When Do Pepper Plants Produce Fruit?


If you recently transplanted pepper seedlings into your garden, you may not have any fruit on the plants just yet.  In that case, you may be wondering when your pepper plants will produce fruit, and if there is anything you should do to help them along.

So, when does a pepper plant produce fruit?  A sweet pepper plant produces fruit after 60 to 90 days (9 to 13 weeks) when grown from a transplant.  A hot pepper plant can take as long as 150 days (21 weeks) to produce fruit after transplant.  A pepper plant grown directly from seed takes an additional 56 to 70 days (8 to 10 weeks) to produce fruit.  Pepper plants will continue to grow and produce fruit until they are stopped or killed by cold or frost.

Of course, depending on the variety of pepper plant you choose, it may take a longer time for your plant to begin producing fruit.  Other factors such as improper pruning, over fertilization, and environmental conditions can all delay the growth of fruit on your pepper plant.  Let’s take a closer look at pepper plants, when they bear fruit, and the factors that can affect your harvest.

When Do Pepper Plants Produce Fruit?

Depending on the variety, a pepper plant can produce fruit 60 to 150 days after being transplanted to the garden as a seedling.  You can buy established plants from local nurseries or buy them online and have them delivered to your home.

pepper in cage
You can buy established pepper plants, or start your own from seed indoors.

If you decide to grow peppers from seed, it will take 56 to 70 days longer for the plants to bear fruit.  This means that from sowing seeds to harvesting peppers, you will need to wait anywhere from 116 to 220 days.

Cold temperatures in some climates can further delay the production and ripening of fruit on pepper plants.  Temperatures that are cold enough (such as a late spring frost) can even kill pepper plants that were put outside too early.

You might not have luck planting peppers from seed outdoors in colder areas, such as the northern states of the U.S.  If you live in a region with a shorter growing season, you should start your peppers indoors from seed.

To do this, start the seeds indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost date.  To find the last frost date for your area, you can use the Frost Date Calculator on the Old Farmer’s Almanac website.

Some varieties of peppers grow taller than others.  For the taller ones, you should install supports such as tomato cages when putting pepper transplants in the garden.  For more information, check out my article on why to use tomato cages to support plants.

For more information related to the timing of planting seeds, transplanting seedlings, and harvesting peppers, check out this article on peppers from Michigan State University.

You can also check out this article on growing peppers from seed from the Burpee website.

If you have trouble getting your seeds to germinate, check out my article on how to speed up germination for pepper seeds.

If you have trouble getting fruit on your pepper plant, check out my article on why your pepper plants are not producing fruit.

One final note: you can get yellow, orange, or red bell peppers from green ones if you simply leave them on the vine to ripen a bit longer!

It can take another week or two for the colors to change.  At that point, the peppers will have their new colors, they will taste a little sweeter, and they will have more Vitamin C.

How Much Fruit Does A Pepper Plant Produce?

A pepper plant can produce 6 to 8 fruits in a growing season.  With excellent care (enough space between plants, good nutrition, proper watering, etc.), a pepper plant will produce even more than this.

purple bell peppers
A pepper plant can produce 6 to 8 fruits per plant – more for certain varieties, such as those that produce smaller fruits.

For more information, check out this article on peppers from Michigan State University.

The fruit on a pepper plant can be green, yellow, orange, red, or even purple in some cases.  Later in this article, I have provided some links to different varieties that have fruit of many different colors.

In theory, a pepper plant can survive the winter if you bring it indoors.  However, a mature pepper plant may not survive the transplant shock.  The plant’s roots may be damaged if it does survive transplanting.

From a practical standpoint, most people simply start new pepper plants from seed or buy new transplants each year.  However, if you do want to treat your pepper plants as perennials, you can plant them in pots and bring them indoors during the winter.

For more information, check out my article on clay versus plastic pots.

You might even be able to get them to survive outdoors if you live in a warmer climate.  After all, peppers are a sub-tropical plant!

Do Pepper Plants Die After Harvest?

Most pepper plants do not die after fruiting.  Instead, they can survive until cold and frost in the fall kill them off.  As mentioned earlier, if you live in a warm region with mild winters, you can treat your peppers as perennials.

pepper plant
You can treat your peppers as perennials and get fruit from them after the first year. You just need to make sure they survive the winter!

In that case, with any luck, you will be able to keep your pepper plants alive for 5 years!

What Kind Of Pepper Plant Should I Get?

