Growing Jalapenos in a Pot
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.
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.
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.
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
Of the peppers commonly available to gardeners, which ones are your favorite?
- 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).
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.
Jalapenos will turn red when ripe. Photo By : Choose_Freewill
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.
All photos belong to their respected owners and were made available under the Creative Commons Attribution License.