growing peppers in containers?

snoop92June 12, 2008

Do sweet peppers grow well in pots?

I tried growing sweet pepper plants in the ground last year and they didn't produce much at all.

I also noticed that 1 plant seems to produce only 1 or 2 peppers, as if it takes all the energy of the plant to produce just a couple peppers.

Any suggestions on how to get better yield?

Thanks.

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justaguy2(5)

I think you will find peppers do better for you in containers than in the ground. They really want a warm soil and in your area (and mine) we really don't get that so many peppers do rather poorly in our soil. In containers that warm much more readily they thrive and produce very well.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 10:13PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

"Any suggestions on how to get better yield?"

Grow in full sun, use a free-draining soil, be careful to avoid over-watering and/or over-fertilizing, make sure your plants are getting a full compliment of all essential nutrients.

Al

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 11:09PM
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mea2214(z5 Chicago)

I stopped growing sweet peppers a couple of years ago because they're not worth it. I grew them in 5 gallon buckets and they did well but each plant only produced 3 big peppers and that was it. I could go to the grocery store and buy 3 peppers for a dollar or so. I now switched completely over to habenero peppers because they go for about $6/lb here and I get more than 50 peppers per plant throughout the harvest.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 3:33PM
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desertfarmerjohn

From what I've seen, the main thing to avoid is over watering. It can cause the blooms to drop. I had this problem last year with my jalapenos. They seem to be doing better this year with reduced water.

Here is a link that might be useful: Container Gardening in the Desert

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 5:27PM
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buzzsaw8

"I also noticed that 1 plant seems to produce only 1 or 2 peppers, as if it takes all the energy of the plant to produce just a couple peppers. "

Try pinching the flowers and/or peppers off the plant when it is still small. Pepper plants can only handle a certain "fruit load" that is based (at least partly) on the size of the plant - letting it grow bigger will allow it to produce more fruit. HTH

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 7:00PM
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snoop92

pinch off all the flowers, and small peppers?

So far, 2 of my plants have an inch-long pepper per plant and some small green round buds, as well as a couple white flowers. Pull these off?

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 11:53AM
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justaguy2(5)

To pull off flowers and immature fruit from small plants is a subject of much debate. I don't know of any authoritative answer.

Personally I do not do it - ever, although I do thin fruit from certain trees known to overbear. I do, however, know of people with sound horticultural knowledge and experience who do and swear by it.

In general consider your growing season and how long it usually takes a plant to produce harvestable fruit/produce. The longer it takes and the shorter your growing season the less desirable it is to delay flowering/fruiting and the shorter it takes and the longer the growing season the more you can get away with it.

Just use your best judgment and if things do not turn out as hoped do things differently next year.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 2:14PM
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snoop92

Can I grow these sweet pepper plants in a pot that is 10 inches wide and about 9 inches deep?

Would these pots be big enough?

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 3:54PM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

Not sure about that one, sounds like it might be too small.... If things don't turn out too well this year you might also try some of the sweet non-Bells like the Italian Marconi's or Corno di Toro (Bullshorn).

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 12:43PM
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shelley_2009

I have 12 Venezuelan aji dulce pepper plants in a 16-inch diameter by 8-inch high container. They have been in this container for about eight months and live on my deck. They have produced 12 very small peppers in this time. (And I do mean small  about the size of a large green pea.)

Do I need to put each of these plants in a separate container? Or perhaps a couple to a container?

They seem to be doing OK, except for the size of the peppers. The plants themselves are about 7 to 9 inches tall with a canopy of about the same measurement.

I bring them inside at night for warmth and return them to the outside for sunshine during the day. I had considered bringing them inside and using a grow light. But have read that this is not really optimal for them.

Any information would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,
Shelley

    Bookmark   January 3, 2009 at 5:35PM
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susanne_in_nl(z6-7 Netherlands)

Hi Shelly,

Those plants are most likely WAY over crowded. I haven't grown that particular type but my experiences with Anaheim and a few other chili pepper plants are that a pot that size would only support 2-3 small pepper plants. I did a quick Google for info about the Aji Dulce and one site says they should start producing peppers when they are about 18-20" high. So yours are only half the size that they should be. Plants can get up to 4 feet high but that's probably only in ideal conditions after a few years.