There are both sweet and hot pepper varieties to consider.  In addition, you can choose pepper plants that have a shorter height and smaller width.  This is ideal if you want to grow them in containers, either indoors or outdoors.

jalapeno pepper plant
This is a jalapeno pepper, a type of hot pepper; you can also grow bell peppers or other types of sweet peppers.

If you choose to grow a taller pepper variety, you might want to give them support using tomato cages, stakes, or trellises.  For more information, check out my article on trellises.

Before choosing pepper plants, you should also consider the length of your growing season and the time to maturity for the pepper plants you choose.

Here are some pepper varieties from Burpee that you can try – the first three are sweet peppers, and the last three are hot peppers.

Do You Need Two Pepper Plants To Produce Fruit?

No, you do not need two pepper plants to produce fruit.  All pepper plants are self-pollinating, which means that the flowers contain both male and female parts.

pepper flower
Pepper plants are self-pollinating, so you only need one plant to get fruit. Bees can still help them to pollinate!

This means that you only need one pepper plant in order to produce fruit from the plant – no cross-pollination is required.  However, keep in mind that self-pollination does not mean guaranteed pollination.

If you lack pollinators such as bees in your garden, you may need to use an electric toothbrush to pollinate by hand.  For more information, check out my article on self-pollination.

What Other Factors Can Affect Fruit On Pepper Plants?

The quality of care that you give your pepper plants will help to determine how much fruit you get each year.  Some of the most important factors are temperature, watering, fertilizing, and pruning.

Temperature

As mentioned earlier, early fall frosts or late spring frosts can spell death for your pepper plants.  When temperatures fall below 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit (13 to 16 degrees Celsius) at night, your plants may stop producing fruit.

At the start of the season, you should not transplant peppers outside until nighttime temperatures are consistently above 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit (13 to 16 degrees Celsius).  If you already transplanted peppers outside and a frost threatens, check out my article on protecting your pepper plants from cold.

You can also check out this article from the Old Farmer’s Almanac on bell peppers.

Watering

Avoid letting the soil stay dry for too long, since uneven watering can lead to blossom end rot in peppers.  If you find that you have a problem with dry soil, check out my article on how to treat dry soil.

garden hose
Be careful not to over or under water your pepper plants!

On the other hand, over watering your pepper plants can lead to root rot and eventual death.  The best way to decide when to water is to feel the soil with your fingers.

If the soil feels dry 2 or 3 inches below the surface, then go ahead and water.  For more information, check out my article on over watering your plants.

Try to water early in the morning, rather than at night, to allow water to soak into the soil.  Avoid getting the leaves wet to prevent rot, mold, and diseases.

Fertilizing

Before you plant pepper transplants in your garden, add some compost to your soil.  It will provide organic material and nutrients for your plants as they grow.  The best part is that you can make compost yourself from ordinary yard and kitchen waste!

compost bin
Compost can add both organic material and nutrients to your soil, which will help your pepper plants to grow.

For more information, check out my article on how to make your own compost.

It may be necessary to use fertilizers as a supplement to compost, in order to provide extra nutrients if your soil is lacking. The best way to tell if you need fertilizer is with a soil test.

For more information, check out my article on soil testing.

Finally, remember that it is possible to harm or kill your pepper plants by over fertilizing them.  For example, too much nitrogen can prevent your pepper plant from producing any fruit.

For more information, check out my article on over fertilizing and my article on low-nitrogen fertilizers.

Pruning

Some gardeners choose to prune off the lower leaves and branches of peppers plants as they grow.  The result is fewer, but larger, fruits on the vine.

Pruning away the lower branches and leaves of a pepper plant also reduces the chance of disease and rot.

In addition, pruning the lower leaves and branches of the pepper plant can also help to prevent the spread of disease in your garden.  When you remove the lower leaves and branches, there is less chance of dirt splashing up onto leaves due to rain or watering.

Conclusion

By now, you have a much better idea of when your pepper plant will produce fruit.  You also know a bit more about how to take care of pepper plants and how to avoid the problems that can affect your harvest.

I hope you found this article helpful – if so, please share it with someone who can use the information.  If you have any questions or advice about pepper plants, please leave a comment below.

jonathon.david.madore

Hi, I'm Jonathon. I’m the gardening guy (not guru!) who is encouraging everyone to spend more time in the garden. I try to help solve common gardening problems so that you can get the best harvest every year!

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