If you are looking for a fun and easy to grow plant in your summer vegetable garden, look no further than growing shishito pepper plants. This mild and bright pepper is known for its thin skin that is quick to blister, which is perfect for japanese style appetizers, stir-fries, tempura, pickling, to sauté and more – foodies can confirm!
This week, we are bringing you a complete guide to this easy-to-grow pepper. From growing to harvesting shishito peppers, we have all of the information you will need for a successful shishito season – vegetable gardening just got way easier for you this summer. Take a look.
What Are Shishito Peppers?
The shishito pepper is a mildly spicy, East Asian pepper variety, also known as capsicum annuum. In Korea, it is known as kkwari-gochu, because the wrinkly surface of its skin resembles ground cherries.
Shishito peppers are considered to be heirloom peppers, which means that their seeds have been around for over 50 years. Shishito peppers have been a common feature in local farmers markets, restaurant appetizers, and gardens around the world.
If you’re looking for where to buy shishito pepper plants, look no further than our Gardenuity Garden Kit. That said, if you are trying to grow these peppers by seed, look no further than Amazon or your local farmers market.
Are Shishito Peppers Hot?
In comparison to other pepper varieties, shishito peppers are not generally known as hot peppers. That said, it is known that there is usually just one pepper out of a shishito harvest that will surprise you with its heat.
When to Grow Shishito Peppers?
When growing shishito peppers, you will want to wait until the threat of frost has completely passed. This heat-loving veggie will do best in weather that is between 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you live in a warm climate, you can start your peppers outside in the spring. If you live in a cooler climate, you should start growing your peppers inside about 8-10 weeks before the last frost date, and then move them outside.
How Long Does it Take to Grow Shishito Peppers?
Shishito peppers plants will be ready for harvest within about 60-65 days after planting. Remember, shishito peppers are best when picked and cooked before they start turning red.
How to Plant Shishito Peppers in Your Garden
You will want to plant shishito peppers in your garden when daytime temperatures are at least 70°F, and night temperatures are above 55°F; soil temperatures should be between 70-80°F.
When planting your peppers you will want to maintain spacing of 12–18 inches apart, and, if you are growing in a raised bed, allow 24–36 inches between rows. If you are growing in a container, you do not need to worry about rows.
Starting Shishito Peppers from Seed
If you are growing shishito peppers from seed, you should start the seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before moving them to your garden. The shishito pepper seeds will typically have a germination rate of about 8-10 days, and then they can even take about 3-4 weeks to sprout.
It is helpful to learn how to grow shishito peppers from seed, but if you’re growing from transplants, it makes the job significantly easier. Seeds are temperamental, where seedlings are simply eager to grow.
When growing your seedlings, you should wait until at least 4 weeks after the last frost date to transplant them outdoors. Be sure that your seedlings are at least 8-12 weeks old, if you are not using a Gardenuity Garden Kit to grow your garden!
When transplanting, be careful not to expose the roots of your plants to the sun. Additionally, keep the soil and root ball extra moist so that the root system does not become damaged in the transition.
How to Grow Shishito Peppers in Containers / Pots
Shishito peppers are versatile, and they are a great addition to your summer container garden. Growing shishtio peppers in containers or pots is as easy, if not easier than growing in a raised bed. The three things you will need to provide your garden with are full sun, a well-drained soil, and a pot that has great drainage.
When growing shishito peppers in a pot, choose a container that is at least 12 inches across. You must make sure that there are plenty of drainage holes for your pepper plants. You can find a potter or a bucket at the store, or, if you are growing a Gardenuity Garden Kit, you will have your Grow Bag ready for your peppers.
Time needed: 21 days
See these steps to growing shishito peppers in a container garden:
- Choose A Container
Choose a container that is at least a gallon deep, and 12 inches across
- Choose A Soil
Choose a well-draining soil, with a pH of 6-6.8
- Choose A Location
Choose a location that will receive at least 8 hours of direct, full sun
- Water Your Peppers
Be sure to provide your plants with ¼-¾ gallons of water each week
- Grow Time!
Watch them grow!
Common Shishito Pepper Growing Problems
The most common issues that gardeners face when growing their shishito peppers include underwatering, overwatering, over-fertilization, transplant shock, fungus, and not enough sunshine. Plants will drop leaves, become wilted and develop spots as a result of over or under-watering. You can avoid these problems by paying close attention to how your plant is growing, and not watering it until the soil has dried almost completely.
Shishito Pepper Growing Conditions & How To Care
Once your transplants are in the ground, it will not be long until your peppers are ready for harvest! Shishito peppers are fairly easy to grow and care for – all you need to do is pay close attention, provide them with enough sunshine and water, and don’t overdo it. Simple enough.
Ideal Potting Soil for Growing Shishito Peppers in Containers
Pepper production is best in fertile, well-drained soils with a pH of 6–6.8. While pepper plants do not prefer too much organic fertilizer, a homemade compost at the base of the plant will provide great nutrients during the growing process.
Ideal Shishito Pepper Growing Temperature
Shishito peppers should not be planted outside until the temperatures are at least 70°F during the day, and when night temperatures are above 55°F. The ideal soil temperatures should be between 70-80°F for the best pepper production.
How Much Sun Do Shishito Peppers Need?
