5 tips for growing bigger peppers

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I’ve been sharing a lot of photos of my homegrown peppers on social media lately. Every time I do I get asked “How do you grow such big peppers?” I’m in Minneapolis (growing zone 4b) and grow all my peppers from seed – so no, it’s not that I’m “lucky” because I live in the perfect climate (I wish!).

But,  over the years I have learned some tricks for growing amazing peppers in my garden, and since I’ve been giving out a lot of pepper growing advice lately, I’ll share some of my best tips with you too.

Black Czech Pepper | SavvyGardening.com

Black Czech Pepper

5 tips for growing bigger peppers

1. Lots of sun – Peppers require full sun to grow their best, and the more sun the better. I grow my peppers in areas that get full sun from dawn ’til dusk.

Related post: Play with your food: fun in the veggie garden!

2. Heat – Along with full sun, peppers like it hot. I know we can’t always control the temperatures in our gardens, but it’s best to wait to plant peppers in the spring until the ground and temperature has warmed up. Planting the seedlings in cold, wet soil can stunt their growth.

Bell peppers growing in full sun | SavvyGardening.com

Bell peppers growing in full sun

3. Organic fertilizer – Peppers benefit from being fed during their active growing season, and a rich organic fertilizer is the best. For liquid fertilizers, I recommend using a compost tea or fish emulsion. I also love add slow release organic fertilizer into the soil of my pepper plants too. My favorites are Healthy Grow organic vegetable fertilizer and Sustane all natural plant food. I start feeding my peppers with a weak dose of the liquid fertilizer as soon as the seedlings get their true leaves, and gradually increase it to full strength as they grow. Then I add the slow release fertilizer to the plant hole when I plant them in the garden. I continue to fertilize every few weeks through the growing season.

Related Post: 10 easy edibles that give you the most bang for your buck

4. Consistent watering – Though peppers like to be kept on the dry side rather than having wet feet, pepper plants grow best when they get a consistent amount of water. Inconsistent watering can stunt the growth of both the plant and pepper production, and is a contributing factor to blossom end rot. A drip irrigation system is super easy to install, and it makes a huge difference when it comes to giving your peppers the right amount of water. Learn how to install your own here.

Peppers Need Consistent Water | SavvyGardening.com

Peppers Need Consistent Water

5. Pruning – Pepper plants are generally very low maintenance, but they will produce larger peppers if you pinch off some of the flower buds once the plant starts to produce peppers. Like tomatoes, pepper plants will also benefit from pinching off any suckers or extra growth.

Follow these tips, and soon people will be asking YOU how you grow such huge peppers!

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What tips for growing bigger peppers would you add to this list?

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7 Responses to 5 tips for growing bigger peppers

  1. lonnie mace says:

    I’m growing Carolina Reapers and it seems like they’re awful small they have the tail and they’re ugly and they’re hot but they’re small what can I do to make them grow bigger for next year

  2. Lex Barringer says:

    I too am in the Twin Cities. However, this year as been, well, challenging because of the weird weather we’ve been experiencing. I have a jump on many gardeners though, I winter my plants downstairs, I keep them happy with customized plant lighting a watering solution, with the occasional refertillizing.

    However, I get medium sized fruits, about 3 ~ 5 inches long and sometimes that wide, too. I’ve never been too good with bell peppers. I would love to know your soil pH, as well as the mineral breakdown. I have a mixture of potting soil, compost, various minerals, (iron, calcium, magnesium, copper, sulpher, and a couple of trace minerals, too). For some reason my peppers crave nitrogen and I can never give them enough. I prefer to use organic minerals, fertillizers, etc. in this regard.

    • I’ve never had my soil tested, so I can’t give you a mineral breakdown. But I’ve grown peppers in my sandy/alkaline soil in my garden at home, the clay (not sure of the pH) soil at the community garden, and also in containers. The fertilizers I have listed above (under bullet #3) are all organic fertilizers, and that’s all I ever use on my plants. I don’t add any special minerals, or amend my soil with anything besides mulch and compost.

    • Edwin Sotomayor says:

      Nitrogen produces foilage and less fruit/veg. Get a low nitrogen fertilizer

  3. Dianne says:

    I grow several types of heirloom peppers at 6000 feet in Colorado with excellent size and flavor and high yields. I start them the end of February in the house and move them out to the garden boxes under protection the end of May. I have been successful making a ‘probiotic’ rough formula of pelleted chicken manure, fish emulsion and a handful of dry molasses in a 5 gallon bucket filled with water. In three days it is bubbling like a witches brew and I ladle about a cup per plant. The plants leaf out thickly to prevent sunburn on the fruit. Last year the poblano peppers yielded 12 to 15 large peppers per plant. Pimento’s and Marconi’s and rumpled Italian peppers were as prolific.

  4. Cher says:

    Please tell us the size of the pots (depth and width) that you grow your bell peppers in—-the pots that you show on the photos. I have not had much success in growing bell peppers (they get sickly) and would like to copy your techniques. Thank you!

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