Is your pepper plant unhealthy? Looking for ways to help your pepper thrive? Well, you have reached the right place.
Peppers are one of the self-pollinating, warm-season vegetables. According to historical resources, Americans were the first to cultivate the peppers. The pepper plants usually take a long time to grow and bear fruit. However, they are short plants and do not reach the height of tomato plants; at the mature stage.
To grow your own pepper plant, either sow seeds in the soil or use a tender seedling from the greenhouse. Since they require a higher temperature for growth, they are suitable for growing during the summer season. The mature plants bear fruits of different sizes and shapes. They can either be small and circular or long and lean.
Peppers are a rich source of vitamin B6; they cannot survive in cold temperatures or in wet soil. Soil, warmth, and moisture are the three essential factors affecting the growth of pepper plants. In the early stages, the plants should be kept indoors to keep them warm. Also, you will have to keep the soil evenly moist to prevent the plant from drying.
Growing peppers in light soil (Ph 6.0-8.0), with peat moss and perlite substitutes, will work wonders. Further, carbon, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, iron, zinc, and nitrogen are the vital nutrients essential for the plant to thrive. Though the plants receive most of them from the natural environment, care should be taken to fertilize when it is deficient.
What are the Nutrients required for Peppers?
Nutrients are essential for the growth and development of any living thing. Like humans, plants also require certain vital nutrients in the early stages of growth. These nutrients help in protein and auxin synthesis. Also, they contribute to cellular division and photosynthesis.
Additional to others, N-P-K is the essential nutrient factor ratio, determining the growth of peppers. If you are not aware, it is nothing but Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Calcium. These are three elemental nutrients your pepper plants require. If the soil is balanced in N-P-K, you will be able to grow bountiful pepper fruits.
Nitrogen is essential for the plant to grow and produce more yield. If the plant is deficient or has low nitrogen concentration, it won’t yield. Similarly, phosphorus is required for the plant to form reproductive organs. If the plant is phosphorus-deficient, it won’t produce flowers, fruits, and seeds, properly. Likewise, potassium is necessary for the growth of healthy foliages. Lack of potassium will result in dry and discolored pepper leaves.
What Is The Right Time To Fertilize Peppers?
Fertilizers are essential for the growth of the pepper plant. However, you should know the right time to fertilize your plant. If you overfertilize your plant or do it at the wrong time, you may end up with lush foliage and not fruits. Since peppers are propagated in light soil, the initial nutrients will be obtained from the soil itself. Soon after you see the plant germinating and producing leaves, you should start fertilizing it. However, since the plant is in an early stage, only light application is sufficient.
Experts suggest using about 20% nitrogen fertilizer in the pre-planting stage. Later after two weeks, use 45% nitrogen fertilizer. The rest should be used only during the harvest stage. Similarly, the later stages of growth require an adequate amount of potassium and phosphate to bear healthy fruits.
How Should You Apply Fertilizers To Peppers?
Fertilizing is an art and has to be done carefully. If done wrong, you may end up burning your plant. You will find two different types of fertilizers available for peppers in the market; granular and water-soluble. Granular fertilizers are those that contain granules enriched with essential micro and macronutrients. At the same time, the latter is a high concentration of liquid fertilizer, which should be mixed with water for application.
Regarding the granular one, generally, 1 ½ pound of fertilizer should be applied per 100 sq. ft. Care should be taken to prevent the granules from touching the plants. For better results, apply it around the plants in a circular form. Continue watering the plants to ensure the absorption of nutrients.
In case you choose a water-soluble fertilizer, ensure to mix it properly according to the instructions. Also, avoid spraying it over the leaves or other parts. It is advisable to focus on the basal part of the plant for better results.
How often Should You Apply Fertilizers To Peppers?
If you ask a casual gardener, he will advise you to fertilize whenever you remember. But, this is not the right way to feed your peppers. You will lose yield if you don’t keep track of your fertilizing schedule.
As mentioned above, fertilization should start as early as possible, usually within two weeks of germination. This will help in stronger root and stem formation. After that, it is advisable to follow the instructions provided in the fertilizer package itself. Mostly, it is advisable to fertilize every week or once in two weeks.
Since pepper plants require slow-releasing nutrients, maintaining a proper schedule is of utmost importance. Keep in mind, if you supply your plant with abundant nutrients, it will not give you a high yield.
What Kind of Fertilizer Should You Use For Peppers?
