How to Start Pepper Plants From Seeds

Overview

Pepper plants are tender vegetables that do not tolerate cold weather well. They need high temperatures and a long growing season to produce fruit. To get a head start, start your pepper plants from seeds indoors in the late winter, eight to 12 weeks before the last spring frost. This will produce large, fruitful pepper plants for the coming growing season.

Step 1

Soak plastic cell plant pots in a mixture of one part bleach and nine parts water. This disinfects the pots by eliminating diseases and hiding insects. Let the pots air dry. Poke holes in the bottom if they don't have drainage holes.

Step 2

Mix together equal parts of shredded pine bark, peat moss and perlite. This soilless mixture will retain moisture while allowing developing roots access to moisture and air.

Step 3

Fill the cells with your potting mixture and sprinkle water over it. Let the mix settle and then top off. Sprinkle with water again.

Step 4

Place the pepper seeds in the cells and cover with a 1/8- to 1/4-inch layer of peat moss. Mist the seeds with water until the peat moss is soaking wet. Cover the pots with plastic to create a greenhouse effect and place them in an area where temperatures stay around 80 degrees F.

Step 5

Remove the plastic in five to 10 days when the pepper plant seeds have sprouted. Keep the seedlings warm and moist as they grow. Transplant the seedlings outside after the weather has warmed up and stays above 60 degrees during the night.

Tips and Warnings

  • Purchase only the amount of seeds you intend to plant for the coming growing season. Germination success decreases as the seeds age. Read the package label and check out the year the seeds were packaged. The older the seed, the fewer seedlings you will end up with.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic cell plant pots Bleach Water Shredded pine bark Peat moss Perlite Pepper seeds Spray bottle Plastic

References

  • University of Illinois Extension: Watch Your Garden Grow: Peppers
  • North Carolina State University: Starting Plants from Seeds
Keywords: starting pepper plants, germinating pepper seeds, growing pepper plants

About this Author

Karen Carter has spent the last three years working as a technology specialist in the public school system. This position included hardware/software installation, customer support, and writing training manuals. She also spent four years as a newspaper editor/reporter at the Willapa Harbor Herald.