Texans fully believe that we live in paradise–and peppers might just agree.
There’s a reason that local cuisine heavily features bell peppers, chilis, and Serranos: peppers are delightfully suited for growing in Texas. Resilient and adaptive to heat, Texans are able to grow peppers almost ten months out of the year, depending on the location. In fact, peppers are one of the only plants that can thrive in the hot summer months of July and August.
Are you interested in adding some pepper plants to your Texas garden? Read on for our best tips, tricks, and growing hacks.
Best Peppers To Grow In Texas
Let’s start at the beginning. In order to grow peppers, you’ll need to narrow down what kind of seeds or seedlings you want to buy. Here are our recommendations for the best peppers to grow in Texas, according to Texas A&M University:
- Bell Peppers
- Big Bertha
- California Wonder
- Yolo Wonder
- Hidalgo Serrano
- Hungarian Wax
- Long Red Cayenne
- Poblano Peppers
How To Grow Peppers In Texas
To get started on planting peppers in your Texas garden, you’ll first need to decide if you want to start with seeds or seedlings. Both are well adapted to the climate. Not sure? Start with the Gardenuity Some Like It Hot, customized growing kit. Everything is perfectly matched to the needs of your pepper plants and your plant collection comes already fully rooted.
How To Plant Peppers In Your Texas Garden
If you are planting in the ground, you’ll want to time your pepper planting around two weeks after the last frost date. In some parts of the state, this can be as early as late February.
Starting Peppers From Seed
Pepper seeds like to be buried around a quarter of an inch deep in nutrient-rich soil. Make sure that your soil is warm, and plant seeds around 18 inches apart. If you choose a container garden, grow one pepper plant per container. Give everything a good water, and make sure the seeds get plenty of sunshine.
Transplanting Pepper Seedlings
When transplanting your young pepper seedlings, be sure to keep their spacing at about 18-24 inches apart in a sunny spot. At the time of planting, mix fertilizer into the soil and water immediately after planting.
Texas Pepper Growing Conditions & How To Care
Provide a general summary of how you caring for your Texas Peppers correctly can ensure a healthier & heartier harvest
Why is it better to grow in containers – what are the benefits over having Texas Peppers grow in a raised bed garden
Ideal Potting Soil For Growing Peppers in Texas
Garden soil is the home of your garden. It’s imperative that it contains the right consistency and nutrients so that your peppers can thrive.
Peppers need well-drained soil with a soil pH between 6.2 and 7.0. Mix compost and/or other organic material into the soil when you plant. Organic matter or organic fertilizer, such as compost, added to your potting mix will help the soil retain moisture, which is imperative for good pepper production. You can find an organic fertilizer at your local garden center, or you can make your own at home. If you’re using a Gardenuity Garden Kit, you will already have our special compost mix handy.
Grow Pro Tip: Mulch the soil around the base of the plant after planting to ensure soil moisture. Using a few inches of mulch, like chopped leaves or straw, helps to maintain moist soil that is nice and cool for your garden.
The Ideal Peppers Growing Temperature
Peppers are a warm-season veggie. Ensure your climate is a match for peppers with Gardenuity match technology. Peppers thrive when nighttime temperatures only drop to a low of 53°F.
How much Texas Sun Do Peppers Need
Ensuring your garden gets enough sunlight is imperative for fostering good growth. Peppers need at least 6 hours of direct Texas sunlight — preferably more — to thrive. Be sure to set your pepper plant out where it will receive full sun, and check on it regularly for signs of sun deficiency. If your home garden will not receive at least 6 hours of sunlight, consider adding some grow lights to your pepper’s environment.
How much Water do Peppers Need?
Peppers need a lot of water, especially when growing in the middle of the Texas summer. Generally, they need about 1-2 inches in total per week. During hot or dry spells, give them a little extra.
To make sure your peppers are getting enough water, check the soil often and see if the soil on top is wet. It should be damp at all times, but not wet.
Remember: if your peppers are growing in a container, they may need to be watered every day. If the heat is too intense, move them into the shade; you may see some flowers fall off, but as long as you keep them watered, you will see an abundant fall harvest.
One of the most difficult aspects of growing peppers is keeping them out of reach from pests and diseases. While this can prove to be quite a challenge, you can choose to grow disease-resistant varieties. Particularly if you are growing by seed, you will be able to read a code on the seed packet which will inform you as to what conditions the plant will be best at resisting.
The most common types of pests for pepper plants are cutworms, flea beetles, aphids, and whiteflies. You can easily be rid of most of these pests by mixing a mild solution of dish soap and water and spraying the leaves of your plants.
Peppers are also prone to a disease called blossom end rot due to a major calcium deficiency and inconsistent watering practices. Get on a regular schedule and make sure your plants have plenty of vitamins in order to avoid this ailment.
The mosaic virus is also a common disease that attracts insects to pepper gardens. Once the virus has invaded the plant, it is already too late to treat the damage. This virus will result in limited fruit production and stunting of the plant’s true leaves.
When to Grow Peppers in Texas?
For best results, see what peppers MATCH to your location and when planting peppers in containers it extends the growing season for you. The most important thing to remember is the soil needs to be at lease 70 degrees F.
