Growing Peppers

How to Grow Peppers: poblano peppers on plants

Green poblano peppers are a key ingredient in chiles rellenos, a popular Mexican dish.

Quick Guide to Growing Peppers

Grow several varieties of peppers.

Planting different kinds will lengthen harvest time, as some varieties mature more quickly than others.

  • Set pepper plant seedlings out after the last spring frost. They grow well in raised beds, containers, and in-ground gardens.
  • Plant them 18 to 24 inches apart in a sunny, well-drained spot. Pepper plants need at least 6-8 hours of sunlight per day.
  • Mix compost or other organic matter into the soil when planting.
  • Water immediately after planting, then regularly throughout the season. Aim for a total of 1-2 inches per week (more when it’s hotter).
  • Mix a continuous-release fertilizer into the soil at planting, then feed plants with liquid plant food every couple of weeks.
  • Spread mulch (such as chopped leaves or straw) around the plants to help keep the soil cool and moist.
  • Support each pepper plant with a stake or small tomato cage, to help bear the weight of the fruit once it begins to produce.
  • Harvest peppers with shears or a knife, then store in the fridge. Be sure to pick all peppers before the first fall frost comes.

(Read on for more information about and tips for growing peppers.)

From sweet, crisp peppers in rainbow shades to habañeros hot enough to bring tears to your eyes, all peppers share a preference for a long, warm growing season. Set out plants a week or two after your last frost, when the weather is settled and warm. While cool weather reigns, keep seedlings indoors at night, and move them to a protected sunny spot outdoors during the day.

By growing an assortment of varieties of peppers, you can have mild, meaty peppers for salads or stir-fries, slightly spicy peppers for fresh salsas, and hot peppers for bold jolts of flavor. Under hot summer conditions, varieties that bear huge fruits may shed their blossoms, but small, thin-walled peppers often keep going strong. Small-fruited peppers also ripen faster, which is important in cool climates where summers are short. Get help picking which peppers to grow with our Pepper Chooser.

As peppers change from green to yellow, orange, or red, both their vitamin content and flavor improve dramatically. People who think they don’t like peppers often change their minds once they have tasted fully ripened, garden-grown peppers. For many hot peppers, the ripest fruits (the ones that have turned red) pack the most heat.

Soil, Planting, and Care

Give your pepper plant support using a wire cage or stakes.

Small wire tomato cages make good supports for large bell pepper plants.

Growing peppers is easy in any sunny, well-drained spot, and they are good candidates for roomy containers, too. Peppers have a naturally upright growth habit, so they often benefit from staking, which keeps brittle branches from breaking when they become heavy with fruit. Colorful peppers also make great additions to beds planted with flowers and other edible ornamentals, where they can easily serve as specimen plants. In beds or rows, the best spacing for most pepper plants is 18 to 24 inches apart (check the tag for exceptions). Peppers grow best in a soil with a pH between 6.2 and 7.0, although they can tolerate slightly alkaline conditions near 7.5. Mix a 3- to 5-inch layer of compost into each planting hole, as shown in the step-by-step planting directions. A generous amount of organic matter helps the soil retain moisture, and moist soil is crucial for good pepper production. After planting, mulch each plant to keep the soil cool and moist.

About 6 weeks after planting, soon after peppers begin flowering and setting fruit, it is often helpful to feed plants lightly with an organic or timed-release fertilizer to keep them going strong. Simply pull back the mulch, scatter fertilizer around the base of each plant, and replace the mulch before watering well. Or, simply use a liquid fertilizer like Bonnie Herb, Vegetable & Flower Plant Food both at planting and every week or two afterward to keep plants well fed.

Gardeners in hot climates may need to be patient with big bells and sweet roasting peppers, which often wait until nights become longer and cooler in late summer to load up with fruit. The wait will go by faster if you have less flashy (yet phenomenally productive) banana peppers to combine with tomatoes and basil in cool summer salads while bigger varieties slowly load up with fruits.


Bell peppers may stop producing when the weather is especially hot. Don’t give up on the plants. They’ll start producing again when the weather cools.

Bell peppers may stop producing in hot weather and resume when it cools off.

Happily for pepper-loving gardeners, peppers have few serious pest problems. What’s more, most common pepper diseases can be prevented by growing resistant varieties. Be on the lookout, though: Plants that look frail and stringy may be infected with viruses, which are spread by aphids and other small insects. Chronically thirsty peppers may be troubled by root-knot nematodes.

One other potential problem is a late cold spell in spring; be sure to cover plants if a frost is predicted in your area. (Find out your last frost date here.) If planting is delayed while you await better planting conditions, place 2 inches of moist potting soil in a 6-inch-wide container, gently break open the bottom of the pepper’s biodegradable pot, and nestle the seedling into the soil about 1 inch deep. Repeat for each pepper plant still awaiting placement in the garden. A bit of extra downward growing room will ensure that the plant’s primary taproot has ample space for expansion. Later on, after summer heats up, this taproot will becomes the pepper plant’s lifeline.

One last note about color: Many new gardeners begin to wonder at some point if their peppers will ever turn the color shown on the plant tag. If the mature color of the pepper variety you planted is red, orange, yellow, or purple, be patient. Fruit often takes a while to change from green to its final color, but the flavor will be worth the wait!

Harvest and Storage

Red, yellow, purple, or orange peppers start out green and turn to their mature color.

Peppers start out green and change color as they ripen.

Use pruning shears or a sharp knife to cut peppers from the plants, leaving a short stub of stem attached. Pulling peppers by hand can cause entire branches to break off. Rinse harvested peppers with water, pat them dry, and then store them in your refrigerator. Too many fruits to eat fresh? Extras can be dried, frozen, or pickled.

When temperatures begin to fall toward frost, many pepper plants are still producing fruit. It’s not uncommon for them to still hold numerous green fruits when the first freeze kills the plants. When you know a frost is in the forecast, harvest all of the peppers. The largers ones will be good for eating, but very immature peppers often taste bitter. It is better to compost them than to serve them for dinner.

Harvested peppers that have just begun to change color will often continue to ripen when kept in a warm room indoors for up to 3 days. If they haven’t yet begun to change color, but are full size (or nearly so), you can eat them green. In any case, signs of softening or shriveling, and promptly refrigerate those fruits. Then, be sure to use them first.

How to Grow Pepper: red chile peppers on plants

Be especially careful when handling hot peppers that have turned red, as they tend to be the hottest.

Handling Hot Peppers

Capsaicin, the oily compound that produces the heat in a hot pepper, is primarily concentrated in the veins, ribs, and seeds. Sensitivity to it varies. Use caution until you know how you’ll react. If pepper juice gets in your eyes or nose, flush immediately with cold water. When the fire is in your mouth, drink milk or eat yogurt to counteract the burn. Burning hands means that capsaicin has penetrated skin or lodged under fingernails. Dipping hands into a 5-to-1 solution of water and bleach turns capsaicin into a salt that you can rinse away. Wash hands well after that with plenty of soap, rinse, dry, and apply moisturizer.

Do not re-use wash cloths or towels that may have capsaicin on them; launder them to avoid spreading the chemical. After working with hot peppers, wash cutting surfaces, prep tools, and knives carefully before using them to prepare other food.

Download our How to Grow Peppers instructions. They are in .PDF format.

Get gardening info on the go with our free app, HOMEGROWN with Bonnie Plants. Find out more, or download it now for iPhone or Android.


What makes a chili pepper hot?

Capsaicin is the oil in peppers responsible for their heat. It is mostly found in pepper seeds and the membranes that hold the seeds. Heat is expressed Scoville units; the higher the number, the hotter the pepper. The hottest pepper we carry is Habanero, which has a rating of at least 300,000. Compare that to a Jalapeno, which has a rating of about 5,000.

Which peppers are best to stuff?

Our most popular stuffer is “The Big Early,” which is absolutely huge at 8 by 4 1/2 inches. For chile rellenos, the “New Mexico Big Jim” is a good choice. This 8-inch-long pepper has a wonderful flavor and mild heat. For poppers try one of the bigger jalapenos such as “Mammoth.”

I just purchased a young bell pepper plant and it has flowers on it. Should I pull the flowers off in order to get larger bell peppers?

Pinching blooms may help a little by redirecting growth to make branches instead of fruit. However, the tiny buds are often right at the growing tips, so be careful. A pair of tweezers will help. If you plant in fertile soil and plants are watered and fed properly, your plants will produce satisfactorily regardless.

Are tall, leggy pepper plants okay? Should I stake them to prevent breakage from the wind?

Tall plants are okay. Staking will help. Make sure to gently untangle a few roots if you’re just planting and the root ball is thickly matted.

Is it okay to plant hot peppers next to sweet peppers?

Yes. Normally they do not cross (and cannot within a single season), and you won’t have to worry about your sweet peppers turning hot. The plant tags will give a recommended spacing, but generally plant 18 to 24 inches apart.

Can I plant peppers in containers?

You can plant peppers in containers. Each pot should be at least a 5-gallon size, which is about twice the size of a standard mop bucket. A standard clay pot with a 16- to 18-inch diameter is a good choice.

How deep do I plant pepper plants in the ground?

Plant peppers at the same depth that they are growing in the container. Read our instructions on how to handle peat pots if your pepper plants are growing in these. Also see our step-by-step pepper planting instructions.

How often do I fertilize my bell pepper plants?

If you did not work in a timed-release or organic fertilizer at planting, you can fertilize now. Sprinkle a timed-release or organic fertilizer around the plant. Pull back the mulch, sprinkle the fertilizer on the ground, replace the mulch, and water. Or use Bonnie Herb & Vegetable Plant Food every week or two.

How often should I water my bell pepper plants?

Water enough so that the soil feels slightly moist when you poke your finger into the soil one inch deep. How often depends on how quickly the soil dries. Sandy soil drains faster than clay or well-amended garden soil. And it depends on rain, of course. Just be sure that the plants get enough water so that they are never drought-stressed, but avoid over watering, which leads to root problems. The answer will come from within your garden.

Why is my plant losing blooms?

You could also be losing blooms because of hot weather. Bell peppers will stop producing and even drop blooms when the weather is hot, in the 90s, but healthy plants will produce vigorously once the nights cool down in late summer. Keep your plants healthy and be patient.

How do I know when to pick my peppers?

