Planting Tips

visit here for Bonchi (pepper bonsai) care directions

Quickly and cheaply plant a pepper in a 5 gal bucket (decorative containers of comparable size are great too)

Forget planting, and forage for wild leafy greens

Pepper seedlings:

When your plants arrive, they are ready to be planted in your garden or container - the hardening-off from seedlings is already done! If you cannot plant right away, leave the plant outside in the sun. Check the soil moisture daily, but you may not need to water every day. When you do water, water slowly until water is coming out the bottom drainage holes. Do NOT take the plant inside - it's already hardened off, and too much time inside can 'weaken' it to where it will need to go through the hardening process again. DO try to plant within a few days; the plant wants to grow and cannot spend too much time in the small seedling pot. Besides, the sooner you plant, the sooner you get peppers!

Set the plant in the soil, with the soil level of the plant set slightly below the soil level of the garden or container. Generally, our plants do not spend a lot of time in small containers, so they should not be root bound, but if you see a lot of roots around the sides of the soil after you remove the plant pot, it is useful to break up roots a tiny bit by using your fingers at the bottom to wiggle the roots a little looser. 

The thing hot peppers need most is SUN! Especially the super-hots; they need exposure to lots of sun and warm temps to set fruit. Be sure the planting area receives at least 6 hours of full sun each day, but they will do better if given more sun. Peppers do not like wet feet. Make sure the area gets good drainage (holes in pots are not clogged; they are not planted in heavy clay soil) and water deeply, but less often. 

As they grow tall, they may need the support of a stake or tomato-cage depending on the area.

Keep an eye out for pests - remove any cutworms (caterpillars) as soon as you notice them. Hot peppers can also be susceptible to pepper maggots, a fly larvae that burrows into the fruit. Bt sprays, a pesticide labeled for organic use,  utilizes bacteria to disrupt the life cycle of both cutworms and pepper maggots and can be effective. These species of bacteria are virtually harmless to non-insects like wildlife, pets, and people. We like Monterey Bt spray and it is easily available at 'big-box' home improvement stores as a concentrate for larger areas and ready-to-use spray for smaller areas. The dreaded aphid can also sometimes infest pepper plants, we like to use Neem sprays at the first sight of these critters. As with any pesticide, even ones labeled for organic use, be sure to follow label directions very closely and always wear safety gear as directed by the label. 

Please be aware that the different varieties of peppers have wildly different times for setting fruit. "Low heat" plants such as cayenne and jalapeno may already be flowering when you receive them, but the super hots can take a few months before you even see a flower, let alone a fruit. But be patient! As long as the plant is still growing and looks healthy, you should eventually have some wonderful, painful little peppers!