Growing peppers indoors

With over 600 species, it’s no wonder peppers are one of the most popular vegetables to grow at home. They are very adaptable plants, so you can have fun growing them indoors.

Peppers are relatively easy to grow and will adapt to being grown inside. The plants must be in a position where they will get light for at least 12 hours a day. Growth lights can be used to supplement the natural light and to keep the area warm. The plants can also be grown hydroponically.

When you decide to plant peppers in containers and keep them indoors, you are on a good bet. Peppers are unfussy plants and will grow well, provided you give them enough light and water.

Growing peppers indoors

Peppers are not particularly fussy plants and will grow well in containers indoors. They do need about 12 hours of light a day and to be kept relatively warm. You can use grow lights, or place the containers in a well-lit part of your house.

Peppers will grow well in containers, which is the clue to growing them indoors, or at least on a sheltered verandah.

The soil in the container needs to drain well and should be slightly alkaline.

The plants need about 6 hours of light a day to grow, but will need more to produce fruit, especially of a decent size and quality.

You should try to place the containers in a well-lit area, so that the plants will get at least 12 and up to 16 hours of light a day.

You could also grow them on a sheltered verandah.

If your house is not set up for the peppers to get enough light for long enough, you may have to use indoor grow lights.

Another alternative is to grow peppers indoors in a greenhouse.

Because peppers are sensitive to temperature and grow best when it is warm, this is a good option to produce strong plants.

You can read about how peppers are one of the Best Vegetables to Grow in a Greenhouse.

Growing peppers indoors year round

Pepper plants need a consistent supply of light for between 6 and 12 hours a day. They also need to be watered regularly. Using grow lights is a good alternative to provide enough light and to keep the temperature warm the whole year round.

One of the clues to growing peppers successfully indoors is to make sure they get enough, strong light.

They need between 6 and 12 hours of light a day.

This isn’t always possible when you grow them inside year round, so you should make sure you place the pots containing the plants right next to a window that gets sun for most of the day.

You will need to take care, though, that the plants don’t get burned by the heat of the sun, especially in summer.

The other alternative is to use grow lights, which will allow you to control the amount and intensity of light.

You’ll also be able to keep the temperature controlled, because peppers need at least three months of temperatures around 65 °F to grow and fruit properly.

You can use the grow lights to keep the temperatures higher and to extend the period of light in winter.

Another alternative to growing peppers indoors is to construct a greenhouse in which they will do very well.

Read more to understand how to grow vegetables year-round in a greenhouse.

Growing peppers hydroponically

Growing vegetables hydroponically means growing them in water or in a solution containing nutrients. Peppers grow well hydroponically, because they are not very fussy plants. If they are grown in a solution, the pH must be kept slightly alkaline.

One of the best vegetables to grow hydroponically is a pepper.

They are not particularly fussy plants and will do well if the hydroponic system is set up to favor them.

This means keeping the growing solution between a level of 6.0 and 7.0 pH.

When you set out to grow peppers hydroponically, you’ll need to decide if you are going to grow them only in water, or in a solution.

If you want to explore growing peppers hydroponically, you can read all about it in a Hydroponics overview.

Growing peppers from seed indoors

Provided that the soil is warm enough, pepper seeds will grow effectively inside. They should be planted fairly shallow in the soil and kept in optimum conditions. This means enough light, heat and water.

Pepper seeds do best when planted in warmer soil, which you can achieve quite easily inside.

You will often find that growing pepper plants begins with the seeds being planted and kept inside until they germinate, because of this temperature requirement.

The seedlings can then be planted outside when they are established and the temperatures are warm enough.

When you begin to grow your pepper seeds inside, make sure they are planted quite shallow, about 0.25 inch (0.6 cm), in soil that is relatively warm (about 70 °F).

It’s important that you keep the pepper seeds in as much of a controlled environment inside as you need.

This will mean making sure the temperature remains at least 65 °F, with sufficient light for at least 10 hours a day.

Water the plants every couple of days, not every day, because the water mustn’t become too wet.

In fact, keep the soil damp and only water when it has dried out a bit.

Growing peppers indoors with grow lights

Grow lights can be important when you grow peppers inside, because they can help to make sure the plants get enough light. They can also be used to extend the hours of light the plants get every day. They also provide heat.

Pepper plants need strong light to grow well.

If they don’t get enough light inside, they will become tall and straggly.

This is why you may need to use grow lights with your pepper plants indoors.

By selecting the correct type of light and controlling the voltage and intensity, you can make sure the pepper plants get enough of the correct light.

You can also extend or limit the amount of time the plants receive light.

Grow lights provide light and heat, so you can help them to keep the temperatures higher, which is what pepper plants prefer.

Make sure you use the correct type of light that will give you the intensity and heat of light you need for your region.

Growing peppers indoors pollination

You only need one pepper plant for pollination, because they are self-pollinating. However, inside there is no wind and no bees to help move pollen. You will need to pollinate your pepper plants manually when you grow them indoors.

Pepper plants are self-pollinating, which means you only need one plant for pollination to occur.

The problem is, however, that plants need some form of agent of pollination, such as insects or wind.

Of course, this is not possible when the pepper plants are grown indoors.

You will need to pollinate your pepper plants manually, preferably in the late afternoon or evening.

It’s relatively easy to do this, as long as you are careful.

Use a small paint brush to gently gather some of the pollen from the stamens and then brush it over the pistils of the plant.

If pepper plants are exposed to very high temperatures during blooming, the blossoms may die and fall off.

This will, of course, affect the pollination of the plant.

Conclusion

Growing plants indoors can be fun and rewarding. Growing edible plants can be even more gratifying. Peppers are relatively unfussy plants and will grow well indoors, either from seed or seedlings. With over 600 species, you can take a bet that these plants will keep on giving.

About the author

Greg Volente

Greg Volente holds a Naturalist Certificate from the Morton Arboretum, worked for The Nature Conservancy leading environmental education programs and doing natural areas restoration, and worked in the soil science research & testing lab at Michigan State University. Besides gardening, he's an avid wildflower enthusiast, and loves botanizing, hiking, and backpacking.