It is important to use the estimated days to maturity and to judge by desired color. Red, green, and yellow bells will start out green but turn color as they mature. Do not pull peppers from the plant. Use hand shears to avoid inflicting damage. When harvesting hot peppers, use gloves to protect hands from capsaicin oil and a possible resulting burn.



this is first time planting bell pepper and i thought it was going great, the plant shot up big ang and tall. the first pepper has started nicely it is now about 3 inches around. my problem is now when the other buds, i had 5 more that flowered well and the little peppers started growing, but today 2 of them fell off the plant. is that normal? it seems like a healthy plant and like i said the first pepper is growing really well. by the way my bonnie tomato plants are doing incredible this year

Danielle Carroll

Hello Michael,
Yes, I would consider that normal – especially if the weather is uncooperative. Blossoms may fall from peppers and tomatoes at certain temperatures. Make sure and keep the soil moist, thirsty plants, and overfertilized plants may drop blossoms as well. Keep up the great gardening! – danielle, Bonnie Plants


Bonnie, I have a garden which has 6 rows each 3 plants deep. my 2 rows of tomatoes are doing superb! next is a row of bell peppers and onion, also doing well. ancho, cerrano and pequin, also thriving. The next is 2 poblanos and a jalapeno, and finally a row of all NM big jim chiles. the Jalapeno is already sprouting. The chiles (surprisingly) are the ones I’m worried about. all the others are doing quite well I water about every other day, with miracle grow added every monday. However, the leaves are starting to droop down with slight yellowing. although, the yellowing almost looks like withering more than anything. Do you think they need more water at this point? they are about a month old and get LOTS of sun.

Danielle Carroll

Hello Chris,
You have been busy! If you can, upload a picture to the Bonnie Plants Ask an Expert site. Check the soil – if it is staying damp to a depth of 4 – 6 inches, additional water is not needed. If it stay wet – too much water may be the problem. -danielle, Bonnie Plants


Hi, I planted a mixture of peppers a few weeks ago in my garden the way the seed packet said that I had started inside. Since planting them, I have noticed that they are not growing any taller and are starting to take on a yellow shade. Does that mean they are dieing?

Danielle Carroll

Hello Beth,
Not to worry – if the pepper seeds were started indoors and recently transplanted into the outdoor garden, it can take a couple of weeks before peppers start to grow – especially if the soil had not warmed up adequately. Did you fertilize the garden vegetables at planting? If not, they will need the nutrients for growth – and a healthy, green color. – danielle, Bonnie Plants


this is my first attempt at container gardening and so far so good. my pepper plants all look great… but the first tiny peppers that were growing all washed off the stems in a light rain… any ideas on what to do to protect them and/or make them stronger?

Danielle Carroll

Hi Melonnie,
Keep up the great work – fertilizing, watering, and keeping an eye on pests. It is not uncommon for the first couple of blooms to fall from the vine. – danielle, Bonnie Plants

Myrtle Baldwin

When I put my Bonnie green and red sweet bell peppers in the ground I neglected to mark which one was which. Both plants are producing really nice green peppers. I picked one from each plant when they were about 2″ long and both very green. When is the red sweet bell pepper supposed to turn red?

Danielle Carroll

Hello Myrtle,
It usually takes about 80 days for bell peppers to mature – if weather and environment work in the plants favor. Almost all peppers start out green – that is the immature stage. Most all peppers turn a different color when (and as) they mature – anywhere from yellows to purples to black to red. Green bell peppers are the immature pepper, and most will turn another color as they mature. Peppers that are grown as red bell peppers are a red variety chosen because of their taste and appearance. So, you will get red bell peppers on your red bell pepper plant as the green pepper turns red. Your green bell peppers will also turn red if they are left on the vine to mature. This variety of bell pepper is usually grown to harvest the green bell pepper – again chosen for size and taste. I hope that wasn’t too confusing 🙂 – danielle, Bonnie Plants

Danielle Carroll

Hello Joe,
Sangria peppers are totally edible – just known more for the ornamental value than taste 🙂 – danielle, Bonnie Plants


We are having an issue with something eating ALL of my pepper leaves. We have tried putting beer out for snails, which has landed a couple but not enough. D you have any suggestions?

Danielle Carroll

Hi Candy,
Are entire leaves missing or does it look more like insect damage? It is hard to recommned an insecticide without knowing what types of insects are dining (different insecticides control different insects). Hopefully, this publication from the Florida extension system can help you identifying your damage. Insects create damage from tiny marks that leave a yellowing on the leaf, shot gun type holes, to ragged edges. You can also upload a picture to the Bonnie Plants Ask an Expert site to get a better look. – danielle, Bonnie Plants



I have sweet and hot banana peppers as well as jalapeños in pots. My banana peppers have started to flower and even one has produced a pepper. My worry is that my plants have not grown in size and I am afraid I will only get one or two pepers at a time.I live in Texas and it is about to start getting warm, do I just need to wait for the warm weather or do I need to do something to help them along???


Danielle Carroll

Hello Rachel,
Keeping your peppers happy is the best thing for you to do (water, sun, fertilizer, free of pests). Peppers, like tomatoes and eggplant, may have a slow period in the middle of summer when temperatures are over 75 degrees F at night (and hi 90s during the day), but it will only be temporary before the yields kick back into high gear. – danielle, Bonnie Plants


I purchased 3 pepper plants about a month ago, red and purple. The orange went into a pot, and is doing well, having 1 pepper already, even though it hasn’t grown much vertically. The purple is planted near some geraniums, but something is putting holes in the leaves. And the red is another part of the garden with more sun; getting the same holes, needs more water, but is getting flowers now.

My question is, do I need to prune them? They are all a bit on the scrawny side.

Danielle Carroll

Hello Eileen,
There is no need to prune your pepper plants, but staking the plants (like tomatoes) will help with stability. – danielle, Bonnie Plants

david fiorentino

I’ve planted my bell peppers in the ground in full sunlight I water them regularly (in el paso it never rains) as I have every year. I’ve noticed some leaves are turning yellow, thinking I may be over watering I checked the soil and at the time the soil was just lightly moist. what could be the cause

Danielle Carroll

Hello David,
Yellowing leaves on vegetable plants can happen for quite a few reasons. One is fertilizer…or lack thereof. Leaves take on a faded or yellowing caste when the plant is in need of nutrients such as nitrogen. You mentioned overwatering. This can also cause yellowing leaves – especially as excessive water leaches fertilizers from the soil. Other things to take into consideration are insects and diseases. Insects and diseases are annual so keep an eye out on your plants. If you have additional problems, you may want to upload a picture to the Bonnie Plants Ask an Expert site for a better diagnosis. -danielle, Bonnie Plants

sandra cook

I planted a variety of peppers from seeds nearly 2 months ago.They were slow to start, looking great for a while but now are basically stagnant. I live in the NW region so still have them indoors and am using a light. Do I need to use a special light? What should I do for them?

Danielle Carroll

Hi Sandra,
Plenty of light and heat (for the growing media) are two of the limiting factors in starting seeds indoors. Here are more specifics from Oregon State Extension System. I’ll bet those peppers will be ready to go in no time! – danielle, Bonnie Plants

Danielle Carroll

Hello Joe,
Yes you can eat a sangria pepper. Although they are better known as for their ornamental value. – danielle, Bonnie Plants


Ihave a ton of different types of pepper plants in my garden and the leaves are starting to yellow a bit. I think i am over watering but not sure. is yellowing a cause of over watering? I planted them about a month ago.

Danielle Carroll

Hi Patrick,
Overwatering will cause yellowing. Soils should stay wet, but not soggy as roots have to breath in the soil. Here are basic watering tips for vegetable gardens. Did you apply fertilizer at planting? If you did not, you may need to now. Nutrient deficient plants start looking a little pale (yellow). -danielle, Bonnie Plants



I planted a container habanero about 2 1/2- 3 weeks ago and it hasn’t grown an inch. Am i just being impatient or is something wrong?

Danielle Carroll

Hi Rachel,
You may be worrying unnecessarily. Pepper plants grow well in a very warm soil. Depending on where you live, the soil may not be quite warm enough for good growth yet. If the plants are green and healthy, I would wait for soil temperatures to warm up. – danielle, Bonnie Plants


I planted banana pepper and green pepper plants the second week of March. My plants have not blossomed as of yet. How long before they should blossom?

Danielle Carroll

Hi Kristie,
They should blossom very soon escpecially as Spring temperatures are starting to warm up. I am not sure what the temperatures are in your area, but cool soils have plagued a lot of the country – not a good thing for peppers! – danielle, Bonnie Plants


Do you have any suggestions on what kind of calcium to add to my containers? I have bought a variety of pepper plants over the last month (and a couple of eggplant), and after dealing with issues such as over-watering, the problem with my pepper plants are that new leaves are coming out shaped weird and the leaves are small (as are the leaves on the eggplant). I finally found what I think is the problem – lack of calcium. This stems from my whole house water softener which replaces the calcium and magnesium in the water with sodium.
So I am looking for something to add to the potting soil in my containers which will solve this problem. But most of the garden lime seems to be for lawns, not vegetables. Also the potting soil already contains some slow-release fertilizer (I use Miracle-Gro moisture control potting soil) so I want something that will add just the missing calcium (and maybe magnesium) from my water.
I also wonder if the sodium which replaces the calcium and magnesium in the whole house water softener is another issue that needs to be addressed.

Danielle Carroll

Hi Jong,
A lack of calcium usually shows up in the fruit as blossom end rot. Take advantage of the Bonnie Plants Ask an Expert system so you can upload pictures of the plant to get a better look. -danielle, Bonnie Plants


hello my name is kyle and I love growing bonnie plants. I was wondering if I could cross breed a hot pepper with a sweet pepper like a habanero with a bell or just some sort of hot pepper with a larger sweet pepper. Thank you

Danielle Carroll

Hello Kyle,
You can try anything you want! Plants of the same species can be crossed. You will not find the cross in the fruit that is produced, you wil have to wait a generation. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants


We have had alot of late season cold weather here in Tulsa. My tomatoes look like they are doing ok, but this am my peppers look droopy. Any chance they will perk back up. I don’t believe we had an actually frost, but it got down to the mid to upper 30’s last night.

Danielle Carroll

Hi Helen,
Yes, there is a chance they will perk back up. Temperatures in the 30s make pepper plants very unhappy. Try covering them with a milk jug or 2 liter bottle if it happens again. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Harold Gray

I have a range of green, red yellow, banana hot, and chili peppers that I bought for my garden. I’ve had them for about two weeks and have been watering them in the morning of the day. They have been fine until a heavy rain the day before yesterday. Today, there is a black color appearing where the trunk and branches meet. I have most of the plants in containers, but several in the ground. All have the same whatever it is on them. I rubbed them to see if maybe it was a fungus, but nothing comes off. What is it and what can I do to fix it!

