Do Bell Peppers Grow On Trees?
The bell pepper is the fruit of plants in the Grossum cultivar group of the species Capsicum annuum. Cultivars of the plant produce fruits in different colors, including red, yellow, orange, green, white, and purple. Bell peppers are sometimes grouped with less pungent chili varieties as "sweet peppers".
Sweet bell peppers are a tender, warm-season crop with a long growing season (60 to 90 days).
Many gardeners need to start peppers indoors to give them a head start! However, if you don’t have the means to sow peppers or have simply run out of time, remember you can find a fantastic range of ready-to-go seedlings and young plants online, while some garden centers and nurseries stock plants on the cusp of fruiting.
Surprisingly enough, the green and red bell peppers that we commonly see in supermarkets are actually the same pepper; the red bell peppers have just been allowed to mature on the plant longer, which changes their color and lets them develop a higher Vitamin C content. More mature peppers also tend to be sweeter than their greener counterparts.
Bell peppers are a perennial in tropical areas. But in colder climates, they are grown as annuals and they really have no tolerance for cold weather.
They require a fairly long growing season, often up to 90 or even 100 days, so the shorter your summer, the sooner you need to start seeds indoors.
It is possible to save seeds from organic store bought bell peppers. Collect seeds from red peppers, since they are more mature then green ones, and set them out to dry for a few days. Then sow them or store them in a paper envelope and place them in a dry location for safekeeping.
Definitely consider buying seeds as well, since one of the benefits to growing your own bell peppers is choosing from a number of otherwise unavailable varieties.
The rule of thumb is to start seeds 6 to 8 weeks before the last average frost date in spring. However, if you keep plants healthy and thriving, you can sow them even earlier.
Start seeds using a seed starting mix and place them in a warm, sunny spot. Covering flats or cell packs with plastic can help speed germination rates.
Providing a consistent source of heat, like with a seedling heat mat, will also help since soil needs to be around 80°F for seeds to germinate. If soil is warm enough, germination should occur within ten days.
Once seeds germinate and grow two to three true leaves, you’ll want to pot them in larger containers filled with damp potting soil to reduce settling. Add organic fertilizer according to label recommendations as well, to encourage strong growth.
Water newly potted plants well and keep them consistently moist.
Bell peppers generally need warm soil and warm temperatures to thrive.
To encourage faster growth in cooler areas, consider laying black plastic over the soil. Just be careful not to let the soil get so hot that beneficial soil bacteria are killed. Remember that the target temperature is only 65°F, and don’t overdo it.
Full sun and loamy, rich, well draining soil with a pH near neutral is ideal for planting.
For improved fruit production, keep plants evenly moist throughout the season. Too wet or too dry, and you’ll likely notice a decline in the plant’s overall health or fruit development.
It’s especially important to keep plants consistently watered when they are in bloom and producing fruit. Between 1 and 1 1/2 inches of water each week should be sufficient.
Unfortunately, even if you do everything else right, bell peppers won’t produce much fruit if temperatures aren’t ideal, typically between 70 and 90°F.