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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 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 beside): 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

18 Feb 18, Ken (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I planted well developed "red" capsicum seedlings mid November on well drained fertile soil. The plants grew vigorousely and needed staking. Most of the fruit showed white patches which enlarge with time an some were attacked by wasps and possibly birds. What might becthe cause?
10 Feb 18, Gerald (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Both chilli and bell peppers are growing exceptionally well but a bug is drilling a hole into the top of all of them. The bell peppers are filling up with water and rotting before I know it's happened. The chillis are ok to pick. Have cut the fruit open but I can't see anything inside. Any ideas?
06 Dec 17, Bob (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Do i need to stake capsicum
12 Nov 17, Jack (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Is it to late to grow capsicum
06 Feb 18, Colleen (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I live in Christchurch. I had planted my capsicum in Oct 2017 they are still growing. I had put 6 plants in & they are so full that I've had to tie the plants up as very heavy & falling over. I think it depends where u live in NZ on how they grow
12 Nov 17, Liz (New Zealand - temperate climate)
You might be lucky, capsicum like heat and our summer seems to be very slow starting. It is worth a try.
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?
Showing 1 - 10 of 19 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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