Danielle Carroll

Hi Harold,
This sounds normal. A lot of pepper plants have black crotch angles – where the branches meet the main stem. Look closely at the picture in the Growing Peppers article – it is a picture of banana peppers with black branch crotches! – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

kim Stewart

My “helper” planted our green pepper and banana pepper plants but doesn’t remember which is which. I was going to put the green peppers in a completely different spot. They have only been in the ground 3 days. I can’t figure out which plants are the green peppers so I can move them. Is there any way to tell the difference. They are 10 inches tall.

Danielle Carroll

Hello Kim,
A lot of pepper plants look a whole lot alike 🙁 Bell peppers and banana peppers both have leaves with rounded ends as opposed to some of the leaves that are thin and longer. You are welcome to upload a picture to the Bonnie Plants facebook page to see if that helps. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants


I am container planting vegetables, is it ok to use Black & gold Perlite?
I live in Phoenix AZ if that matters.

Danielle Carroll

Hello Pennie,
Perlite is a great soil amendment and an important part of soil mixes that are used in container veggie gardens. Read more about what a good potting mix consists of here. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants


I planted jalapeno peppers 2 1/2 weeks ago, three days after planting they got a little too much rain, 5 days after planting they flooded. The ground dried out in about 3 days and I dug up everything and transplanted to pots 7 days ago. I’m noticing some of the leaves turning black on top, but the plants look pretty happy otherwise. What might it be causing the leaves to turn black?

Danielle Carroll

Hello Tiffany,
Sounds like your pepper is a bit stressed and some of the roots may have been damaged because of too much water. Root damage will always show up in the leaves as they are directly connected. Hopefully, the pepper plants will start to recover soon. Keep us updated. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants



My green bell pepper plant started to flower and before the fruit became large, the flower pedals started to brown and peel back. Instinct told me to pull them off. What does this mean? Normal. Fruit looks fine for now and more are coming to flower.

Danielle Carroll

Hello Neal,
If you mean the flowers that were bearing the fruit became brown and started to peel back, that is normal. Sounds like you getting ready for a big pepper harvest! – Danielle, Bonnie Plants


Hello! We bought 4 pepper plants -big bertha and red bells- about two weeks ago. They were only about a foot tall when we planted and all had several buds on them. We pinched them off because we felt like they were to small to try to produce fruit yet, and not established in their new home in the garden. They are now about 18″ tall and all have buds and flowers on them. Is this tall enough? Should we pinch them off again or just let nature take its course? also could you recommend a spray that would be good to prevent bugs from eating leaves on our plants (tomato, peas, beans, peppers, watermelon, and zucchini)

Danielle Carroll

Hi Kelly,
I would let them flower 🙂 Sounds like the plants are growing strong and off to a good start. About pesticides – because different insects have different ways that they eat (and other differences) there is not one specific pesticide that will control various insects on different plants. I try to use some of the organic sprays like insecticidal soap to control some of the insects. Again, this will not work for all. I also do a lot of handpicking – especially when it is just a caterpillar or two. This is a very detailed publication from Mississippi extension, listing most of the commonly grown veggies and what is used to control which insects. It has traditional as well as organic pesticides listed. I hope this helps. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants


Is this transplant shock and how do I deal with it?

I bought a variety of 5 different pepper plants yesterday at HD since they had a Bonnie Plant 5 for $10 sale. The plants varied in size from about 4 in to 8 in in height. As per instructions, when I planted them in pots, I removed the bottom of the biodegradeable pots and watered them. This morning 3 of the 5 looked to be in perfect shape. There seems to be some wilting in the other two. The worst wilting is in the tallest of the transplants (a Mexibelle) and the higher leaves seem be be wilted worse than the lower leaves. The other plant, a Cajun Belle, shows less pronounced wilting.

I’ve Googled pepper plant transplant shock but there are too many opinions – too much water, too little water. Considering I am using Moisture Control potting soil I don’t think the problem is with the water. I am wondering whether it is the temperature. Yesterday hit 88 degrees (although I did the transplant in the late afternoon in the shade), and today it is hitting 90. In addition it is the two largest plants that are showing wilting while the three smaller ones look fine. Would moving them in the shade for a week until their root system r-establish themselves be a good idea or should I move them temporarily inside (where it is in the low to mid 70’s)?

Danielle Carroll

Hi Jong,
You are right! Moving them from a protected area from the garden department into the full sun and high temeperatures will take its toll on new transplants. I wouldn’t dig the plants up and move them again. Keep the soil moist. Give the plants a couple of days and they should start perking right up. -Danielle, Bonnie Plants

vince edwards

from my experience when you buy plants from the store they’ve been watered way too much and when you put them on a regular watering schedule it sometimes is a shock to them, if the leaves are a lighter colored green it usually means theyve been too wet i’d suggest cutting back on the water and let them get limited sunshine til they recover


This has been quite a learning experience. Around the end of March I decided to try some container gardening in my back yard (I just moved to AZ and the previous owners of my house did a very nice job in my back yard but its mostly concrete and rock – hence the containers). I bought self watering plastic containers and moisture control potting soil. My first 5 plants were Bonnie Herbs (mostly different varieties of Basil) and you could not water them enough. They sucked up water like there was no tomorrow and grew like crazy.
Because the herbs had been so easy and successful, I decided to try some vegetables. Peppers since my Mom had been successful raising them in AZ and Japanese eggplant since she had a hard time finding them in the various markets. What a difference. Based on various recommendations I read, I bought 18″ pots for the eggplants and 15″ pots for the peppers. Two weeks after I bought them there was another Bonnie 5 for $10 sale at Home Depot so I bought 5 more pepper plants, but they were out of 15″ self-watering pots so I bought 12″ pots. After some initial issues with transplant shock, the 5 pepper plants I bought 2 weeks later are the others are now much larger than the ones I had bought earlier.
I think there are two reasons for this. One had to do with the watering. The 12″ pots are smaller so they have smaller water reservoirs and they dry out quicker, so over watering is not as big an issue. The second is that the smaller pots tend to warm up quicker than the larger ones (plastic pots don’t retain warmth as well as ceramic ones which makes the cool temperatures at night in early April more problematic). So even though the peppers in the larger pots had a two week head start, over-watering and the cool nights retarded their growth.
When I bought the 5 peppers I was really hoping to get a Yummy Snacking Pepper, but HD did not carry that at that time. Last week, they did so I bought one and bought a 15″ pot since they had re-stocked. Even though the plant looked fine for a week, I must have over-watered it two days ago so its in sad shape right now. And since its in a larger pot, its going to take longer to dry out, even after I emptied the reservoir. I dunno if its going to make it.
Anyway I’ve learned my lesson in terms of watering. Yes, I need to water my Basil daily, but the Peppers need it much less frequently.

Danielle Carroll

Hi Jong,
Getting your hands dirty is the best way to learn. Way to Grow! – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Alice Meadows

Dear Mary, how do you grow italian peppers? I recently bought some and do not know the growing light type or water needed for it. Please reply to my email. Thanks!

Danielle Carroll

Hi Alice,
Did you purchase the Carmen Italian Sweet Peppers? If so, they grow like other peppers – full sunlight (6 – 8 hours of full sun everyday) and a well-drained, moist soil. You will find great watering tips here. Enjoy your peppers. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

corrina galvez

Hi I planted a green bell pepper plant in my yard and it was doing fine. The flowers turned in to small green balls. After a couple weeks they turned black. Is this good? Is something wrong

Danielle Carroll

Hello Galvez,
What types of bell peppers do you have planted? Some bells like Cajun Belle, is a small pepper only a couple of inches long. Once they start to mature, some peppers go through a black stage on their way to adulthood. Cold damage can turn pepper fruit black and ‘mushy’. Is the black area just on the bottom or blossom end of the peppers? If so, they may be suffering from blossom end rot, there are pictures of that here. This would be a black, sunken area on the bottom of the pepper. Let me know how the peppers look. – Daniellke, Bonnie Plants


Good evening! I planted my purple flash in a large container and mixed some sphagnum moss in the soil. Is this a good idea to help keep moisture in the soil? Is it also a good idea to cover the top of the soil with this moss? I live in Lexington, NC and it get hot and very humid. Thanks

Danielle Carroll

Hi Justin,
Most of the growing mixes used for container gardening contains sphagnum peat moss not the sphagnum moss used in the floral industry. Although, I do not see the harm in mixing it with the soil. I do think mulching containers especially in very warm areas is a great idea. Containers can dry out very fast. Read here for more on potting mixes used in container gardening. -Danielle, Bonnie Plants


Thank you for your response. I had just realized that the main ingredient in Bonnie Potting soil is made with sphagnum moss. Also thank you for your advice. Happy Growing Season!

Danielle Carroll

Hello again Justin,
It is a potting mix (also called potting soil) made from composted bark, peat moss, and other ingredients that do not include earthen soil. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants


It was MiracleGro normal potting soil not the moisture control. Now lately I’ve been using MiracleGro peat moss and adding perlite to it or Bonnie Pro Mix.


I live in orlando ,fl( zone 9b ) which is best time to grow bell peppers.THANKS

Danielle Carroll

Hi Manu,
Here are the planting dates from the University of Florida Extension. This list contains the commonly grown vegetables by home gardeners in the state. -Danielle, Bonnie Plants


I kept looking for somone to mention a problem with slugs. They simply devour my pepper plants. I have used slug bait, merigolds as “bait”, pennies in the soil and copper coils. It is a competition every year regarding who is going to win the battle.
Please help!

Danielle Carroll

Slugs and snails are attracted to moisture…especially well mulched areas. You can try and trap them by placing cardboard pieces in the garden. Snails and slugs congregate underneath. Beer is also used a good bit in the garden for snail / slug control. Pour beer into shallow dishes or pans. The slugs will crawl right in and drown. You may have to refill and empty in the morning. The baits probably offer the best control, but not all are labeled for veggie gardens so read the label carefully!
=Danielle, Bonnie Plants


Ive heard of putting out beer in a bowl will drawl them away from your garden . I plant mine in a wood framed box and pour salt or borax on the out side around the box and it seems to help borax isnt good for plants


I have recently discovered a product called Diatamaceous Earth. It is a powder from crushed fossils or something, however, it is considered organic and is great for indoors and outdoors. You can sprinkle it around plants and on them because it will not harm them. You do have to apply again after a rain though.


