by Jennifer Poindexter
Would you like to grow peppers year-round?
In some planting zones, you may already be able to do this. Yet, in others, this may only be a dream. That is, until now.
What if I told you, it’s possible to produce peppers indoors all the time? If you’re interested, you’re in the right place because I’m going to share all you need to know to grow peppers indoors.
Come along with me as we discuss the different options for growing peppers inside your home.
Growing Conditions for Indoor Peppers
The biggest hurdle to growing peppers, or any vegetable, indoors is creating the proper growing conditions.
If you can mimic their needs inside the house, you’re on the right path to growing peppers indoors successfully.
To begin, growing smaller pepper varieties is a better option for indoors. They seem to do the best under these circumstances.
The next vital growing condition is that peppers are usually grown in containers when grown inside. Be sure to choose a large enough container and one which drains well.
Peppers need growing temperatures of approximately 80-degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 70-degrees Fahrenheit at night.
Obviously, you may not be able to hit these exact temperatures, but if you can keep it within a 20-degree range, your plants should still thrive.
A tip on keeping the ideal temperatures is to place the plants on a heating mat. This will boost the plants’ temperature without you needing to boost the temperature in your home.
Always plant in quality, well-draining soil. This avoids waterlogged plants and ensures they have their needed nutrients surrounding them from the start.
The final growing condition is lighting. Peppers need full sun. If you have a sunroom in your home, they’d probably thrive in this location.
However, if you don’t have enough natural lighting, it’s okay to use grow lights full-time or for supplemental purposes. Keep in mind, pepper plants need six or more hours of sunlight in a day.
By providing these necessities, you’re starting your pepper plants off on the right foot in your indoor gardening area.
How to Plant Peppers Indoors
There are three ways to grow peppers indoors. You can move an established plant indoors, transplant a seedling, or start your pepper plants from seed. We’re going to cover them all.
If you have an established pepper plant in your garden that you’d like to save, wait until the heat of the day is over.
Once cooler temperatures have moved in, dig the plant up. This should put less stress on it. Transplant it into a container and place it in the shade. Be sure to water your pepper plant daily at this point.
In a couple of days, move the pepper plant again to another shaded area. Maybe it’s at the edge of your garage, a carport, or a covered porch.
In a few more days, you can move the plant indoors. By giving the plant time to adapt to new, darker conditions, it should experience less of a shock when moved inside.
Saving mature plants is a prudent step towards the next year’s garden. Though it may no longer produce indoors (we’ll discuss this in greater detail in the next section), it gives you a jump on the grow season next year.
The next option for growing a pepper plant indoors is to purchase a seedling and plant it in a container. Fill the container with quality soil and dig a hole in the center.
Ensure the hole is large enough to support the root system of the seedling and cover the roots. Press firmly on the soil around the base of the plant to make sure no air reaches the roots.
You should only plant one seedling per container for proper spacing.
The final growing option is to start your pepper plants from seeds. You can avoid grow trays for this process.
Instead, place two seeds per growing container. Keep the soil damp during the germination period. It should take approximately one month for the seeds to germinate.
During this time, the seeds should remain in a warm area, watered gently, and given adequate lighting once sprouted.
If both seeds germinate, pick the stronger plant to keep. The other should be snipped away with scissors to avoid damaging any developing roots of your healthier plant.
You’re now growing pepper plants indoors. It’s time to discuss how to care for them as they continue to prosper.
How to Care for Peppers Indoors
Peppers have only three basic needs. They consist of watering the plants properly, fertilizing, and providing adequate amounts of lighting.
Let’s start with the lighting needs of these plants. Peppers can be kept alive, and healthy, inside on six or more hours of sunlight.
However, this may not be enough to encourage the plant to produce fruit. If you’d like your peppers to produce, they need closer to sixteen hours of lighting per day.
You can give them as much natural light as possible and then supplement the remaining hours with a grow light.
However, if you provide sixteen hours of light for your pepper plants, this should encourage them to begin or continue producing indoors.
The next step in caring for peppers is watering them. You should practice the deep watering method.
Place the plant in your sink and use the spray nozzle of your faucet to water the plant until the water is running out of the base of the container.
Allow the plant to sit and drain in your sink before placing it back in its area. Even if it has a dish beneath it, to catch the water, you don’t want it sitting in it because this isn’t good for the roots.
Finally, you should apply a balanced fertilizer to your pepper plants two weeks after planting and every three weeks when your plants are producing peppers.
One final thing to mention about growing peppers is you don’t need to worry about pollinating your plants. Peppers are self-pollinating which means they need no other plants, or help from you, to pollinate and produce fruit.
Now that you know how to properly care for your indoor pepper plants, it’s time to discuss anything which might threaten your indoor harvest.
Pests and Diseases Which Could Impact Peppers Indoors
One of the best things about growing plants indoors is you don’t face anywhere near the same amount of threats as you do outdoors.
In fact, there’s only one thing you should watch for when growing peppers indoors and that’s root rot. This disease occurs when pepper plants are overwatered.
If you leave your plants sitting in water, or apply too much water, the roots of your plant will begin to rot from the moisture.
When you’re in doubt about whether to water your plant, use the knuckle test. Place your finger into the soil of your plant.
If it’s moist to the first knuckle, you don’t need to water. If it’s dry, it’s time to have a deep watering session.
By staying alert to this one potential problem, your plants should be able to grow well and remain healthy.
How to Harvest Peppers
Growing peppers indoors has been straightforward and simple at this point. Harvesting peppers is no different. You’ll know peppers are ready to harvest when they’ve reached the full color of their variety.
Peppers come in a variety of colors, so be sure to check your packaging to know what to look for. Once the peppers are ready, gently pluck them from your pepper plant.
Indoor peppers don’t normally grow to the same size as peppers grown outdoors. Therefore, it’s important to base harvest on color alone.
When the peppers are harvested, you should enjoy them within the next week. Once the fruit looks shriveled or discolored it’s time to discard it.
You now know how to grow peppers indoors. The process is simple, with lighting being the only struggle some gardeners may face.
However, with a grow light, you should be able to help your pepper plants thrive. It’s your turn now! Find a pepper plant, move it indoors, and see if this information can help you have a pepper harvest all year long.