Looking for a few tips and tricks when it comes to fertilizing your pepper plants this year for healthier plants and a bigger harvest?
No matter what kind of pepper varieties you enjoy growing and eating, giving them a little boost of energy throughout the growing season can help your plants to stay healthy and strong – and more importantly, produce a bumper crop of peppers!
But when it comes to powering pepper plants, when, how and what you fertilize them with all make a huge difference in just how good your plants will grow and produce.
Peppers require a lot of nutrients to produce strong stems, foliage and blooms. So much so that they can deplete even the healthiest and most fertile of soil as they grow. Unfortunately, without supplementing your plants with additional energy, they simply won’t be able to reach their full potential.
But that is exactly where fertilizing your peppers can make all the difference. Especially when you power them with a two-prong granular and liquid fertilizing approach that gives them just the right amount of energy – exactly when they need it!
Here is a look at how we fertilize our pepper plants, and how to use this simple fertilizing approach to grow your best crop of pepper ever!
How To Fertilize Pepper Plants
How and when you fertilize pepper plants really is the key to overall success. If you give too much energy to your plants all at once, they will simply convert that energy into growing bigger.
That may sound like a good thing, but as with other vegetable plants, all of that growth can come at the expense of setting blooms and fruit. When a pepper plant gets too many nutrients at once, it will severely limit or even shut down bloom production in favor of simply growing bigger.
With that said, for peppers, it’s far better to give them a steady but lower dose of energy. This will help them still produce healthy strong stems and foliage – but also keep the plant producing a steady stream of blooms and fruit as well.
Just as when fertilizing nearly any vegetable plant – balance really is the key to success!
Giving Your Plants The Right Kind Of Energy – How To Fertilize Pepper Plants
In addition to providing your peppers that steady energy, the type of energy you give them is important as well. When it comes to the “big three” of fertilizing nutrients, Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium (N-P-K), all play a unique but separate role in the development of pepper plants and the actual peppers they will produce.
Along with other important trace elements, nitrogen helps plants to grow strong stems and foliage. Phosphorous and Potassium, on the other hand, help with several important growing factors. The both are vital to plant health. But even more importantly, they help with development of blooms and the ripening of fruit.
The key with fertilizing pepper plants is to give them enough nitrogen to grow strong – but not too much that the plant simply grows bigger at the expense of producing blooms and fruit.
A steady but slow source of nitrogen is the perfect solution for this. It can be accomplished easily with a monthly granular application of a balanced fertilizer. Using a 4-4-4 or 5-5-5 (N-P-K) granular slow release fertilizer monthly will provide perfect growing power for your plants. Not too much to overpower, but more than enough to grow a healthy & strong plant that is ready to produce! Product Affiliate Link: Jobe’s Organics 09526 Organic All Purpose Granular Fertilizer 4-4-4
The Power Of Liquid Fertilizer – How To Fertilize Pepper Plants
Although the monthly slow-release dry fertilizer will do wonders for your plant, by adding a liquid fertilizer application to the mix, you can also provide your pepper plants with the energy they need to produce more blooms and fruit.
This fertilizing application needs to be have a higher percentage of phosphorous and potassium versus nitrogen. And, by providing it in a liquid form, it absorbs quickly into the plant via the roots and foliage.
The ideal time to start feeding your pepper plants this liquid dose is right before they begin to set flowers. For us, we like to begin liquid fertilizing after the plants have been in the ground a month or so. This lets them adjust to the soil. It also gives them the nutrients they need just as they begin to mature.
For this feeding, you want a fertilizer that has a higher amount of potassium and phosphorous over nitrogen. We like to use Jack’s Organic Tomato Feed which has a 12-15-30 N-P-K ratio. It is great for tomatoes (obviously with its name) as well, but it really produces the pepper blooms too! Product Affiliate Link : Jack 12-15-30 Feed
How Much To Apply – How To Fertilize Pepper Plants
We apply the liquid feeding to our pepper plants about every 2 weeks during the season. When feeding liquid, always try to feed in the morning to avoid sun-scald on the foliage. We apply at about one-quarter gallon to plants when young. As they mature, we increase that to about one-half gallon per plant.
One final tip, we like mixing our liquid at about half of the recommended rate. This way, we can apply it more consistently every two weeks than just a full dose once a month. The steady approach really seems to keep the pepper blooms coming on more consistently throughout the season. All without overpowering the plant.
In addition, remember that picking peppers often will help produce more peppers as well. When a pepper plant becomes overloaded with ripening peppers, the plant will slow production of new blooms. This is call fruit overload, and actually holds true for most vegetable plants.
And although you might get excited when you see your peppers form their first fruit of the season, it’s best to actually remove the first few. The early peppers tend to have a long ripening time. By removing the first few, it will keep the energy to producing blooms for the next set of peppers that will mature much faster!
So remember to fertilize, keep picking – and enjoy your best pepper harvest ever this year! Happy Gardening! Jim and Mary.
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