My experience has been that chilis in smaller pots will start fruiting at about the same time (or even earlier) as their brothers in a bigger pot, but the number and size of the peppers will be fewer and smaller. That sounds about the same as what you're experiencing.

I'd plant 1 chili each in a 12" pot, bigger would be even better IMHO.

Good luck.

Susanne

    Bookmark   January 3, 2009 at 6:14PM
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chalstonsc

Snoop, agree with Justaguy and Tapla above....I grow in 5-gallon containers, plants get large and many peppers, much better than in the ground. I spray entire plant thoroughly with a solution of one teaspoon of epsom salt per quart of warm water, whenever blooms seem to be dropping and/or plant seems to be less than bushy, and dark green. This stops blooms dropping and plant becomes bushy and leaves become dark green, setting at least several peppers. I do this periodically during the season. The longer the plants grows the more peppers set at one time...only first frost stops the peppers, which I pick and store in plastic bags in refrig just before the first frost. Had salad tonight with the last of this year's peppers...

    Bookmark   January 3, 2009 at 6:31PM
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shelley_2009

Wow, thank you so much Susanne and chalstonsc! I'll be trans-potting soon (my husband will love this  not! :-) I'll post later to let you know how they're doing.

Best,
Shelley

    Bookmark   January 3, 2009 at 7:05PM
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chalstonsc

I'm with Susanne....I do one bell pepper plant in a 5 gallon container.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2009 at 5:43PM
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shelley_2009

Hello again!

I have another question about my ajis: Can they be left outside during colder weather?

I have been bringing mine in at night. The temperatures drop into the 40s (F) in Pacifica during the winter. I put them back out in the day to get the sun. When I re-pot them, I don't think I can bring 12 separate pots in and out like that.

Thanks for any info about this.

:-)
Shelley

    Bookmark   January 6, 2009 at 11:59AM
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chalstonsc

Shelley, your plants would prefer to keep warmer inside at night, but they will continue to grow, but slower,
if you leave them out. Mine frequently go through nights in the 40's and less frequently in the 30's in the fall here until the first good frost kills the leaves. Until frost they flower and fruit, green ones turn red...

    Bookmark   January 6, 2009 at 1:31PM
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eileen_nv(Z9 Homosassa)

Definitely, a sweet bell pepper needs a larger pot - 16 - 20" diameter minimum, I think. I've grown all my peppers in pots in Reno NV for many years. Clues for production - keep the nitrogen in the fertilizer low or you will get lots of leaves and not much fruit. When you plant out little seedlings, do pick the flower buds off - wait until the plant is at least a foot tall and bushy (fudge this for a short growing season...) before letting fruit set. Don't overwater, and be cautious about getting hot sun on the sides of the pot - you can cook the roots! (Cluster the pots - they shade each other) Too cool nights and too hot days will inhibit fruit set.

My favorite peppers were Fat'n'Sassy and Early Thickset, although every year was a different thing - I think the variable weather is more significant to container grown plants, than to those in the ground.

No question, chiles and the like are much more resilient than sweet bells. I wanted to quit many times, but then the new catalogs would come... :-D

Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2009 at 9:03PM
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linchat(10b)

I have done very well with Bell peppers in containers once I learned 2 tricks.

#1. DO NOT GET THE LEAVES WET if you can help it.

#2. Treat them like the rotten step child! :) I dismiss them, forget to water, ignore them and they grow like champs. The minute I baby them, they die! Go figure.

I have peppers growing in both containers and in the ground. The containered peppers get water twice a week, I have drip system that waters peppers with sprinklers. Then I have the inground peppers which are doing great. They do not get sprinklered or drip. Nothing. When the leaves are droopy I water. I just cut a bunch off today and passed them to my neighbors.

