Last year was a banner year for peppers in our garden!
Last year was a banner year for peppers in our garden!

Take a stroll down the produce aisle at your local grocery store and you will quickly notice that peppers have grown in popularity.  No longer are we stuck settling for just the so-called “Traffic Light” varieties – those green, red and yellow bell peppers that seemed to be about the only choices we had growing up.

Peppers are now grown in hundreds of different sizes, shapes and colors – all with their own unique taste. Whether you prefer sweet peppers, savory peppers, mild peppers, ornamental peppers or our personal favorite, hot peppers  – you can add beauty and taste to your garden and landscape by planting your own this year.

A green bell pepper glistens after a rain in the garden. The right amount of water is critical to a plants success.
A green bell pepper glistens after a rain in the garden. The right amount of water is critical to a plants success.

We devote a large part of our garden to growing peppers – and with good reason! We use them fresh on sandwiches, in salads, salsa and soups – or simply to eat on a veggie plate.  Add to the mix stuffed peppers, grilled peppers and tasty appetizers – and you can make quite a few tasty meals from the humble pepper.  And that’s just on the fresh side! We dry many of our excess peppers to also use in our hot and spicy tomato juice, ground hot pepper flakes, chili powder, and dried chipotle peppers that we make each fall.  (Click Here For Recipes)

Here are some tips on planting and growing all kinds of peppers – along with the low down on a handful of our favorite varieties that we grow:

Growing Peppers: 

Peppers, like tomatoes, grow in well drained fertile soil
Peppers, like tomatoes, grow in well-drained fertile soil

Almost all peppers have the same requirements for successful growth.  Plant them in good, well-drained, fertile soil – and make sure they get lots of sunlight and a good inch of water per week.  In many ways, they mimic the same requirements needed for growing great tomatoes.

At Planting Time:

We plant all of our peppers with a good shovel full of compost in the planting hole, and then give them a good dose of compost tea every few weeks for the first 6 weeks of growth.  We also mulch around each of our pepper plants with a good 1 to 2″ thick layer of compost.

Peppers need support just like tomatoes do. Our banana peppers growing strong with the support of a cage
Peppers need support just like tomatoes do. Our banana peppers growing strong with the support of a cage

Provide Support:

We all spend time and resources setting up cages and stakes for our tomatoes – why not peppers?  Peppers need some support too!  We actually use a smaller version of our stake-a-cage method to support our peppers and keep them upright and growing strong.  No matter what you use – provide some support for the plants and peppers to grow strong.

Pruning:

Don’t be afraid to cut back a wayward branch.  We prune off the bottom foliage from our pepper plants to allow a little light into the plant and to keep pests at bay. Peppers are notorious for breaking off if a branch becomes weighty or too full of peppers.  So don’t be afraid to prune a little to keep them growing strong.

The Mini Bell Peppers have proven to be a great addition to the garden. Beautiful colors and super sweet to eat. The orange peppers in the picture are our Tequila Sunrise - they pack the heat!
Pick those peppers!  Keep picking your plants to keep new peppers developing

Pick Those Peppers!

To keep your plants producing all season long – keep them picked!  Pepper plants will continue to produce new peppers as long as you keep the stocks picked. The more tasty veggies you pluck from the plant – the more the plant will continue to spend its energy making more.

Our Favorite Garden Peppers:

Besides the workhorse green bell pepper – here are some of our favorite varieties that we plant, along with some tips on how we use them in the kitchen:

Marconi Pepper
Marconi Pepper

Marconi Pepper – This quickly became one of our favorites last year for grilling and stuffing.  It is considered an Italian sweet-style pepper – and therefore no need to worry about the heat with this one.  It has fantastic flavor and the heart meaty thick walls stand up well to grilling and baking.  It was a big producer in our garden last year – and we picked them both green and red with good results in the kitchen.  These will definitely need to be staked – as the peppers grow big and heavy.  With their sweeter flavor – they are actually delicious to just slice up and serve on a vegetable tray as well.

Italian Roaster
Italian Roaster

Italian Roaster – If you were to make a hotter version of the Giant Marconi – then the Italian Roaster would be it!  A really thick-walled and tasty pepper, they seem to get much hotter when left to turn red on the vine.  The green ones are delicious and still pack a little heat – but as they turned red in our garden – we definitely noticed a turn up in the heat!  This is another variety that you will definitely want to provide support for.  We grew them for the first time last year, and the plant produced well all year long, and the peppers became very heavy on the branches.

