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Growing Capsicum, also Bell peppers, Sweet peppers

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
              S S T T T

(Best months for growing 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 beside): Egg plant (Aubergine), Nasturtiums, Basil, Parsley, Amaranth
  • 'Banana' capsicum
    'Banana' capsicum
  • A yellow 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

10 Jun 17, Lyndal (Australia - temperate climate)
I have heaps of green capsicum in my garden which are long and thin. They don't appear to be growing any bigger or changing colour. I planted sweet mix capsicum and some are probably as long as 20cm but skinny and green. Are they ready to pick or how do I go about making them yellow and red. They have been in my garden for ages.
19 Jun 17, Mike (Australia - temperate climate)
You have (probably) planted a kind of capsicum the grows long and thin - mixed sweet caps. You have not planted the normal caps - round caps. Google how to grow caps or peppers and read about the different varieties. The guide on this website will tell you how long they should take until ready to pick and eat - something like 10-12 weeks.
11 Jun 17, Darren (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi Lyndal, It's probably too late for your capsicums now. The only thing I would suggest is pick one or two that feel like they are almost ready, and leave them in a window sill to ripen. I did that with the last few capsicums from our crop this year, before pulling them up.
22 May 17, Maureen (Australia - temperate climate)
I have been harvesting my capsicum since early summer. They still have fruit and flowers. Should I pull up when I have picked the capsicums that are nearly ready. I want to start my winter garden and am not sure whether they just keep on being generous in their supply.
22 May 17, Giovanni (Australia - temperate climate)
As the winter sets in capsicum yield will diminish and a good frost will kill the plants. Capsicums are a short-lived perennial but you would be best to harvest what you can and then pull the plants out giving you room to plant your winter garden. Fresh plants in a new spot next spring would be best.
17 May 17, Lynny (Australia - temperate climate)
My capsicum bush is loaded but the fruit is very bitter. How can I sweeten them up?
17 May 17, Ken (Australia - temperate climate)
Adding Epsom Salts at the rate of 1 tbs - 2 litres of water will improve the flavour and sweetness of tomatoes so you could give that a try. They are both in the Solanacea family. All the best.
15 May 17, maurie (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
do I need to stake a capsicum plant whilst it is growing?
15 May 17, Darren (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi Maurie, capsicums grow fine without staking, however I found that once they start to bear fruit, they lean down to the ground. Staking might help keep your capsicums off the ground.
15 May 17, Sean (Australia - temperate climate)
Normally capsicums make a sturdy, self supporting bush. If they are getting tall or leggy a stake would certainly help and would avoid the disappointment of a plant being blown over when it was laden with fruit.
Showing 1 - 10 of 348 comments

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