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Growing Capsicum, also Bell peppers, Sweet peppers

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec

Not recommended for growing in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions

  • Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 64°F and 95°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 8 - 20 inches apart
  • Harvest in 10-12 weeks. Cut fruit off with sharp knife.
  • Compatible with (can grow in same bed): Egg plant (Aubergine), Nasturtiums, Basil, Parsley, Amaranth
  • 'Banana' capsicum
    'Banana' capsicum
  • A yellow capsicum
    A yellow capsicum

Small bushy plant about 40cm high The seeds are reluctant to start germinating if temperatures drop at night. These are best sown in small trays in a warm, sheltered place: a small greenhouse if possible. Then plant out when about 10 -12cm (4-5in) tall.

They are from the same family as chilli but are not hot and spicy. The seeds are bitter.

Capsicums are frost tender and need warmth to ripen the fruit to the brilliant reds and yellows of commercial ones. They can be used green but are not as sweet.

There are a number of colours available, chocolate, black, yellow, orange as well as red. They all start off green and change as they ripen.

In cool, wet weather cover with a cloche or frost fleece.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Capsicum

Can be sliced and seeded and used raw in salads.
Will freeze successfully without blanching if seeded and sliced.

Or brush with olive oil, roast at a high temperature until the skin changes colour
then put in a covered dish until cool and rub off the skin and remove seeds.

Your comments and tips

09 Feb 17, Tony Mnisi (South Africa - Humid sub-tropical climate)
I'm based in Pretoria. I want to know as to where can I buy bell peppers in my area?
09 Feb 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Capsicum or Bell Pepper seed should be easy to get at Nurseries and Garden Centres in Pretoria. If not there are 2 or 3 Online (Internet) Seed Companies in South Africa. Trust this helps.
25 Jan 17, Wendy (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi, I planted capsicum seedlings last October however they haven't seemed to have grown at all. I have fertilized them and watered them, used mulch but nothing :(. This is also happening to my eggplant seedlings which I planted at the same time. Please help
26 Jan 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
I don't know where you live but I live in South-eastern Australia and we have had hot days followed by cold days and the same inconsistency with rainfall. My eggplants are well manured and composted and have started to flower but are only about 30 or 40 cmss high. Now that we are having some more consistent weather I am looking forward to some better results. Trust this helps.
09 Jan 17, (Australia - temperate climate)
How do you know when to pick capsicum?
16 Jan 17, John (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Pick them to eat when they are big enough! if you want an early feed. They are great stuffed and roasted when they are small. Green 'bell' capsicums will continue to mature and become yellow, orange or red. Longer capsicums will normally change to a bright yellow or red. It's mostly a personal thing. Trust this helps.
30 Dec 16, Dawn (Australia - temperate climate)
My long capsicums have developed soft brown spots & streaks. It doesn't look like the pictures I've seen of blossom end rot, And the local nursery said I had a fungal problem, I've sprayed with an eco fungicide however the problem is getting worse. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
18 Dec 16, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I'm just wondering whether capsicum plant can survive over winter?
08 Jan 17, Bob Bradley (Australia - temperate climate)
I have a capsicum plant that is now 3 years old and producing a bumper crop so they certainly can withstand an Adelaide winter. Cheers.
20 Dec 16, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Capsicums, like tomatoes, are perennial and will last over winter in a frost free area. We mostly treat them as an annual for convenience. they can get untidy into their second year. if you have healthy plants and no frost there is no reason why you can't cut the plants back or remove the 'leggy' bits and let them keep growing. The other reason we normally treat them as annuals is so we can plant them each year in fresh soil and reduce the effect of any soil-born diseases. Trust this helps.
Showing 1 - 10 of 371 comments

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. GardenGrow is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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