Starting your own pepper plants, of any variety, can be a challenging task, which is why many buy seedlings that have already been started from a garden center. If you are up for a challenge, and have some patience, you may want to germinate your pepper seeds and start your own plants. All varieties of peppers need warm soil for germination. While sweet peppers may germinate in soil temperatures of 70 degrees Fahrenheit, hot peppers prefer temperatures closer to 80 degrees. To achieve this temperature and germinate your pepper seeds, you must lend a helping hand.
Submerge your pepper seeds in lukewarm water for up to three hours before germination.
Cover a home heating pad with a small dish towel and place on a flat surface, away from direct sunlight. You will be putting your seed tray on this later.
Put your seed-starter soil mix in a large bowl or pail, and add water until the soil is moist. Saturate the peat pots with water as well.
Fill the peat pots with the potting soil mix, leaving 1/2 to 3/4 inch between the top of the soil and the top rim of the peat pot. Place the pots in the bottom of the plastic seed tray when you fill them. Seed trays with covers are available in any department store or garden center.
Remove the pepper seeds from the water, using tweezers if you are not able to pick them up with your hand. Insert the seed into the soil in the peat pot at a depth of 1/4 inch. Cover the seed back up with soil. Continue this process until you have planted all of your pepper seeds.
Cover the tray of peat pots with the plastic lid that came with the tray. This creates a dome that traps in the heat and moisture needed for germination. If something happens to your lid, use plastic wrap; just make sure the wrap covers the entire tray.
Put the tray of peat pots on the heating pad and set the heating pad on "Low."
Pour in just enough water to cover the bottom of the tray on a daily basis. The water should not be deep, as you don't want to oversaturate the seedlings, but it needs to be enough to keep the peat pots moist. Since you have the tray set on a heating pad, monitor the moisture content of the pots to make sure they don't dry out.