I just purchased peppers, planted in containers when should I plant them in the ground I live in Winston salem nc

Danielle Carroll

Hello Maria,
North Carolina State Univeristy has a great vegetabel garden planting guide with the suggested dates to plant most of the commonly grown veggies in your area. This guide would be great to have on hand for both cool and warm weather plants. It can be found here. Hope you have a great growing season.
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants


I’m growing a pepper plant in a pot and the temperature here is supposed to dip down in to the high 40’s F at night for a few days and I was just curious to know how much cold weather the peppers can take? And whether I should drag them inside to protect them 🙂


Danielle Carroll

Hi Mike,
Peppers are not realy happy in temperatures that low. You may not have to drag it in – you can protect it outside. Use an upside down 2 Liter bottle to cover the plant or use a sheet or row cover.
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants


Im looking for trinidad moruga,or trinidad scorpion at home depot,but they have only sweet peppers ,not the hot ones,do you know this pepper?,its the hottest of the world…

Danielle Carroll

Hello Adrian,
Bonnie Plants does not produce that pepper at this time.
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants


I grew bell peppers for the first time last year and they did great. This year the weather is different. Last night the temp dropped to 32 and yes, I left the plants outdoors. I’m growing them in containers and I forgot to bring them inside. The leaves look as if there’s no hope. Is there anything that I can do to revive the plants?

Danielle Carroll

Hi Lakeisha,
It is very hard to undo what nature does. Pepper plants do not tolerate freezes. I imagine that the leaves are very dark and ‘soggy’ in appearance. You may want to give it a couple of days to see if there is any new growth. If not, it may be time for a new plant. Remember to cover the pepper plants when you are expecting low temperatures. The weather has a mind of its own!
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants


Hi I brought a bonnie sweet banana pepper plant month ago . It produced 2 peppers and then stopped. Now just buds are there since 3 weeks. I live in Florida. The weather has been going up and down here. what should be done

Danielle Carroll

Hi Manu,
Sorry to hear about your pepper troubles. I am not sure where in Florida you are, but temperature fluctuations will do it. When temperatures dip into the lower 50’s, peppers will stop producing until temperatures start to even out (tomatoes too!). Be patient, mother nature will eventually work herself out. Keep us informed.
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants


Hi. i am trying my first attempt at growing peppers. they died once last year while i was living in the desert near grand canyon. they probably died in the heat. they did come back to life after the last monsoon season. is that from the humidity? i still live in arizona but in a cooler, higher elevation now and have repotted them. i am using a sprayer to keep them in a humid enviroment. how often should i water and how do i keep them from dying again once summer hits?? please help!

Danielle Carroll

Hello Bert,
Sounds like your pepper plant is dying to live! Actually, keeping the pepper in a humid environment can increase the chances of fungal leaf diseases. Keep the water at the base of the plant for healthier foliage. Peppers can survive extremely hot temperatures when watered regularly. However, there may be few fruits to harvest until the temperatures drop back into the 90’s. For containers, water the pepper plant when the top inch or so of the soil has dried. Make sure the container has plenty of drainage holes, we don’t want the roots to drown. Be sure and read this article on growing vegetables in containers. It has great information on potting mixes, fertilizing and watering. This is very specific to your site. It is a publication from the Arizona Cooperative Extension on growing peppers in Arizona.
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Claire Wayner

Hi Mary Beth and Kelly,

I had a successful crop of bell peppers last year (about 5!), but some of them were just green even though I had bought 2 red bell pepper plants and 1 yellow. How should I grow my bell peppers this year so I can maximize their color? I am not interested in green bell peppers, just red, yellow, and orange. I live in Baltimore MD, climate zone 32. ~Claire W.

Mary Beth

Hi Claire,
Congratulations on your five peppers! The color will continue to change from green to red, yellow, or orange, depending on the variety. Unless you had a mislabeled plant by accident, those green fruits would enlarge to maturity and then begin to develop color and sweeter flavor. It sometimes feels like it takes forever and a lot of patience, but it’s worth the wait. They love the warmest days of summer and fall, so be sure yours are ripening when the days are long and the mercury is high. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants


For plants that are over wintering, when is the best time to prune? And should I pick all the fruit or leave it to help it go dormant like with roses?

Mary Beth

Hi Sondra,
To overwinter peppers remove any remaining peppers on the plant. If you have some peppers that are nearly ripe and the weather is still above freezing, leave these last few peppers on the plant to ripen. Water the potted pepper plant thoroughly. Allow it to drain and stand for 24 hours, so the plant can soak up as much moisture as possible. Clip off the entire plant at the main stem, leaving a stub about 4 inches long. This may seem severe, but the plant will grow back next spring. Place the potted, clipped pepper plant in a protected location that remains cool, such as a cold frame, a storage basement or a garage. Water the pepper plant whenever the soil dries out, which may take between 1 and 3 weeks. Hope that helps! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants


Hi I live in Phoenix and planted a jalapeno pepper plant from Home Depot in a large container in the backyard with full sun exposure in June this year. When I bought it there was 1 small pepper on it. Over the summer the plant had flowers blossom but they didn’t turn to fruit, just fell off. The plant has grown substantially since I planted it, but no peppers. Once the summer ended and cooler temps came around it started to (finally) flower again and then bear peppers from most of the flowers. It seemed though that this process came to an abrupt halt and the growth from flower to pepper has slowed to a standstill. They are still growing but flowers that were in the midst of changing to peppers have stopped completely. Daytime temps are still in the low 80s/high 70s, lows hitting 45-50 degrees. What causes this and is there anything I can do to get them to continue to turn into peppers? Thanks!

Mary Beth

Hi Jason,
Thanks for writing. The first interesting lesson learned here is that it’s best to remove all fruit from the pepper (or tomato) upon planting. This way energy is fully given to producing healthy roots and a robust start. It is hard to take off that tiny promise of fast-forming food, but it is far better for your plant in the long run. And you’ve experienced what most of us do in really warm summer climates–the pepper takes a siesta and comes back full force in the fall when temperatures give it a reprieve. However, I know you get chillier nights in Phoenix now and peppers don’t care for that. If it’s dipping into the 40s, the blooms or blossoms will drop and pollination rate is affected. This document from University of Illinois Extension office repeats what we say in our article here. If you want to protect peppers from a coldspell, you can cover them or create a mini-greenhouse effect with hoop-frames and breathable frost cloth. If your nights will stay above mid-50s, it should keep producing, just slightly slower. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants


I have 4 Green Bell pepper plants that have been in our garden since early spring. We have not gotten any fruit from them at all. We had one pepper start to grow and then it got a brown spot on it and died :(. Im not sure what we are doing wrong. I have given them plant food for veggies and it perked them up but still no fruit. We live in North Texas up by Oklahoma and we had a very hot summer so i chalked it up to that but now that we are in fall I cant figure out what I’m doing wrong. We have also tried self polination on the few flowers we get but nothing is working. Please help!!!!

Mary Beth

Hi Lauren,
It may not be you, but Mother Nature. If you’ve had a very, very hot and dry summer as you describe, the plants may have simply taken a hiatus and put energy into simply surviving. Also, flowers will not pollinate easily in extreme heat. This article tells you a little more about what goes on with blooms and future fruiting (although it’s about tomatoes, you’ll find it helpful). Usually in areas of mild winters, the peppers will have a resurgence in the fall and begin producing well. If you see that these plants have any brown spotting or foliage issues, please send a pic to our Ask An Expert service for identification and recommendations. If your peppers are in full North Texas sun all day long, it may be too intense. Do they get a little afternoon shade? The brown spot on the pepper was probably sunscald, which is like sunburn on us humans. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants


I bought 3 Bonnie plants (green okra, cayenne pepper & red bell). I bought them in June and they didn’t begin fruit until a month ago. I live in a condo so i grow them from pots. Per suggestions of vet growers i know, i created a compost soil in each pot. Weeks later i begin seeing flowers, but only 1 or 2 peppers. Yet, a friend of mine who bought her peppers at the same time, also grows her in pots has had a full bush of peppers (so much that she’sgave them away). So tell me what am i doing wrong? They get full sun and i’ve tried not to overwater them. Red bells aren’t growing anything, has LOTS of flowers. BTW, the plants are growing taller (except the red bell). Is there something more i can do to help the plants? Thanks!!=^,,^=attet

Mary Beth

Hi Cattet,
Sounds like a friendly gardening competition! What do you mean by “created a compost soil in each pot?” Are you putting items directly into your container soil to decompose? I would recommend a separate and distinct compost bin that allows for everything to break down into loamy, nutrient-rich soil over time — to use later on. Our article on composting 101 can get you started. If you simply mean that you added purchased, bagged compost to your container’s soil, then that is a great thing. I am not sure the difference in your peppers and your friend’s, but it may simply be the amount of sun and heat that each is receiving. Six hours of full, direct, overhead sunlight is optimal. She may have more than you. The amount of blooms you have is a good sign; with a little time you, too, will have a full bush of peppers. It’s also a good idea to fertilize every 2-3 weeks with Bonnie Vegetable and Herb food, or your preferred fertilizer. Container plantings require more water as they dry out quickly, thus requiring a little more fertilizer as it leaches from the soil faster. Our plant food is naturally made from seed extract and is an easy formula to mix with water. Make sure that your peppers are staked, too, if they are getting very tall and need support. If you enjoy what you’re reading here, join our Facebook page and sign up for tips in our e-newsletter. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Rose Mary

I live in San Diego. I am trying to grow green bell peppers from the seed. I am a first time gardener. i just want to know how long the plant takes to grow till the first fruits appear? How often should i water the plant? Right now I water a bit everyday. Fall has just set in here.

Mary Beth

Hi Rose Mary,
If you are growing from seed and not using a Bonnie plant, you should check with your seed provider’s label or envelope. They will tell you the “Days to Maturity” on the packet. Our site is a great resource for step-by-step growing for any seedling, including the watering information found on this page above. Be sure to click the tabs to sort through plant care and harvesting information. Do know that pepper plants are a warm-season plant, though, and won’t thrive in chillier temps of fall. Depending on your mild winters, yours may be just fine. This site written by master gardeners in your area may help you. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants


I purchased the marconi pepper variety at Home Depot some time in early June. About a month ago, we had our first pepper, which tasted delicious. Unfortunately, it was the only flower and therefore only pepper on the plant! I think it is weird for an entire plant to only produce one pepper, so where did we go wrong?

We have it potted in a large container with marigolds, and I am wondering if the marigolds are over crowding it. Would that cause a plant not to produce vegetables?

