Planting Peppers Step-by-Step

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Planting peppers is easy. Just follow these steps:

Step 1
Prepare the ground with a tiller or turning fork. Work a 3- to 5-inch layer of compost or other organic matter into the soil to a depth of 8 of 10 inches. Using your trowel, dig a planting hole just deep enough to cover the root-ball of the plant. Space holes 18 inches apart for most peppers; some of the larger bells may need 24 inches.

Step 2
Gently remove the plant by slipping the plastic container from the root-ball. Don’t tug on the plant stem, or you may tear it from the roots. If the roots are growing out of holes in the bottom of the pot, tear or cut them away and squeeze and twist the pot to remove it from the roots. If roots are matted, use your fingertips to gently break them apart, or they may grow in circles and stunt the plant.

If your plant is in a Bonnie biodegradable pot, gently tear away the bottom of the pot so that the roots will be in direct contact with the soil. Also peel off the top rim of the pot so that there is nothing to stick up above the ground after planting .

Step 3
Set the plant in the hole so that the top of the root-ball is level with the ground surface. Do not plant deeply like tomatoes, or the plants may rot.

Step 4
Sprinkle fertilizer around the plant and in the soil that will go back into the hole. Use an organic fertilizer or a timed-release product, which is more expensive but lasts longer and stays in place. Apply the amount recommended on the fertilizer label.

Step 5
Backfill the hole. When you are done, gently pat the soil around the roots to avoid air pockets, and water thoroughly. This is very important to help settle the soil and start the plant. If desired, add Bonnie Herb, Vegetable & Flower Plant Food to the water to give your plants an immediate boost.

Step 6
Mulch with pine needles, straw, or compost to help keep moisture in the soil and prevent weeds.

17 thoughts on “Planting Peppers Step-by-Step

  1. I watched one of the videos about how to get 20 – 40lbs
    of tomatoes out of your tomorrow plants. The points about
    laying the plant on it side for a couple to promote more
    root growth, adding slow release fertilizer into the planting
    hole and spraying the foliage with a liquid fertilizer work
    fine – But putting the wire cages around the plant and just
    letting it grow without pruning usually promotes growth
    (here in Florida) with a lot of worms and white mildewy
    powder-looking substance on the leaves and this spreads
    like wild fire. So I end up cutting these leaves off so it
    doesn’t spread.

    Also witch varieties are good for Florida and where are
    they available? Does Bonnie produce special varieties
    for Florida. I would dearly love to get 40# off one plant
    so I could can tomatoes for salsa and to use for chili and
    soups.

    Thank you in advance for an answer.

    Henrietta Wilson

    • Hello Henrietta,
      Different varieties grow well in different regions. Here you will find some tomato varieties suggested by the Florida extension system. You will find many of these are grown by Bonnie Plants. You will find many heat tolerant tomato varieties here – one in particular, Florida 91 :) – danielle, Bonnie Plants

  2. i have bell pep plants that the flower blooms are blooming and when it turns to a little pepper the stem becomes black and falls off– any help would be good. thanks

    • Hello Billy,
      Your pepper plants may be experiencing blossom drop. This is the common name when flowers form then drop without forming fruit or form small fruit that drop; most tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant will drop blossoms when daytime temperatures are above 90 degrees F and nighttime temperatures are above 75 degrees F; blossoms will also drop when night temperatures drop below 55 degrees F. What type of weather conditions have you had in your area?
      -danielle, Bonnie Plants

  3. I have planted 3 different kinds of peppers, green, yellow and sweet banana,. They have been in the ground 2 weeks and do not seem to be growing, leaves have turned a little yellow. what am I doing or not doing and how can I salvage these. first time garden

    • Hi Jan,
      I am not sure where you are gardening, but 2 weeks isn’t so long. I planted about a month ago, but a very long late winter occurred and soil temperatures have not been warm enough here for growth. Did you incorporate a time released (or any) fertilizer in the soil when the peppers were planted? If not, it sounds like they may need some nutrients to get them going. – danielle, Bonnie Plants

  4. I recently transplanted a pepper plant that was not doing so good outdoors in my raised bed. I need instructions on further care. Do I bring it ihndoors here inh NH Hampshire?

