Peppers (Chilli and Bell)

Jan / Feb, Mar / Apr
Jul / Aug, Sep / Oct

Why Grow It

Peppers produce a fine crop and can be grown well in containers and pots. Both chilli and bell peppers are part of the capsicum family. When it comes to peppers there is a huge variety in taste and looks, for example chilli peppers are small and have a hot flavour while bell peppers are larger and milder in flavour.

  • Peppers like a fertile soil that ideally has had compost and a general fertiliser added a week or two before sowing/planting.
  • Peppers need a tunnel or glasshouse to grow well.
  • Chilli peppers are smaller plants and can also be grown in a pot on a sunny windowsill. They need a long growing season, so the earlier you get started the better your chance of producing good, ripe fruit.
  • Sow in modules or small pots in March (you can do this from February if you have a heated propagation area), as seeds require 20°C for germination.
  • The plants will be ready for transplanting when they are around 15cm high (this will be in late April/early May if you have sown in March).
  • Transplant into a bed in your polytunnel/greenhouse 50cm apart or into a large container, ideally at least 50cm diameter for sweet peppers and 30cm for chillies
  • As peppers grow, they often need support to prevent them falling over – you can use stakes or string as support.
  • If plants are grown in the soil then watering well once a week will be adequate.
  • If plants are grown in containers then more frequent watering is required.
  • Peppers can be harvested green or fully ripe (red or yellow) – generally, green fruits are easier to produce.
  • In an unheated tunnel ripening can be slow and ripe fruit is more prone to rotting.
  • Harvest by picking peppers as they mature (you will get a smaller yield if you harvest red peppers).
  • Chilli plants can be pulled up at the end of the growing season and put somewhere dry to let any immature fruits ripen.
  • Demon Red (Chilli)
  • Hungarian Wax (Chilli)
  • Navaho (Chilli)
  • Purple Tiger (Chilli)
  • Ring of Fire (Chilli)
  • Bell Boy F1 (Bell)
  • Roberta F1 (Bell)
  • Fruit rots are a problem with ripe fruit later in the season. Keep the fruit and the tunnel on the dry side later in the summer to control this.
  • Greenfly can be an issue for peppers. If you come across these pests, you can blast them with some water, but be careful to not damage the leaves. You can also wait and see if you get any ladybirds, as these are a natural predator.
  • Red spider mite can be a problem on the leaves – these dislike moist leaves, so a regular misting of the underside of the leaves will help if they are seen.
  • Peppers store well – they can be frozen, dried or stuffed into jars and filled with oil.
  • Greenfly can be an issue for peppers. To deter, spray a liquid made from crushed garlic, oil and washing-up liquid onto leaves.