Mary Beth

Hi Alexandra,
Well, I hope that one pepper was a tasty one! The Marconi is an excellent sweet pepper and an All-America Selections winner. Make sure your container is in full, direct sun at least six hours per day (or more is better — they love sun and heat). Also, make sure that you are not overfertilizing your pepper, as it leads to dark green plants with robust foliage and little energy goes into flowering. We cover that in Fertilizing Basics. The marigolds are great companion plants; great job in adding them. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants


We have had an amazing season with our first attempt at Bonnie Plant Bell Peppers this year and have been getting fist size and larger produce all summer long. The green peppers are firm, healthy, and have a great taste, However we cant seem to get the colored peppers to mature to color changing without dying. Once the peppers start to turn red, yellow or orange, they immediately get soft and mushy or have black holes in them like they are rotting.
I’ve tried cutting them from the vine to mature and color change indoors, but that doesn’t seem to work either. Please help us fix this for next year.

Mary Beth

Hi Charlie,
We are so glad to hear that you’ve had an amazing season with your first try at bells! There is a shorter window of opportunity after your peppers fully change color if it’s very hot or humid; after peppers become mature and change colors they quickly decline in these conditions. They should be picked as soon as they reach full color or before.

All bell peppers are green until they reach full ripeness, and then they change colors (even the green changes color when fully ripe). The amount of time this takes depends on the temperature, the variety, and care conditions. It can take up to 8 weeks after planting to see the peppers change. If you wait until it starts to change color to harvest, it will ripen off the vine, but you must wait until it starts to change on the plant for it to change color off the vine. Perhaps you can pick them after you see a small amount of color appearing and bring them indoors to ripen in a paper bag thereafter. You may also find (if you are in a mild Fall weather area with a longer growing season), that your peppers surge into higher production mode in Sept/Oct and bring you more perfectly ripe fruits in less stressful temps and humidity. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

wayne sell

My green and red bell pepper that I planted in a planter started out great but now the leaves are curling on them. I water every other day and the soil is moist.I use your little green jug twice a week. What am I doing wrong?

Mary Beth

Hi Wayne,
Thanks for writing here. I can give you a few suggestions but I think you might also want to snap a photo and send it to our “Ask An Expert” service so that we can see the plant. Leaves curl or wilt from too much water, too little water, disease such as tobacco mosaic virus, or other stressors. Also, have you sprayed any herbicide near the plants that could have carried over to the leaf surface (or used a bottle sprayer that once held herbicide)? First things first, a better rate of our natural plant food application is every 10 days or two weeks, at the most. Not only do you want to avoid over doing it, but you don’t want to encourage all leafy growth and little blooming/fruiting. Keep it at a good balance. Once our friends in Cooperative Extension receive your photo with more information, we’ll help you get to the bottom of it. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Mike Kilcomons

My yummy snacking peppers are green, when will they ripen?
Do I leave them on the plant to ripen?

Mary Beth

Hi Mike,
They’ll be orange soon. It may take a little longer, but it does make them sweeter so it is worth the wait. It’s best (and easiest) to leave them on the plant to ripen if you are still experiencing warm weather. If you are nearing frost temperatures and don’t think you’ll have time, you can also put harvested peppers in a paper bag and they can “turn” in time, due to the gases that they produce. They are edible now in the green stage, but I vote you wait for them to ripen on the plant if you can! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Pat Serio

What I love best about sweet peppers is that, in order to put them up, they don’t need blanching, like tomatoes. Just cut out the top, seeds (save them!) and white pith inside, slice or dice, and put in freezer bags and freeze. I learned all this the hard way. Maybe 2 years ago, I had so many peppers left in the garden, when the weather turned cold. I took them to church and gave them all away : ( Now that I’m *learned*, I get them all to myself!

diana barry

I bought & planted red, orange&yellow peppers& to my dissapointment they never turned color. They were delicious, but I didn’t want all green! Perhaps their tags were mixed up either @ your. facility or @ Wal-Mart where I purchased them. I’m reluctant to purchase your products again if this will happen again.

Mary Beth

Hi Diana,
It does take time for the peppers to turn from green to golden or red. Sometimes much longer than we wish, depending on the weather! Have you seen any change since you originally posted? Occasionally mix-ups with tags do happen, as each plant is tagged by hand. More often, we see where customers read tags and may replace them in the improper pot. If you experience the warm summer temps and more time that should turn those fruits and still believe that you mistakenly have green peppers, please contact our Customer Service manager. We want you to be happy with your plant purchases and will gladly assist you. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Melissa Porshia

I planted a mini sweet pepper variety in a container on my balcony. I don’t know what the variety is. It’s setting fruit now but I have no idea how big they should get. I am seeing lots of tiny yellow pepper clusters that are about the size of a pecan. How long should they take before I pick them? I’m not sure what I’m supposed to look for.

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Melissa,

Do you know if this was a Bonnie pepper variety? If so, it would have been sold in a biodegradable pot that included a stick tag with more info. I’d love to help you figure out when to harvest, but it would help to know the variety! Generally, peppers start out green and ripen to other colors, such as red, yellow, orange, or purple. It might help to read through the Harvesting tab above to help you figure out when to pick as these peppers mature. Sorry I’m not more help. If you figure out any more info, let us know! Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants


I’m in New Hampshire and have never had luck growing green bell peppers, Now I have taken my plant and am anxous to see hgow it does. Any suggestions?

Mary Beth

Hi Elsie,
Can you clarify what you mean what “I have taken my plant”? I’m guessing that if you are in New Hampshire, you are nearing fall temperatures and the days are cooling off. Peppers like to grow in hot weather, where the days and nights are above 60 degrees or so, and they really flourish in the heat of summer. Are you saying that you have just planted a pepper or your plant is just now “taking off” and growing well? ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants


I tried your Cowhorn peppers for the first time this year.

I was very happy ! They are great producers with a good

flavor. I pickled several jars of them and they came out great.

Our bell peppers were a little late this year, I think the

hot dry summer had an affect on them.

Thanks !



After the really hot summer kind of burned all the initial blooms on my chilli pepper plant, finally now that the weather has settled down into the lower 80’s out of nowhere we have about 8-10 chilli peppers that burst out all within a week. Finally relieved to have success as it was starting to get frustrating. There are many blooms and looks like many more are waiting to pop out. Thanks Bonnie. Being a first timer, not sure when is the ‘right’ time to pluck the pepper? In just a week they have grown 2-3 inches or more and I feel tempted to try the first one, but just wanted to make sure.

Mary Beth

That’s great news! Hot peppers are “ready” when they reach full coloration, such as yellow or red depending on the variety. The fun thing about growing your own is that you can taste them at any level of ripeness and choose what you like. They will be hottest at the most mature stage, depending on the weather and growing conditions. Knowing what the intended maturity is depends on the variety that you have. Go to our variety listing to see photos of all of our offerings. Let us know what you think! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Loretta Cosby

I am a classroom teacher with a desire to grow plants throughout the year. What plants would work will in a well lit classroom? I would love to grow bell peppers, asparagus, and onions.

Mary Beth

Hi Loretta,
That sounds wonderful. Thank you for all of your hard work in teaching! We love to hear of plants used in lessons. In fact, have you heard of our 3rd Grade Cabbage Program? Pass along to the appropriate grade teachers in your school; it’s a lot of fun and provides many scholarships for students.
When you say “well lit” classroom, do you mean with natural sunlight? That is imperative to healthy growth in vegetable plants. Houseplants can sustain growth in the lower light of indoors better than vegetables. Most require at least 6 hours of direct sunlight to prosper. If not, it would be easy to grow leafy greens like lettuces, arugula, spinach or kale if you have enough sunlight on a windowsill. You may also enjoy reading about growing in containers, especially to learn the minimum pot size required for various types of plants. Read our “Growing Asparagus” and “Growing Onions” articles for more details on those specifically. And look around your campus to see if there is in-ground space, an area for a raised bed or container garden in the outdoor areas. We give lots of garden plans and advice to suit any space. Keep us posted. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

chris bennett

hi my bigjim chili peppers are getting alot of brown spots on them and are falling off of the plants premature and my wife and i would like to roast them and put them up but i am loosing alot of peppers due to this problem. I live on the western slope of colorado. Is this problem due to lack of water or over watering. please help

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Chris,

Sorry about your peppers! I sent your question to our Ask an Expert service. If you could send a photo of the damage through our Ask an Expert site, it would help them to better identify the problem. But here is some initial info from Ask an Expert:

“That sounds like it may be pepper weevils. Here’s a link from the Texas A & M Extension Service on pepper weevils.

If there is just one spot on the bottom of the fruit, it could be blossom end rot. Blossom end rot is caused by a calcium deficiency. One of the greatest causes of calcium deficiencies in peppers is uneven soil moisture (allowing the soil to dry before watering). In dry soils, calcium is not taken up by the plant resulting in blossom end rot. Another cause of blossom end rot are soils with a very low pH. Soil can be tested at your local county Extension agency. Test results indicate the pH of the soil and how to amend it if it is not in the desirable range. Excessive rates of nitrogen can also limit the ability of the plant to take up enough calcium. Although, uneven soil moisture is a prime culprit. This is a picture from the Univeristy of Georgia Extension of blossom rot on peppers for you to compare.

Peppers need an inch to an inch and a half or water a week from either rainfall or irrigation. It is best to water in the morning at the base of the plant, keeping the foliage dry, to prevent some disease problems. Remember that peppers need 6 to 8 hours of full sun a day.”

I hope this info helps. Remember to send your question with a photo to Ask an Expert! Kelly, Bonnie Plants


live in the long island area. have a raised garden bed with a drip system. all veggies did well except for peppers. All varieties except hot ones. Noticed leaf drop, curling,very few buds and or peppers. no leaves on lover stalk of plant all gone.
Watered on timer once a day, again with drip system.
Did notice aphids on brussel sprout about 10 ft away, but sprayed.
To date 8/24/12 i have 3 peppers on about 12 plants.
Any advice for next year, this year is gone I think.

Bob from LI

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Bob,

Sorry about your peppers! It sounds like you may be overwatering. Peppers may shed their leaves for a variety of reasons. Too much water (or poorly draining containers) is the main culprit. Other factors that can cause shedding of pepper leaves are extremes in temperatures from day to day and new transplants that are set out without first being exposed to the outdoors.

