Webinar: Growing Peppers 101

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Whether you‘re a pepper aficionado or a first-time pepper planter, this class is for you! Our pepper expert Dan Alexander discusses the different varieties and how to plant for a successful pepper crop. Scroll down for our supply list!


Webinar: Growing Peppers 101

Supply List

  • Sloat organic potting soil/FoxFarm Ocean Forest/Recipe 420
  • EB Stone tomato/veg food
  • Monterey FoliCal if available
  • Down to Earth Oyster Shell
  • 5-gallon size containers (various)
  • Bamboo stakes in packages
  • Pepper seeds, Pepper starts, various
  • Seed starter mix
  • Cow pots
  • Trowels
  • Gloves
  • Animal repellent
  • Bird netting
  • Insecticidal soap

Genus Capsicum

  • 25-30 species, all from South/Central America.
  • Most are perennial, grown as annuals in our climate.
  • Need sun, warmth (even more than tomatoes) and good drainage.
  • Members of the potato family like tomatoes, eggplant.
  • Five species have been domesticated, though some still grow wild.
  • Peppers are self pollinating but cross-pollinate readily, and with their vast genetic library have made many hundred cultivars throughout the world.
  • Bolivian Amazon is the center of biodiversity.
  • As with tomatoes, different varieties of peppers require different lengths of
    time/heat/humidity to ripen.
  • Early varieties are 65-75 days from transplanting seedlings.
  • Mid-season are 75-85 days.
  • Late to very late season are 90-120 days.
  • In our climate, early to mid-season will be most rewarding. But it is possible to
    ripen even very late season peppers.
  • Most pepper varieties are compact, and will easily grow to maturity in a 5-gallon sized
    container (as opposed to a tomato which requires about 15-gallons of space.)
  • Peppers may require light staking, but do not need “tomato cages” for support.
  • Generally, by the end of the season, pepper plants still usually look fresh, but the
    tomatoes will look worn out.
  • Examples of different varieties within the 5 domesticated species:
    ○ C. annuum
    ○ Bell Peppers/mini bells/lunchbox
  • Sweet Italian (Cuban)
    • Jimmy Nardello (My personal favorite – highly recommended)
    • Cornu di Tornu
    • Bergamo
    • Giant Red Marconi
    • Cubano or Cubanel
  • Anaheim (NewMex- many varieties)
  • Poblano (Dried = Ancho)
  • Jalapeno (Smoked = Chipotle)
  • Hot Thai
  • Serrano
  • Cayenne
  • Paprika
  • Fresno (moderately hot Cuban)
  • Shishito (var. Takara consistently sweet, otherwise 10% hot)
  • Pimiento di Padron (10% hot)
  • Cherry
  • C. baccatum – used largely in Peruvian cuisine
  • Aji amarillo (Aji amarillo paste)
  • Aji limon
  • Criolla sella
  • C. chinense – usually very hot
  • Habanero
  • Scotch Bonnet
  • Trinidad Scorpian
  • Carolina Reaper (Ghost x Red Jalapeno, current heat record holder at 1,500,00 to
    2,200,000 Scoville Heat Units)
  • Bhut Jolokia (Ghost) (C. chinense x C. frutescens hybrid > 1,000,000 Scoville units)
  • Habanada (sweet)
  • Flavor is fruity. Most are late to very late season.
  • C. frutescens
    • Fruits usually grow erect. (“Bird Peppers”) believed to have been dispersed by
  • Piri Piri
  • Tabasco (Tabasco Sauce)
    • Still grows wild in Central and South America.
    • May be a parent of C. chinense.C. pubescens
  • Rocoto and Manzano peppers.
    • Cherry and apple shaped peppers.
    • Flowers are purple, seeds are black. Leaves hairy and dark green. Grows as a
      large multi-stemmed vine. Andean – more cold tolerant.
  • Peppers have a self-imposed internal limit on how much fruit will set on the plant.
    • You will get more overall production if you pick the peppers at all stages – green,
      starting to color and ripe – then the plant will continue to set fruit throughout the
  • Peppers require fertilizer but in moderation. Less than tomatoes.
    • Balanced fertilizer, meaning the numbers for the macro nutrients Nitrogen (N),
      Phosphorus (P) and Potash or Potassium (K) should be roughly equal, i.e., 5-5-5
      or 4-3-6, etc.
    • Peppers also require a source of calcium, either in the balanced fertilizer or
      separately from a source like oyster shells. The calcium will limit the problem of
      blossom end rot, a problem for many members of the potato family and for
      squash as well.
  • Peppers are easy to grow from seeds.
    • Start them in small pots indoors or use the moist paper towel in a zip-lock bag on
      the refrigerator technique which I will show you.
  • Peppers do not suffer many diseases, and hot peppers are designed to repel mammals
    from eating the fruit, but rodents will eat the plants themselves.
  • Be sure to check out the “BonChi” (pepper plants grown to be miniature trees like
    Bonsai) at Fatalii.net



ChilePlants.com , Fatalii.net , Marin Library System, sloatgardens.com

Books: DeWitt and Lamson, The Field Guide to Peppers (Timber Press, 2015) Presilla, Peppers of the Americas (Lorena Jones Books (Ten Speed Press,) 2017)

Curious if we have your favorite plant or product in stock? Call one of our locations directly and we'll be happy to check.