How to Plant and Grow Patio Peppers
Of all the vegetables you could grow on your patio, peppers seem to be among the best suited for growing in smaller containers, versus a garden. There are many varieties to choose from, including sweet peppers, jalapenos, chili and green peppers. The nice thing about growing the peppers in pots is that when the weather turns cool, you can always bring the plants indoors to continue your growing season.
Depending on the type of pepper you decide to grow, you may need to start germinating seeds in early spring, or you can wait and buy plants to transplant into your own pots.
Step 1 - Find Your Pepper
The first thing you will want to do is decide what kind of peppers you want to grow. Most varieties make beautiful patio plants, so it's just a matter of personal tastes in choosing.
Step 2 - Start Your Pepper
If you are starting your pepper from seed, you will need to start germinating them in February or March. Plant the seeds in a mixture of compost and potting soil. Start them off in small containers; they will be transplanted later. The seeds will need to be kept moist and warm for 7 to 21 days in order for the germination process to be successful. Grow the seedlings for two months in the smaller container, and make sure they get lots of sunlight.
Step 3 - Choose a Container and Plant Your Peppers
At the end of two months, you can transplant them into larger contains, and if it's warm enough, move them outside. If you buy the plants from a nursery, they should be at this stage. Most any container will work for planting peppers, as long as it has proper drainage. If you plan to keep your peppers outside, a large pot will work well. Hanging baskets are especially handy because you can transfer your peppers inside when the weather turns cool. Use a soil that is rich in nutrients, like commercial potting soil or soil you have mixed yourself with compost. When you transplant the peppers, make sure you give the roots plenty of room in their new home.
Step 4 - Grow Your Peppers
While they are just starting to grow, be sure to keep the soil moist. You should feed your peppers with a fertilizer at this early stage. Most peppers like plenty of sunlight, so find a good spot for them on your patio. Some pepper plants grow very tall, and you may need to train your patio peppers to grow more like a bush. If you pinch off the growing tips. This will encourage side shoots on the plants. If the plants get too tall, you may need to offer them some type of support, like a cane or stick.
When you see your first flower, cut it off. This will encourage more blooms.
Step 5 - Pick Your Peppers
You can harvest your peppers by snapping the fruit off at the stem. If you are growing hot peppers, the longer they are left on the plant, the hotter they will get.