As mentioned already, N-P-K is the vital nutrient ratio affecting plant growth. So, while buying fertilizer for your peppers, ensure to find one with a balanced N-P-K ratio. The number mentioned in the three places is nothing but the ratio of the components present in the fertilizer.
Not all pepper plants are alike. You should purchase the one according to your soil and plant condition. Take care to provide organic feed for your plants throughout the growing season; to produce healthy and tasty peppers.
Since the early stages of plants require high nitrogen, pick a fertilizer with a high N ratio. This will ensure the plants producing lush foliage, helpful for energy synthesis and food from the sun. During the blooming stages, we want the plant to concentrate on producing flowers and not leaves. So, pick a fertilizer with less N ratio. Along with that, supply adequate potassium and phosphate to get healthy pepper pods.
Additionally, supplying pepper plants with fish or seaweed-based fertilizer will enable the plant to remain healthy.
Our Top Picks for Best Fertilizer for Peppers
Now that you have got an idea about the basics, it is time to pick the best fertilizer for your peppers. How do you choose the best brand?
Fret not. Here is a list of the best brands selling plant fertilizers. Most of them are organic and versatile.
1. Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food Flower & Vegetable Fertilizer (14-14-14)
The Oscomote smart release plant food flower and vegetable fertilizer is a pre-planting fertilizer. It is suitable for growing annuals and perennials across seasons. Since it has a balanced NPK ratio, it is ideal for vegetable gardens and flower plants.
Each and every granule of the feed is specially coated with a semi-permeable resin. This coating helps in water penetration through each granule whenever the plant gets water. Once the water penetrates, it will start dissolving the nutrients and locks it within.
Thus, the nutrients are slowly released in adequate quantity, only when the plants require them. This formula helps the plants to grow early; by promoting strong roots and balanced top growth.
- Slow-release formula.
- Promotes lusher vegetative growth.
- Works well in even low-nutrient soil.
2. Miracle-Gro 2000422 Plant FoodFertilizer (18-18-21)
Miracle-Gro plant food fertilizer is popular for selling convenient gardening products. The product promises to give you bountiful tomatoes and vegetables upon weekly application. Its water-soluble formula helps in easy application, simply by mixing the desired quantity with water. However, it doesn’t damage the leaves while using it directly.
It is a well-balanced nutrient mix, capable of taking care of the entire plant’s growth needs. Apart from the macronutrients (NPK), the product is also rich in micronutrients; it contains copper, zinc, manganese, and iron. This indeed helps in providing ample nourishment to your fruits and vegetable plants.
- Balanced nutrient blend.
- Safe to use directly.
- Helps in growing bigger vegetables and fruits.
- Devoid of calcium.
- Requires regular feeding.
3. Miracle-Gro Shake ‘N Feed All Purpose Plant Food Fertilizer (18-6-12)
Miracle-gro shakes ‘N feed plant food fertilizer is another convenient product from the brand. The product claims to help you grow a beautiful garden lasting all the season. This particular plant food is suitable for growing plants both indoors and outdoors. With all the essential micro and macronutrients, the fertilizer helps in nourishing the plants above as well as below the soil.
The USP of the plant food is that it is formulated with all-natural ingredients to promote plant growth. It contains feather meal, kelp, earthworm castings, and bone meal as the major ingredients. These ingredients feed the microbes in the soil, which in turn breaks them into nutrients and promote root growth. As a result, the roots become water-efficient and helps the plants in producing vibrant fruits and veggies.
- Convenient to use.
- Slow-release formula.
- Fully organic.
- Requires a bloom booster for growing flowers.
4. Miracle-Gro Performance Organics All Purpose Plant Nutrition (9-2-7)
Miracle-Gro Performance Organics All Purpose Plant Nutrition is a granular dry plant fertilizer. This all-purpose product is suitable for growing vegetables, herbs, flowers, and other houseplants. Simply feed your plants in the required quantity as mentioned in the package, water them regularly and harvest bounty veggies and fruits in your garden.
As it is enhanced with micronutrients and contains organic ingredients, you can start seeing visible results within a week. By providing the essential nutrients in a balanced formula, it helps the plants to grow well and bear fruits two times bigger naturally.
- Safe for humans and pets.
- Suitable for all pants.
- Bad odor
5. General Hydroponics 718120 Floramicro Fertilizer (0-5-4)
General hydroponics 718120 flora micro is a plant fertilizer commonly used for growing plants in a hydroponics system. The product is suitable for growing cannabis and other veggies and plants across seasons. The USP of the product is that it is suitable for beginners as well.
