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Chilli & Pepper Plants

Chilli and sweet pepper plants are a popular, good looking and lively addition for every kitchen garden. Grow pepper and chilli plants in your greenhouse or in pots on a south-facing patio or on your allotment. If you cultivate a bumper crop you can dry and use them throughout the year in all your favourite recipes. One thing is for sure – chilli pepper plants guaranteed to spice up your cooking.

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Are sweet peppers hard to grow?

Colourful and attractive, sweet peppers are relatively easy to grow. However, they prefer warm environments like greenhouses, polytunnels or conservatories. They can sometimes be grown successfully outdoors, but you’ll need a very warm and a well-sheltered spot, for example against a south-facing wall. You can germinate sweet pepper seeds in a propagator, but it’s quick and easy to buy high quality sweet pepper plants to give yourself a head start.

What is the best way to grow sweet peppers?

If you’re growing your sweet peppers in an unheated greenhouse or polytunnel, you can plant them directly into the soil, pop them into grow bags or transplant them into 22cm diameter containers from mid-May. Add small canes to help support the weight of the fruit. Feed with tomato food every two weeks when the flowers begin to form.

If you’re growing your sweet peppers outside, take your time hardening them off and wait until after all threat of frost has passed (early June) before planting them out. They’re likely to do better in grow bags or containers, but you can plant them directly into the soil if your climate is mild enough. Make sure they’re in a sunny, sheltered spot and protect with a cloche.

How will I know when to harvest my sweet peppers?

Sweet peppers change colour as they ripen. You can harvest them when they’re small and green, or leave them on the plant for a bit longer until they turn red and sweet. The redder the colour, the sweeter the flavour. If you pick the fruits regularly, it will encourage more to set. As your plants begin to fruit, gradually remove some of the leaves to allow plenty of light to reach the ripening peppers.

How do I look after my chilli plants?

Chillies need plenty of warmth and a long growing season to produce and ripen their fruits. For best results, grow them in a container in a greenhouse, polytunnel or cold frame. If you don’t have a greenhouse, they make unusual and attractive house plants, although you’ll need to put them outside on warm days to ensure pollination. The hottest varieties of chillies require the warmest growing conditions. Visit our month-by-month guide to vegetable plants to find out what to grow and when.

Which chillies grow well in the UK?

Grafted vegetable plants, combining strong and hardy rootstock with flavour-packed and high-yielding plants, are a great way to get bumper harvests. Here are some of the best peat-free chilli plants and grafted varieties to try: