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How to Grow Peppers – Growing Peppers

Ever tried a fully-ripened, garden-grown pepper? If you think you don’t like peppers, tasting one just might change your mind. Peppers come in all sizes, shapes, and colors and range from sweet to fiery hot. Learn how to grow peppers and plant a few varieties to spice up your garden.

How to grow peppers - 7 tips for growing peppers #growingpeppers #howtogrowpeppers #gardeninginarizona #peppers

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7 Tips for How to Grow Peppers

How to Grow Peppers

Tip #1 for How to Grow Peppers:
Start seeds indoors or buy transplants

How to Grow Peppers

Pepper plants require a long, warm growing season. Start pepper seeds indoors 6 – 8 weeks before your last spring frost. Plant outside two weeks after your last frost date. Pepper seeds are available at

when to start pepper seeds indoors
When to start pepper seeds indoors

In the low desert of Arizona, start seeds indoors in late December or early February and again May July. Begin hardening off transplants about 10 days before planting in late FebruaryApril. Plant a second round of peppers from July 15 – September if desired. 

When to plant peppers outside
When to plant peppers outside
When to plant peppers in the low desert of arizona
When to plant peppers in the low desert of Arizona

Tip #2 for How to Grow Peppers:
Plant peppers correctly

Pepper plants do best in well-draining soil amended with compost. Plant peppers deeply, so bottom leaves on stem are just above the soil to promote root development. 

When square foot gardening, plant 1 pepper per 1-2 squares. Otherwise, plant peppers 18-24 inches apart. 

If desired, cut back peppers when young, above several sets of leaves to encourage branching.

Peppers grow well in containers, raised beds, grow bags, and in the ground. 

Plant peppers in an area that receives at least 6-8 hours of sunlight each day. 

During the hottest times of the summer in Arizona, you may need to provide shade for pepper plants.

What size grow bag and containers do peppers grow best in

Tip #3 for How to Grow Peppers:
Provide support for growing peppers and mulch well

Pepper plants are brittle and need support as they grow; a wire cage or trellis works well for this purpose. 

Pepper plants require well-draining soil, but also plenty of water, especially in the hottest times of the year. 

A thick layer of mulch around plants helps retain moisture and cools the soil a bit for the growing peppers.

Tip #4 for How to Grow Peppers:
Pay attention to the blossoms

Remove blossoms for the first couple of weeks to direct energy to growing the plant. Once the plant is growing well and has more flowers, it is an excellent time to provide compost or organic fertilizer. Pull back mulch, spread fertilizer, and replace the mulch. 

Keep in mind that with temperatures above 90°F and below 60°F, pollination may not occur because pollen in blossoms is not viable.

Tip #5 for How to Grow Peppers:
Harvest correctly and at the right time

To harvest peppers without breaking brittle branches, cut off with pruning shears, leaving about an inch of stem to prolong storage life. 

Peppers can be harvested at any stage of development depending on your taste preference with that particular pepper. Peppers left to mature on the vine will normally turn from green – to yellow – to orange – and then red. As color changes, the flavor and vitamins increase as well. 

Pick peppers often to encourage production. Peppers left too long on the plant will be soft and shriveled looking, and should be removed from the plant. 

Peppers are frost-sensitive; harvest fruits before frost. If frost is expected, cover plants to protect from frost. In Arizona, it is possible for pepper plants to over-winter if weather is mild.

Frost-damaged pepper plant

Tip #6 for How to Grow Peppers:
Be careful when handling peppers

Peppers contain capsaicin, an oily compound that produces heat. The hotter the pepper, the more capsaicin the peppers contain. Use gloves when handling hot peppers; do not touch eyes or nose as capsaicin can burn skin. 

If a burn occurs, soak in milk or wash hands with dish soap in cool water. 

Habanero peppers are hot! Handle with care.

Tip #7 for How to Grow Peppers:
Enjoy the harvest!

Harvested peppers can be stored on the counter for a day or two

How to store peppers for longest life

Peppers stored in these Rubbermaid Freshworks containers will keep for weeks in the fridge. 

There are as many different ways to enjoy and prepare peppers as there are varieties of peppers. Peppers are delicious eaten fresh, roasted, or stuffed. Preserve extras by freeze-drying, drying, freezing, or pickling.

Frozen peppers last up to a year in the freezer.

Pomegranate Jalapeño Cream Cheese Dip

Looking for a great way to use your freshly-harvested jalapeños? This Pomegranate Jalapeño Cream Cheese Dip is a family favorite.

How to grow peppers - 7 tips for growing peppers #growingpeppers #howtogrowpeppers #gardeninginarizona #peppers

Peppers come in all sizes, shapes, and colors, ranging from sweet to fiery hot. In this article, learn how to grow peppers and plant a few varieties to spice up your garden.

How & When to PRUNE PEPPERS in mild winter climates growing in the garden

Knowing how and when to prune peppers in mild-winter climates is essential to keeping them healthy and productive for many years. Learn how in this blog post.

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Saturday 9th of March 2024

Angela, I have started bell pepper plants inside and they are coming up nicely. How soon am I able to plant them outside? Is there a minimum number of leaves needed?

Angela Judd

Sunday 10th of March 2024

It's best to have several sets of true leaves. As long as its warm enough you can plant them out young.


Friday 20th of January 2023

I will like to know if I can use sawdust for mulching or not for my pepper and tomatoes plants? Thank you.

Angela Judd

Saturday 21st of January 2023

I haven't used sawdust before - but many people do. Here is a blog post with more information:


Thursday 10th of February 2022

Hopefully this is my last question for a while. :) I'm planning on growing peppers in a container & see that you mention that parsley can be added as a companion plant. I wasn't sure if that applies to container gardening since it seems like peppers like more water than parsley? Again, muchisimas gracias for your help!


Sunday 20th of February 2022

@Angela Judd, thanks so much for you help. Happy planting!

Angela Judd

Friday 18th of February 2022

Hi Eva, they con be grown in the same container.


Friday 28th of January 2022

I have had jalapeno plants for 2 full seasons in AZ and both crops have been wonderful. Should I leave them and try to get another crop or start with new plants for this spring? If I leave them should I prune them back and if so when? Thank you so much for all you share it is my go to for AZ gardening!

Angela Judd

Monday 31st of January 2022

Hi Lindsay - If they are still healthy I think you could get one more season out of them. I would wait a couple weeks to make sure we are past frost and then give them a good trim. 'd

Jackie Disz

Monday 10th of January 2022

I cannot get enough of your articles. They are so helpful. I'm from the Midwest and have been struggling. With your information I have hope now for a better garden. I can only grow in containers because I have a small yard. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

Angela Judd

Tuesday 11th of January 2022

So glad the articles have been helpful! Best of luck to you with your garden!