Growing Jalapeños in a Pot

Updated on May 10, 2019
Joe Macho profile image

Zach's writing ranges from matters of gardening, cooking, aquariums, and fish to more niche topics like coin collecting.

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 jalapeños in containers.

This popular chili pepper originating from Mexico is a perfect option for your container garden. Throughout the context of this jalapeño 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 jalapeño outlet! Learn all there is to know about growing jalapeño in a pot.

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Basic Necessities of Growing Jalapeños

  • Containers: If you choose to grow jalapeños 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 jalapeño plants both will need a final container size of at least 2 gallons. I always recommend terra cotta planters over plastic, as they help to aerate the soil more efficiently.
  • Sunlight: Like most chili plants, jalapeños 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: Jalapeños 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 Jalapeños From Seed

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

Jalapeño plants both germinate and grow slowly. For this reason, it is recommended to start seedlings indoors 8–10 weeks before your average last frost.

  • Depending on how many jalapeño plants you wish to grow, locate and prepare the correct number of corresponding containers. For starting jalapeño 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 two or three 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 (75–80°F) with relatively low light. Keep the soil evenly moist, and the jalapeño 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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Of the peppers commonly available to gardeners, which ones are your favorite?

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Seedling Care and Transplanting

Great! Now that you've had a few jalapeño 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 jalapeño seedlings healthy:

  • Once the seedlings have sprouted, move them to a warm and well-lit area. It is imperative that the jalapeño seedlings are not exposed to temperatures lower than 65°F. 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. Jalapeños 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 Jalapeño 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 jalapeños outdoors!

Here's what you'll need to provide your jalapeño plants with during their outdoor stay:

  • Sunlight: Remember, maturing jalapeño plants need at least 8–10 hours of direct sunlight daily.
  • Watering: As with the jalapeño 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 overwater, as it will lead to root rot.
  • Fertilizing: If you choose a high-quality potting soil to grow your jalapeño 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 jalapeño pepper.

Note: If your jalapeño 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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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.

Jalapeños 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 jalapeño plants is to pick the peppers during their green stage. This will force more blossoms, meaning more peppers for you.

Have you grown jalapeños before?

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This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2012 Zach

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    • profile image

      PAUL 

      6 months ago

      DO I USETHE SEEDS FORM THE PEPPER AND DO I NEED TO LET THEM DRY OUT

    • profile image

      Damilola 

      11 months ago

      Please i planted Jalapenos about 5 months ago. They flowered consistently for the past 3 months. But only one plant fruited, and it was just a single fruit. It blooms with flowers which later fall off. What do i do?

    • Joe Macho profile imageAUTHOR

      Zach 

      13 months ago from Colorado

      Hi Kristine,

      Your peppers are still very much okay! The white lines (small cracks in the skin) are quite normal for maturing Jalapenos. Have you had any temperature or moisture swings lately? These factors can also affect the amount of cracking that a pepper displays.

    • profile image

      Kristine 

      14 months ago

      What does it mean when my jalapeno have white lines all over the pepper? Are they unhealthy? What am i doing wrong? Most of my peppers are shiny & smooth to touch but lately my peppers have lines. Please advise

      Thank you

    • profile image

      Rhea Casa De Castro 

      14 months ago

      Where to buy seeds or plant's of the jalapeno peppers?

    • profile image

      Eddie 

      15 months ago

      Can i use black containers to transplant my jalapeño final home

    • profile image

      Patricia 

      17 months ago

      Thanks that was helpful

    • profile image

      Connie 

      18 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 

      18 months ago

      This is gay but I like peppers so thanks guys!

    • profile image

      Kc 

      19 months ago

      Thanks for the info helped a lot

    • profile image

      Tracy 

      19 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 

      23 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 

      23 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Yolanda Garcia 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Dlgrizz 

      2 years 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 

      2 years ago

      How big will jalenos grow

    • profile image

      Becky 

      2 years ago

      This is first year to try to grow anything

    • profile image

      Stephanie 

      2 years 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 

      3 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 

      3 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 

      3 years ago

      The hotter the pepper the slower the growth

    • profile image

      Sheriff Ange (DC) 

      4 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 

      4 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 

      4 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 

      4 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 

      4 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 

      5 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 

      5 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 

      7 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 

      7 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

      Vespa Woolf 

      7 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 

      7 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 

      7 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 

      7 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 

      7 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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