Growing Capsicum, also Bell peppers, Sweet peppers

Capsicum annuum : Solanaceae / the nightshade family

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

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

  • S = Plant undercover in seed trays
  • T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings
  • 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 64°F and 95°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 8 - 20 inches 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
  • 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. 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 and white flesh 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.

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

07 Dec 07, Sally (Unknown climate)
do you know why my leaves are turning black and falling off my capsicum plant
02 Jan 08, jim kitis (Unknown climate)
sally have you done a complete nutrient analysis on your soil? a lot of capsicum plants have leaves that go dark but with them going black and falling off it may be something simple as lackign a trace element. also is your ph spot on? kindest regards jimbo
08 Jan 08, daniel (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
sally,i have approx 30-40 chilli plants which most are fruiting really well,but i have recently added 12 mexican chilli plants to my garden and they seem to having the same problem as yours.they are planted in containers and i always use the same fertilizers and potting mix as i know it works well on my existing plants.the new plants have almost become plastic like and the new growth at the top of the plant has become stunted-plant still is green and healthy looking though? i live in brisbane and we recently got a lot of rain followed by pretty extreme sunny hot days. also,can anyone advise me on knowing when your chillis are ready for picking,as all the seeds i used for my plants are from red chillis and i seem to have a lot of green fruit that has been on the plants for a few weeks going on a month.i would hat to waste them as i have had a few drop off which i have cut up and put in a jar of good olive oil-a awesome italian oil trick i got from a mates mother from italy-she provided me with my sedds.
14 Jan 08, margherita (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
We live in subtropical Queensland, and have great difficulty in preventing capisum from falling prey to caterpillars. any suggestions?
15 Jan 08, liam pilsworth (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
why wont my capsicums grow big like the ones in the shop do you have any ideas?
13 Feb 08, jack (Unknown climate)
try buying seedlings as it is easier from there. with bugs just get a thin light mesh to cover your plant but don't do it on smaller plants as it can harm them, but you could post stick in the ground and make a roof kind of area.
19 Feb 08, Jim (Unknown climate)
The capsicum seedlings I bought are producing black capsicums is this normal
24 Feb 08, Leisa (Unknown climate)
Once harvested can you cut back and continue to grow and harvest again. We only have 10 plants and they have already yielded.
27 Mar 08, Jo (Unknown climate)
Hi, I've just moved into a home which has a huge capsicum bush, however the seeds are black and i tried the flesh of the capsicum and they are very hot! any ideas or tips would be much appreciated
30 Mar 08, Chris (Unknown climate)
Jo, that sounds like it could be some sort of chilli. You can get large chilli varieties which look like capsicums. My tip would be to blacken them over a flame, cool to handling temperature in a plastic bag (so the steam is trapped), and chop finely to make a delicious salsa with chopped tomato and onion! (This works very well for ordinary capsicums as well as most chillies)
Showing 1 - 10 of 516 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. Get our app for iPhone, iPad or Android to add your own plants and record your plantings and harvests

Planting Reminders

Join 60,000+ gardeners who already use Gardenate and subscribe to the free Gardenate 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.