Bell Peppers

The bell pepper is not easy to grow outside in the British climate, it is possible that they will do okay in a warm, sheltered spot in the southern reaches of the UK but it is easier to grow bell peppers successfully in a greenhouse or polytunnel. They can be part of many meals and can be delicious when eaten raw or cooked. Peppers are technically a fruit, though of course in a culinary context they are usually treated as a vegetable.

Growing bell peppers:

Bell Pepper seeds will have to be planted indoors very early in the growing season. They need time to mature and so you will need to give them a good head start indoors before planting them out in an unheated polytunnel or greenhouse after all risk of frost as passed. Place the seeds in the growing medium and place in a heated propagator or in a warm place. Once the seeds have germinated the seedlings can be placed on a warm, sunny windowsill in a heated room.

One the peppers have formed two true leaves they should be transplanted into pots that are around 7.5-9cm in diameter. When the roots fill the smaller pots the bell peppers should be transplanted into larger pots, around 30cm in diameter, though they should not be moved outside or to an unheated location until after the last frost in your area. The bell peppers can be kept in their pots or planted in soil, leaving around 45cm between each plant.

Pinching back the growing tip of the plants when they reach about 20cm in height will encourage the plants to become more bushy. Side shoots that form can also be pinched back if you want lots of smaller fruits to form.

Peppers like heat and should be watered consistently and not allowed to either dry out or become waterlogged. The will appreciate an potash rich organic fertiliser especially when fruits begin to form. They do well when planted next to tomatoes.

Peppers like high humidity so a dense ground cover plant can help in that respect, so plant basil or other low-growing herbs beneath peppers and tomatoes in your polytunnel, greenhouse or garden.

You can harvest green peppers as and when they form and flesh out or wait for some to mature to red. Red peppers contain more healthy nutrients but allowing fruits to mature means you will get fewer bell peppers from a plant.

Why grow bell peppers in the garden?

Bell peppers are a great addition to a kitchen garden as the can be used in the kitchen in so many different ways. They are high in vitamin C and other useful nutrients and are a great addition to any diet and any garden greenhouse or polytunnel.

Quick Facts

Latin Name
Capsicum annuum