The Cajun Belle Pepper
The Cajun Belle Pepper

Cajun Belle –   The Cajun Belle is the ultimate pepper to have if you love the combination of sweet with heat.  They average about 2″  in size, and have a seed core that is easy to remove.  They make an incredible stuffed appetizer, are great to chop up in salads and salsa or chili, or to use on a sandwich.  An added benefit of the Cajun Belle – they  freeze really well and are great to pull out for use during those cold winter months.   The plants are absolutely beautiful in the garden or landscape – filling up with 50 or more brightly colored peppers ranging from green to orange to bright red when fully ripe.

Hungarian Wax
Hungarian Wax Pepper

Hungarian Sweet Wax Peppers –   These are a massive producer of 4 to 6″  long  sweet peppers. Peppers will  turn from light yellow to a deeper red and even orange when they mature. They are amazing on salads, sandwiches, and do well as a grilled sliced pepper for brats.  The plants themselves grow to around 24″ in height. We grow both a   sweet variety and the hot yellow wax pepper to use in  Mary’s hot pepper mustard.

Sweet Mini Bell Peppers
Sweet Mini Bell Peppers

Mini Belle Peppers – These plants will grow to be about 18″ to 24″ high and are covered in tons of 1″ to 2″ mini bell peppers at a time.  They have a super small seed core that is easy to remove, and are perfect for salads and salsa.  This is also one of our favorite peppers to use for making  great appetizers.  We use a good spicy sausage and cream cheese stuffing that makes for an incredible paring with the sweet taste of the peppers.   They look great in the landscape too as an accent plant – adding a splash of color wherever you put them.

Mariachi Pepper
Mariachi Pepper

Mariachi Pepper – Another sweet-heat type pepper that almost has a fruity taste to it.  I would classify this pepper more as a sweet and fruity pepper than as a hot pepper.  It turns from green to yellow to red – and can be picked at the yellow or red stage with the same great flavor.  The plants are about 24 to 30″ in height and stay strong all year – producing peppers as long as you keep picking. Great in salads and salsa, or a sandwich – and perfect to grill or stuff.  We also dried some last year and added to our own mixture of dry spice.  If they are well watered and it is a cool summer – they tend to be more on the mild side.  With less water and more sun and heat – they turn out with a little more kick!  Another one to support with a stake or cage.

Poinsettia Pepper
Poinsettia Pepper

Poinsettia Peppers  These are actually classified as an ornamental pepper – but they have a fiery hot taste and look great in the landscape or garden.  Poinsettia peppers grow to about 16 to 24″ tall – with the pods coming on in late June.  Each plant is covered in hundreds of the pepper pods.  They start out as an ordinary slim green pepper – and then turn to an incredible fiery deep red from early August until well after the first frost.  They are a tasty little pepper that can be added to stir fry to give off some deep heat – or you can put them in olive oil to have hot pepper oil.  Poinsettia peppers are another easy seed to save and require little maintenance

Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary

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21 thoughts on “ALL ABOUT PEPPERS…How To Grow All Kinds Of Garden Peppers

  • March 28, 2015 at 2:57 pm
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    why do peppers get bitter?

    Reply
  • January 26, 2014 at 10:56 am
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    Tomato plants are perennials, but grown as annuals. I have had a jalapeno pepper plant I kept alive for 3 years, until I accidentally let it freeze. I am currently working on 2 year old Serrano chili, Habanero and Bell pepper plants that seem to be doing well. Just because something is labeled as an annual does not always mean it must die after one year. All the plants listed above are productive and producing.

    Reply
    • January 26, 2014 at 3:54 pm
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      Yep, where they are native apparently they are perennials. I dig up my best pepper plant still producing at the end of summer and move it into the house to pick peppers during the winter. Then toward Spring, pinch off a few branches to start plants for the next season.

      Reply
  • October 31, 2013 at 9:08 am
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    Hello,

    I have planted and had good sucess on planting the chili cajun belle this year, but i dont know if the plant will live until next year. Does this plant keep living or will it die after the harvest like tomotos.

    Thank you for any help.

    Dave.

    Reply
    • October 31, 2013 at 7:52 pm
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      The Cajun Belle is such a great pepper – and glad it did well for you! Unfortunately – it is an annual so you will have to replant it each year. Hope that helps! Jim

      Reply
  • April 24, 2013 at 10:06 am
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    I never comment, but I knew I could find answers about pepper issues from you guys! I always appreciate the information you give, and how you allow us to get a little glimpse of your life!
    What to my surprise I get online and you’ve posted something about peppers 🙂 My family just moved to South Florida from North Georgia (major climate change!) But one of the first projects we tackled was our garden. So far everything is doing great. We started our first seeds right around 3/1. However my peppers are just not growing. They look good, but they’re still about 2-3″ tall. Is that normal? Obviously I don’t have a good compost matured yet, but I have made a good mix and given one dose of “tea” this last weekend. They get full sun and water every day. All the locals I’ve met promise me that peppers will do well. But no one can tell me why they’re not any bigger. Is there something else I should do?
    Thanks for any help you can give!

