How to Grow a Chili Pepper Plant


Chili peppers are hot peppers used to make recipes like chili con carne and salsa. These types of peppers are a warm-season, slow-growing plant. Plants are available from garden centers and can be transplanted into the garden when the soil is warm. If left on the plant, green chilies turn red and are usually slightly hotter than then the less-mature green pepper. Chilies take about three months to grow once planted outdoors.

Step 1

Place a two-inch layer of compost over the garden soil in early spring. Work into the soil with a shovel and water the area. Plan to plant the pepper plants in the garden when nighttime temperatures stay at 50 degrees Fahrenheit or above.

Step 2

Dig holes with a garden spade 18 inches apart in rows 14 inches apart. The depth of the holes should be slightly deeper then the depth of the chili plants' peat pots. The entire pot must be buried.

Step 3

Water the plants thoroughly, but do not allow water to puddle. The soil must drain well or the plants will develop root rot. Irrigate when the soil starts to dry out at the top and when there has not been sufficient rain.

Step 4

Spread a two-inch layer of mulch around the plants, keeping it two inches from the main stem. This will help keep the moisture level more consistent and keep the weeds from growing, saving you some maintenance.

Step 5

Apply a water-soluble fertilizer to the plants just after planting. Fertilize again after fruit set and every two weeks thereafter. Follow the manufacturer's directions for the amount to apply.

Step 6

Pick the peppers when green for recipes requiring green chilies and red for hot chilies.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Peat pots
  • Garden spade
  • Mulch
  • Water-soluble vegetable fertilizer


  • Colorado State University Extension: Chiles for the Home Garden
  • University of Illinois Extension: Peppers
  • Clemson University Extension: Pepper
Keywords: growing chili peppers, pepper plant care, hot chili peppers

About this Author

Dale DeVries is a retired realtor with 30 years of experience in almost every facet of the business. DeVries started writing in 1990 when she wrote advertising and training manuals for her real estate agents. Since retiring, she has spent the last two years writing well over a thousand articles online for Associated Content, Bright Hub and Demand Studios.