How to Grow Hot Peppers Indoors

Overview

If you like homemade salsa or hot sauce, there's no better way to keep a fresh supply of hot peppers all year than to grow a plant indoors. Smaller varieties do well in containers. You'll have fresh peppers and a cheery little plant to perk up your indoor living space.

Step 1

Choose a smaller variety of hot pepper to grow indoors, as these will flourish in containers. Susan Belsinger, author of "Growing Chile Peppers Indoors," recommends chiltepins, habanero and Thai peppers. All have longer growing seasons so you will get more fruit from your hot pepper plant.

Step 2

Find a location inside that is warm and well-lit. Peppers need at least six hours a day of full sun and they don't like cold temperatures. If you don't have a southern-facing window for full sun exposure, use a grow light or heat lamp to supplement the sunlight you do have.

Step 3

Use a container that is at least 12 inches in diameter for your hot pepper plants; you can go a little bigger, up to 18 inches, to give them plenty of growing room.

Step 4

Prepare your container. Poke holes in the bottom for drainage, if there aren't any already there. Place a saucer under the container to catch excess water. Put a layer of pebbles down in the bottom of the container; make it 1 to 2 inches deep. Fill the rest of the container with a good potting soil mix.

Step 5

Plant your pepper seeds (or seedling). Put two to four seeds or one seedling in each container. Barely cover the seeds with a layer of potting soil. Plant the seedling so the roots are covered but the plant sits above the potting soil.

Step 6

Water seeds with a mister or spray bottle. Water seedlings with a small watering can until the soil is damp.

Step 7

Check daily and water if the soil is dry. Pepper seeds germinate, depending on variety, in 12 to 20 days. If plants do not appear healthy, try a little more heat (put a heating pad underneath a tray and set the plants on the tray) or give them a little more light. During warm weather (temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit), set the plants outside for maximum sunshine.

Step 8

Pick the peppers as you wish to use them. It won't hurt the plant to pick several at once. The longer you leave the peppers on the plant, the hotter they will get.

Tips and Warnings

  • Wear kitchen gloves when cooking with hot peppers; the juice can burn skin and eyes. If you get hot pepper juice in your eyes, flush immediately with water.

Things You'll Need

  • Container
  • Saucer
  • Pebbles
  • Potting soil
  • Pepper seeds or seedling
  • Grow light or heat lamp (optional)
  • Heating pad (optional)

References

  • Susan Belsingers - Growing Chile Peppers Indoors
Keywords: hot peppers, container gardening, growing peppers inside

About this Author

Annie Mueller is a professional writer and blogger. Since 2003 she has written extensively on small business, finances, parenting, education and personal growth, and has been published on Financial Edge and many other websites. Mueller attended Missouri Baptist College and earned her Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude, in English from Mississippi State University.