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When to Plant Peppers

Bell pepper seedlings

Plant pepper seedlings in the garden 2 to 3 weeks after the last frost in spring. Start pepper seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before setting transplants in the garden. Don’t set out pepper seedlings until the average night temperatures are 55°F (13°C).

You can set pepper seedlings in the garden earlier if they are protected from the cold by a plastic tunnel or other season-extending devices.

Sweet peppers mature in 60 to 70 days. Sweet peppers can be harvested and used before they mature, or they can be left on the plant until they reach full size and ripen to a deep red color. Hot peppers are ready any time they are usable size.

Peppers grow best in sandy loam that is well-drained and fortified with a lot of organic matter such as aged compost. Plant peppers in full sun. Keep the soil evenly moist from flowering through harvest.

Peppers can share space with cabbage and onions. Carrots are a companion that is said to enhance the growth of peppers.

Pepper seedlings ready for transplanting
Pepper seedlings ready for transplanting

Pepper seedling planting dates

(These dates are for the Northern Hemisphere)

Average date of the last frostPlanting dates
Jan. 30Feb. 1-Apr. 1
Feb. 8Feb. 15-Apr. 15
Feb. 18Mar. 1-May 1
Feb. 28Mar. 15-May 1
Mar. 10Apr. 1-June 1
Mar. 20Apr. 10-June 1
Mar. 30Apr. 15-June 1
Apr. 10May 1-June 1
Apr. 20May 10-June 1
Apr. 30May 15-June 10
May 10May 20-June 10
May 20May 25-June 15
May 30June 1-15
June 10 
Young pepper plants
Young pepper plants

Pepper planting details

  • Sowing depth: ¼ inch (6mm)
  • Space between plants: 18-24 inches
  • Days to sprout: 10
  • Days to harvest: 65-95
  • Storage period: 10 weeks
  • Seeds per 100 row feet: 1 packet (75 plants)
  • Yield per 100 row feet: 50 pounds
  • Sweet pepper varieties: Ace, Bell Boy, California Wonder, Orange Bell
  • Hot pepper types: Jalapeno, Hungarian Yellow Wax, Long Red Cayenne, Red Chili

More on planting and growing peppers:

How to Grow Peppers

Pepper Seed Starting Tips

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. Harvesttotable.com has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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How To Grow Onions

How To Grow Potatoes

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