pots

Once the sprouts emerge, transfer them to slightly bigger pots and feed them every day till the true leaves emerge. After that, take a bigger pot and fill fertilizer rich soil in it, and move the plants in it. You may also thin the plants at this stage to make them 4 inches apart for letting the strong ones grow stronger.

All of this has to be accompanied by hardening the plants 10 days before transplantation. This involves increasing their exposure to outer conditions gradually.

The right method of transplanting

Make sure you have amended the garden soil with some aged compost or a good fertilizer before you put the young pepper plants in it as that will boost their growth. The right time to move out the plants shall fall somewhere 2-3 weeks after the frost has its last date. The night temperature mustn’t be lesser than 55 degrees F.

Put the plants into the garden bed evenly spaced at about 18-24 inches.

Caring about the pepper plants

Starting pepper indoors will only result well if the right care is meted to the plants at all stages. Here are the best tips for the aftercare of the plants:

  • The plants must receive 1-2 inches of water in a week but you may have to increase the watering for hotter conditions.
  • Make sure that the soil remains adequately moist all the time for having the best pepper growth but water logging must be avoided too.
  • Mulching the pepper plants helps a lot in retaining moisture by cutting excess evaporation. You can plastic films to cover them.
  • Begin fertilizing the plants after once they give their first fruit. The plants need light feeding and any 5-10-10 balanced fertilizer can be used to side-dress after starting pepper seeds indoors.
  • Pepper plants tend to weigh down with their heavy fruits and they would need the help of staking. Tie them with any garden ties.
  • You must watch out for the weeds but also be careful with the weeding to not end up disturbing the roots of the plants. Try the home remedies for weeding as they are safer.
  • Pepper plants usually are resilient to plant problems but that depends on the species. Problems like the caterpillar, leaf miners, aphids, beetles, maggots, borers, mosaic, bacterial spotting, anthracnose, etc. may trouble your pepper and organic pesticides are the better way to get rid of all of them.
  • Keep the plants clean and avoid working with them when the soil is wet. This prevents the risk of disease spread.


This was all about starting peppers indoors as that is the best option to go with. The main need for growing peppers is that every step of the process must be tightly controlled and supervised and if you follow this guide rightly, we assure you that you will get the best results.

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