Growing peppers in containers is a great way to expand your gardening space. As long as you have an area with 6+ hours of sun, you can grow peppers, even on a balcony in the city. First, make sure to pick good pepper varieties that grow well in containers as they are well-suited to growing in pots.
Here are our top tips for the best care for container-grown peppers:
Container Size: Select a large pot or container with a 12" + diameter and about 5 gallons in size to allow room for the roots to spread and grow deep. Smaller containers have to be watered more during hot dry spells, so larger is better!
Watering: You want to make sure your pepper plants are watered consistently. You don't want waterlogged soil, however, so make sure the potting mix is well draining and there are drainage holes at the bottom to allow for excess water to run out. Peppers will drown in soggy soil! Don't use garden soil in containers, as it will not drain properly. If your peppers have yellow leaves, it could be overwatering, so check the soil before watering to ensure the soil is not waterlogged.
Nutrients: Feed pepper containers with an organic fertilizer, but don't overdo it. If your peppers are looking green and lush, you don't need to keep dosing them fertilizer. We do like to add some compost and top off the pot with new compost every so often which provides slow, natural feeding. And keep in mind that once you start to see flowers, peppers need much less nitrogen and more phosphorus, potassium, and calcium. Too much nitrogen will result in bushy plants and no pods.
Soil: Always use a well-draining potting mix made for containers, and use seed-starter soil if planting peppers from seed indoors. The mix should drain quickly through provided drainage holes at the bottom of the container.
Light: Provide adequate light for the plants. If using grow lights for seedlings, ensure they receive sufficient light. Peppers do best in direct sunlight with 6-8 hours of sun, but indoor-grown young plants can tolerate part shade as they get acclimated to the outdoors. This process is called hardening off seedlings.
Heat: Peppers like it warm, don't put container peppers outdoors until it has warmed up consistently to 55-60˚ F at night. If peppers are exposed to 40 degree temperatures or lower, this can stunt their growth, and a frost will kill most pepper plants. If starting seeds in starter pots indoors, keep them at 80-90˚ F for best germination.
- Support & Companion Planting: If the peppers grow tall, some support can be helpful to keep them upright. You can also use pepper companion plants such as cowpeas (black eyed peas) that will help provide more leaf cover for your peppers to eliminate pepper sunscald (those white spots on pepper pods that have had too much sun!)
- Move Pepper Pots Indoors if Bad Weather is in the forecast: One great thing about caring for your container-grown peppers is that you can move them to a protected location in the house or garage or under a patio if the weather is threatening hail or heavy winds. If freezing temperatures are expected due to a late frost or early frost in the fall, you can move your container peppers indoors to keep them warm until any chance of frost has passed (like cold spring nights!)
- Grow the best peppers for containers – Tons of peppers thrive in pots, and here at Sandia Seed we have a wide selection of pepper varieties that grow great in pots.
By following these growing tips, you can successfully grow peppers in containers for a delicious harvest. Expanding your gardening space with containers is an easy way to grow more food!
View our entire collection of the best peppers to grow in containers »