For those looking to add a bit of spice to their cooking, growing hot peppers is a fantastic way to do so. Peppers are a great indoor garden plant as they take up relatively little space and are fairly easy to care for. Bright light is the only requirement, and if you can provide that it’s easy to always have peppers on demand . Let’s look at how to grow hot peppers indoors, and learn how easy it can be to have a constant supply no matter the season.
Choosing The Variety
With hot peppers there are a lot of different kinds you can choose from. The biggest consideration when growing indoors is space, so you’ll want to pick a variety that can grow well in smaller spaces. Luckily, most common varieties of hot peppers do quite well in small spaces.
Outside of that, it comes down to personal preference in which type of pepper to grow. Each one has its own flavor and heat levels, so pick one that fits your palette. It’s far easier to stay consistent when you’re excited to eat what you’re growing.
Here’s a few examples of some hood hot peppers to grow indoors. This is just a small sample; there are many more you can grow just as easily.
Jalapenos: A popular pepper used in a variety of dishes, jalapenos come with a great flavor along with some pretty intense heat.
Habaneros: A step up from jalapenos in terms of heat, habaneros have their own, almost sweet flavor and are great for making salsas and other spicy snacks.
Chili Peppers: A broad grouping of peppers that come in a variety of flavors and heat levels. There’s sure to be one that fits any gardeners palette.
Cayenne: On the smaller side, cayenne peppers are no less spicy and flavorful and perfect for indoor growing.
We start with lighting as it is the most important thing to keep in mind when learning how to grow hot peppers indoors. Nearly all varieties of hot peppers are going to want as much light as possible.
You’ll want to give most pepper varieties at least 8 hours of bright sunlight per day, if not more. It is perfectly acceptable to supplement with a grow light, and this is often needed in the winter if you wish for your plant to continue producing. If you want to give your plant some dormancy you can reduce the light in the winter. During this time the plant will not produce any peppers, and will require less light and water.
Container and Soil
For container size you’ll want to choose one that fits the variety of pepper you’re growing. For most peppers, 12-18” in diameter is usually large enough. This is often more than enough when growing indoors. More importantly, make sure that the container is well draining and doesn’t retain water. Most standard pots will come with drainage holes that help with this.
Fill the container with high quality potting soil. This soil is specifically formulated to work better in containers, and has better drainage and is less compact. Don’t use soil from outdoors or garden potting soil as this will often not be ideal when container gardening and can often lead to accidentally overwatering.
Watering and Temperature
For watering you’ll want to maintain a moist but not damp soil. This generally involves a light watering every couple of days. You can check the top inch of the soil, and if it has begun to dry out it is time for water.
If the plant is in very intense light you can also mist it daily to help keep the leaves moist. This will protect your plant’s leaves from burning out without risking overwatering.
Peppers generally like high daytime temperatures with periods a bit cooler at night. Anywhere from 65-80°F should be fine, and then dropping around 5-10°F at night. This helps mimic a natural temperature cycle the plant would experience outdoors.
Harvesting Hot Peppers
An interesting thing with many hot peppers is that they can often be harvested at different periods in their growth with varying flavors. For example, habaneros can be harvested while still green, or you can wait until they turn orange for a more intense heat.
Many other peppers share this similar pattern of growth and can be harvested at different times. Look into the growth pattern for your chosen pepper, and look to harvest when it reaches the flavor and heat levels you’re looking for.
How To Grow Hot Peppers Indoors
Hot peppers are an excellent choice for any indoor garden. Their relatively small footprint makes them perfect for growing in containers, and gives gardeners lots of options for location. Keep them in a sunny spot, and you’ll enjoy tasty, hot peppers all year long!
How To Grow Hot Peppers Indoors FAQ
Do Indoor Peppers Get as Hot as Ones Grow Outdoors?
Yes! Indoor grown peppers can be just as hot and flavorful as those grown outdoors. It all comes down to proper care, if you’re watering them correctly and giving your plant enough light then the peppers will be just as hot.
Do Indoor Peppers Get as Big As Outdoor Ones?
It really comes down to lighting. If you have an area with lots of sunlight, or use grow lights, then you can get peppers as big as those grown outdoors. For many though, you’ll find the plants and peppers to be a bit smaller due to the indoor conditions. This is completely normal, and will be the same for many other types of plants as well.
How Long Do Hot Peppers Take To Grow?
It will vary based on the variety, but look to wait for at least 60 days before your peppers will be ready to harvest. Keep in mind that some varieties can take longer than this, upwards of 90 days for slow growing ones is perfectly normal.