    Reply
    • April 24, 2013 at 11:07 am
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      Hi Jenny!

      First of all, thank you for all of the wonderful things you said – we love hearing from our readers and really appreciate that you find our articles helpful! We really love what we get to do with the blog, and actually are in the process of writing a book on the entire farm and garden, with lots of stories, advice and what not..we will see how that goes 🙂

      As for the pepper question – Peppers can be a little slower to grow than tomatoes and other vegetable plants – so that may be part of it. Ours will usually sit for a few weeks after planting and then all of the sudden seem to “figure it out” and start to grow :).

      As long as they look good and healthy, I would think they will be fine. I will tell you, the more compost you will be able to work in over the coming years – the better they will do – they really like rich, fertile soil. It also sounds like you have the sun and water part down – so I think they will be good to go. keep giving them a good dose of compost tea every few weeks and they should take off.

      Hope that helps and thanks for following along with us!

      Jim and Mary

      Reply
      • April 25, 2013 at 10:10 am
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        Great! That makes me feel so much better! They do look good. Their leaves are bright green. They took a while to germinate, then all of sudden they took off. So that’s what I’m hoping is going to happen next 😉

        The soil here is next to no good…lots of sand, as you can imagine. 🙂 Since we just moved here we decided to try something new and totally different than usual. The previous owner left huge rolls of landscape tarp. So we laid that down and hauled in compost from a local nursery added cow manure and spagnum moss, with a little of our current soil here at the house. We built it up anywhere from 6-8″ and have everything planted in rows (8ft long and about 2 ft wide), with hay in between for the walking/wind rows. So far it’s working beautifully! The hay has kept the rows intact, even in a heavy rain it didn’t wash away. yeehaw!

        We’ve harvested radishes, and have our first baby squashes showing up! Green beans are blooming and again everything is growing great. I’m going to open up a new spot for the tomatoes and peppers, they are still in 6″ pots ( just waiting for them to get a little bigger before I transplant)

        I really appreciate your input. We have 4 young children and as you can imagine we eat a LOT of produce. My 3 yo will eat a bell pepper a day if I let him! So I really want to grow a lot to eat fresh, but to also preserve with salsas, sauces, stir-frys etc.
        You guys seem to have the tomato and pepper thing totally figured out! haha 😀

        Oh and one more thing….for years I have dreamed of my husband building us a kitchen table. He finally completed it, and it’s gorgeous! Your table(s) inspired us greatly! We went with a little different base and the top is a little different. But again, we gained a lot of inspiration from your pictures and posts! I’ll have to try and figure out a way to email you a picture.

        I’ll keep you posted on the peppers!
        Thanks a million 🙂

        Jenny

        Reply
  • April 24, 2013 at 8:03 am
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    What a great post on growing peppers. I am new to your site, but I am now following you on Facebook.

    Reply
  • April 21, 2013 at 10:54 am
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    For many years I have made Pepper Jelly, (the family always looks forward to jars of my pepper jelly in their Christmas stocking) and canned Roasted Peppers. Being able to grow my own this year will be a REAL treat. I use straw bale gardening & a verticle support system. has done a great job for everything else. thank you for the information

    Reply
  • April 18, 2013 at 11:24 am
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    Love your info – thanks! We are growing everything from seed this year, not an easy task for my beginning skills! I saved seed from an Anaheim Chile we grew from a gift last year and got two seedlings started! Hooray. Those were so good last year. We just took off the caps, stuck in a cheese stick, closed the end cap with a paper clip and then grilled them on the BBQ. Yummmm. Can’t wait for more! I found you on the gnofglins hop.

    Reply
  • April 17, 2013 at 12:37 pm
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    Thank you for this great info! this year is my first year growing peppers and I’m eagerly watching my little seed pods every day to see if they’ve started to come up. Not yet, sure hope they do soon!! 🙂
    love your blog 🙂

    Reply
  • April 17, 2013 at 12:36 am
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    Thanks for sharing. I’ve never been a great pepper grower – maybe these tips will turn my luck around.

    Reply
    • April 17, 2013 at 10:31 am
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      You will have to let us know how your peppers turn out. Peppers really so dependent on a good weather season too – a nice sunny and warm but not too hot summer helps 🙂

      Reply
  • April 16, 2013 at 2:59 pm
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    I love any of the sweet peppers and make salads and use then all the time! Where is the best places to find or order some of the peppers you listed if our local store doesn’t have them? I don’t want to bother with seeds, just the small plants at this date. Thanks so much for any help!

    Reply
    • April 17, 2013 at 10:32 am
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      Celia – what part of the country are you in? Here in Ohio, we can find them at most of our specialty type greenhouses. Jim

      Reply

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