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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

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
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?
08 Jan 15, frances (Australia - temperate climate)
we sowed some capsicum seedlings which were - mixed capsicum - some of them have come on with narrow yellow fruit that look like chili rather than capsicum. we have never seen them before. could you tell us what to do with them and how to cook them please
13 Jan 15, Roy (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Frances, I looked up Capsicum, in some places they're called Bell Peppers and there is a variety that looks like chili. Cooking them, alongside potatoes, carrots and other vegies in a roast dish, being thin skinned they do dry out quickly so later in the cooking time is best. Chopped coarse and added to a stew type dish or as I did today as part of a salad. I'm not a culinary whiz but do like cooking.
16 Jan 15, Kyle (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi, I have the same capsicums, what's the best way to tell if they are ripe?
07 Jan 15, Stephen Zielke (Australia - tropical climate)
I have capsicum that grow to half their size and go rotten in a patch (25%).AND if the don't go rotten they fall off the bush when only half their size. Am I watering too much (Every Day)..Fruit fly???Bundaberg Qld..
08 Jan 15, Jean Taylor (Australia - arid climate)
Capsicums need to be watered only at the roots. If watering overhead, they absorb the water into the fruit and rot. NPC fertilizer is a good all round fertilizer for moving them along. Watering in the early morning also helps.
09 Jan 15, Stephen Zielke (Australia - temperate climate)
Thanks Jean - I will give it a go.
07 Jan 15, sharon (Australia - temperate climate)
My capsicums are quite small & then skinned, can you advise what might be the problem please.
25 Dec 14, Paul Moore (Australia - temperate climate)
I have a yellow banana shaped growth in my sweet caps in a planter box at home. Can you tell me what it is please. Paul
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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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