Paprika is very diverse in terms of size, color and heat. Whether mild sweet peppers or hot peppers, the culture requirements are identical. Like tomatoes and aubergines, peppers belong to the nightshade family. The original home of the peppers are the tropical regions of America, which explains the need for heat of the popular plants. Peppers are best cultivated in pots on balconies and terraces or planted out in garden beds. With enough light and warmth, you can look forward to good fruit set outdoors and harvest the healthy vegetables well into autumn. It is up to you whether you buy the popular vegetable as planting material or sow it yourself from seed. The strong young plants are planted outdoors from the end of May, because as heat-loving plants, peppers can be damaged by low nighttime temperatures. Peppers are also ideal for cultivation in greenhouses and polytunnels. Here the young plants can be planted earlier than outdoors and the harvest can be extended by a few more weeks.
Worth knowing Location Cultivation Planting Care Watering Fertilizing In the tub Species Pests & Diseases FAQ
Worth knowing about the peppers
Botanical name: Capsicum annuum
Other names: peppers, peppers, chillies, jalapenos
Use: fruit vegetables for fresh consumption, salads, sauces, soups, aromatic plants for Asian curries and dried for spice mixtures
Origin: subtropical regions of South America
Cultivation period: May to October, in a heated greenhouse all year round, protection against night frost may be necessary if planted in April
Fruit colours: red , yellow, green, orange
Harvest: August to early October
In which location does the pepper feel most comfortable?
All types of peppers need a warm location. It should also be as sunny as possible and protected from the wind. In sheltered locations you will get a rich harvest. For a good fruit set it is practical if you grow the vegetables in front of a south-facing wall, which stores and reflects the heat and thus creates ideal conditions. In climatically unfavorable regions, cultivation in a polytunnel or greenhouse is recommended.
Our gardening tip: wait 2-3 years before planting peppers and other nightshade plants in the same place. This minimizes infestation by soil-borne fungal diseases.
How is the cultivation of pepper plants?
The range of seeds for peppers, hot peppers and chili is very extensive and appealing to the hobby gardener. New varieties are added to the range and it’s a lot of fun to try different types. Start growing from seeds at the end of February. Since the seeds need temperatures of over 20 degrees Celsius to germinate, the so-called preculture takes place on the windowsill in the houseor in the heated greenhouse. Sow the seed in well-drained soil and cover only lightly with soil. The seeds have germinated 7 to 14 days after sowing and, with proper care, the young plants can be planted in larger pots after another 7 to 10 days. Through this so-called pricking out, the young plants develop into strong plants. Depending on the variety and location, strong pepper plants have developed after 4 to 6 weeks.
How do I plant my pepper plants in the garden?
The end of May is the right time to grow the heat-loving plants outdoors. Earlier planting is possible, but should be done in a greenhouse or protected with a polytunnel until mid-May. If the temperature is permanently below 7 °C, the annual plants will drop their flowers and leaves. The genus Capsicum prefers a slightly acidic to neutral soil that is well drained. As a heavy feeder, the fruit vegetable needs sufficient nutrients for lush growth and good fruit set. Give the young plants a dose of organic garden fertilizer when they are planted to give them a good start. In addition, the humus content of the soil can be improved with tomato and vegetable soil.
- Water the pepper plants thoroughly.
- Dig a planting hole 20 cm deep and 20 cm in diameter.
- Repot the young plant and place it in the prepared planting hole.
- Put high-quality potting soil between the root ball and the planting hole.
- Press the earth firmly.
- Immediately after planting, water the pepper plant with at least 5 liters of water.
To protect against evaporation, you can cover the surface around the vegetable plant with a layer of mulch. Our gardening tip: To protect against night frosts, the use of foil hoods is recommended for early planting outdoors. It is important that you remove these protective covers again in the morning to avoid the formation of condensation.
How do I care for my peppers?
Bind to staffs
Depending on the variety, a height of more than one meter can be reached. So that these magnificent specimens do not buckle, it is advisable to support them with sticks in good time and to tie the plants loosely. Compact growing varieties with a growth height of 50 cm do not need this care measure.
The first flowers form when the individual plants are still very small. It is important that you break out this so-called royal flower or cut it off with a sharp knife. Avoid this first flowering on each plant. This will stimulate shoot growth and in a few weeks you will reap a higher yield from a vigorously developed plant. Do without the first pepper and strengthen the growth of the shoots.
Each flower can pollinate itself. In order for fruit to form, pollen does not need to be carried over from other flowers. In the greenhouse, polytunnel or in windless locations, fertilization may not be optimal. When flowers are open, gently shaking the plant helps pollinate the flower and form fruit. Wild bees, which support the spread of pollen, can also help. Combination plantings with bee plants and the setting up of insect hotels are beneficial.
How do I water my pepper plants?