Treat them rotten and they will return pleasure! :)

    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 8:45PM
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doozerdog

How about growing peppers in a self watering container? I want to grow some peppers in a five gallon SWC next summer, will it work? Any help, advice, tips, etc would be appreciated!
Thanks!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2009 at 10:55PM
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spencersmom(z7B Virginia Beach)

I did 5 gallon containers as did a friend. They did bells and did one per container and they were awesome. I did jals and hot wax (1 per container) and they got huge. There are a lot of peppers that will do great in that size container. If you are wanting the hot variety as well, check out the hot pepper forum, there are a bunch of people that container peppers there.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 11:02AM
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aliceinvirginia

If you were doing a homemade self-watering container, would you consider a 2 gallon over a 4 gallon?

What about comparing to a plastic box container, non self-watering, that is about 10 gallons with 2 or 3 plants?

Even though green bell peppers are cheap in the grocery, the red ones aren't. And the few I ate last summer off the plant were ***really*** good.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2009 at 2:38PM
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georgeiii

let me show you a pepper garden made out of 3 liter plastic soda bottles and one gallon juice bottles. I'm in zone 6 and can put these containers out on April 1st while the last frost day is May 15. My first harvest is usually June 30th. The amount of water used is 1 liter for 8 plants per day.

The best thing is everything is reusable. I call it Dark Gardening.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2009 at 3:22PM
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gringojay

Hi Georgeiii,
I liked your Dark Garden cut-away picture of the 2 recycled grow bottles you've been using. Thanks for the detail.
? Would you please post sometime soon a cut-away picture of the wicking arrangement in place that you use?
And, since I thought your technique was a closed system which recycled the
evaporative water, I have a further question.
? Are the inverted bottles in the picture "Bell Pepper Collection" being top watered or getting wicked from the recycled tray which holds them up ?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2009 at 8:36PM
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georgeiii

I have a picture I'll post soon. The bottles you ask about are call Garden Pods. There's no wicking in them. These are the one that use only the water it gets from the top.

The reason you water twice a day is that the evaporation is so fast you lose roots if you miss watering.

The top picture is from the early stages of root growth to when the strip of cloth desolves. The next is the potental of the plant verse the out put of the root system

It will support large growth in a small place.

This picture shows up well enough for you to see the roots following the path way of moisture up the sides of the Garden Pod. They start at the point where the hole is placed in the sides.


You can see how the moisture clings to the sides of food grade plastics with just even a little light.
The reason you water twice a day is how fast the media drys out. That kills the small hair roots at top.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 10:13AM
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gringojay

Hi Georgiii,
I did some work in situations with limited water, so have another question for your Dark Garden practice.
You mentioned a very small daily amount of water being enough for several plants.
Would you explain where you are giving/putting in this water to the mature plants that are grown in the inverted/double bottles?
I read your way needs to water twice a day.
The plant roots grow into the bottom container & the towel wick is designed to rot away. It isn't clear to me if eventually you just end up top watering everything and mature plants are actually getting a lot more water.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 4:16PM
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georgeiii

The problem your having is one of conception.

Each of these 1 liter bottles will water 8 plants. One bottle - 8 plants. That means this tray of 10 -1- liter bottles will water 80 plants. This is not about "watering" but about steam in a sense. The evaporated moisture that's contained by the plastic bottle. Look at the picture above of the moisture clinging to the sides of that unpainted Nanny Pod. That's just the regulars moisture in the air. I have a picture of a plastic bottle inside a frozen bucket. The water inside the bottle is fluid while the outside is frozen. Sunlight does that. This gives you a 90% use of your water to the plant instead of the way where it's a 80% loss in regular containers. Now the water that's used in the lower bottle ( about 1 gallon) will last you about the whole season. Because only plants like corn draws on that. The upper chamber where the main root systems develop are where you water the plants at. The roots that develop in the lower chamber are stunted because of lack of oxygen but add and air stone and you'll get greater growth. The lower chamber tho really was as ballast for support. And yes the towel rots away but that really only important for longer term plants like tropicals. Remember 1 liter - 8 plants thru out the vegetable season. 2 liters when it gets about 75, 3 liter per 8 plants when it gets above 90 degrees. How's that for saving.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 9:13AM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Georgeiii
Nice veggies! I am glad to see you posting, you are always very interesting and creative.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 4:19PM
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