Growing Jalapenos in a Pot

Updated on March 30, 2016

If you're living in a concrete jungle but still want to have a harvest of summer crops, container gardening is here to help! With a small area, ample sunlight and a few potting containers, anything is possible. To further make fantasy into reality, our topic of discussion in this article is growing Jalapenos in containers. Yes, this popular chili pepper originating from Mexico, is a perfect option for your container garden. Throughout the context of this jalapeno growing guide, you'll find crucial information on basic necessities, planting, watering, fertilizing and harvesting your container grown chili plant. This summer, it's time to turn that wasted patio space into a productive Jalapeno outlet! Learn all there is to know about growing Jalapenos in a pot.

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Jalapeno Blossom. Photo By : Izik

Growing Jalapenos - Basic Necessities

  • Containers - If you choose to grow Jalapenos from seed, you'll need a few different sizes of containers. For the most part, these can consist of recycled plastic bottles and jars, so there's no need to purchase a multitude of potting containers. However, seedling grown and store bought jalapeno plants both will need a final container size of at least two gallons. I always recommend Terra Cotta planters over plastic, as they help to aerate the soil more efficiently.
  • Sunlight - Jalapenos, like most chili plants, need ample amounts of direct sunlight to thrive. Make sure that you can provide young seedlings with 12-16 hours of direct sunlight and maturing plants with at least 8-10 hours.
  • Soil and Fertilizer - Jalapenos are heavy feeders, so get off to the right start and select a premium potting soil and all purpose fertilizer. The ideal potting soil will be organic, high in initial nutrition, and have good drainage qualities. The selected fertilizer should also be organic and have a NPK of 10-10-10. This will ensure that your plants receive proper nutrition after they've used up the available nutrients in the soil.

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How to Grow Jalapenos From Seed -

Of course, you could always make a trip to your local nursery and pick up a couple of young jalapeno plants, but where's the self satisfaction in that? Here's how to start your jalapeno garden from scratch:

Jalapeno plants both germinate and grow slowly. For this reason, it is recommended to start seedlings indoors 8-10 weeks before your average last frost. Photo By : Niddynoo

  • Depending on how many jalapeno plants you wish to grow, locate and prepare the correct number of corresponding containers. For starting jalapeno seeds, these containers can be as simple as 20 ounce colored soda bottles cut in half with a drainage hole drilled into the bottom.
  • Fill the containers with your potting soil and water thoroughly, allowing excess water to drain away.
  • Plant 2-3 seeds per container at a depth of 1/4 inch. Although you won't be growing all the seeds, planting extra can be viewed as a precaution in case a few don't germinate.
  • Cover the seeds with soil and place in a warm location (75-80F) with relatively low light. Keep the soil evenly moist and the jalapeno seeds should germinate in 14-21 days.

If you find that your soil is drying out too quickly, drape a piece of plastic wrap loosely over the top of each container. This will act as a humidity dome that stabilizes the climate by increasing moisture levels. Seeds will germinate quicker and more successfully using this method. A store bought seedling tray also works very well.

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Seedling Care and Transplanting -

Great! Now that you've had a few jalapeno seeds sprout, it's time to care for the seedlings. You'll be caring for the seedlings indoors until you can move them outside after all threats of frost have passed. Here's what you'll need to do to keep your young jalapeno seedlings healthy:

Photo By : Frankie Roberto

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  • Once the seedlings have sprouted, move them to a warm and well lit area. It is imperative that the jalapeno seedlings are not exposed to temperatures lower than 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The seedlings will also need a great deal of light (optimal 14-16 hours a day). South facing windowsills are a great option if available, but if not, artificial grow lighting will also supply the right amount of heat and light.
  • Keep the soil moist, but be careful not to over water. Jalapenos enjoy a thoroughly moist soil, but can develop root rot if the soil becomes waterlogged. It's good to note that indoor plants do not need to be watered as much to maintain moisture levels, so by watering your seedlings one to two times weekly, you should be just fine!

Besides providing warmth, water and light, transplanting is another key factor for seedling growth and vigor. As the seedlings grow bigger they're going to need more root space, so a schedule of transplanting should be followed. Here's how I conduct my transplanting:

  • Day 14 - Transplant from seedling cup to 3 Inch Diameter Flower Pot.
  • Day 35 - Transplant from 3 Inch to 5 Inch diameter Flower Pot.
  • Day 60 - Transplant from 5 Inch to the final 11 Inch Flower Pot (2 Gallon).

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Caring For Jalapeno Plants -

At this point, I'm going to assume that all went well with the seedling stage, or that you just went ahead and bought a young plant. Either way, it's time to grow your jalapenos outdoors! Here's what you'll need to provide your jalapeno plants with during their outdoor stay:

Green Jalapenos. Photo By : Ken Cook

  • Sunlight - Remember, maturing jalapeno plants need at least 8-10 hours of direct sunlight daily.
  • Watering - As with the jalapeno seedlings, the maturing plants also prefer a soil that is kept thoroughly moist. Watering every other day should satisfy their moisture needs. Careful not to over water as it will lead to root rot.
  • Fertilizing - If you choose a high quality potting soil to grow your jalapeno plants in, they shouldn't need fertilizer until around a month after the date when they were planted in their outdoor container. Fertilize with half the recommended dose, doing so every third watering. It's much easier on the plants if you feed a diluted solution more often than a concentrated dose once or twice over their lifetime. Fertilize up until two weeks before you plan to harvest your first jalapeno pepper.

