Can You Use Seeds From a Bell Pepper to Plant?
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Seed saving allows you to preserve a favorite bell pepper (Capsicum annuum) variety for future planting. However, not all bell pepper varieties produce viable seeds. Seeds from some peppers may fail to sprout or grow into weak or nonproductive plants. Understanding the differences between bell pepper plants, along with seed storage and planting needs, improves your chances of successfully growing from your own collected seeds.
Bell Pepper Selection
The typical seeds from a grocery store bell pepper aren’t likely to sprout, and if they do they probably won’t produce fruit like the one you collected the seeds from. Viable pepper seeds come from open-pollinated varieties, or non-hybrids. Open-pollinated, garden grown peppers usually produce viable seed true to the parent plant. Many open-pollinated types are labeled as heirloom varieties on the seed packet. Even if store-bought peppers are open-pollinated varieties, the fruit was likely harvested before it was fully ripe so the seeds won’t be mature enough to save and plant.
Viable seed comes from fully ripe bell peppers, which are usually just past the preferred eating stage of maturity. Pick the peppers once they reach their full color and the skins begin to wrinkle. Slice open the pepper and shake the seeds out of the fruit and into a bowl. The seeds require drying for a week or two to store well, unless you are planting them immediately. Spread them out in a single layer on paper plates and allow them to dry completely in a warm, dark and dry location. If you aren’t storing seeds, you can plant them in pots right after collecting them.
If you aren’t immediately sowing the seeds, you must store them correctly so they remain viable until planting. Most bell pepper seeds store well for at least two years when packaged correctly. You can store the seeds in a paper envelope or a glass jar. Include a packet of silica gel in jars so it can dry any moisture trapped in the container. Make sure the jar or envelope is labeled with the bell pepper variety and year harvested, then store it in a dark, cool place until you are ready to sow the seeds.
Peppers require warm temperatures to sprout successfully, so it’s best to start them indoors about seven weeks before the last expected frost in your area. Sow the seeds about 1/4-inch deep in a moist sterile potting mixture. Mist the potting mix with water daily so it stays moist, or seal the pots in plastic bags so they don’t dry out. For best germination, keep the soil between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The pots won’t require light until the seeds sprout. Peppers typically require 14 days to germinate, but they may take as few as seven or as many as 21 days to sprout.
Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington’s specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.
Can You Use Seeds From a Bell Pepper to Plant?. Seed saving allows you to preserve a favorite bell pepper variety for future planting. However, not all bell pepper varieties produce viable seeds. Seeds from some peppers may fail to sprout or grow into weak or nonproductive plants. Understanding the differences between …
How to Grow Bell Peppers in Container Gardening
Growing vegetables in containers is the perfect solution for cramped spaces. Some varieties actually thrive in the warmer conditions and tighter space that container gardening provides. Hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 1 through 11, bell peppers (Capsicum annuum), are one such plant. And whether you have ample space to plant them in-ground or not, growing bell peppers in containers is an attractive way to ensure a beautiful bounty all season long.
Bell peppers are perennials that are grown as annuals, and they can be grown from seed or plants. Either way, unless you’re in a warm climate, you will probably have to start your plants indoors six to 10 weeks prior to your region’s last spring frost. When starting from seed, use a quality seed mix and plant the seeds approximately a 1/2 inch beneath the soil’s surface, with two seeds per tray or small pot. In about one to three weeks, you should start to notice your peppers germinating. At this point, thin the plants out to leave one plant per tray or pot.
After you see two true leaves emerge (approximately 4 to 6 inches tall), you can transplant your bell peppers outdoors and prepare them for either planting in the ground, or in a larger container. If you find yourself in one of the warmer growing zones, you can start your pepper seeds any time other than in the most extreme temperatures of summer. Daytime temperatures of 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit are most conducive to bell pepper production, but you may notice the plant drop its blossoms in temperatures higher than 85 degrees Fahrenheit. However, any set fruit will continue to ripen.
Selecting the Right Container and Proper Placement
Much like the old real estate adage, perfect placement for your pepper plants is vital; it’s all about location, location, location. Bell peppers enjoy warm, sunny spots that receive ample sunlight. Approximately six hours of full sun per day should suffice, and be sure to keep them sheltered from strong winds. Bell peppers need a well-draining pot that is at least 10 to 12 inches deep and 10 to 12 inches across. The material of the pot is not as important as its size. You want something that is large enough to accommodate the maturing pepper plant, and deep enough to encourage proper root development.
Preparing the Soil and Transplanting
The soil in which you plant your bell peppers is the foundation of its success. Bell peppers need warm soil temperatures – 65 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer – and prefer organic matter-rich, moisture retentive, well-draining potting mixes with a pH of 5.5 to 6.8. Adding compost to the soil helps to introduce key nutrients for the burgeoning plant, while incorporating 5 to 10 grams of neem cake when you prepare the soil helps to protect the plants from soil-borne blight and disease. You can plant two to three bell pepper plants per container, depending upon the variety of bell pepper, and the size of your chosen pot.
Bell Pepper Care
Once your plants are in their new home, keep them on a regular watering schedule. You want the soil to be moist, but not saturated. You can mulch to keep evaporation at bay, and be sure to fertilize your bell peppers every two weeks, or whenever the soil is lacking (or too high) in certain nutrients. Sickly or frail plants are a good indicator of imbalanced soil. If you notice your bell peppers flowering too early, you can deadhead or pinch off the flowers to ensure the plant’s energy is directed properly. Sometimes, pepper plants need structural support. In this case, place wooden dowels in the pot and tie the main stem of the plant to them. Use your judgement to decide how many you need, or where to place them.
How to Grow Bell Peppers in Container Gardening. Bell peppers are a strong addition to any kitchen garden. Roasted, raw or grilled, bell peppers enhance the flavor and nutrition of any meal. Even if you do not have room for a full garden, you can still grow bell peppers in large containers. Container gardening allows …