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Bell peppers are one of the most popular vegetables (next to tomatoes) grown in home gardens thanks to their sweet flavor, crunchy texture, and bright colors. Also called sweet peppers or capsicums, these colorful fruits come in green, yellow, orange, and red varieties.

Bell peppers are a great addition to salads and dips, among other recipes. What’s even more beautiful about bell peppers is that they are not particularly difficult to grow as long as you give them warm temperatures, plenty of sunlight, and nutrient-rich soil.

Here’s a guide on how to best grow these peppers.

bell peppers
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How to Choose Bell Pepper Plant

  • Bull Nose Bell: This variety matures in 75 days, transitioning from green to red. Known for its mild and sweet taste.
  • Chocolate Beauty: Maturing in 85 days, the Chocolate Beauty peppers start green and ripen to a rich chocolate brown. As they ripen, their sweetness increases, delivering a spectacular flavor favored for fresh eating and cooking.
  • Golden Cal Wonder: These sweet and tasty golden yellow bell peppers mature in 78 days. They are particularly good for northern climates due to their early production, making them a reliable choice for cooler regions.
  • King of the North: Best suited for gardeners in northern climates with cool, short growing seasons, King of the North peppers mature in 70 days.
  • Napoleon Sweet: With a maturity time of 90 days, these peppers are notable for their large, eight-inch elongated bells that are as mild as apples. Best used when green or just beginning to turn red.
  • Orange Bell: Known for its super sweet, brilliant orange fruits.
  • Purple Beauty: This pepper is absolutely stunning with its deep purple color, maturing in 75 days.
  • Quadrato Asti Giallo
  • Wisconsin Lakes
  • Yankee Bell

Source: Bell Peppers Variety Name Color Maturity Time: UW Green Bay

bell peppers
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

How to Grow Bell Peppers

Growing sweet bell peppers successfully requires some advance planning and preparation before transplanting seedlings out into the garden.

Equipment and Setup:

  • Indoors (Hydroponics): Start seeds in containers using a soilless mix, under grow lights on heat mats. Maintain lights 2–4 inches above the seedlings, adjusting as they grow. Use full spectrum LED or fluorescent lights for 14–16 hours a day. Incorporate fans for air circulation to prevent fungal diseases.
  • Outdoors: Prepare raised beds and consider using black or red plastic mulch, row covers, and plastic tunnels for enhanced growth. Support plants with cages or trellises. Enrich soil with compost, aged manure, and organic fertilizer.

Seed Selection:

  • Choose bell pepper seeds that suit your climate and space. Opt for short-season varieties for quicker harvests and bushy types for container gardening.

Seed Preparation:

  • Start seeds indoors 8–10 weeks before the last frost. Maintain a consistent temperature around 75°F, ideally with a heat mat. Soak seeds overnight to enhance germination. Plant seeds ¼ inch deep and keep the soil moist until germination.

Soil Preparation:

  • Aim for well-drained, nutrient-rich soil with a pH of 6.0-6.5. In the spring, mix in ample organic material and a balanced vegetable fertilizer.


  • Transplant seedlings outdoors after hardening them off for 10–14 days post the last frost. Plant seeds or seedlings at a spacing of 18–24 inches. Use row covers to maintain warmth and moisture.

Temperature and Humidity Control:

  • Peppers thrive at 70-80°F during the day and 60-70°F at night. Use season extension tools like row covers to manage temperatures. Mist seedlings indoors to increase humidity and support growth.


  • Provide consistent moisture, especially during flowering and fruit setting, with about 1–2 inches of water weekly.
bell peppers
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

How to Harvest Your Peppers

Bell peppers reach peak flavor and nutrition when allowed to ripen on the bush fully. Depending on the variety, the fruits ripen from dark green to vivid yellow, orange, red, purple, or brown. Check plants daily once fruits begin reddening.

Harvest peppers once they feel firm and heavy and have developed shiny, flawless skin minus any blemishes or soft spots. The glossy appearance signals peak ripeness before deterioration sets in from over maturity on the plant.

Use hand pruners or scissors for harvesting to avoid damaging plants. Gently twist peppers while clipping if the stems resist pulling free easily. Time the end-of-season harvest before heavy frost threatens unprotected plants.

Common Problems with Bell Peppers

Even when provided with ideal growing conditions, bell peppers can still face challenges from pests, disease, or environmental factors that lead to issues like poor fruit set. Some common pepper problems include:

  • Blossom drop. Extreme heat, inconsistent watering, and poor pollination cause flowers to fall off without forming pepper fruits behind them.
  • Peppers exposed to too much intense sunlight exhibit light tan blisters and lesions, especially on the shoulders of fruits. To limit burning, spread reflective mulch under plants, shade with row covers, or grow heat-tolerant varieties like Sweet Sunset.
  • Blossom end rot. Low calcium and water stress create dark sunken spots on the bottoms of developing peppers. Mix crushed eggshells or gypsum into soil and maintain regular deep watering to help prevent issues.
  • Curled leaves. Leaf edges turn pale and curl upward, indicating viral infections often spread by insects feeding on plants. Control viruses by managing pests that spread diseases and pull badly infected plants promptly.
  • Poor fruit set. Lack of viable seed resulting from cool weather, over-fertilizing, or ineffective pollination prevents flower fertilization and triggers heavy blossom drop. Ensure night temps stay above 55°F, and plant companion flowers and herbs to boost pollination success for better fruiting.
  • Misshapen peppers. Insufficient boron and calcium due to low soil pH create pointed, cupped, or irregularly lumpy pepper fruits. Test soil pH yearly, amend beds with lime if below 6.0, and spray younger plants with a calcium-boron mix as fruits form.
  • Verticillium wilt. Leaves yellow, then fade tan or gray and dry out while vines collapse from soil-borne fungal infections. Improve drainage, solarize beds to kill pathogens, or grow resistant varieties like Paladin, Revolution, or Declaration.
  • White, green or black soft-bodied insects cluster and feed on tender new growth, causing stunting if infestations swell. Knock aphids off with blasts of water and release ladybugs or lacewings to provide heavy-duty organic control of damaging populations.

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