How to Grow Jalapeños in Pots
If you’ve ever dreamt of enjoying home-grown jalapenos but lack a sprawling garden, this guide is for you. Growing jalapenos in pots can be both fulfilling and efficient, taking about 80 days to complete. Plus, Jalapeños is one of the easiest pepper varieties to cultivate. How do you ensure your potted peppers pack the punch? Let’s dive in.
Table of Contents
Growing Jalapeños in Pots: A Detailed Step-by-Step Process
Since you are growing Jalapeños in a pot instead of on the ground, there are some necessary supplies to prepare before planting the seeds.
- Jalapeno seeds. You can easily find them in local Home Depot. You can even find some unique varieties at online retailers.
- Pots (at least 3-5 gallons in size with proper drainage holes). The 5 gallon pot from Spider Farmer is a go-to choice.
- A well-draining soil mix (a combination of potting soil, perlite, and compost is ideal)
- Fertilizer (balanced, like a 10-10-10 ratio)
- A sunny location for the pots
Planting Jalapeño Seeds
- Timing: Plant seeds about 6 weeks before the last expected frost. This allows the plants to mature and yield maximum fruits before the season ends.
- Planting Method: Use seed trays filled with pre-moistened seed starter soil. Plant 2-3 seeds per cell, about 0.5 cm deep, and water them well.
- Germinate Seeds: Ensure the soil stays moist and warm. Aim for a temperature around 80°F. If your house is cool, consider using a seed heating mat.
- Germination: Jalapeño seeds typically sprout in 4-7 days. Once they do, ensure they receive 12-16 hours of light daily. A grow light can be a beneficial addition if natural light is insufficient.
Once the seedlings have grown two sets of true leaves, generally around 2-3 weeks after planting the seeds, and the outdoor temperatures are consistently above 60°F, they’re ready to be transplanted into larger pots. Before transplanting the seedlings, acclimate the seedlings to outdoor conditions by placing them outside for increasing periods each day for about a week, a process known as “hardening off.”
Positioning Your Pots
Find a location that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily. If residing in particularly hot areas, ensure the jalapenos receive some afternoon shade to prevent sunscald.
Fertilizing and Watering
- In the initial growth weeks, rely on the nutrients in the potting soil.
- As the plants mature and start bearing fruit, consider supplementing with fertilizers like Miracle-Gro Organics, Espoma Garden Tone, or Fox Farm Trio.
- Overwatering is a common mistake. Let the soil dry out between waterings, water during cooler parts of the day, and focus the water at the plant’s base.
Typically, jalapenos are ready for harvest when they’re firm, bright green, and about 3-5 inches long. However, for a sweeter flavor, you can let them mature to a deep red. Harvest by cutting the stem with scissors or gardening shears to avoid damaging the plant.
Consider whether you prefer green or red jalapeños. For red ones, let them stay on the plant until they start transitioning in color. They’ll shift from green to black and ultimately to a rich red hue.
Typically, red jalapeños have a spicier kick than the green ones. As they ripen longer, they produce more capsaicin. Additionally, red jalapeños have a sweeter taste compared to their green counterparts.
With these detailed steps, even a novice gardener can successfully grow jalapenos in pots, enjoying the fruits of their labor in various spicy dishes. Happy gardening!
FAQs about Growing Jalapeños in Pots
- Do jalapeños grow well in pots?
Yes, jalapeños thrive in pots as long as they’re provided with adequate soil, drainage, and care. Potted jalapeños allow for better control over soil quality and moisture levels, which can lead to healthier plants.
- Do jalapeños need full sun?
Yes, jalapeños prefer full sun. They require at least 8 hours of direct sunlight daily to flourish. A sunny location promotes healthy growth and fruit production. However, if the natural sunlight is hard to maintain, indoor grow lights are actually quite a remedy.
- How long does it take for a jalapeno to fully grow?
From seed to mature fruit, it typically takes between 70 to 85 days for a jalapeño pepper to complete the plant life cycle.
- How much room does a jalapeno plant need?
While jalapeño plants can be compact, they do best in pots that are at least 4-5 gallons in size. This ensures they have enough space for root growth, which contributes to the overall health and productivity of the plant.