Bell peppers, a tropical or sub-tropical vegetable, can easily be grown in warm-weather climates or in cooler climates where temperatures in the summer get seasonably warm and remain warmer than 50 degrees every night. You can grow these peppers, colorful and flavorful, by selecting from dozens of different varieties. As with any garden vegetable, the bell pepper has specific requirements that will aid in its growth. Understanding those requirements is key to a successful harvest.
Start seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before last frost. Wait until the soil temperature reaches at least 70 degrees before planting bell peppers outdoors. Once the plant seed has germinated, it takes approximately 70 to 80 days for a bell pepper to reach maturity. The plants can produce peppers continually until first frost.
Mature plants typically reach 18-24 inches tall. Plants should be spaced 18-24 inches apart in rows at least 2 feet apart. Staking or using cages helps support the plant's structure and prevents the peppers from becoming sunburned. Place the stakes every 5-6 feet and interweave string back and forth between the plants and stakes. Lines should be run after every 6 inches of growth.
Peppers flourish in temperatures above 80 degrees. You'll need to water regularly during hot weather. Keep the soil moist but not wet with standing water. Plant your bell peppers in a raised bed or ridge to promote good drainage.
As the plants mature, the fruit on the plant will start to grow as well. Most bell pepper fruits grow to an average size of 3 to 4 inches. Depending on the variety, they may also change color, from green to red, yellow or orange, as they ripen.
Temperatures below 50 degrees may cause the fruit not to develop or to develop at very slow rates.If you start your pepper plants in a container, do not transplant them until overnight temperatures warm up sufficiently. Most insects will not bother peppers, but aphids and white flies can be a problem. Insecticides and natural predators, such as ladybugs, may be options to control these pests.