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Growing Sweet Peppers

How to grow sweet peppers (capsicums/bell peppers)  in pots, containers, growbags, garden beds and allotments


Sweet Peppers

Family/Latin Name

Solanaceae - Capsicum annuum

Type of Plant

Fruiting - Crop Rotation Group = Others

Suitable for


Pots, Containers, Garden Beds, Allotments, Greenhouses, Growbags

Pests & Diseases    Companion Plants    In the Kitchen

See also:-  Vegetable Growing Glossary  |    Container Growing  | Buying Seeds & Plants


Plant Dimensions

Height - approx  60cm/ 2ft  - Spread  up to 60cm/ 2ft

Yield Per Plant 6-10 fruit

Time between sowing and harvesting

About 18 weeks

Sowing time

March - April - temperature   16-21C/60-70F

Where to Sow

Indoors in small pots 7.5cm/3" diameter filled with compost. 

How to Sow

2 seeds per pot - 6mm/1/4-inch deep. Germination takes up to 21 days

After Germination

Remove the weakest seedling

Growing on -  in Pots Outdoors

Harden off plants which have been raised indoors and finally move outdoors once all danger of frost has passed. As the plants get bigger, pot up into larger pots in stages ending with one plant per 20cm/8" container or 3 per growbag. Place in a hot sheltered sunny position. 

Growing on - in open ground

As above but plant  in beds or borders 45cm/ 18" apart. 

Growing on -  in greenhouses Transplant one plant per 20cm/8" container or 3 per growbag. Mist plants regularly to maintain humidity. Greenhouse plants tend to grow taller than outdoor raised plants so support with sturdy canes.


Water regularly, but do not keep the compost very wet.  Limit to 6-10 fruits per plant. Feed with tomato food once the fruit start to swell each time you water.  May need supporting with canes.


Start picking fruit when they are green once they have reached the size of a tennis ball and the skin is smooth and glossy (probably at the beginning of August). This will ensure continuing new fruit production. A mature pepper will turn red (or whatever colour) at the end of the season but remember leaving peppers to fully ripen will halt new fruit production. Crops over about 8 weeks.

Pests and Diseases

Companion Plants

Red Spider Mite
Indications First sign is that the leaves may look pale and mottled. Particularly in greenhouse grown plants.
Treatment Organic
1. Wash them off with a hose.
2. Spray them with soft soap.
3. Sprays containing pyrethrum every 5-7 days on the upper and lower sides of the leaves.
Prevention Difficult. Try keeping the atmosphere humid.
Indications Leaves distorted, yellowing and stunted
Treatment Organic
1. Spray with soft soap
2. Use water through a hosepipe to knock the aphids off the plants
Spray with an insecticide containing pyrethrum
Prevention None
Blossom End Rot
Indications Leathery dark patches at bottom of fruit
Treatment None
Prevention Do not let the soil or compost dry out. Even watering is esential especially when using growbags.


Companion Flower Graphic

Tomatoes,Geraniums, Petunias

If you know aphids are a problem in your area, grow flowers such as nasturtiums, calendula asters,  dahlias, and zinnias nearby (but not too close) as aphids find them attractive so they act as a lure.


Create a bio-diverse environment by planting flowers nearby to attract bees, ladybirds and other "friendlies".  To learn more about companion planting click here.

In the Kitchen

Storage:   Refrigerate in the crisper drawer for up to 6 days

Preparing:  Rinse well in cold water. Cut off the stalk to 1cm/½-inch or remove completely if required. As the skin is edible, there is no need to peel unless the recipe specifically requires this.  Cut in half lengthways and remove the seeds and as much of the white pith as possible. If stuffing, you can just slice off the top (stalk end), remove the seeds and as much pith as possible and then use the top as a "lid" once the main body has been filled.



Whole/wedges = 25-45 minutes

Slices = 20-30 minutes - coat with oil and season


Chunks  =  15-25 minutes


Slices/chunks/dice  4 - 10 minutes 


Slices/chunks  = 4 - 6 minutes   


Slices/chunks  20-30 minutes


Whole/Halves+45  minutes (see individual recipes)

For more preparation and cooking information about sweet peppers (capsicums)  plus lots of  recipes visit our sister site www.recipes4us.co.uk.

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