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Growing Capsicum, also Bell peppers, Sweet peppers

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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 18°C and 35°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 20 - 50 cm 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

11 Feb 15, Rob (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi I have been growing Californian Capsicums in pots, the fruit on the plant are the size of a golf ball and have been this size for about 6 weeks but seem not to be getting any bigger. Any thoughts
07 Dec 11, cherry rotella (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
I planted red capsicums in august. They are growing tall, lots of foliage. Very tiny peppers are appearing but they are not growing any bigger. They appear to be turning brown and falling off.
07 Apr 11, Sara Boeyen (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Last summer I planted four green capsicum seedlings and they have been prolific producers and are still flowering now. However the capsicums have been very bitter, only the very large ones are edible. This is the first time I have grown capsicum, could the soil nutrients be to blame? I think next year I will try a coloured capsicum so at least I know I won't be harvesting them too early.
12 Jan 09, Lucy (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hi, I am wanting to know why my capsicums are getting dry on the bottom of the base stem, my mum says it's because i'm not watering them enough (i'm 13) but I water them every day, can somebody please tell me why and how I can fix it?
18 Dec 08, Wayne (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hi my caps and chillis are in my hothouse the temperatures can get up to 42cel is this too hot and will it affect their growth
11 Dec 08, Liz (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Lucy, my capsicums have also been slow starting. I think the cool spring nights have slowed them down. You should see some improvement as the weather settles down.
10 Dec 08, lucy (New Zealand - temperate climate)
how long do capsicums take to grow? because I put some in in september and they were allready seedlings and now their about 20cm tall but they are not flowering, why not???
19 Oct 08, lucy (New Zealand - temperate climate)
thanks, i will plant the courgettes in my vege garden.
15 Oct 08, lucy Dobinson (New Zealand - temperate climate)
can you grow capsicums with courgette?
21 Sep 08, Lucy Dobinson (New Zealand - temperate climate)
do capsicum plants grow well in big pots? Because I have just planted some seedlings in a big pot, and I am wondering if they will still produce fruit.
Showing 1 - 10 of 13 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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