Updated: Jul 11, 2021
Plant peppers in containers? Yes! You can grow peppers with reliable sunlight, regular watering, and plant food.
Many gardeners believe peppers are easy to grow, but you have to get the basics right to have a good harvest.
Peppers in containers depends entirely on you to thrive, so give them a good location where they can get sunlight and air.
If possible, find out when the pepper-growing season is in your region, and ask other gardeners when they start their pepper plants.
Chili peppers are maybe the most popular choice for balcony container gardens.
Choose compact, bushy varieties that can thrive on your small container garden space.
There are many varieties of peppers, and some of them are region-specific. You can find out what the most common peppers are in your area by asking other gardeners or your local plant shop.
These are the most common varieties for containers:
● Jalapeño is a classic hot pepper choice, traditionally harvested before they ripen.
● Bell peppers grow in a variety of colors: from red, to yellow, to purple peppers.
● Capsicum annum ‘Redskin’ is a compact sweet pepper that turns brilliant red as it matures.
● Mohawk is a sweet pepper that thrives in hanging baskets and ripens to a glossy orange.
● Capsicum annum 'Apache' is a dwarf chili pepper in a variety of colors from yellow to red.
● Tangerine Dream has elongated fruits that look a little like chilis, but with a subtle hint of heat.
● Chile de Arbol adds heat to your cooking and color to your garden with its slender, dark red peppers.
Location and lighting
Peppers in containers depends entirely on you to thrive, so give them a good location where they can get sunlight and air. Plant peppers at least 1 foot apart (or individually in 10-inch pots) in 10-24 inch pots.
Your pepper plants need at least 6 hours of strong sunlight to grow. Keep them somewhere where they get lots of morning and evening sun.
Nursery and transplanting
If you live in colder weather, you can start your pepper plants indoors weeks before the first frost.
As the young plants grow, pot them up to bigger-sized pots with at least 2 inches of growing space, taking care not to disturb their roots.
It’s up to you to know when your pepper plants are ready for transplanting outdoors. Make sure it is in warmer weather, and you can bring the plants indoors if there is a sudden frost.
Wait 1-10 weeks before transplanting your peppers into their permanent growing containers.
Soil and fertilizing
The soil you use to plant your peppers is very important, especially since you will be planting them in containers. Container soil has to be a good mix of garden soil, soil additives to help it hold moisture and fertilizer, and compost.
Here’s how to mix up potting soil for your container garden peppers (and other plants)
● 2 parts garden soil
● 1 part soil additive (peat, vermiculite, or perlite)
● 1 part slow-release fertilizer or well-rotten compost
Put your peppers on a regular fertilizing schedule as soon as you transplant them to encourage growth. A balanced NPK fertilizer is best for garden plants, but you can also use specific fertilizers for peppers. Fertilizer should be applied every other week as the peppers mature.
Pepper plants are self-pollinating so you don’t need to do anything to help them fruit. You could help them pollinate by shaking the plant a few times a week when it is in bloom.
With the pepper varieties that grow on patios, you don’t have to worry about staking them. However, some gardeners still put in a cage to give the pepper plants extra support as they grow. Judge whether your plant needs support if it is falling over as it grows.
It is impossible to overwater your pepper plants. Pepper plants need more water as the weather warms up, and they will be exposed to far more heat. However, be sure to provide proper drainage.
When the plants receive more sun there will be a greater need to keep the soil moist to prevent wilting. Dry soil is dangerous for peppers, it could cause the leaves to grow smaller and hinder fruiting.
Lavish your pepper plants with lots of water consistently. Inconsistent watering leads to blossom end rot.
Harvest and storage
When harvesting peppers, you should use sharp garden shears or a knife rather than picking them off with your fingers. This prevents scarring and pests.
If you prefer sweet peppers, pick them early. For more spice, allow pepper plants to ripen, but not too much so that they won't produce many fruits.