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Growing Capsicum, also Bell peppers, Sweet peppers

(Capsicum annuum)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
              S S T T T

(Best months for planting Capsicum in Australia - temperate regions)

S = Plant undercover in seed trays. T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings.

August: Sow in pots

  • Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 18°C and 35°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 20 - 50 cm apart
  • Harvest in 10-12 weeks. Cut fruit off with sharp knife.
  • Compatible with (can grow in same bed): Egg plant (Aubergine), Nasturtiums, Basil, Parsley, Amaranth
  • 'Banana' capsicum
  • A yellow capsicum

Small bushy plant about 40cm high The seeds are reluctant to start germinating if temperatures drop at night. These are best sown in small trays in a warm, sheltered place: a small greenhouse if possible. Then plant out when about 10 -12cm (4-5in) tall.

They are from the same family as chilli but are not hot and spicy. The seeds are bitter.

Capsicums are frost tender and need warmth to ripen the fruit to the brilliant reds and yellows of commercial ones. They can be used green but are not as sweet.

There are a number of colours available, chocolate, black, yellow, orange as well as red. They all start off green and change as they ripen.

In cool, wet weather cover with a cloche or frost fleece.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Capsicum

Can be sliced and seeded and used raw in salads.
Will freeze successfully without blanching if seeded and sliced.

Or brush with olive oil, roast at a high temperature until the skin changes colour
then put in a covered dish until cool and rub off the skin and remove seeds.

Your comments and tips

15 Feb 15, Bob (Australia - temperate climate)
The long yellow peppers are banana peppers. They can be sweet or hot, most likely sweet. They are great pickled on sandwiches and or used in stir fries. Do a quick search for banana peppers and you should find all the information you need.
11 Feb 15, Philip Lumley (Australia - temperate climate)
Do capsicum plants need to be staked for support when growing
07 Feb 15, Charlotte (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Capsicum rotting from inside out. Look like they are wilting and soft. Can we redig the rotten ones into the patch? We have had very hot summer in QLD, would that be a factor. We currently have chillis growing without much problem in the same patch. Some chillis are a bit soft and wilted looking,but we have had a great success with the chillis. Cooking chillis does that make them less hot? As we are finding they aren't that hot. Also how do we dry chilli? Thanks
01 Feb 15, Shanni (Australia - temperate climate)
My capsicum plant started growing the long narrow chilli shaped capsicums but now on the same bush it's growing a traditional shaped one that's green? How and why does this happen, can someone explain please? Thanks!!
31 Jan 15, Neville Graham (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Capsicum ,small variety,falling off bush before ripening. Bush is healthy. Any clues why this is happening
08 Apr 15, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Are they stung by fruit fly? I loose quite a lot during the warm weather but when it cools off and there are no fruit fly around I don't loose any.
30 Jan 15, David (Australia - temperate climate)
The rotten spot could be sun scald (whitish) ...but, if it is rotten on the bottom end of the fruit it is most likely bottom end rot and the plant needs calcium.
24 Jan 15, Deb (Australia - temperate climate)
This is my second year of growing capsicums, I just pruned it at the end of season last year. Noticed the capsicums this year are more red in colour than the common green last year. But my question is can I prune them again this year ready for next year or will I be wasting my time. I have had a good return although they are not massive in size. Thanks. Deb
30 Jan 15, David (Australia - temperate climate)
Capsicums are bi-annual...if they are 2 seasons old pull them out. I think most people would plant new each year. Red Capsicums start green, and turn red as they ripen, but you can eat them at any stage.
19 Jan 15, Saidimu (South Africa - Semi-arid climate)
Hi, I was just wondering how often you harvest and how many times before you should clear for new crop?
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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.

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