Plant pepper seedlings/transplants right after the last spring frost our throughout the summer. For transplants to survive, the soil temperature needs to be at least 65° F during the day.
How long does it take to grow Peppers?
Most sweet peppers mature in 60-90 days. Hot peppers take a little longer somewhere between 3 and 4 months.
Grow Pro Texas Pepper Growing Tips
- Start early. One of the great things about living in Texas is that our warm weather growing season lasts a long time. You can get your pepper plants in the ground as early as February in some parts of the state, ensuring a fresh harvest on your plate just in time for Memorial Day.
- Give your plants a good amount of water. Peppers are resilient to heat and can be grown even in the hot Texas summer–but that doesn’t mean they necessarily are kill-proof. Especially if you’re growing in the summer months, be sure that your plants are getting lots and lots of water to remain hydrated.
- Grow in a container. Peppers are wonderful to grow in container gardens (we highly recommend the grow bag) and raised beds. If you’re in a small space, we highly recommend growing peppers in containers.
Common Texas Pepper Growing Problems & Issues
What are the most common Pepper growing problems & issues that gardeners commonly face?
Under watering: Green, droopy leaves
Over watering: Yellow, droopy leaves
Sun Scalding: White, Wilty Leaves
Calcium Deficiency: Green, Wrinkly leaves
Aphids: Curling of newly green leaves or brownish, dry and dying leaves
Garden Slugs: Leaves with numerous Eraser sized holes
Best Companion Plants for Peppers
A pepper companion plant is a plant that, when planted near your pepper, helps your pepper thrive — either because of pest control, pollination, or increasing productivity. A plant foe is one that prevents peppers from thriving.
The following are pepper’s best companion plants and worst plant foes.
|Pepper Plant Companions||Pepper Plant Foes|
In the first stage of development, the seeds begin to germinate, forming small leaves and tiny roots. They do this best when tucked about a quarter of an inch into warm, nutrient-rich soil.
After germination, the plant will begin to develop in full. It will grow green leaves and flowers, which will be pollinated to help create the fruit. The pepper will develop from the flower and begin to ripen.
It’s Time To Harvest
Your peppers will continue to ripen as they hang on the vine. Once they have reached your desired color or maturity, they are ready to be harvested and enjoyed.
I Waited Too Long, Now What?
If your peppers become slimy and mushy, you’ve waited too long to harvest edible fruit. Remove the peppers from the vine, cutting as closely as possible to the base of the growth. Continue to water your pepper plant and wait for new peppers to sprout.
How To Harvest Peppers
When your peppers are ready, use pruning scissors or shears to cut ripe peppers off at the vine, leaving a short stem attached. Do not pull off peppers by hand; this can cause entire branches to break.
Peppers will continue to produce tasty fruit throughout the summer. As the season continues, your plant will make less fruit until cold weather in the fall freezes them to the ground. At this point, dig up your pepper plant and compost the plant.
When to Harvest Peppers in Texas
Depending on your preference, harvest your peppers at different stages of maturity. Young peppers are usually green while most mature peppers are red. As they mature, they get warmer in color and sweeter in color. This means an awesome variety of flavors and nutrients all from one plant.
If your pepper is red, harvest immediately — they’re ripe! Green peppers are continuing to grow seeds, but can still be harvested and eaten. The best way to harvest your peppers is to take a clean, sharp knife and cut the fruit from the main stem.
However, be careful not to harvest too many peppers before they reach full maturity. When you pick green peppers, the plant gets nervous and produces more fruit. Although this might sound great, this is like having more and more children in a family; when resources are divided amongst a growing number of peppers, the flavor and nutrition in each decreases.
Harvest one or two peppers at a time as you grow to experience all of the different flavors while keeping your plant happy and productive.
How to Store Your Pepper Harvest
First, wash and pat your peppers dry. Keep in mind that harvested peppers will continue to change color for 3 days after harvest when stored at room temperature. To stall maturation, place peppers in the refrigerator. If peppers show signs of shriveling or softening, refrigerate and use immediately.
Texas Pepper Recipes We Love!
Whether you go for heat or sweet, peppers are a delicious component of a wide variety of dishes. Here are a few of our favorites:
Our Grow Pros Most Frequently Asked Questions
Peppers take between 60 and 90 days to be ready to harvest.
Depending on where you live in Texas, you might be able to plant year-round. Peppers don’t like the cold, so you’ll want to time your planting around the first and last frost date. If you live in an area that only has a couple of cooler months (looking at you, Houston!), you should be able to grow peppers for around 10 months of the year.
Start your peppers around two weeks after the last frost date. In Texas, this means late February to mid-March.
Peppers need a lot of water to thrive. Plan on watering your peppers between one and two inches per week, and add a little extra during epic Texas heat waves.
Fertilize your plants with a pepper-specific blend either once a week or once every two weeks.
Peppers like neutral or slightly acidic soil. Try a potting mix supplemented with compost for a nutrient-rich blend that retains moisture.
You should aim to water peppers at least once a week. If temperatures are rising, you may want to check in daily to make sure your plants are staying hydrated.
Start Growing Your Own Peppers!
Now you have all of the tools you need in order to grow a bursting and bustling pepper garden. If you have any questions during your gardening journey, reach out to our Grow Pros for expert growing advice and a confidence boost. Start your pepper container garden kit today!