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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 beside): Egg plant (Aubergine), Nasturtiums, Basil, Parsley, Amaranth
  • 'Banana' 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 Oct 18, Katherine (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Other than basil is there anything else i can plant with capsicum like lettace and radishes, spring onion? As they are going to be in raised gardens im trying to maximise space
12 Oct 18, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Just give them some area to grow - they could shade other plants which could stunt them a bit. Yep go ahead with your suggestions. If you can find shallot bulbs try them - quick and easy to grow. Or just try a succession of the smaller plants you are talking about. i try and plant taller plants in one end of my garden and smaller in the other end - swap next time I plant.
13 May 18, Diane (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I would like to know if you can chop plant off when finished and it will regrow or do you need new plants each year?
17 Sep 18, Mike (New Zealand - temperate climate)
They are perennial but more so in semi tropical areas. They do not like the cold. Google and read up about it.
02 Jul 18, Cathrine (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I’m curious about this too, Diane. I grew capsicum and chilli outdoors in Wellington this last summer, a bit of a surprise that they fruited. I decided to leave the well established bushes in the ground, after pruning, as they looked healthy and still had growth. It’s early July now and they are still thriving, though the coldest months are too come, but, leads me to thinking that maybe the bushes are somewhat perennial? I’ve check all my gardening books but nothing there. Does anyone else have any experience that might lend to this?
26 Jul 18, Julie Baker (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Only one of my chili plants lasted through the winter in the glass house last year. This year they have all died off, even those outside under a cloche. I think I may have been lucky last year!
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
07 Jun 18, Paul (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Yes you do... If they are left, the plants will snap off as the upper fruit enlarges and ripens. Especially if there is any wind.
Showing 1 - 10 of 26 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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