How to Grow Capsicum in Pots at Home

Home > Gardening 101

Capsicum bell pepper plant in container.

To grow a Capsicum plant successfully, sow the seeds when the minimum temperature is not below 70°F (15°C) and maximum temperature is not above 91°F (33°C), a fistful of good organic compost and rock phosphate every 20 days, and bright indirect sunlight. Keep the soil moist and water when the soil feels dry to touch. Avoid overwatering, extremely high or low temperatures and harsh afternoon sun.

 

Capsicum General Information

Origin

The Americas

Family

Solanaceae (nightshade family)

Genus

Capsicum

Common Names

Peppers, green peppers, red peppers, bell pepper, capsicum pepper, red pepper, sweet pepper, shimla mirch, paprika, peperone

🌵Type

Flowering plant

🌡️Temperature

70°F to 91°F (15°C to 33°C)

 

Tolerates min 54°F (12°C) and max 95°F (35°C)

💧Watering

Keep the soil moist at all times, but not soggy.

☀️Light

Indirect bright sunlight

Soil

Warm, loamy moist soil with pH 5-6

 

(50% sand, 30% organic compost, and 20% coco peat with lots of mulch on top)

Fertilizer

Organic compost, once every 20 days

Pot Size

4 inch pot for seed germination

10 inch pot for Capsicum plant

Spacing

6 inch

Height📏

18 to 24 inches (1 to 2 ft)

Time it takes to get fruit

4 months

 

What you need

  1. Capsicum seeds
  2. Light: 5-6 hours daily
  3. 4 inch pot for seed germination
  4. 10 inch pot for Capsicum plant
  5. Potting mix: 50% sand, 30% organic compost, and 20% coco peat with lots of mulch on top. (pH 5-6)
  6. Fertilizer: Organic compost and rock phosphate

 

When to Sow Capsicum Seeds

  • If you live in a colder climate, start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last predicted frost for your climate zone. 
  • If you live in a tropical climate that experiences extremely high temperatures in the summer, start seeds indoors when temperatures do not exceed 91°F (33°C).
  • Ideal growing temperature for Capsicum is between 70°F to 91°F (15°C to 33°C). You can start the seeds indoors anytime of the year if you are growing capsicums under a grow light.

Steps To Grow Capsicum from Seed

Here are 10 easy steps you need to follow to successfully grow Capsicum at home in containers from seeds:

 

  1. Cut open a Capsicum and extract all the seeds. You need to dry the seeds for 2 days in sunlight.
  2. In a pot with drainage holes, fill it with 40% fine sand, 30% coco peat, and 20% compost.
  3. Water the potting mix so the soil is settled before placing the seeds.
  4. Sprinkle the seeds in the potting mix without overlapping them. Gently press each seed into the soil.
  5. Cover with a thin layer (¼ inch) of potting mix and gently press the soil with your hands. Having too much soil over the seed will make germination difficult, while having too less soil will expose and rot the seed instead of germinating.
  6. Water using a spray just to moisten and settle the seeds, without disturbing the seeds. After watering, look closely to see if any seed got exposed due to watering.
  7. Keep the pot in partial shade that receives indirect sunlight. Until germination, keep the soil moist at all times. Capsicum seeds will germinate in 5 to 6 days.
  8. Once the true leaves appear and seedlings reach 4 to 6 inch in size or 4 to 6 leaves (after 20 days), you can transplant them at their final location. Don’t plant more than 2 plants per pot or keep a 6 inch gap between 2 plants.
  9. After repotting, keep the plant in a location that receives indirect sunlight and water only when topsoil feels dry to touch. Let the soil dry out before you water.
  10. When seedlings are 6 to 8 inches long, pinch the top growth. This will promote the growth of side stems and make the plant bushy. More side stems = more Capsicum.
  11. Once the flowers are formed, fertilize the plant every 20 days with a fistful of organic compost and rock phosphate. Now water only when soil starts to dry as overwatering can drop the buds/flowers.
  12. Capsicum are self-pollinating. You should expect fruit in about 3 to 4 months after sowing the seed.
  13. After the first harvest, the plant will start to grow fast again, and set new buds. One plant can produce fruit for an entire year provided the temperature is ideal. However, the size and yield of fruit reduces with time.

How fast does Capsicum grow

If you are growing capsicum from seed, it takes about 6 days to germinate, 30 days for seedling to reach a height of 6-7 inches, 70 days for the fruit to appear and upto 120 days to harvest capsicum.

 

Here is a table that explains the rate of growth for Capsicum plants that you can expect, from germination to harvest.

 

Event

No. of Days

Germination

5 to 6 days

Prominent seed leaf

10 days

True leaves - time to transplant

20 days

Plant grows 6-7 inches tall

30 days

Flowers appear

55 to 60 days

Flowers petals dry out completely

63 to 66 days

Capsicum Fruit appears

67 to 70 days

Capsicum changes color from green to red

100 to 110 days

Capsicum ready to harvest

120 days

Sunlight Requirements ☀️

Capsicum plants need bright indirect sunlight for about 6 to 8 hours per day in order to grow.

 

Capsicum seedlings are very prone to growing leggy if enough light is not provided. Capsicum fruits are very prone to sun scalding so keep them in a location that receives morning sun but is shaded during the afternoon harsh sun. You can keep the plant in direct sun during the winter if the afternoon sun is not harsh and the temperatures are ideal (15°C to 33°C).

