When you grow peppers indoors, you may daydream of a bounty looking like this..
But it will most likely look like this…
Still, not bad. But, it’s also not the bounty of warmer weather climates. You CAN grow peppers indoors, but just manage your expectations of an incredible bounty.
Peppers are an incredibly popular container vegetable, ranking #3 for veggies that interest gardeners (that’s after herbs and tomatoes).
For growing purposes, there are a few varieties recommended by Penn State University, as the best for indoor gardening. You’ll want to look for these varieties and might have to hunt around and play a little game of ‘Hide and Seek’ for these special plants—these are labeled “compact” or “for containers”. If you get the larger garden varieties, they can be too tall for a container and will need more support.
However, hot peppers grow pretty compact and will grow nicely inside a container.
You’ll want a pot size that is at least 12 inches. Some prefer a general 14-inch pot for all types of container gardening. In terms of plastic or clay, plastic won’t dry out as rapidly, but clay will require less watering. You’ll have to choose for yourself. You MUST have good drainage, or else there is a high likelihood for root rot.
Get a soil that is labeled for larger pots and something that is loose in order for the roots to be able to spread easily. I like to add gravel at the bottom of the pot, and then mix up my own special pepper soil. This includes a mixture of about 2/3 potting soil and one-third compost. You’ll also want to mix in a time-release fertilizer for vegetables. Water the pot until it dampens and drains.
Planting and Staking:
I’m all about staking pepper plants, be sure to place the stake in the container before you place the soil and the plant inside (insider’s tip). If you want to know more about staking, go here. Tepee staking is a nice way to go, as it allows the plants to grow up along the stakes—-it also looks nice.
When you plant your peppers, place one or two plants in the same pot and dig a hole that’s deep enough to hold the root.
Your peppers will need a lot of sun, 6-8 hours per day. If you don’t live in a place that enjoys 6-8 hours of sun per day, think about using a Grow Light.
The soil will need to be consistently moist, check daily for moisture. When you are watering, make sure to be gentle and not get the foliage wet.
Peppers are a fun indoor plant which gives plenty of color and adds pleasure to almost all foods. I love growing peppers in my house during the warmer months of the year as a reminder of the wonderful weather. Try it out for yourself and grow some delicious peppers.