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Red peppers in the garden

All About Peppers

Homegrown Hotties

Growing Peppers

From sweet peppers for snacking to hot peppers that will nearly set your mouth on fire, there's a pepper for every taste. Peppers are one of the easiest vegetables to grow in the garden or a pot. Plant peppers in spring or early summer and place them in an area that receives at least 6 to 8 hours of sun.

Homegrown peppers are more flavorful than peppers from the market and are loaded with key nutrients. They're low in calories and a great source of vitamins A and C, potassium, folic acid and fiber. Plus, they'll liven up homemade meals and even drinks.

green belle pepper plant
basket of peppers in yard

video: How to Grow Peppers

Pepper Uses

Peppers are one of the most versatile vegetables with their wide range of flavor from sweet to hot. When choosing pepper plants for your garden think about how you'd like to enjoy them. Decide if you want peppers for salads, to use as a main course as a stuffed pepper, or to add heat to salsa. Below is a guide to the world of peppers in order from sweet to very hot.

hot peppers on a cutting board

Bell Peppers

green better belle pepper on pepper plant

Better Belle

Compact plant perfect for pots with large green peppers.

California wonder peppers in garden

California Wonder

A classic heirloom pepper that can be harvested green or left until it turns red for a sweeter flavor. Great as a stuffed pepper.

yellow golden peppers


Versatile, sweet yellow pepper.

Mild Chili Peppers

sweet banana pepper on pepper plant

Banana Sweet

A favorite for pickling, stuffing, salads, sandwiches or frying. Harvested yellow.

Jalapeno peppers on plant


Mild to medium hot green pepper. Use for stuffing, pickling, jelly, salsa, and drinks. Chipotles are smoked, ripe jalapenos.

Poblano pepper


Use for chili rellenos and mole poblano. Roast and peel for canning or freezing. Ripens reddish-brown.

Spicy Chili Peppers

Hungarian Wax pepper

Hungarian Wax

A yellow pepper that looks similar to the banana pepper, but much hotter. Great for roasting. Use for stir fry, pickling or fresh eating.

hot serrano peppers


Use for pico de gallo, salsa, marinades, sauces and chilis. Unlike other peppers, it can be harvested at any color stage.

Very Spicy Chili Peppers

scotch bonnet peppers on a plate

Caribbean Red (Scotch Bonnet)

Very hot pepper. Use in sauces, salsas and marinades.

hot ghost pepper on pepper plant

Ghost Pepper 

Red in color and exceptionally hot. Use fresh or dried in curries, pickles and chutneys.

Habanero hot peppers


One of the hottest peppers out there! Harvest orange. Citrus flavor with a hint of smoke. Popular for hot sauces and spicy foods.

Pepper FAQs

It's going to freeze, what should I do?

Pepper plants like it warm and cannot take a freeze. If the temperature drops into the 30's protect your peppers. First, water the soil well to hydrate the pepper plant and apply a 2-inch layer of mulch to help provide insolation. Around sundown, apply frost cloth and remove in the morning before the sun comes up.

I bought a red/yellow pepper, but it is green.

All peppers start green and will ripen to it's ready-for-harvest color.

Can I plant sweet/hot plants together? 

Absolutely, the hot pepper will not change or affect other peppers or vegetable plants.

I found large green caterpillars. Will they hurt my pepper plant?

These are called tomato hornworms and they are heavy eaters. They quickly eat foliage and damage the peppers. It's important that you treat your peppers right away with Bonide BT Thuricide. It's an organic insect spray that controls garden pests while being bird-safe and won't harm beneficial insects.

The new leaves on my pepper plant are curling. 

Look at the underside of the leaves and you'll likely find tiny white, green or yellow bugs. These are aphids and are sometimes so small you can't see them with a human eye. Aphids suck on the foliage and produce waste that looks like a sticky, sugary substance. To get rid of aphids apply all natural Bonide Captain Jack's Deadbug Brew. Aphids can also be prevented or eliminated with beneficial insects like ladybugs.

The leaves on my pepper plants have holes. 

If you see many holes, usually the size of an eraser that likely means you have garden slugs. This is more common after a good rain. Apply Sluggo to around your pepper plant.

My pepper plant looks sad and droopy.

This is common during hot, summer days and is a sign that your pepper plant needs more water. Water in the morning between 6-9am at the base of the pepper plant. Your plant should perk up quickly.

Are peppers a fruit or a vegetable?

Peppers are a fruit. By definition, fruit has at least one seed and are grown from the flower of the plant.

DIY Project Ideas

Create a Victory Garden

Tips for creating a 4x4 ft. plot brimming with veggies and more.

DIY Pizza Garden

Everything you need for a tasty pizza grown in a container. Fun for kids!

DIY Griller's Garden

A garden filled with peppers and more to bring out your inner grill master.

DIY Salsa Garden

Plant everything you need to make your own salsa, pico de gallo and hot sauce!