Red Bell Pepper
Sweet, juicy, nutritious red fruits add appetizing colour to fresh salads and are superb for stuffing. Also great on the grill! The big, blocky peppers (they average around 4 to 6 ounces) ripen from dark green to bright red. High-yielding plants are well adapted throughout the US. Grow your own and avoid premium prices at the grocery store.
- Light Full sun
- Fruit size 4.5 inches by 4 inches
- Matures 70 to 80 days
- Plant spacing 18 to 24 inches apart
- Plant size: 24 to 36 inches tall, 18 to 24 inches wide
Light requirements Full sun.
Planting Space 12 to 48 inches apart, depending on type. (See information above for specific recommendations.)
Soil requirements Peppers need well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. Amend soil with 3 to 5 inches of compost or other organic matter prior to planting. Soil pH should be 6.2 to 7.0.
Water requirements Keep soil consistently moist throughout the growing season. Mulch soil to reduce water evaporation.
Frost-fighting plan Pepper is a hot-weather crop. A light frost will damage plants (28º F to 32º F), and temps below 55º F slow growth and cause leaves to look yellowish. If a surprise late spring frost is in the forecast, protect newly planted seedlings with a frost blanket.
Common issues Plants drop flowers when daytime temps soar above 90º F. Few pests bother peppers, but keep an eye out for aphids, slugs, pill bugs, and leafminers. Humid weather (especially in gardens with heavy soil that doesn’t drain well) can invite fungal diseases like leafspot.
Harvesting Check image on plant tag (or at the top of this page) to learn what your pepper looks like when mature. Some peppers turn red, yellow, or other colors at maturity. Others are ready in the green stage, but will turn red if left on plants. Use pruning shears or a sharp knife to cut peppers with a short stub of stem attached. Pulling peppers by hand can cause entire branches to break off. Fruits store longer for fresh use if you don’t remove the stem, which can create an open wound that’s ripe for spoiling.
Storage Store unwashed (or washed and dried) peppers in the refrigerator in a loosely closed plastic bag. Moisture is a pepper’s enemy and hastens spoiling. For peak flavor and nutrition, use within a week.