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How to Grow the Best Pepper Plants in Pots

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Don’t have space for a full vegetable garden in your backyard but still want to grown homegrown peppers? Fear not! With the right knowledge and a little bit of care, you can successfully grow vibrant pepper plants in pots right on your balcony or patio. 

Or maybe you have a vegetable garden and simply want to grow peppers in pots to save room. This guide is your go-to resource for mastering the art of container gardening and cultivating perfect pepper plants. From selecting the best varieties to managing sunlight exposure and harvesting your homegrown peppers, we’ve got you covered. Get ready to embark on a journey of growing your own delicious and nutritious peppers with these helpful gardening tips. 

The Best Peppers to Grow in Pots

There are a ton of different varieties of peppers out there. From green pepper to red, to hot peppers and sweet peppers, there really is a pepper for everyone! When selecting the best peppers to grow in pots, it’s essential to consider varieties that thrive in container gardening conditions. And growing these from pepper seeds will give you the best choice, but if you’re using pepper seedlings (young plants), that’s okay, too! 

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Some of the top choices for growing in pots include:

  • Shishito Peppers: These are some of my favorite peppers to grow each year because they produce abundantly and these light green plants don’t pack much heat, so they’re perfect for our Blistered Shishito Recipe!
  • Jalapeño peppers: These spicy green peppers are a staple in our home garden and that means Fresh Pico de Gallo and Grilled Jalapeno Poppers all summer long!
  • Cayenne peppers: These long, thin peppers are a great option for containers and the heat lover in all of us. I love to use them to make Hot Pepper Vinegar each summer, which is perfect on greens and beans. 
  • Banana peppers: These sweet or hot peppers are incredibly easy to grow and will produce an abundance each summer. Perfect for eating fresh or pickling to use later. 

These varieties are well-suited for limited space and can flourish in the confined environment of a pot. Ensure you choose pepper plants that are compact and bushy, as they will adapt well to container living and provide an abundant harvest. By picking the right pepper plants for your pots, you set yourself up for a successful and satisfying gardening experience.

Choosing the Right Container

While the look of your pots and containers may be important, what’s even more significant is that it’s the best type of pot for your plants. When it comes to growing perfect pepper plants in pots, selecting the right container is crucial. The size of your container will directly impact the growth and health of your pepper plants. Too small pots will end in limited growth and possibly a root bound plant, larger pots than needed and the soil may dry out more easily.

Here’s how to choose the best container for your pepper plants:

  • Choose a container that is at least 12 inches in diameter
  • Make sure it has proper drainage holes to prevent waterlogged soil
  • Consider using lightweight containers made of plastic or resin to make moving them easier throughout the growing season. 

Selecting the right container is the first step in creating an ideal environment for your pepper plants to thrive. The next important factor to consider is the type of soil you use for planting your peppers in pots.,

The Best Soil for Peppers in Pots

My first year teaching, I had a much more experienced teacher (who had actually taught me in high school) tell me that you needed a “five dollar hole for a fifty cent plant.” Basically, what you grow your seeds or plants in matters. 

For peppers grown in pots, the type of soil used is crucial for their success. Here are the qualities you want to look for in the soil mix you’re considering for planting peppers:

  • Opt for a well-drained soil mix rich in organic matter and peat moss (or coconut coir) that is specifically formulated for container gardening. This type of soil will provide the necessary nutrients for your pepper plants to thrive while also allowing for good drainage, preventing root rot. 
  • Avoid using regular garden soil, as it tends to compact in containers, hindering root growth and water drainage. 
  • Consider adding good quality compost on the soil surface after planting to keep soil moisture in and to act as an organic fertilizer. 

By selecting the best soil for your pepper plants in pots, you will set the foundation for healthy growth and abundant harvests. Check your local garden center for the best selection of soils that work well in containers. Or, you can check out my Amazon Storefront for all of my container gardening favorites including pots and potting soil. 

Managing Temperature and Sunlight Exposure

Location, location, location isn’t just true for real estate. You want your pepper plants to thrive and grow into sturdy plants that produce a ton of peppers. To ensure your pepper plants thrive in pots, it’s crucial to pay attention to the temperatures and sunlight exposure they receive. 

Peppers generally require warm temperatures, ideally between 70-90°F during the day and 60-70°F at night, which is why late spring, summer, and early fall are the ideal seasons. Plant healthy plants only after the last frost date in your area. Place your pots in a location that receives at least 6-8 hours of sunlight daily. 