Bell peppers grow best when temperatures are between 70 and 80 degrees. With the recent heat, they are failing to bloom and set fruit. If you keep them healthy until it cools off, then you should get a nice crop of peppers. Something to consider when you have a big, lush plant with no blooms is fertilization. Over-fertilizing will result in a great bush with no fruit, but you can help by stopping fertilization until you get fruit.

Peppers need an inch to an inch and a half or water a week from either rainfall or irrigation. You can measure using a rain gauge. It’s best to water in the morning at the base of the plant, keeping the foliage dry, to prevent some disease problems. Remember that peppers need 6 to 8 hours of full sun a day!

File this info somewhere so you’ll remember for next year! Kelly, Bonnie Plants


My first time growing peppers. After our non existent summer I now have some lovely fat green bell peppers appearing – how often do I need to keep fertisling them now they have appeared. Also silly question: are they just annuals??

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Tudi, Feeding soon after the first peppers appear is a good idea. Whether you use a granular or liquid fertilizer, just follow the label instructions on the packaging. Peppers are typically grown as annuals except in tropical climates. Be sure to read all the info above, including clicking on the tabs for Troubleshooting and Harvest & Use. Happy pepper-growing! Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Michael Hall

I live in South East England, I have read these questions and your answers, they have solved my problem with some of my peppers.

Thank you very much for a very informative site.



I have several New Mexico Big Jim Pepper plants and my peppers are very bitter. What could be causing this? I grew the same type last year and they were delicious (and not at all bitter). The ones I’ve picked so far this year are inedible. Any suggestions?
Thanks, Patti

Mary Beth

Hi Patti,
I wonder if you have experienced a drought in your area and the plants are not receiving ample water. If the plant is stressed with inconsistent or too little watering, it will go into a “conservation” mode and produce thin-walled and sometimes bitter peppers. If this sounds like what could be happening, try to water more regularly and at least 1.5″ per week if it’s very hot and dry currently. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants


I purchased 6 little plastic containers of bell peppers from Smith’s Supermarket in Santa Fe, NM. All of the largest plants had identifying tags inside stating that they were green. I purchased 2 of these. All of the middle plants had identifying tags inside stating they were yellow. I purchased 2 of these. All of the smallest plants all had tags stating they were red. However, no matter if some of my peppers are VERY LARGE by now, they are all green, no matter on which of the plants they are located. Please explain!

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Faith, Good question! All these peppers start out green but will turn to their mature color, whether red or yellow. You can eat them when they’re green, but for full flavor and nutrition, leave them on the plants to turn into a rainbow of colors in your garden. Happy growing! Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Jean Goldstein

HI, I bought a few Big Bertha Green Pepper Plants which are growing fairly well along with what was said to be a Green Pepper Hybred? I am wondering however if this plant’stag might have gotten mixed up in the store? It is blooming nicely with lots of little peppers on it, but the peppers are small and long/narrow without any sign of a bell to them. Could they be a chili pepper instead?? Is there any way I can tell?? Our family cannot handle hot peppers due to health, so how can I tell??

Mary Beth

Hi Jean,
Hmmm. We don’t market any plants as simply “Green Pepper Hybrid” so I am curious to see your tag. As as you might guess, long, slender shapes of peppers do often signify a hotter pepper (but not always). The best way to know, of course, is to taste! Perhaps allow a few to grow to maturity and fully color and take a photo for us. I do think–if is not too much trouble–we’d like Customer Service to see a photo of this tag you mention to look into how you may have a plant labelled as such. Send the information to our Customer Service manager via this link and tell her I sent you! Thanks kindly. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Bev Pruitt

We planted cayennes, mild jalapenjos, and red chilis this year and had a nice crop. This may be a dumb question, but do peppers rebloom and produce more if they have sun? We are in Florida and I was not sure whether to pull the plants now that we have harvested and plant more from seed, or wait and see if they bloom again.

Mary Beth

Hi Bev,
Your pepper plants should continuing blooming and producing peppers as long as the plant is healthy and the weather is conducive. In Florida, you will most likely have a long summer season before any likelihood of frost. If they are getting 6 hours of full sun per day and you don’t see any signs of distress, let us know if you don’t see more blooms soon. In your area, you should enjoy a “second season” of pepper production! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants


I have beautiful pepper plants (2′ tall) But not producing fruit.Same with cucumber plants.

Mary Beth

Hi John,
It could be any number of things, but most likely that either your pepper plant isn’t yet old enough (how long has it been growing?), has received too much nitrogen in fertilizer and has put most of its energy into lush foliage development instead of flowers, or the temperatures are currently too hot. We covered why tomatoes and peppers do not set fruit in high summer heat in this article. As for your cucumbers, if you are seeing blooms but not any cucumbers, it may be a pollination issue. Read more about that in the “How to Hand Pollinate” article on cucurbits. Hope this helps! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants


Hi, I am getting brown (burnt??) spots. They are only getting a little afternoon sun cause when I first saw it on my first pepper, I thought it had been burnt in the sun (in desert) Now it’s on my 2 baby ones, help! Not use to gardening in desert so possible over watering? Thanks, Sarah


Oops! They are yellow peppers! And my sisters red peppers are doing fine in the direst sun??

Mary Beth

Hi Sarah,
It sounds like sunscald, or essentially “sunburn” on the peppers. Could it be that they are not covered with enough leaf canopy or foliage to protect from the intense desert sun? You can shade your peppers just like you would shade yourself on the beach in midday sun. Here is a great article from MSU Extension that describes what to do. Does this sound like what you are experiencing? Both my yellow and red peppers have sunscald this year, as we had a pretty intense summer. A little afternoon shade may do the trick. And, you can still eat the peppers as long as you cut that spot away. Go ahead and harvest the peppers before that spot turns to mush and rots. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants


i have 3 bell pepper trees one green one red one yellow and one spicy banana pepper…my question is my green bell pepper trees started off fast producing perfectly now it has about 20 small peppers all the same size and they been this way for about 3 weeks will they get bigger like before? how long will it take?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Lawanda, Keep your plants watered and try to be patient. Peppers can be slower than we like! Happy growing! Kelly, Bonnie Plants


I was wondering if there will be any new colors added to the sweet bell varieties for next year?

Mary Beth

Hi Missy,
great question! We are adding a few new sweet peppers next year, but they are not bells. We will soon have Italian Roaster II and Carmen Italian varieties. Of course, know that all varieties are not available everywhere; we sell based on what will grow best region by region. Do you have any favorites? The roasting peppers are a favorite of mine as they are so easy to clean and beautiful on the plants – like long, colorful jewels! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Scott Bilstad

Hi, I had a question about banana and jalepeno peppers. Should you prune the lower leaves in order to get the plant to put more nutrients into into the exsisting peppers and flower production. I was thinking this would limit nutrients wasted on lower leaves that appear to bear no flowers anyways. Any information you can provide would be of great help. Thanks!

Mary Beth

Hi Scott,
Actually, I can see your theory, but the leaves are what the plant needs to create the “energy” for the rest of the plant. Remember those photosynthesis and chlorophyll lessons in grade school? We do advise folks to remove any fruits on the plant upon planting the young transplant, as those do suck energy away from developing roots and a more robust future harvest. Happy growing! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants


I have three different types of peppers in my garden this year. After succeding with green peppers, I tried Banana and Red Peppers. The thing is that some of the space in the garden is tight and I’m afraid that they are cross pollinating. The distance as the plants grew became tighter and the space is maybe a foot apart from each other. I have some green peppers that are smelling similar to banana peppers and they are growing longer in length. Is this possible? Thanks for your help.

Mary Beth

Hi Calynn,
If a plant cross-pollinates, you will not see the effects until the seed of that new fruit is dried, planted and allowed to grow to maturity and fruit (the next generation). Sounds like yours are just doing what nature does best — surprise us! If you have any quirky pictures to show, join our Facebook conversations and photo-sharing. We’d love to see you there. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants


I have two Bonnie’s hot banana pepper plants and one green bell pepper plant that have nice green and healthy looking leaves, but they are only now beginning to have many blossoms. I see from reading the comments that the fertilizer and soil mix that I used probably had too much nitrogen. Also, I was experiencing some blossom drop when the temps were so high. My question is, if fruit does develop from these blossoms, is there enough growing season left to actually have some peppers? I live in north central West Virginia.

Mary Beth

Hi Lori,
I think you are in good shape. You have a while until the days get too short or frosts occur. Hopefully you’ll have peppers on your dinner table soon! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants


Hi , I am growing banana peppers (spicy) and I got one so far (that turned orange/redish) and another one growing. I have a couple flowers, are they going to grow into peppers at the end of july ? I had more blossoms before and they blew off the plant. Thanks !

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Austin,

Sometimes plants slow down during the heat of the summer, but if you keep them well watered and fertilized, they should perk back up and produce peppers again when the temperatures begin to cool down. Also, you mentioned your hot banana peppers were orange to red in color. I just wanted to make sure you know that the longer the peppers stay on the plant and change color, the hotter they’ll be. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants


I am new to growing peppers and possibly might have made a mistake, I have a green bell, the plant itself looks healthy however it set fruit quite early (mid June) I suspect I should have clipped the one flower that bloomed, the plant seems to be putting all of it’s energy into developing this one bell, the plant remains very small, maybe 8″ tall or so. The bell continues to grow I would estimate it is around 2-2.5″ long currently. The plant shows now signs of growing anymore flowers. My thought, although I am hesitant is to remove the bell in hopes this will allow the plant to refocus it’s energy on development of the plant and more fruit. I have several other pepper plants (Red bells, cayenne, banana peppers, and mexican bells (Which the plant is growing large but again set fruit early and doesn’t seem to be producing more peppers) all the other peppers are doing great, actually everything in the garden is doing great just two of my peppers seem to be duds. Should I go ahead and remove the fruit to encourage more fruit production?

Mary Beth

Hi Jason,
Trust your intuition on this one, if you are seeing contrary behavior in your other plants. If you planted these bells with small fruits or developing buds already on them, the plant would be stunted and put energy into that fruit (vs roots). You have nothing to lose by harvesting the one baby bell pepper now (you can still enjoy it as a green pepper diced in recipes), feeding your plant with Bonnie Vegetable and Herb Plant Food, and giving it another go. It may rebound nicely. Keep us posted! Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

John Keeley

I have 12 green bell and 6 red bell peppers that have no fruit on them at all. Jalepeno , Thai dragon, and egg plants near them are doing well. I would appreciate any help thank you


I planted 4 jalepeno plants and 4 green bell peppers at the end of May. The plants look good but are very small and producing very little fruit. I only have about 4 jalepenos total and one bell pepper. I understand that peppers are slow growing but should I have better results by now? I think I’m watering correctly but I haven’t really fertilized. Could it be the high temperatures in my area? It’s been in the high 90s for several weeks.

