Image by Jerry Huddleston
By Heather Rhoades
For many gardeners, how to grow red peppers is a mystery. For most gardeners, what they get in their garden is the familiar green peppers, not the much sweeter and brighter red pepper. So what does it take to grow a red pepper? How hard is growing red bell peppers? Read on to find out.
It takes Time
Time is the biggest factor in growing red bell peppers. Believe it or not, virtually all pepper plants are a red pepper plant. Much like a tomato plant, pepper plants have green immature fruit and red mature fruit. And, also just like a tomato, the mature fruit can also be yellow or orange. A red pepper plant just needs time. How much time? It depends on the variety. Most varieties of red peppers need 100+ days to reach maturity.
So what can I do for a better chance of growing red bell peppers?
You can try artificially lengthening your season by starting seeds. First, try planting red pepper seeds indoors as early as possible. Give them plenty of light and love. This will give you a jump start on the season for growing red bell peppers.
You can also try extending the end of the season adding some row covers or hoop houses to your garden when the weather gets colder. Unfortunately, a red pepper plant is very sensitive to cold and a cold snap can kill it before its fruit is fully red. Using techniques to keep the cold away from them can help lengthen the season.
You can also try planting red pepper seeds that have shorter seasons. There are a few varieties that have seasons as short as 65-70 days.
Tips for growing red bell peppers
All peppers plants, not just a red pepper plant, like soil to be warm. Growing red bell peppers in soil that is about 65 – 75 degrees is optimal. In the spring, try using clear plastic to heat the soil up before you plant your red pepper plant outside. Once the soil reaches the optimal temperature, add mulch to keep the temperature of the soil from heating up too much in hot weather.
Water regularly. Watering your plants is very important. Inconsistent watering can damage the health and the ability of a red pepper plant to produce and ripen fruit. When you are growing red bell peppers, make sure that the ground stays moist all the time.
The mystery of how to grow red peppers is not really a mystery at all. The secret to how to grow red peppers is patience more than anything. If you find that you are unable to resist the tasty green fruit on the plant but you would still like to get red peppers, harvest the younger peppers and let the older pepper mature to their tasty red goodness.