Keep your garden growing - see what to plant right now

Growing Capsicum, also Bell peppers, Sweet peppers

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

(Best months for growing Capsicum in USA - Zone 5a regions)

S = Plant undercover in seed trays P = Sow seed

  • 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

25 May 18, Sean (Australia - temperate climate)
Can capsicum be frozen for future use?
29 May 18, Liz (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Yes, capsicum freezes quite well. Cut it into strips, ready to use and freeze on a tray before bagging up. It loses a bit of flavour but the colour stays well.
29 May 18, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Try the internet - probably not.
13 May 18, Diane (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I would like to know if you can chop plant off when finished and it will regrow or do you need new plants each year?
02 Jul 18, Cathrine (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I’m curious about this too, Diane. I grew capsicum and chilli outdoors in Wellington this last summer, a bit of a surprise that they fruited. I decided to leave the well established bushes in the ground, after pruning, as they looked healthy and still had growth. It’s early July now and they are still thriving, though the coldest months are too come, but, leads me to thinking that maybe the bushes are somewhat perennial? I’ve check all my gardening books but nothing there. Does anyone else have any experience that might lend to this?
26 Jul 18, Julie Baker (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Only one of my chili plants lasted through the winter in the glass house last year. This year they have all died off, even those outside under a cloche. I think I may have been lucky last year!
30 Apr 18, Sagie (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
I have recently retaired and want to grow bell peppers please help me
23 Apr 18, Erika kluge (Australia - temperate climate)
How do i know to take out the capsicum plant after a rather successful season..
18 May 18, David (Australia - temperate climate)
I read on this site years ago about a person who had 3 seasons off his/her plant. It thought that I might try the same. Next season will be my fourth. The fruit isn't as large as what you buy at the grocers but are quite acceptable and sweet. The plant will look ratty during the cooler months. Around September I start cutting off the ratty leaves that are close to new growth, being careful to leave enough large leaves to keep the plant growing. This might take 4-6 weeks of removing the old leaves. I also have to support the plant due to the quantity of fruit. Perhaps if I thinned out the fruit I would have larger capsicums. Just tried this for fun but the results have been pleasing.
24 Apr 18, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
When the yield drops off and fruit are becoming small, time to pull them out. A plant only has a limited cycle. A crop may take 12 weeks until it bears and then produce for 4-6 weeks and then that is the end of the cycle.
Showing 1 - 10 of 435 comments

Ask a question or post a comment or advice about Capsicum

Please provide your email address if you are hoping for a reply


All comments are reviewed before displaying on the site, so your posting will not appear immediately

Gardenate App

Put Gardenate in your pocket. Buy the app for iPhone, iPad or Android to add your own plants and record your plantings and harvests

Planting Reminders

Join 30,000+ gardeners who rely on Gardenate. Subscribe to our free planting reminders email newsletter


Home | Vegetables and herbs to plant | Climate zones | About Gardenate | Contact us | Privacy Policy

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.
We cannot help if you are overrun by giant slugs.