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Grow Your Own Peppers

Updated on March 22, 2013

How to Grow Perfect Peppers

Peppers are surprisingly easy to grow in most climates. A sheltered spot and a hot summer will give you a crop outside - but they also make great houseplants as they don't need to be pollinated by insects.

And there's a pepper to suit all tastes - from sweet and fruity to fiery! 


Peppers on the Alternative Kitchen Garden

A show about your favorite plants!

Episode 55 of the Alternative Kitchen Garden is all about growing peppers.

The AKG show is all about growing your own vegetables, fruits and herbs in an environmentally friendly way.

This episode is on growing peppers successfully in a cool climate, saving seeds from store bought peppers or your own varieties and getting a head start on the growing season.


Overwintering peppers

Get a head start on the pepper season

In cool climates, peppers are usually grown as annuals with seeds being sown in late winter or early spring. You then have to hope for a long summer if the fruits are to ripen (small chillies are easier to ripen than large bell peppers).

Peppers are perennial plants, and it is possible to keep them overwinter and get a head start on the growing season - however, they need a lot of light and in less than ideal conditions they tend to drop all of their leaves.

Seedlings require less light and I experimented with sowing pepper seeds in September to try and overwinter seedlings instead of mature plants. They've thrived on a sunny windowsill and by the beginning of April, the first of these overwintered peppers was starting to fruit!


Grocery Store Peppers

Seed catalogues are full of interesting varieties of peppers, but if you want a low-budget project then you can try growing your own plants from seeds you collect from store-bought peppers.

Office peppers
Office peppers

Sweet peppers in a cool climate?

Get a good crop, wherever you are

It's perfectly possible to get a good crop of peppers in a cool climate. You just need to choose the right varieties, start your seeds early and make the most of the sunshine.

Learn more about growing sweet peppers in a cool climate.

The Chile Pepper Encyclopedia: Everything You'll Ever Need To Know About Hot Peppers, With More Than 100 Recipes

The Chile Pepper Encyclopedia has the answer to just about any question one could ask about chile peppers. Which chiles are the hottest? What country did the first chile plants come from? What popular brand of dandruff shampoo is made with chile peppers? Can chiles really be used to cure headaches? Even the most devoted "chile-heads" will be satisfied. The encyclopedia is researched and written by Dave Dewitt, the country's foremost expert on hot and spicy foods and longtime editor-in-chief of Chile Pepper magazine.

In addition to entries on chile species, culture, terminology, and agriculture, the encyclopedia includes more than one hundred fiery recipes like Madras Fried Chile Fritters from India and Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings are sure to please any hot-and-spicy food lover. Black and white drawings and photographs, charts, and graphs appear throughout, and an eight page insert includes color photographs of dozens of varieties of chiles, invaluable for identification. The Chile Pepper Encyclopedia is an indispensable sourcebook for chile aficionados, gardeners, cooks, and anyone else who has a burning interest in fiery foods.

Growing peppers in Georgia

Variegated chile peppers
Variegated chile peppers

Growing unusual peppers

Not for the faint hearted - these are hot!

Most commercially available pepper varieties are from the Capsicum annum family. There's a huge variety, differing in color and habit and heat. There's enough here to keep most pepper growers happy, but for those looking for a bigger challenge there are other pepper families to look out for.

Read more about these unusual peppers in the pepper plant and growing your own peppers and the other chilli peppers.

The Edible Pepper Garden

One of Rosalind Creasy's beautiful Edible Garden series, with lovely photographs of hot and sweet peppers, together with detailed cultivation information and plenty of recipes.

Edible Pepper Garden, The (The Edible Garden Series)
Edible Pepper Garden, The (The Edible Garden Series)

From sweet peppers to four-alarm spicy ones, here are all the essentials on growing your own private pepper garden, including basic gardening tips and mouth-watering recipes for both the hot pepper lover and the faint of heart.


Hot lens? Let me know!

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    • MBurgess profile image

      Maria Burgess 4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      I kept two plants alive for over 3 years but neglected them come the frost in winter. I am starting over and will be more attentive to the new ones! Neat lens!

    • GypsyOwl profile image

      Deb Bryan 4 years ago from Chico California

      Thank you for your Grow Peppers Guide! I'm going to try sweet peppers. I have thought about what I wanted to grow (I have a small small spot to work with and will do potted plants). This is what I have selected after reading your guide. I love to use sweet peppers and sweet onions as often as they are in season so this is a perfect choice. I don't know how it it will go, but, I'm going to try with a small plant (since it is nearly spring here already).

      Thanks again!! Great tips for growing peppers!

    • ItsTimeToBurn profile image

      ItsTimeToBurn 4 years ago

      We managed to get some small chilli peppers in the UK last year!

    • LovelyMom77 profile image

      LovelyMom77 5 years ago

      I am attempting to grow green peppers here in Georgia but for some reason my plant does not look the same as the picture :-(

    • girlfriendfactory profile image

      girlfriendfactory 5 years ago

      My neighbor grows the best peppers every year and shares with us! I just love them! A few are almost ripe already! This terrific lens is more than worthy of a Flyby Winging and it can be found among the other blessed lenses for today at Have Wings Will Bless More! They may call me an aimless wanderer, but not all who wander are aimless and I'm glad my aim was good when I wandered upon this. ~Ren

    • MariaMontgomery profile image

      MariaMontgomery 6 years ago from Central Florida, USA

      My cayanne (spelling?) peppers have done well this year, but my bells, not so much. There's always next year, right? I never thought about taking my pepper plants indoors over the winter. I believe I'll try that this year. Thanks for the info.

    • profile image

      texasshutterbug 6 years ago

      My favorite peppers are the chili peticin or sometimes called the bird seed pepper. Small but pack a good punch. Easy to grow. I have a lens on peppers but specifically for Texas.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      i like it

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      i like it

    • profile image

      luvhotchile 6 years ago

      Wow, this was great. I am motivated to make a video of my bhut jolokia garden. I get all different kinds of pepper seeds at thanks for the great read.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Thanks for the info. I've been meaning to grow these for years now, but it just doesn't seem to happen. I don't have a single excuse now, so bring on the peppers!

    • profile image

      poutine 8 years ago

      Pretty useful info. I was thinking of growing peppers

      this summer. This comes in handy.

    • ArtSiren LM profile image

      ArtSiren LM 9 years ago

      Oops. Forgot to mention, I've lensrolled this to my Chili Growing lens. :)

    • ArtSiren LM profile image

      ArtSiren LM 9 years ago

      Excellent lens packed with good information! I appreciate the section on overwintering seedlings, sowing them in September. I sowed mine in May - a little late - and in England we only had 3 hours of summer this year (lol) so I'm hoping Santa brings me some ripe chilies for Christmas. If not, then I'll wait til spring. 5*

    • sudokunut profile image

      Mark Falco 9 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      Very useful information. We tried growing bell peppers here in Nevada and they never did ripen by the time winter hit. We had decided not to bother trying again next year but I'm going to try your suggestion of overwintering seedlings to see if that works instead. :)

    • profile image

      CleanerLife 9 years ago

      Great Lens! I really need to start growing my own hot peppers!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 9 years ago

      Great presentation! I'd like to feature this on my hot pepper lens (still in progress).