** If your jalapeno plants were started indoors, you will have to harden off your plants before moving them to the outdoors. This is critical to plant health.

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Jalapenos will turn red when ripe. Photo By : Choose_Freewill

Harvesting -

Finally, the best part! Getting paid off for all your hard work. From seed to usable peppers, the process will take some 90-120 days. It's quite a while, but it's worth the wait. Jalapenos can be eaten green or red. Of course, it will take the peppers extra time to ripen to a red color, thus the 120 days! It's really up to you when you want to harvest your peppers. A trick to increased productivity from your jalapeno plants is to pick the peppers during their green stage. This will force more blossoms, meaning more peppers for you.

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Thank you for reading my guide for how to grow jalapenos in containers. Please feel free to leave me a comment with any questions or suggestions you may have!

Looking for more than just how to grow Jalapenos? Have a look at these :Container gardening guides.

All photos belong to their respected owners and were made available under the Creative Commons Attribution License.

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Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        Connie 

        2 months ago

        Thank you! I grow them in a greenhouse. We have a lot of sunlight, living in Alaska, but I didn’t realize they needed fertilized that much.

      • profile image

        Pepper Plant Peter 

        2 months ago

        This is gay but I like peppers so thanks guys!

      • profile image

        Kc 

        3 months ago

        Thanks for the info helped a lot

      • profile image

        Tracy 

        3 months ago

        Should you pick off the blooms at first to encourage the plant to grow because mine are pretty small right now.

      • Joe Macho profile imageAUTHOR

        Zach 

        6 months ago from Colorado

        Ms. Lynn - Thanks for commenting! It sounds like you live in a very warm area. My suggestion is to start by looking up which Agricultural Zone you live in. Start the seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the average last frost in your area and you're good to go!

      • profile image

        Ms LYNN 

        6 months ago

        I Really want to Try This, if I live in ca. Central Valley (Bakersfield), when should I start by Seeds ? Is there other

      • profile image

        Gretchen 

        8 months ago

        Your article for Jalapeno peppers was very helpful to me. I thought I had mine in enough sunlight and found out differently. Thank you so much!

      • profile image

        Danny 

        10 months ago

        Where on earth do you live to be able to give your Jalapenos 14-16 hours a day?

      • profile image

        Yolanda Garcia 

        11 months ago

        I am growing my jalapeño plant in a pot outside , and was growing well ,went out of town for 3 was .Left my husband to attend to it. He said she was watering it but not giving the jalapeño plant fertilizer. I noticed some brown colored on parts on a couple of leaves. Also noted some weeds growing in the pot

      • profile image

        Nancy B Gass 

        13 months ago

        Am growing jalapeno poppers in container. Not sure what day it's on, but seen no flowers & so far, can't find any small peppers on plant. Is this normal?

      • profile image

        Memjim 

        14 months ago

        If I leave them on the plant longer to turn them red, does that mean they will be hotter?

      • profile image

        Dlgrizz 

        14 months ago

        I grow them next to our alumunim sided garage that gets about 8 hours sunlight nd they grow 4 feet tall. Out of three plants we harvest 4 gallon size buggies every year. Work great for chili, tacos, barbeque etc.

      • profile image

        Becky 

        14 months ago

        How big will jalenos grow

      • profile image

        Becky 

        14 months ago

        This is first year to try to grow anything

      • profile image

        Stephanie 

        14 months ago

        Hello! I bought a jalapeño plant and was going to start it inside. What's a good fertilizer? Could I use a gallon milk jug as a pot? Would a few rocks at the bottom of the pot help with ventilation?

      • profile image

        Lisa S 

        2 years ago

        My young seedlings are doing well indoors in the windowsill, but I'm concerned to put the older plant outside on our balchony as it grows. I live in Southern California, and though there's lots of sun, it is extremely hot and drying. My only outdoor space is a southeast balcony, which gets virtually no shade and we haven't figured out an effective umbrella or sunsail solution. Do you have any suggestions to keep my plants alive and thriving outdoors, and/or a way to get a partially shaded small, windy balcony?

      • profile image

        Tim 

        2 years ago

        Good article.

        I'm on my second year of growing Jalapenos (Jalapeno M type) and they are my favourite chili to go into anything for a bit of heat, but aren't so hot they destroy the tongue etc.

        I'm growing under three 4ft T5 HO fluorescent tubes and my chillies are growing well (Apache, Jalapeno, Cherry Bomb and Hungarian Hot wax). The fluorescents mean I can grow all year round in the UK, and don't consume too much energy (cost about £9/month), and the setup cost about £140, with timer and shoe rack turned into a grow frame to hand the lights off.

