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The 15 Best Pepper Plants to Grow

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Pepper plants are a staple in the summer vegetable garden, so how do you know the best plants to grow? From hot peppers to sweet peppers, here are the best pepper plants to grow in your garden this year!

15 of the best pepper plants to grow

Growing Peppers at Home

There are many reasons to add pepper plants to your home vegetable garden or container garden. These plants come in a variety of shapes and sizes and they produce delicious fruit that can be used in so many ways. Here are some advantages to growing your own peppers in the home garden:

  • More Variety: When you grow peppers at home, you’re not limited to the small selection of peppers at your local store or farmer’s market. You can grow a huge variety of peppers that suit your personal tastes.
  • Chemical Free: When home growing vegetables, you can opt to leave harsh chemical fertilizers and pesticides behind. This leaves your peppers free to be eaten right off the plant without worry.
  • Preserving: If you happen to have an abundance of peppers, they’re incredibly easy to preserve for use later. Consider making hot pepper vinegar (get my easy recipe here), pepper relish, or even hot pepper jelly! They can also be cut and frozen for use all winter long.

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Growing Pepper Plants at Home

No matter what variety of peppers you decide to grow at home, there are some general tips to help you to be succes. While these growing guidelines are generally accurate, be sure to check the seed packet or plant tag for specific instructions for the pepper plant or variety you have chosen.

  • Use quality seeds: Though you can start pepper plants from the seeds of grocery store peppers, you’ll have a much better idea of the exact pepper you’re growing if you purchase the seeds yourself from a reliable Garden Catalog or snag some good quality seeds from a friend or a local garden center.
  • Start seeds indoors 6 weeks before the last expected frost date.
  • Plant pepper seedlings in moist soil when the soil temperature is at least 60 degrees.
  • Be sure to plant in an area with well-drained soil to avoid root rot.
  • Feed plants monthly, but pull back on high nitrogen fertilizers if bushy plants with fewer fruits are what you’re getting. I like to use Espoma’s Garden Tone as a quality vegetable food.
  • Don’t be disappointed if you purchased red pepper seeds and your plant is producing green peppers. Many colorful pepper varieties will start out green and develop their color as they ripen.

Many of the pepper varieties I recommend below can be found at True Leaf Market which is a reliable source for heirloom and open pollinated seeds for gardens of all sizes. I’ve been ordering from them for several years and have thoroughly enjoyed everything I have ordered.

There are so many varieties of peppers to grow at home, that I’ve broken them down into pepper variety. So check out the best pepper plants to grow!

Best Bell Pepper Plants to Grow

Let’s start with the classic bell pepper. Bell peppers come in a large variety including green bell peppers, red bell peppers, and sweet bell peppers.. These peppers are typically larger and have a wider bell shape. Here are some of th best peppers to grow at home:

  • California Wonder: A large sweet pepper variety that comes in red, green, and yellow. Their color develops when the pepper is fully ripened. These are a gardener favorite and make large peppers perfect for fresh eating or cooking.
  • Emerald Giant: Looking for a large green bell pepper? Look no further than the Emerald Giant. This productive plant can yield a large harvest in any sized garden or container.
  • Big Red: As the name implies, this heirloom variety produces large red bell peppers right in your own backyard!
bell pepper plants growing
California wonder bell peppers

Hot Pepper Varieties to Grow at Home

If you want to add some spicy flavor to your life and garden, then these hot peppers are the best plants to add your growing space this year! Note that I have included the Scoville scale measurement for each of these varieties since that gives an indication of how spicy each pepper is on average.

  • Cayenne Peppers: These long, thin peppers are a personal favorite in my summer vegetable garden. These compact plants can produce dozens upon dozens of long red peppers. They’re perfect for making hot pepper vinegar and drying for use later. (Scoville heat 15,000-20,000)
  • Anaheim Chili Pepper: Milder but still a bit spicy, Anaheim peppers will grow 6-8 inches long and have rich green skin. (Scoville heat: 500-2500)
  • Jalapeño Pepper: A classic hot pepper for the hot summer months. Jalapeño pepper plants can produce abundantly giving gardeners jalapeño peppers to use in salsas, jalapeño poppers, and so much more. (Scoville heat: 2,000-8,000)
  • Bhut Jolokia Ghost Pepper: Ghost peppers are close to the hottest pepper you can grow at home, so do so knowing this up front. Be sure to harvest and cut with gloves. (Scoville heat: 1,000,000)
  • Habanero peppers: Another classic hot pepper packs a punch of heat in each small pepper. This variety is bright red and fun to grow for those who love some heat! (Scoville units: 150,000–575,000)
  • Shishito Peppers: While not very spicy, shishito peppers are easy to grow and delicious. We love to make Blistered Shishitos as a tasty but light appetizer in the late summer. Check out my recipe here! And see my full post for How to Grow Shishito Peppers at Home.

Sweet Pepper Plants To Grow

If spicy peppers aren’t quite your thing, or you want a variety of different peppers in your garden area, then consider these sweet pepper choices:

  • Sweet Red Cherry Peppers: These small and compact plants produce an abundance of bright red peppers (peppers start off green but turn red as they ripen). These peppers are fun to grow and delicious to eat.
  • Pepperocini Italian: These classic Italian peppers are a standard for pizza and salad, and they’re a great option for the home garden.
  • Hungarian Yellow Wax: I have grown this variety for several years now and the flavor is wonderful in a variety of dishes. I used them interchangeably with bell peppers.
  • Sweet Pimento: If you’ve ever lived in or visited the south, then hopefully you’ve had the chance to try delicious pimento cheese. This classic appetizer/spread includes chopped sweet pimentos that set off the sharp cheddar cheese. These peppers are easy to grow and can be used for more than pimento cheese, but why would you need anything else? (Check out my recipe for easy Pimento Cheese.)
red pepper plant

Ornamental Peppers to Grow at Home

If youre looking for peppers that are showy, but not edible, then consider these ornamental pepper varieties. These are perfect for containers and pots.

  • Fireworks: As the name implies, this ornamental pepper produces an abundance of color including purple, red, and orange that is sure to grab the attention of anyone who happens to walk by.
  • Royal Black: This ornamental produces black leaves with purple flowers. Peppers vary from black to bright red.
  • Autumn Time: This ornamental pepper produces peppers in a variety of fall colors and is perfect for a bright pop of color in the landscape or container garden.

Whatever type of pepper plant you decide to plant, keep in mind that pepper plants love the sun and heat, so once warm temperatures come to an end, you’ll need to consider over wintering your pepper plants or calling an end to the pepper season.

Do you have other suggestions for the best plants to grow at home? Comment below and let us know. I’m always excited to try new varieties of plants in my garden, and each year as I plan out my garden I leave room for something new.

Are you ready to start planning your own garden? If you ‘re a brand new gardener, consider enrolling in my FREE email video series that teaches you exactly what you need to do to start a garden.

If you just need some help planning out your garden, then check out my Complete Garden Planner which can be printed year after year to help you save money and plant efficiently. Have a great week!!

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