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Trixi,

Are your plant receiving 6 or more hours of sun a day? If not, that could slow growth and yields. Pepper plants perform better in the heat than many other vegetable plants, including tomatoes and cucumbers, but they still can slow down in the summer a bit. Fertilizing your plants with vegetable fertilizer is a good idea. Keep your plants watered and fed and they should start producing soon. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants


Hello! I have yellow and red bell pepper plants in pots that have many flowers now (planted early June), but the small fruits are stunted and shot full of holes – as are the leaves! What could be eating them up? I have put out beer in a pie plate nearby and killed quite a number of slugs over the weeks, but the poor plants are still struggling! I’ve also sprayed the leaves (all of them – under and over!!) with soap insecticide – still same problem! Help!

Mary Beth

Hi Teresa,
Sorry to hear about your pepper plants. Sounds like it may be the work of a caterpillar, if they are also eating the fruit. Look to see if you spot any tiny worms in the fruit or under the leaves. If so, try using Bt or keep applying an insecticidal soap. The Bt will take care of them (assuming they are caterpillars). The insecticidal soap is only effective when the insect is present and contact can be made. Let us know how it goes, Mary Beth/Bonnie Plants


I have 7 different pepper plants. The garden salsa pepper plant has been producing for awhile but it seems like 4 out of 5 peppers I pick have a soft brown spot on them. I also have a bell pepper plant that had a small pepper growing but it had a soft brown spot on the side of it. What could be happening? I water it when it needs it (I have dried grass and straw mulch on them) and there are plenty of leaves on the plant to shade the fruit. I really want to eat my own peppers but I don’t want to eat diseases ones! HELP!

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Natasha,

This sounds like either sunscald or blossom end rot. Since you say your plant has plenty of leaves to shade it, I’m leaning toward blossom end rot. Consistent watering will help prevent this common problem. You can read more about in our article “Conquer Blossom End Rot.” I hope this helps!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants


I purchased Bonnie Plants Muco Nacho Peppers and have never been more pleased! My crop has been outstanding and I can’t wait to grow even more next year!! However, my habenero plant is suffering. It looks to be great and health and I was getting so excited when it had 30 flowers on it, I couldn’t wait till the peppers came. Every day I would go out to check, but nothing. The plant has yet to produce one habenero. This has been such a diappointment due to the fact that I LOVE spicy food. I’m just hoping and praying that a miracle will happen and I will have just as many habeneros as I do jalapenos!

Mary Beth

Hi Jennifer,
We are pleased that you are pleased! Sounds like you have mucho Mucho Nacho jalapenos. Different varieties have different tolerances of heat, humidity and weather conditions. It may be that you are experiencing extreme heat (days above 95 or nights about 75 degrees) and the blossoms will not set fruit in those conditions. Give it a little time and if the weather changes, you should see more fruit. Please do keep us posted. You might enjoy our Facebook page and signing up for our regular e-newsletters, too. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants


My Bananna pepper leaves are falling off. They plant looks healthy otherwise. Dark green about 8 inches tall and growing good. They are in above ground planters. I have then next to tomatoe plants and pumpkins. I water early in the morning and late in the afternoon. I used seven dust on then not too long ago thinking I had bugs, but I still haven’t seen any bugs other than ants and they were on the okra. What is causing my leaves to fall off?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Christine,

Peppers may shed their leaves for a variety of reasons. Too much water (or poorly draining containers) is the main culprit. Other factors that can cause shedding of pepper leaves are extremes in temperatures from day to day and new transplants that are set out without first being exposed to the outdoors. It may be that you’re watering too often. Or is it possible that your pots don’t have drainage holes? You must have drainage holes in your containers to grow vegetables well. Be sure to read up on best practices in our Container Gardening section. I hope this helps!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants


I’ve have two Bonnie Plant pepper plants and they both just won’t do anything…on the verge of dying, actually. They are planted in homemade self-watering containers, but also receive plenty of water from the top. This is my second go-round with Bonnie Plants (from Lowe’s). I’d consider that I might be doing something horribly wrong, but the fact that I have two jalapeños I started from seed in my basement are thriving, I’m beginning to wonder. Suggestions.


I have plants from lowes and they are flourishing and i just water them 2 times a day and they grow fantastic in my garden i fertilize them 1 every Wednesday and that could be the problem

Rob Duca

I bought a packet of Pepper, Sweet Carnival Mix and it would seem that mine are starting out in a very high yellow/green color, I have one that has been getting to be about 5″ over the last few weeks and has not changed color yet as well the smaller just forming peppers are starting out the same very high yellow/green color, almost the color of a banana pepper… is this normal? will they change to another color at some point?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Rob,

We don’t carry the Carnival Mix, so I can’t be certain, but typically, peppers take a while to turn colors in the garden. Most start out green and gradually change to their final red, yellow, purple, or orange. So my best advice is to keep waiting for your peppers to turn. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants


Hi – I recently bought a multi pepper caged pot from Home Depot which has red bell, yellow bell and big bertha all planted together. The plants are doing wonderfully and there are some beautiful peppers growing already. I can’t plant in the ground and have to container garden. I’m wondering if I should transplant these into a larger pot with a cage? Or can I keep them in the pot they are already in? This is my very first attempt at gardening vegetables and so far I think I’m doing well. The leaves are nice and dark green and the plants seem very perky and happy.

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Melissa,

You can transplant these into a larger pot for a slightly better yield, but they should do well in the container you purchased them in as well. I am sure you’re doing well, and congrats on starting to garden! Be sure to read the articles in our Gardening Basics section and in our Container Gardening section. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants


Hi, I bought some Bonnie plants that said they were purple, orange and red peppers, but all of them are starting out green. One of them is pretty big, but is still dark green. Should I wait for it to change color, or do you think my plants and their tags just got switched?


Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Julie,

Most peppers start out green and turn to their final color, so just be patient. You should start to see them turning soon. Sometimes it can take a few weeks, though. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants


I planted some green bell peppers. The its about 107 f outside. The peppers seem to be getting sun burned, on hte side exposed to the sun. Any suggestions on fixing this problem?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Victor,

Sunscald is common on peppers and tomatoes exposed to intense heat and sun, like you’re experiencing this summer. Sunscald is unfortunately one of those things that’s hard to avoid in weather as hot as 107 degrees but a few good gardening practices can help. It’s important to keep the plant’s foliage healthy, as leaves naturally shield the fruit from the sun. Feed your plants with a vegetable fertilizer containing nitrogen, such as our Bonnie Herb & Vegetable Plant Food, to keep leaves healthy. Also be sure to keep your plant well-watered and give them support from a stake or cage. I hope this info helps! Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants


I bought some peppers that were labeled Serrano but as they grow they are clearly not Serranos. They are round like tomatillos, bright green (almost yellow, like a banana pepper) and they grow “up” rather than hanging down like all other peppers I’ve seen. We cut into one and when seeded tasted similar to a bell pepper. With the seeds they are quite spicy. Both plants are producing a ton but not only do we not know what they are, we also have no idea how to tell when they’re ripe. I have scoured Google and just come up empty handed. Would you possibly have any ideas what they may be?

Mary Beth

Hi Jen,
I’m sorry to hear that you did not receive a Serrano. Sometimes the plants get moved into the wrong trays on store shelves after handling, and sometimes–as all of our plants are labeled by hand–one in a million might get the wrong label. Could you by chance identify it as a Mexibell pepper? That is a variety we grow that is a spicy bell. It is a squatty red bell with a kick. (We don’t currently have a web photo as we are shooting in trial gardens this week.) Another option may be the Hot Red Cherry Pepper. Of course, that is only if they continue to ripen into red, not yellow. Let a few grow into full coloration to see what it becomes and email a photo to our Customer Service referencing this post. I’m sorry to hear you didn’t get what you intended, but perhaps these will be a flavorful surprise. We are happy to redeem the cost of the plant for another one if you would prefer. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants


Thanks for getting back to me, Mary Beth! I think you’re on to something with the Red Hot Cherry (although they do look similar to the Mexibelle too, but a little bit smaller). I noticed a review on them and the commenter mentioned that they grow upside down. They have started turning orange in the last couple of days so I’m guessing they’ll make their way to red soon. I’ll take some pictures and send them to customer service after I let them ripen a bit more so you can hopefully confirm what they are. I really don’t think that the mis-tagging happened on your end. We also grew what we thought were jalapenos and they are clearly growing to be poblanos. My suspicion is that little fingers were keeping themselves busy by being “helpful” at the store I shopped at. No worries! We love peppers and the surprises have been pleasant ones 🙂

Thank you so much for your help! It’s nice to know that you stand behind your product and are so willing to assist your customers even after a purchase is complete. You’ve certainly earned my respect and my repeat business!


Hi! This year I am growing Mammoth Jalapenos and Chili Pepper in the same pot. We have already had our first harvest of Jalapenos, delish, and were just waiting for the Chilis to turn red. I harvested them today and it occurred to me that they are MASSIVE!! I have never seen Chilis that large before. I know that the results of cross pollination is only evident in the seeds produced buy the peppers, but I just can’t help wondering if the fact that the plant is in the same container as the Mammoth Jalapeno has anything to do with their size and if not, what is going on??

Mary Beth

Hi Nichole,
I’m so curious to see these! How MASSIVE is MASSIVE? Can you send us a photo via Customer Service? You are correct; the fruits of this generation will not be different due to the plant next to it in the pot. It’s the seeds grown from the fruit AFTER cross-pollination occurs. I do wonder if you have an unusual gift from Mother Nature. And we hope you like a lot of hot! Send us a photo via the link above and we’ll take a look. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Brian Isenhart

I have the same thing with my red chili peppers. They are still green but massive also. 6-7″ long and 1″ dia. Starting to wonder about picking them.

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Brian,

You can certainly pick them or you can wait until they color up. They will be hotter the longer they stay on the vine. Your garden, your choice! Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants


I planted bell peppers, trying to wait for them to turn, but as they turn to yellow/red, they are getting soft shriveled spots on them. It’s really hot and dry, but I’m watering, and my plants are absolutely LOADED with peppers. What can I do?

