Bell Peppers or Capsicum or Sweet Peppers are a widely popular vegetable because of it’s sweet, spicy or hot taste and also because of their varied colors. These are a rich source of Vitamin C. Bell peppers needs your little extra effort to grow. Keeping the plant moist and warm but at the same time protected from scorching heat & strong winds, needs a little care but not hard enough as long as you are aware of what is required by a pepper plant. Let’s discuss how to care for bell peppers plants.
Find the Ideal Place
- Peppers love sun. keep them at a spot which receive minimum 6 hours of sunlight.
- If you live in a warm/ desert like climate the try to place them at a spot where the plant can be protected from hot noon sun or try to put cluster of pots at one place.
- Plant peppers in fertile & well drained soil.
- If the soil is too clayey or sandy, add well matured organic compost before planting.
- Peppers require regular watering.
- Keep the soil moist. Peppers are very heat sensitive, don’t let the soil to dry out completely.
- Increase the water cycle if the climate is dry & warm.
- Don’t over water the plants as this will damage their roots.
- Water directly at the foot of the plant rather than sprinkling over the plant as wet foliage can attract fungal diseases.
- Start fertilizing once the plant start setting fruit.
- Pepper plants are heavy feeders, so Fertilize them in every 15 – 2o days.
- If using chemical fertilizer, apply the one which has N-P-K ratio of 10:10:10 or 5:10:10.
- Before applying the fertilizer make sure the plant is watered well. Otherwise, the plant can take up too much fertilizer which will burn the plant.
- Spread the fertilizer on the soil leaving 4-5 inches from stem of the plant.
- Cover the base of the plant with organic matter.
- Mulching helps the soil to remain cool & to retain moisture for somewhat longer than normal.
- If is important to leave a gap of 1-2 inches between the stem of the plant & mulch as this lower the possibility of any diseases.
Pruning & Pinching
- Once the plant become 10-12 inches tall, pinch the top growing tips to make it bushier.
- Normally pruning is not a necessity but can be done if required.
Pests and Diseases
- Normally the following pests found on pepper: Aphids, Spider Mites, Whiteflies etc.
- Spray the plant with insecticidal soap to remove pests.
- If the situation is more serious then apply pesticides.
- If required, support the plant with stakes.
- Harvest the fruit as soon as it reaches the desired size.
- For bigger fruit & more yield, spray the plant with a mixture of 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt in 4 liters of water every month.
- If the plant flowering too early, deadheads the flower. This will help the plant to grow more.
- If want to speed up the process of maturation of fruits, don’t let new fruits set in.