Pepperoncini Plant Care

Overview

"Pepperoncini" is a type of Capsicum annuum, the most widely grown pepper plant in the world. Often called "hot" or "chili" peppers, C. annuum plants range widely in terms of heat and taste, as well as in color, shape and size. "Pepperoncini" features sweet yellow peppers that turn red when fall arrives. They are usually harvested while still yellow. These peppers are often pickled or used in mild salsas.

Climate

Pepper plants in general grow best in climates that have extended and warm growing seasons, and pepperoncini plants are no exception. They grow best in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) growing zones 8 through 11 if grown as a perennial. C. annuums are not frost-hardy. They can only be grown as annuals in colder climates than those listed above.

Light and Location

Pepperoncini plants are very similar to tomatoes, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden. They suffer from the same diseases, and have the same growing needs. C. annuum plants need full sunlight and moist but well-draining soil in order to grow well. Plant your pepperoncini plants in a location where they will receive a full day's worth of sunlight, and in soil that does not collect standing water. A raised planting bed works well.

Planting

Plant pepperoncini seedlings at least a foot apart. These pepper plants can grow to 2 feet tall and wide, so they need plenty of room to spread out, according to the University of Florida. Air circulation will also help reduce the chance of fungal diseases occurring. Dig holes just large enough to accommodate the roots of the plants. Back fill the holes with the removed soil once the plants are placed in the hole, and water thoroughly to settle the dirt.

Water and Fertilizer

Pepperoncini plants enjoy consistently moist, but not overly wet, soil. In fact, uniform soil moisture is essential for these plants, according to the University of Illinois. Peppers in general also thrive in soil that is rich in organic matter. A thick layer of mulch (3 to 4 inches) can retain moisture in the soil, stifle weed growth and add important nutrients. Fertilize in the spring with a starter fertilizer (apply according to the directions on the label for the size of your plant) and again with a balanced (10-10-10) fertilizer after the first set of peppers appear.

Problems

Tobacco mosaic disease and verticillium wilt can kill pepper plants. Do not plant pepper plants in any soil that has previously hosted diseased plants. Many home gardeners plant their peppers in containers with sterile soil so as to avoid any chance of contracting these diseases. Pepperoncini plants can also be attacked by any number of insect pests, including caterpillars, spider mites and scale. These can be rinsed away with a strong stream of water and are usually not a serious threat to the life of the plant.

Keywords: pepperoncini plant care, growing pepper plants, Capiscum annuum

About this Author

April Sanders has been a professional writer since 1998. Previously, she worked as an educator and currently writes academic research content for EBSCO publishing and elementary reading curriculum for Compass Publishing. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in social psychology from the University of Washington and a master's degree in information sciences and technology in education from Mansfield University.