Growing Peppers, or Bell Pepper Plants, rewards you with new fruit time and again without all the hard work.
Most people are growing Bell Peppers as an annual (completes its lifecycle in one year), but the plant will continue to produce for another couple of years if well fed and happy in a warm climate. The second year often gives the best crop. Just trim back in winter.
Starting: It's worthwhile learning how to grow from bell pepper seeds. Germination is best when temperatures are in the mid to high twenties. Raise seedlings indoors in seed trays or small pots. As the plants are sensitive to transplant shock it's a good idea to plant the seeds in biodegradable peat pots. To avoid disturbing the roots these pots can be planted straight into the ground. Plant out when about 10 cm tall. Space the seedlings 50 cm apart.
Soil: Grow peppers in rich compost.
Climate: Warm to hot. They like a sheltered spot out of the wind. Provide shade on days with 38 or 40 degrees or the flowers may drop off.
Watering: Water gently and regularly.
Fertilizing: Will need regular feeding to produce flowers and fruit.
Harvesting Peppers: Pick when fruit is green and has reached its full size, or wait until the red colour and sweeter taste have developed. Some varieties become yellow, purple or chocolate coloured. It takes five to six months from sowing to harvesting.
Containers: Peppers grow well in containers which are at least 25 cm wide and 20 cm deep.
Shady areas: Will grow in shady warm areas, but expect less growth and fruit.
Pests and Diseases: Snails, slugs and caterpillars eat the leaves sometimes. Rodents and possums like the fruit and they infuriatingly take one bite from each fruit. Watch out for mildew and white fly.
Indoors: Suitable, especially in a cold climate.