If you’re looking for a versatile yet spicy pepper to grow in your garden, jalapenos are one of the most popular choices. This little pepper packs a lot of heat while not sacrificing on flavor, making it a favorite for a variety of dishes. Growing jalapenos indoors is easy, and today we’ll look at how you can start growing them and never run out of jalapenos again.
Growing Jalapenos Indoors Vs Outdoors
The good news is that jalapenos grow perfectly well both indoors and outdoors. It’s also perfectly acceptable to grow outdoors in the warmer months, then move them indoors in the summer. You can easily move their container indoors, or even transplant them from the ground to a new container when moving them indoors. The reverse is also true.
It’s important to note that jalapenos are a warm weather plant that likes temperatures of at least 70 degrees fahrenheit. Frost is also a major problem, so make sure to plant them after your frost date and move them indoors before it gets too cold. When growing indoors, keep them away from air vents in the summer as the cold air can negatively impact them.
Planting and Potting
As with many other plants, with jalapenos you have the option to start from either seeds or seedlings. Seedlings are generally an easier but more costly option while seeds take longer to bear peppers but can be more cost effective. We’ll look at both options below.
You can simply plant your seeds in any type of container using a fertile, seed starting soil. You can utilize a seed tray if you want to keep them separated, but you’ll be repotting them later anyways. Keep your seed soil moist and warm for best results. Many gardeners will keep their seed tray on top of the refrigerator until they sprout as it naturally gives off a bit of heat. You can also cover the containers with plastic wrap to trap in moisture and heat.
Once the seedlings sprout and have grown 2-3 sets of leaves it’s time to replant them into their permanent home. From this point on you can follow the seedling steps below. Be gentle when you transplant the seedlings as you want to avoid damaging the stems or roots.
When selecting a seedling, choose one that has a good number of healthy looking leaves but hasn’t started to flower or bear peppers. When planting, you’ll want to select a large pot that is at least 1-gallon to allow for future growth. If possible though, choose a larger one for optimal growth. The larger the container the larger your plant can grow and the more peppers you’ll be able to pick.
You also want to make sure to use a good potting soil. Any name-brand potting soil should work, jalapenos are fairly hardy and don’t need anything special to grow. Plant your seedling, then move it into a sunny location to grow.
At a minimum, you want to make sure that your jalapeno plant gets 6+ hours of sunlight per day. More is always better though. This makes growing jalapenos indoors fairly easy as the light requirements are not as high as other fruits. Keep in mind though that on the lower end of lighting it will take a bit longer for the fruit to grow.
If you’re growing from seeds, a newly sprouted seedling will need much more light. It’s recommended to give these plants 14-16 hours of light per day until you re-pot them into their permanent home. This is much more difficult, and why many gardeners use grow lights to start their peppers off.
Jalapenos like a moist but not soaked soil. You’ll probably end up watering once every couple of days to keep the ideal conditions.
Check the top inch or so of the soil, and water once it is dry to the touch. You’ll want to thoroughly soak the soil, and then leave it be. Generally, once water begins to leak out of a container’s drainage holes you’ve saturated the soil. For outdoor watering you can be a bit more liberal since the water will have more area to drain to.
If the leaves are starting to droop, especially in hot areas, it’s okay to give them a light misting 1-3 times per day. This can help give the leaves extra moisture without the risk of overwatering the plant.
While not strictly necessary, giving your jalapenos a weak fertilizer will help keep it healthy and promote growth. Look to feed every 3-4 weeks with a water soluble fertilizer. You’ll generally only need to do this during the warmer months when the plant is actively growing.
Jalapenos peppers do have some bite to them but are still relatively low on the scoville scale. This means that aren't overly spicy, and usually won't overpower a dish with spice if used in moderation. They also have a unique flavor that goes great in a variety of dishes. This makes jalapenos quite versatile as you can use them for both spice and flavor. You'll find jalapenos used in everything from tacos to pho. Keep them large to add some big, spicy bites; or dice them to help dissipate the heat and make each bite more evenly heated.
Peppers can be harvested once they take on a firm texture and a dark green color. Simply pick or cut the pepper from the plant. It’s a good idea to routinely harvest as this will promote continued flowering and growth.
You can also wait until the peppers begin to take on a more reddish color. Once it begins to change colors it takes on a bit of a sweeter flavor and becomes a bit less hot. Peppers will also naturally do this even after harvested.
When done routinely, a single jalapeno plant can bear fruit for up to 5 years.
Growing Jalapenos Indoors
Jalapenos are an excellent fruit to grow indoors, and are a great addition to any cook’s options. The peppers themselves are easy to grow, and nothing beats using freshly picked peppers in your recipes. Growing jalapenos indoors is fun and easy, and is a great option for any level of gardener.
Growing Jalapenos Indoors FAQ
How Big Do Jalapenos Get?
A jalapeno plant can get to be 2-3 feet tall under proper conditions. This is limited by pot size, if you want a smaller plant use a smaller pot. Note that the larger the plant the more peppers you’ll be able to harvest.
How Long Do Jalapenos Take To Grow?
Once planted, a seedling will bear fruit in roughly 75 days. If you’re starting from a seed, expect around 4 months of time from sowing the seeds to harvesting ripe peppers.
How Long Will a Jalapeno Plant Grow For?
Without frost, a jalapeno can produce peppers for up to 5 years. Frost will quickly kill the plant however so it’s best to grow indoors or move the plant in the colder months.
Can You Move a Jalapeno Plant Indoors During The Summer?
Yes, jalapenos are fairly hardy and take well to transplanting. If you’re moving from the ground to a pot make sure to do so carefully, and then plant into nutrient rich soil to give the plant extra energy to deal with the strain of moving.