Mary Beth

Hi Trish,
It sounds like your peppers are experiencing sunscald. Just like us, the skins in intense sun will burn and blemish. If your pepper plants do not have enough leaf canopy or spread to shade the developing fruits, you might try creating a little afternoon shade for the plants yourself. This article, although focusing on tomatoes, covers similar quirks that peppers can have. If your peppers are in pots, try moving to a spot with light afternoon shade. Or, create an umbrella or canopy effect with shade cloth to see if that helps in this unusually hot summer. Let us know how it grows!
~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants


I planted some green bell peppers on June 2 and when the flower gets pollenated and the pepper begins to grow the stem to the pepper falls off the main stem. would you have any suggestions on why this is? Thank you

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Stephen,

You’re experiencing blossom drop, the common name when flowers form then drop without forming peppers or form small peppers that drop. Tomatoes, peppers and eggplant will drop blossoms when daytime temperatures are above 90 degrees F and/or nighttime temperatures are above 75 degrees F. Blossoms will also drop when night temperatures drop below 55 degrees F.

Stresses on the plant such as excess nitrogen fertilizer (results in plants with extremely vigorous vine growth but little flower production), too much water, and lack of 6 to 8 hours of full sun may also result in a pepper plant that drops some of its flowers, blooms very little, or drops small fruit. If your plant is very green with nice, healthy foliage, cease fertilization until the pepper starts to set fruit.

I hope this info helps. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Marina Veiler

I just started gardening this year and have many Bonnie plants in my little garden. They all grow very well.
I just got two hot peppers – Fresno and Spicy (mild calapeno) and planted them in a large hanging basket on the fence (the most sunny spot). I was wondering if these two peppers will grow well together?
I also wonder how big will the plants grow – right now one of them has blossoms and baby peppers and is about 1,2 foot tall and the other one has blossoms and is even smaller. They actually look pretty mature. Any ideas? Thank you!

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi again, Marina,

These should grow well together, provided they have enough space. Hopefully, the hanging basket is about 18 inches wide, which would be a good amount of space. I think you’re referring to our TAM Mild Jalapeño, which gets 24 to 36 inches tall, and our Fresno chili, which gets about the same size. Be sure to click on those links to the variety descriptions for more info about each pepper. I hope this helps!

Also, be sure to sign up for our newsletter and “Like” our Facebook page for more great info. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Marina Veiler

Thank you very much, Kelly,
I harvested my first TAM mild calapeno (that’s what the tag said) yesterday and it was delicious! It has been only two weeks since I bought these plants. They both grow very well and are forming lots of peppers. I’m looking forward to try Fresno chili.


Jacqui T. W.

hi Kelly, I have some other type peppers I want to plant, they are called sweet pepper (carnival mix). I will be growing them inside my apt, do you think they will be able to grow in a reg pot??? please let me know what you think ! thanks

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Jacqui, We don’t recommend growing peppers indoors. Peppers need lots of heat and sunlight. Do you have a sunny patio where you can try them? See our What Size Pot? article for info best pot sizes for certain vegetables. Happy growing! Kelly, Bonnie Plants


I have a balcony and space is limited. Which variety of pepper needs the smallest pot and produces the smallest plant?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Ingrid,

Most pepper plants are fairly space-efficient, as they typically grow more in height rather than width. Do you want hot or sweet? Big peppers or small peppers? Luckily, we recently developed a Pepper Chooser on our website that I think will help you narrow down to the pepper that’s just right for you and your space. Once you get a list based on the criteria you set, look at the variety descriptions for the plant size and decide which one is best for you. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

naudia blanton

omg……thanks so much now i know how to grow my peppers……much thanks and appreciation goes out to you and your wonderful website 🙂

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Naudia,

I’m so glad you’re finding the information you need on our website! If you’re new to gardening, you might be interested in some of the articles in our Gardening Basics section. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter. We add new articles often and provide links to them in our newsletter, which goes out twice a month during the growing season. Also, you can “Like” us on our Bonnie Plants Facebook page. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants


I have planted a dozen different peppers and most of them a thriving, however I have one the is not growing taller. It did start to produce pepers befor any of my others. Is there way to stop the fruiting and make the plant grow bigger?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Jeremy,

Different pepper varieties have different mature sizes and shapes. For example, pimiento pepper gets only 18 to 24 inches tall and wide (a shorter, bushier plant), while serrano gets 24 to 36 inches tall and 18 inches wide (a tall and skinny plant).

So, first, you should check the mature plant size of the pepper that’s worrying you. We are in the process of adding that information to each variety description on our website. If you don’t find it here, check our mobile website (, which already has them added.

If the mature size is larger than what you’re seeing at home, then give this plant a little extra help by feeding it with a liquid vegetable fertilizer such as our Bonnie Herb & Vegetable Plant Food.

Happy growing!
Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Rose Pezzato

My Bell Peppers are looking like they are soft and starting to Shrivel up. They are growing, but I dont know if Im watering them enough or not. I live in Florida, where we are not having much rain now and its Hot and humid. Should I water them in the morning and night, or just once a day?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Rose,

Sorry about the trouble with your bell peppers. There are a couple possibilities for what’s going on. One is blossom-end rot, which is a common problem on tomatoes, peppers, melons, and eggplant. Read our article “Conquering Blossom End Rot” for more information and solutions.

If this doesn’t look right, another possibility is anthracnose. This is a fungus that bell peppers are quite susceptible too. Diseased areas develop as dark, round, sunken spots that often reach an inch in diameter. Within these spots are small, raised specks (the fruiting bodies of the fungus). The disease is more severe during rainy weather because the spores are washed or splashed to other fruit. Applying a recommended fungicide controls anthracnose. Avoiding overhead irrigation and only watering at the base of the plant will help control the movement of the fungus. In the above publication, there is also a picture of anthracnose for you to compare. This publication from the University of Georgia might help you compare the two possibilities. I hope this helps!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants


hi i recently purchased red, yellow and orange pepper seedlings. They were doing fine for a few days, now there starting to wilt pretty badly. its been raining alot where i live lately. do you think it could be from to much water ?

Kelly Smith

Hi Gabriell,

Yes, it’s possible the plants have just received more hydration than they can handle. See if they perk back up after a few days of sunshine. If not or if you see any other problems with the plants, send your question to our Ask an Expert service for help. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants


I have planted several varities of jalepeno’s, how do I tell when it is time to pick them?

Kelly Smith

Hi Mary,

When peppers reach their mature size and color, they’re ready to pick. To know what the mature size and color should be, look up the variety descriptions for the plants you’re growing in our Peppers catalog. Also, leaving hot peppers on the vine longer will make them hotter. So if you want hotter jalapeños, leave them on the vine several days after they reach mature size. If you want milder peppers, pick them as soon as they are in the range of maturity. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants


I have Green Red and Yellow Bell Peppers and for some reason they are not changing colors all of them are green. Is there something I should do or am I just not waiting long enough to harvest them?

Kelly Smith

Hi Tiffany,

Yes, you should leave them on the vine to turn their mature color. The peppers will start out green and change to red, yellow, or orange on the vine. So just be patient! Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants


Tiffany, this is my second year growing Bells and it does take a really long time for them to change color on the vine, especially if it is how where you are. Its hard, but be patient and you will be quite surprised to see how quickly they progress when the finally do turn!!


I am new at vegetable gardening and have planted a dozen pepper plants without removing any part of the biodegradable enclosure they came in. Do I need to go back and pull the plants back out of the ground and remove the correct portion of biodegradable wrapper?

Kelly Smith

Hi Michael,

When did you plant the peppers? And did you remove the plastic wrapper around the top of the pots? If you did remove the plastic, you can just leave them, especially if they’ve been in the ground a while. The pots will degrade in the soil if the area is well-watered. If you didn’t remove the plastic, can you can dig down and remove it so your plant’s growth isn’t restricted? To learn more about our pots and how to plant them, watch our video How to Plant Bonnie Biodegradable Pots.

Happy growing!
Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Mishelle DuPree

I remove the peat pot, place the pepper plant in its hole, fill with dirt and place the peat pot around the perimeter of the plant. If it doesn’t stay in place, just top it off with some compost and water well. They work really well as mulch and weed barriers.


I have planted the Big Early Bell in Red, Yellow, and Orange. All of the plants are producing lots of large beautiful peppers, however, the bells are rotting on the vine before they turn colors. Any suggestions?

Kelly Smith

Hi Ryan,

Are all the plants Big Early Bell? This pepper starts out green and ripens to red. Maybe you planted the Orange Bell, Yellow Bell, and Red Bell instead?

At any rate, rotting peppers isn’t good, no matter what variety! Is it the whole pepper or just the end? If the end, your plants may be suffering from blossom-end rot, a common problem with peppers and tomatoes. Read our article “Conquer Blossom End Rot” for more info on the causes and solutions to this problem. I hope this helps!

Happy growing,
Kelly, Bonnie Plants


Peppers maybe you can help.
I have a good variety of peppers growing in containers, bells, bananas, spice ones too. They are not doing to good losing leaves and they are getting a lot of brown spots on the leaves as well. Not sure if I am over watering or over or under feeding them just confused. From my reading they both can cause similar problems. In Houston TX plants are in 5 gal buckets Any suggestions

Kelly Smith

Hi Steve,

It could be a variety of factors but it’s hard to tell from a description. Please send your question and a photo to our Ask an Expert service for expert help. Thanks!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Rosemary Pezzato

My peeper plants are going goo, but some of my petters have brown spots on them. Could I be watering them too much? My Tomato Plants are doing good too, but some of my Tomatos, roted from the top. Could I be watering them too much? I usually put the sprinler on for about 1 HR. after dinner. I live in Florida, and I am afraid they will dry out and die. Help. Some of my friends say they dont water them everyday, but they always looked wilted during the dat. I just dont know what to do this is my firsast Garden. I have put them in Containers, as we have very sandy soil.

Kelly Smith

Hi Rosemary,

It sounds like you have a variety of questions, and luckily, we have a service to help! Click on our Ask an Expert link and submit your questions to our nationwide network of Cooperative Extension experts. I hope this helps!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants


Is it possible to plant this kind of sweet papper vriety in Africa

Kelly Smith

Hi Charles,

I’m not sure which pepper you’re referring to, but you should be able to plant the varieties we carry. Unfortunately, we don’t sell our plants in Africa, but you can still use all the information on our website to help you plant and grow a great vegetable and herb garden. Let us know if you have more questions. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants




What type of organic or timed-fertilizer Should I use ?

Tracey Hutchison

The article on pepers and how to grow them was very useful. I have set out several peppers and now after reading your article. I know exactly how to get the best yield.
Thank you!

Comments are closed.