Your shishito peppers will require full sun, which means at least 8 hours of sunlight each day. If you are growing your peppers indoors, be sure to place them in a south-facing window; grow lights will be great tools for growing shishito peppers inside, too.
How Much Water Do Shishito Peppers Need?
Shishito peppers will do well with about ¼-¾ gallons of water each week. Be careful not to overwater your peppers, as they do not like to live in wet soil. Typically, you can aim to water your plants once every 4-5 days. In exceptionally hot and dry summers, you can water every other day, as long as the soil is drying out in between waterings.
Shishito pepper plants can be prone to many insects such as broad mites, aphids, greenhouse whiteflies, two-spotted spider mites, and western flower thrips.
The best way to control pests, especially aphids, is to include companion plants that deter pests from settling into your garden. If the pest numbers become too large, you can wash them off of the plants with a strong jet of water.
Grow Pro Shishito Pepper Growing Tips
- If you live in a generally cooler climate, you can use a heat mat to help your peppers stay warm enough to produce beautiful fruits
- If you are growing from seed, it is safer to start your peppers about 10 weeks before the last frost date, as germination rates can be slower with peppers
- Shishito pepper plants do not prefer for their soil to be overly moist; do not water your plant again until the soil is only lightly moist from the last watering
- If you live in an extremely dry climate, you can add mulch around the base of your plants in order to keep the soil moist during the growing season
Best Companion Plants for Shishito Peppers
The following plants are great companions for your growing shishito pepper garden:
Keep in mind that you should not plant fennel or apricots with your pepper garden!
Shishito Pepper Growing Stages
After your young plants are in the ground, the growing timeline for shishito plants is quite brief. Prepare to receive your first harvest within 60-65 days of planting your shishitos – very exciting.
Transplant shock can happen when planting your seedlings in the ground for the first time. Be sure to keep a close eye on your seedlings for the first week after planting, and allow them to get acquainted with their new environment. Remember, be sure to give them plenty of water and sunshine.
Shishito plants are compact, but they do grow to be about 15 inches tall, and 18-20 inches across. As your peppers grow, keep an eye on the coloring of the fruit.
It’s Time to Harvest
You will know that it is time to harvest your peppers once they are 3-5 inches in length, and when they are a bright green color. Some recommend that you wait for the peppers to turn a deep, dark green color before picking.
I Waited Too Long, Now What?
If you wait too long to harvest your shishito peppers, they will start turning red. Red shishito peppers are still edible, however, they don’t have as rich of a sweet and spicy flavor.
How to Harvest Shishito Peppers
Take a look at the following steps for instructions on how to harvest your fresh shishito peppers:
- Find a clean pair of kitchen scissors or gardening shears
- Snip the pepper off of the plant, leaving about an inch of stem on the pepper
When to Harvest Shishito Peppers
Shishito peppers are most commonly harvested when they are 3-5 inches in length, a deep green color, and when they have been growing for about 60-65 days. Be careful not to harvest your peppers before they are at least 3 inches in length.
How to Store Your Shishito Pepper Harvest
Shishito peppers will last up to about 2 weeks once harvested. To keep them fresh for longer, store them in a paper bag in the warmest section of your refrigerator. Some chefs even enjoy drying out their shishito peppers, so that they can be used all year long.
Shishito Pepper Recipes We Love
The best way to enjoy shishito peppers is by making beautiful dishes out of them. Sometimes all you need is a little bit of olive oil and sea salt, but if you are looking to make something more creative, shishito peppers will be your best feature yet.
Check out some of our favorite shishito pepper recipes:
- Roasted Shishito Peppers & Hollandaise Sauce
- Sauteed Chicken with Shishito Pepper Sauce Over Cheesy Polenta
- Beer Battered Shishito Pepper Tempura with Spicy Garlic Dipping Sauce
- Shishito Sour Cocktail
Grow Pro Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, shishito peppers are perennial.
Shishito peppers take about 60-65 days to grow after being planted.
Yes, shishito peppers are easy to grow. Just be careful not to overwater, and be sure to provide at least 8 hours of full sun each day.
Shishito peppers need at least 18” of space between each plant.
Shishito peppers are ready for harvest when they are between 3-5 inches long, and when they are a bright green color.
Only about 1 in 10 shishito peppers in a harvest will be very spicy. This is a result of the amount of capsaicin grown in a pepper in each growing season. Capsaicin production can be a result of growing conditions and environmental factors, as well.
You can make delicious dishes with blistered shishito peppers. You can also diy any recipes with hollandaise sauce or rich, creamy flavors to compliment the sweet heat of the shishitos.
Shishito peppers grow best in both raised beds and container gardens. We always suggest container gardens, as you can have full control over their environment when the weather throws a curveball.
Shishito peppers require a well-drained, organic nutrient-rich soil with a pH of 6-6.8.
Yes! You can grow shishito peppers in a pot or a container – just make sure it has great drainage opportunities.
Start Growing Your Own Peppers
Congratulations, you are now fully prepared to begin your very own, thriving shishito pepper garden. All you need is a lot of sunshine and a little bit of help from our Grow Pro Services; Grow Pro will guide you through all of the growing stages of your garden, when you start a Gardenuity Container Garden Kit.
Take a look at our Some Like it Hot Pepper Garden to take home a garden kit that is specifically tailored to match the climate of your home. What are you waiting for? Get started today!