By Heather Rhoades
Peppers, especially chili peppers, hold a special place in many gardens. These vibrant and delicious vegetables are fun to grow and can also be decorative. Just because you don’t have a garden to grow them in does not mean that you can’t grow them. Growing peppers in planters is easy. Plus, when you grow peppers in pots, they can double as decorative plants on your patio or balcony.
Growing Peppers in Containers
Container garden peppers need two important things and those are water and light. These two things will determine where you will grow pepper plants in a container. First, your pepper will need 5 or more hours of direct sunlight. The more light they can get, the better they will grow. Second, your pepper plant will be entirely dependent on you for water, so you will need to make sure that your container growing pepper plant is located somewhere that you will be able to easily get water to it on a daily basis.
When planting your pepper plant into the container, use organic rich potting soil. Do not use regular garden soil. Regular garden soil can compact and harm the roots while potting soil will stay aerated, which will give the roots room to grow well.
As mentioned, a pepper plant will need to get nearly all of its water from you. Because the roots of a pepper plant cannot spread out into the soil to look for water (like it would if it was in the ground), it needs to be watered frequently. You can expect to water your pepper plant in a container at least once a day when the temperature is above 65 F. and twice a day when the temperatures rise above 80 F.
Pepper plants are self-pollinating, so they do not technically need pollinators to help them set fruit, but pollinators can help the plant set more fruit than it normally would. If you are growing peppers in planters in a location that could be difficult for bees and other pollinators to get to, like a high balcony or an enclosed porch, you may want to try hand pollinating your pepper plants. This can be done one of two ways. First, you can give each pepper plant a gentle shake a few times a day while it is in bloom. This helps the pollen distribute itself to the plant. The other is to use a small paint brush and swirl it inside each open blossom.
Container garden peppers can be fertilized with compost tea or a slow release fertilizer once a month.
Growing peppers in containers can be fun and makes these tasty vegetables available to many gardeners who do not have a traditional, in-the-ground garden.