If you’re growing peppers indoors, consider using a grow light to ensure they receive adequate light since many windows now block light. By managing temperature and sunlight exposure effectively, you’ll create the optimal conditions for your pepper plants to flourish. 

Fertilizing Peppers in Pots

Some gardeners are on the fence about the need to fertilize bell peppers or any peppers in general. If the soil is rich enough, is fertilization really necessary? Well, in the case of peppers in pots, they do have limited access to nutrients from the soil, so it’s essential to regularly fertilize them to ensure healthy growth and bountiful harvests. 

Opt for a balanced, water-soluble organic fertilizer to provide your pepper plants with the necessary nutrients they need. During the growing season, feed your peppers every 2-4 weeks, following the manufacturer’s instructions for dosage and application. Avoid getting fertilizer on the leaves of the plants and instead put the fertilizer directly on top of the soil. 

While feeding your potted pepper plants is helpful, over-fertilizing can harm your plants, so it’s important to strike the right balance. So be watchful of how your plants are growing and determine what their needs are. 

If you want to avoid liquid or granular fertilizers, you can always dress your plants with homemade compost or worm castings. This will help to feed your plants, and if you compost at home, then it’s something you already have on hand!

Preventing Pests for Peppers in Pots

Growing a garden can be one of the most fulfilling activities, but it only takes one pest infestation to complete upset all of that hard work. Pests can wreak havoc on your pepper plants, so it’s important to take proactive measures to prevent infestations. Here are the best strategies to protect your plants whether it’s your first time growing or your 100th:

  • Regularly inspect your plants for signs of pests such as aphids, spider mites, or whiteflies. If you notice any pests, remove them by hand or spray your plants with a water spray or gentle insecticidal soap. 
  • Companion plant with herbs like basil, mint, or rosemary, which naturally repel common pests. 

See my full post for How to Prevent Pest Naturally or check out my ebook Natural Pest Control for the Home Garden for non-toxic solutions to many common garden pests. 

Harvesting and Enjoying Your Homegrown Peppers

Once your pepper plants have been tended to and have successfully grown in the hot weather, it’s time to reap the rewards of your hard work. Harvesting your homegrown peppers is a satisfying experience that allows you to enjoy the fruits of your labor in the most literal sense. 

Your seed package will give you lots of information about when the first fruits should be ready on the plant. This information is valuable. When your peppers reach their mature size and color, carefully snip them from the plant using sharp scissors or pruners to avoid damaging the rest of the plant. Be sure to harvest regularly to encourage continued production and prevent over ripening.

Harvest all of the peppers you can at the end of the season before cold weather sets in. Cold nights can bite your plants and stop their fruit production. Pepper plants can be overwintered, which is perfect for those plants in pots, but that’s a post for another day. 

After harvesting, peppers can be stored in the fridge in a releasable plastic bag until ready to use. They will typically stay fresh for a week or more if stored this way. Definitely use them before the skin becomes wrinkled, or freeze them for use later.  Check out my ebook Freezer Preserving the Harvest for an easy guide to freezing all of the produce from your garden or local farmer’s market.  

But if it’s time to savor the flavors of your freshly picked peppers, then enjoy them raw, grilled, roasted, or stuffed. There are countless ways to enjoy your homegrown produce. Add them to salads, stir-fries, sauces, or salsas for a burst of vibrant color and flavor. Experiment with different pepper varieties to discover which ones suit your taste preferences best. The satisfaction of enjoying peppers that you nurtured from seed to harvest is unmatched and is sure to inspire you to continue growing your own delicious produce.

In summary, cultivating perfect pepper plants in pots requires careful consideration of the best pepper varieties, container selection, soil quality, sunlight exposure, fertilization, pest prevention, and harvesting techniques. By following these steps diligently, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor right from your own patio or balcony.

Remember, with patience and dedication, your potted peppers will flourish. So, what are you waiting for? Start growing your own peppers today and taste the difference homegrown makes. As William Feather once said, “One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.” Grow your perfect pepper plants and let the adventure begin!


Sunday 24th of March 2024

Thank you, this is such great information! I want to grow some peppers on my patio this year and now you've given me all the info I need. I think I'll start with banana peppers and see how it goes!


Sunday 24th of March 2024

Thank you! I hope you have great success with your peppers!