Pepper plants come in two main varieties: hot and sweet. They are warm-season, tender plant that cannot withstand frost. People often use pepper fruits as a nutritious addition to salads, soups and stews. Peppers require a similar growing environment to tomatoes, but grow more slowly. Knowledge of how to create this environment for your pepper plants can help you produce a bountiful harvest.
Plan to plant your pepper plants two weeks after the last frost date. The soil needs to be warm or the plants will not grow or set fruit. Plant the pepper seeds eight weeks before that date, placing each seed 1/4 inch deep in a small pot filled with a mixture of half peat, half perlite.
Water the seeds. Place a layer of sphagnum moss on top to prevent "damping off," a fungal disease that kills pepper seedlings. Place the seeds on top of the refrigerator until the seeds start to grow, then move them to a bright location. Keep the seedlings consistently moist.
Move the seedlings outdoors when they are 5 inches tall to a place that receives partial shade and protection from the wind. Gradually increase exposure to the sun until the plant can withstand full sun. This is called "hardening off." Bring the plant indoors before a frost.
Plant the peppers outdoors in an area with full sun and well-drained soil after all danger of frost passes. Space sweet and bell peppers 15 to 18 inches apart, and hot peppers 12 to 15 inches apart. Water after planting and place 1 tsp. of 5-10-10 fertilizer around each plant.
Keep the pepper plants moist until they start to grow again. Only water in dry weather after that point. Keep down the weeds as well.
Apply 1 tsp. of 5-10-10 fertilizer around each plant when blossoms set. Spray the plants with 1 tsp. of epsom salts dissolved in a quart of water encourage the pepper fruits to set.