When cultivating peppers, ensure an even water supply. Especially in the first time after planting, peppers need enough water to be able to establish themselves at the new location. If the plants are well rooted, watering is only necessary in phases without precipitation and high temperatures. In principle, it is better to water sufficiently every 2 days than small amounts every day. How often you have to water depends largely on the soil conditions, rainfall and temperature. However, waterlogging should be avoided, as the plants react to this with root damage.
Our gardening tip: Daily watering may be necessary on hot days. Vegetables react to periods of drought with delayed growth and reduced fruit set. With a mulch layer of grass clippings or straw, the water stays in the soil longer and evaporation is minimized.
How do I fertilize my peppers?
Peppers need sufficient fertilizer for fruit development, but the fruit vegetable reacts sensitively to a salt content that is too high. It is therefore important that the fertilizer is continuously applied in smaller doses. With a tomato and vegetable fertilizer or organic natural fertilizer, you can provide your peppers with the best possible care. Manure manure made from stinging nettle or comfrey as well as horse and cow manure are also often used in the hobby garden and thus offer the opportunity to fertilize the fruit vegetables completely biologically. It should be noted, however, that paprika belongs to the group of heavy-consuming plants and only bears fruit if there is a sufficient supply of nutrients.
How do I plant my peppers in the tub?
Even without a garden, you can grow the vegetables in pots on the balcony. This can stand on the sunny balcony and the warm terrace from May to October. House walls store the heat rays of the sun and it is warmer here at night, which the pepper plants in pots like. Use the largest possible containers to support the development of the roots. Furthermore, the maintenance effort in larger vessels is lower and the watering interval increases. In order to avoid stagnant moisture, a drainage hole in the bucket is essential. With a drainage layer, you improve water drainage significantly. The first harvest on the balcony is possible from the end of July.
What types of peppers are there?
There are over 1,500 varieties of peppers worldwide and more varieties are constantly being added through breeding. Peppers are roughly divided into three main groups.
Pointed and block peppers
The variety of colors, shapes and sizes of Capsicum is enormous. The most well-known include green, yellow, orange, and red peppers. Among the old varieties there are fruit forms that look like rustic tomatoes. These are known as «tomato paprika» or in Austria as «paradeis fruity paprika» and are ideal for stuffing, stewing, grilling, raw in salads or for dipping.
Pepperoni and Chili
Hot peppers are known as «pepperoni,» while the non-hot varieties are known as sweet peppers. The hot paprika or chili peppers should not be confused with the fiery hot chillies or cayenne pepper. These belong to a different species: «Capsicum frutescens» are sometimes very hot and belong to the spice plants. The different degrees of spiciness of the chillies and pepperoni are divided into degrees of spiciness according to the Scoville scale.
Mini and snack peppers
The colorful miniature versions of the upbeat plants taste sweet and contain only a few seeds. For this reason, they are ideal as a healthy snack for young and old.
What pests and diseases can occur when growing peppers?
In the right location and with good care, the vegetable is unproblematic in cultivation. Malnourished or weakened specimens are susceptible to disease and pests. Mixed cultures reduce pest infestation. Savory, sage, thyme, garlic or lavender help to prevent unwanted pests with their smell.
Spider mite infestation occurs particularly when growing peppers in greenhouses or polytunnels. The pepper leaves have slight chlorosis, which is caused by the numerous sucking points of the mites. There are fine spider threads on the shoots and leaves, under the protection of which the spider mites live. If the infestation is severe, the leaves will dry up and the plants will suffer. Natural opponents (predatory mites) can be used as a preventive measure in the greenhouse.
Young shoots are often attacked by aphids. As soon as you have noticed the aphid infestation, it is advisable to shower the plants with a jet of water. Strengthen the plants with organic active agents and ensure optimal site conditions. These measures often help to prevent the aphids from spreading further.
FAQ — Frequently asked questions about peppers
Why is my plant producing only a few fruits?
At temperatures below 14 °C, there is very little flowering and therefore less fruit set. A lack of water and fertilizer can also be a cause of a low number of flowers.
Which plants are suitable in combination with peppers?
- All plants that prefer sun are ideal.
- The plants should have similar water requirements as peppers.
- Good planting partners are, for example, garlic or nasturtium.
- All plants from the nightshade family, such as tomatoes and aubergines, are less good partners.
Can peppers be overwintered?
Potted pepper plants can be overwintered. The plants need a bright location with temperatures above 10 °C. However, it is often difficult to get the plants vigorous and pest-free over the winter and it is advisable to buy new plants in the spring.
Can paprika stay on the balcony when it’s cool and the sun isn’t shining anymore?
Paprika prefers sun and temperatures above 15 °C. In cool phases, the fruit vegetables grow little and there is no fruit set. A sheltered place on the wall of the house helps the pepper plants. Culture in a foil tunnel or greenhouse is ideal. A location in the house is not suitable.
What is the correct name of the fruit of the pepper?
The fruits, colloquially referred to as pods, are botanically berries.
Plant partner in the vegetable garden
In order for the vegetable plants to develop ideally, you should pay attention to the choice of planting partners in the bed. Find out which plants can be placed side by side.
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