How to Grow Bell Peppers in Containers How to Grow Bell Peppers in Containers
Growing bell peppers is most commonly done in a garden bed. They grow very well next to tomatoes provided they are allowed enough space and sunlight. However, you can grow bell peppers in containers of just about any material as long as they are big enough. Peppers can be transplanted to containers as starts purchased at a nursery or grown from seed. If you grow them from seed, start them indoors in the late winter. This gives them plenty of time to get strong enough to go outdoors. This how-to guide will commence from the time the bell peppers are ready to go outside, whether you grew them from seed or purchased starts.
Step 1: Choose Your Containers
Containers for growing bell peppers can be made from just about any material. Ceramic, plastic, wood, metal or terra cotta all will work. What is most important is that they are big enough. For normal-sized bell pepper plants, the containers should be at least 16 inches in diameter and at least that deep. For smaller bell pepper varieties, containers that are 12x12 inches will work.
Step 2: Prep the Containers
The soil needs to drain, so drill several hole in the bottom of the container. ½ inch holes will do as long as there are at least four. Use either coffee filters or some type of screen and lay them across the bottom of the containers to cover the holes. Fill each container with rich potting soil that is very loose and well draining.
Step 3: Transplant the Starts
Your bell pepper starts will likely be in throw-away plastic containers. If you started them from seed, they may be in peat pots that biodegrade in the soil. Dig a hole in each container as deep as the start pot. If you used the biodegradable start pots, cut away 1 ½ inches of it from the top before you plant it. The peat pots are put fully into the ground, while the peppers must be removed from the plastic pots. Carefully jostle them loose without disturbing their roots. Place one each in the holes and bury it up to the top. Pat the soil down around to secure the start. For very large containers, two or three plants can be planted together.
Step 4: Feeding the Peppers
After the first fruit starts to grow, apply an amount of fertilizer along the sides of the plants. Additionally every 3 to 4 weeks, water with a compost tea. You can let old coffee ground steep in water for a period and pour that directly on the plants. Other than that, water the plants regularly. They should never be overly dry or saturated in water.
Step 5: Stake the Plants
Staking peppers will be necessary as the plants begin to take off. They can grow as high as 3 or 4 feet, so you need to give them some support. Place one stake in each container closely to the stem. If need be, tie a bit of twine to the stake and the other end to the stem to keep it from bending over.
Bell peppers are hot weather plants, so they should receive a lot of sunlight. Ideally, they will not be outside until the weather does not drop below 50 degrees F at night. Put them in partial shade if the weather is scorching hot. When the fruit is ready to harvest, cut it away rather than pulling or twisting it. Choose an assortment of red, yellow, orange and green bell peppers for a colorful display and a delicious harvest.