Ideal Growing Temperature🌡️

Ideal growing temperature for Capsicum is between 70°F to 91°F (15°C to 33°C) and it tolerates a minimum of 54°F (12 °C) and maximum of 95°F (35°C). The ideal temperature for a fruit set is between 16°C and 21°C. At extremely high temperatures of about 38°C (100°F), pollen is less viable and flowers are less likely to pollinate successfully.

 

Watering

Keep the soil moist at all times, but not soggy. Overwatering can cause fungal infection in the roots. Water from below to avoid the leaves from getting wet, or splashing of water from the soil to the leaves which can introduce soil-borne bacteria to the leaves. 

 

Inconsistent watering can cause blossom end rot in capsicums just like it does in tomatoes. Improper watering causes calcium deficiency in plants as the plant does not get adequate amounts of nutrients from the soil due to inconsistent watering.

Fertilizer

Capsicum needs an adequate amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium before you start planting. The soil mix needs to have enough nitrogen to germinate the seeds. After that, you can fertilize capsicum plants with rock phosphate and organic compost every 20 days.

 

With just a little nitrogen, capsicums can do a lot. So they don’t require nitrogen-rich fertilizer as they would just grow lots of leaves and we want the fruit. It is better to test your soil to know what it lacks, so you add the amendments as needed.

Tips for Growing Capsicum

  • Spacing: If you are planting capsicum transplants in the garden, then  plant them about 18 to 24 inches apart.
  • When sprinkling the Capsicum seeds in the potting mix, avoid overlapping to increase the germination rate.
  • Do not bury the seeds too deep as it will decrease the germination rate.
  • Seeds germinate in 5-6 days and true leaves will appear after 20 days.
  • If you are transplanting, try to transplant your seedlings later in the day to avoid/mitigate transplant shock.
  • Pull out any growing weeds as they will steal essential nutrients from the soil.
  • Start fertilizing only after the flowers are formed. Fertilizer before the flower formation promotes vegetative growth instead of blossom formation.
  • Capsicum seedlings are available in any nursery starting from October every year.
  • Capsicum will change color as they mature from unripe to ripened Capsicum. You can harvest Capsicum at any time of their growth cycle as per your needs.
  • When harvesting bell peppers, cut the branch instead of pulling the fruit to avoid damage to the plant and/or the fruit.
  • Staking will be necessary as the fruit matures. Tiny little bamboo sticks will work. 

Capsicum Problems and Solutions

Capsicum leaves curling

Leaf curling in capsicums is generally caused by water stress or pest attack. Look closely at the plant and under the leaves to see if there are any tiny sap sucking insects (thrips, aphids, whiteflies). You can easily get rid of pests by power washing the plant and spraying neem oil spray or soap spray (5gm soap in 1 ltr water). Get rid of the affected leaves or get rid of the entire plant if the infestation is all over the plant.

Capsicum leaves Wilting/drooping

Capsicum leaves can appear dry and drooping (wilted) due to the following 5 reasons:

 

  1. The plant is very thirsty and in need of water
  2. Plant is kept in a location that receives direct afternoon sun.
  3. Extremely high temperatures of around 38°C (100 °F) or more.
  4. Watering with ice-cold water caused temperature shock
  5. Bacterial leaf wilt (least likely cause) where there is high humidity and moisture

 

The solution to drooping leaves of capsicum is to move the plant to a shaded location (if it’s under direct sunlight), and give it water (if the soil is dry). The plant will bounce back within an hour. If capsicum is already under shade and the soil is moist, but still capsicum leaves are wilting, it might just be that the plant is overheated from extremely high temperature.

 

Try to gauge how long it took to get to this stage, and rethink your watering schedule with respect to the current climate to make sure it does not reach this stage of thirst ever again because this is stressful to the plants.

Capsicum bud drop

Capsicum plants may drop their bud, flower, or even the fruit itself for the following 3 reasons:

  1. Poor soil
  2. Overwatering
  3. Extremely high or low temperature

 

To prevent bud/flower/fruit drop, after flowers are formed, only water when the soil feels dry to touch. Optimum temperatures for fruit setting in a capsicum plant is between 16°C and 21°C. 

 

Pro Tip: If the stem of the capsicum bud has turned yellow, you can expect that it will fall. A healthy bud has a green stem. A green-stemmed bud blooms into a flower, and then the fruit forms once the flower has dried out completely.

Growing Capsicum Indoors

You may have to grow Capsicum indoors if your winter temperatures drop below 70°F (15°C) or if you live in a desert climate with harsh and intense summers where the temperatures reach 95°F (35°C) or beyond.

 

You can grow Capsicum indoors if you have a south-facing window. Capsicum plants need humidity of over 50% to grow well indoors. In the winter, the days are shorter so support the plant with artificial light. You will need to hand pollinate manually when growing Capsicum indoors.

Pruning Capsicums

There is a lot of debate whether to prune pepper or not. If you don’t prune your peppers, you are going to get one long main stock that grows up from the ground upto 2 ft tall. Just one main stock has less growth points to produce flowers, which means less fruit. It also gets very top heavy as the fruit that is there starts to mature.

 

To prune your capsicum, prune the top growth when the plant is about 8 inches tall and has 6 to 8 leaves on it. This will force the hormones that generally go to the top of the plant to go this time back down to the stem and out through all of the leaf nodes. This pinching of top growth results in a compact bushy plant with tons of growth points for lots of fruits.

Fun Facts about Capsicums

  • Capsicums are cultivated as vegetables, while botanically speaking, they are a fruit.
  • Capsicums provide respectable levels of antioxidants and vitamin C.
  • Any color other than green is usually sweeter and has more pro-vitamin A.
Comment Form is loading comments...

Table of contents