    • Hi Elsie,
      I see that you commented on several pages about peppers with the same question. I’ll try to answer you here. Growing peppers indoors is not ideal, but it is not to say that it cannot be done. They thrive on heat and sunlight, of which you would need to provide indoors. The conditions outdoors that they love are at least six hours of full sun overhead per day and temperatures above 60s at night, or 70+ during the day. They do really well at temperatures much hotter than that, but I’m not sure your home can accomodate that. If you have a sunroom or greenhouse off of your home, perhaps? Make sure the container is large enough for the roots, too, as described in this article, “What Size Pot?” It’s rare that someone can accommodate these conditions in a home, with the necessary sunlight preferences, but you can always try! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

  5. I bought one plant of red chili plants which is do very well on my balcon (western exposure) Some of the chilis are already red and seem to look dryer. When do you harvest those little chilies?

    • Hi Bellita,

      It sounds like your chilies are ready to pick. Most chilies mature to a red color. The longer you leave them on the vine, the hotter they get, but leaving them on the plant also increases the risk of them drying up or rotting, as you’re seeing. Read our How to Grow Peppers page and be sure to click on the Harvest & Storage tab for info on picking those peppers. Happy harvesting!

      Kelly, Bonnie Plants

  6. I seem to have end rot but not at the end of my Bonnie Red Bell Peppers. I have three pepper plants in a row and this is only happening to the middle one. I read the article from Michigan State and my rot is located where the sun-scald is but it is black like end rot. Any ideas?

    • Hi Dianne, It’s hard to say without seeing it. You can send your question with a picture to our Ask an Expert service for a better diagnosis! Either way, though, you can remove the injured peppers and the plant should recover from whatever stress caused this. Keep the plants consistently watered and they should be fine. Peppers are pretty resilient. Happy growing! Kelly, Bonnie Plants

  7. I planted two Bonnie red bell peppers in a “Grow Box” and put a tomato cage around one of the plants. Lots of peppers grew, but they have blossom rot at the bottom or on the sides. I noticed the cage crowded them, so I cut off the bad peppers, but more are growing with the rotting bottom or sides. I used Miracle grow potting mix as suggested by the manufacturer of the Grow Box. What is causing the rot? The plants grew really fast, and lots of peppers emerged, but most don’t grow to maturity, and not mature enough to go red. There are a few that do not have rot, but about 70% of the crop does. I live in temperatures of over 100 on hot days, but usually in the 90s. I keep the wells of the boxes well watered, and on really hot days, I also add water at the base of the plants.

    • Hi Rosa,

      Sorry about your pepper plants! It sounds like this could be sunscald (a.k.a. sunburn) instead of, or in addition to, blossom end rot. Sunscald can look a little like blossom end rot but is actually burning of the skin caused by hot sun. This article from Michigan State University talks about this problem on peppers and ways to manage it. The best solution it to somehow give your plants some shade. Essentially, your peppers need some sunscreen! I hope this info helps!

      Kelly, Bonnie Plants

  8. I recently bought some green and red peppers and put them in containers. I am now thinking the container is too small. I was wondering if it’s too late to transplant to a bigger container. I just put them in two days ago. If there is a way, do you have any advice on how to do so? I’m kinda new to all this.

    • Hi Laura,
      Peppers are great for containers, but you do need to have the correct size. Repotting them after a few days, as long as you are careful with the existing rootball, will be fine. In the article “What Size Pot?” we show you preferable pot size for your plants. Depending on which peppers you purchased, you can determine our on variety listings if your plant is considered “small” or “large” as described. For larger pepper plants, you’ll also want to stake them for stability! Let us know how it grows. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

  9. I love bonnie plants! I watch many videos because I am a beginner, one suggestion is to add toi the instructions on the pot to peel off rim of pot. The instructions on the wrapper says peel the bottom but not the top, that would be a great help.

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