        I made the mistake of potting up too soon this year and all plantys have suffered with a bit of wilting and slowing down, due to root rot I think. They do bounce back though if left to dry out.

      • profile image

        Dori 

        2 years ago

        The hotter the pepper the slower the growth

      • profile image

        Sheriff Ange (DC) 

        3 years ago

        Thanks for this very nice, friendly and informative page. I Have 4 seedlings going now (in an apartment). They look good, and I am in the stage of thinking about moving them to a larger size pot. I was successful growing peppers (jalapenos, serranos) outside in a public garden, but container gardening is a whole new ballgame, but I'm excited. I do have a feeling, however, that it may take longer for them to flower and fruit, partly because they're in containers, partly because I do not have access to the wonderful LeafGro natural fertizlier I did, and partly because the sun exposure is not the same. But I will forge on!

      • profile image

        Matt 

        3 years ago

        Thank you, the amazing advice :) it is my first time ever growing a chilli plant. It is coming on really well at the moment, I'm just about to transplant it into a second pot. - I will be growing this plant in my greenhouse, when it matures a bit more.

      • erorantes profile image

        Ana Maria Orantes 

        3 years ago from Miami Florida

        I like to grow small plants. I like your hub on the jalapeño plant.I like the mexican salsa. If I start growing my on jalapeño plant. I will never run out out of jalapeño for my salsa. Thank you for the unique idea. I am growing my own jalapeño plant . I like your article. You are great.

      • Joe Macho profile imageAUTHOR

        Zach 

        3 years ago from Colorado

        Tony - As long as you keep your Jalapeno Plant in a warm and well lit area, it will come back year after year. Some pepper plants can live for 10+ years given the proper care. I would definitely keep watering it! You'll find that each subsequent harvest will be larger than the last! Good luck to you.

      • profile image

        Tony G 

        3 years ago

        I purchased a Jalapeno pepper plant from my local garden centre an had a wonderful crop this was a grafted plant will the plant fruit again next year? and if so do I continue to water and feed it

      • Joe Macho profile imageAUTHOR

        Zach 

        4 years ago from Colorado

        John - There could be many factors that have slowed the growth of your Jalapeno plants, Anything from change of weather, transplanting outdoors, container size, or just the fact that they're starting to flower. If the plants are healthy and not showing signs of any pests, disease, or root bound issues, I would say that they're doing just fine. Let me know how it goes!

      • profile image

        John 

        4 years ago

        Some of my plants are growing well but some seem to have just stopped growing. They only reached the hight of 12 inches. Do you have any suggestions or an answer as to why the stopped?

      • Patsybell profile image

        Patsy Bell Hobson 

        6 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

        I grow TAM Jalepenos. The Texas A&M peppers have the flavor but less heat of jalepenos. Your hub is very helpful.

      • Jojosi profile image

        Gillian Namele 

        6 years ago from Complicated

        I am lucky I have enough space to actually have a bedful of them the whole year round. But this surely is a helpful guide for anyone wanting to produce their own peppers where there is limited space. Good job!

      • vespawoolf profile image

        vespawoolf 

        6 years ago from Peru, South America

        I love your step-by-step hubs and have bookmarked this for later use. We only have rocotos, aji marisol and a couple other chiles this far south of the border, so I miss jalapenos and would like to give this a shot. Thanks for sharing!

      • Joe Macho profile imageAUTHOR

        Zach 

        6 years ago from Colorado

        Catalystsnstars - Ahh, what a bummer! It's too bad you don't have the space. When you do have the space, starting your plants early will really help solidify their success. Thanks for stopping by to read.

        phoenix2327 - It really does seem like it take forever to jalapenos to produce. You're definitely right though, fresh is best. Thank you!

        beauley - Sounds a lot like what I do. I grow herbs and veggies indoors year round as well, but I use a commercial T5 light system. I would love to see your article, but it says it's unpublished.

      • beauley profile image

        beauley 

        6 years ago from New Hampshire, U.S.A.

        A very helpful article. I grow some vegies and herbs indoors year round. Here's how I built my own grow lamp for about $30.

        How To Construct Your own Inexpensive Indoor Grow Lamp

        https://hubpages.com/living/How-To-Construct-Your-...

      • phoenix2327 profile image

        Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

        6 years ago from United Kingdom

        Another good gardening hub.

        I once grew chilli peppers in a container. It seemed like forever before I could finally harvest them but definitely worth the wait. Fresh is best.

        Shared on FB & Twitter.

      • catalystsnstars profile image

        catalystsnstars 

        6 years ago from Land of Nod

        I love peppers and anything hot and spicy and growing hot and spicy stuff!

        Now last year I tried to grow Jalepenos and it didn't work. But now I'm realizing it was probably because we started so late in the year. I'd like to try it early this year but there's nowhere to put them. I'll have to file this hub into my "sustainable living" book and implement it when I have more space.

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