This is a liquid-based plant fertilizer. It contains all the vital nutrients; primary, secondary, micro, and macronutrients for growing healthy plants in hydroponics culture. Also, it has a Ph balanced formula that is reliable and suitable for individual plant needs.
Floral micro fertilizer is recommended for use during the intermediate stage of plant development. Since it is rich in rich in calcium and nitrogen levels, it helps in promoting root strength in the hydroponic environment.
- Easy availability.
- Suitable for every growth medium.
- Poor packaging.
- Cause Ph imbalance at times.
6. Jobe’s Organics Vegetable & Tomato Fertilizer Spikes (2-7-4)
Jobe’s organics vegetable and tomato fertilizer spikes are a unique product suitable for both beginners and professionals. The product claims to nourish the root directly, which further promotes plant growth. It is rich in Nitrogen, Phosphate, Potash, Calcium, Magnesium, and Sulfur. Since the product is used away from the soil surface, it prevents wastages.
With the timed-release formula, it locks nutrients without letting them run-off. Since they come in a premeasured quantity, it helps avoid overfeeding and burning of plants. Since it is organic, it is eco-friendly and safe for kids and pets.
The product claims to improve the soil environment by preventing nutrient depletion. Further, it helps in increasing nutrients by preventing insects and diseases from attacking the roots. All of this is made possible by the biozyme; healthy bacteria, Mycorrhizal fungi, and Archaea present in the product. This helps in breaking down the feed and helping the soil to absorb nutrients quickly.
- Feed roots directly.
- Easy to use.
- Timed release formula.
- 100% organic certified.
- OMRI listed by USDA.
- When left in the package, unused spikes lose efficiency over time.
- Requires regular replacing of spikes.
7. Dr. Earth Organic Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Fertilizer (4-6-3)
Dr. Earth organic 5 tomatoes, vegetable, and herb fertilizer is a completely organic home-grown dry fertilizer. The fertilizer is rich in micronutrients and multi-minerals, required for the growth and development of plants. The USP of the product is, it releases the nutrients rapidly; unlike its competitors but lasts long till the growing season.
It is completely organic and does not contain chicken manure, chemicals, or other chemical ingredients. The ingredients are rich in proteins, carbohydrates, humic acids & trace elements. Here; Fish bone meal, feather meal, kelp meal, alfalfa meal, potassium sulfate, fish meal, kelp meal, rock phosphate, and kelp flour are the source of primary and secondary nutrients.
Further, the fertilizer contains seven strains of probiotic soil microbes and eight strains of mycorrhizae to help prevent root disease. This helps in promoting soil health and enables healthy vegetable and fruit harvest.
- 100% organic.
- No GMO
- Unique, organic 5 formula.
- Safe for humans and pets.
- Fishy smell
8. EarthPods Premium Cal-Mag Plus Plant Food Fertilizer Spikes
Earthpods plant food is yet another organic fertilizer to help plant growth. This comes in capsule form and hence helps in hassle-free usage. Also, it reduces the strain of measuring the feed for every use. It is suitable for use in all environments and mediums, including; indoor, outdoor, hydroponic coir, raised beds, vertical tower, etc.
Although it is suitable for growing all plants, flowers, and veggies, tomatoes, peppers, and roses benefit the most. Since the fertilizer claims to provide calcium and magnesium, the roots grow stronger without deficiencies.
Each capsule contains a rich source of calcium, magnesium, plant nutrients, trace minerals, and soil humates. All the ingredients are organic and safe for humans and pets. Simply dump a capsule into the nutrient-deficient soil and watch the plant grow. The earthpods are formulated to breakdown in the soil and release the nutrients slowly, whenever the roots require.
- Hassle-free usage.
- Suitable for all plants.
- No smell.
- It cannot be stored in humid places.
9. Jobe’s Organics 9026 Fertilizer (2-5-3)
Jobe’s organics 9026 is a granular plant fertilizer. Though it is suitable for all plants, fruits, and veggies, it is ideal for tomatoes and other vegetable plants. You can use it; while preparing the soil, while sowing seeds or plantings, or for well-grown plants and shrubs.
The ingredients used in the fertilizer are organic and hence kid-friendly. It is rich in Nitrogen, Phosphate, Potash, Calcium, Magnesium, and Sulfur. One of the major ingredients is the biozyme, promoting stronger and healthier root growth by protecting against diseases.
The next important ingredient is the bone meal, which is rich in phosphorus and calcium. It is responsible for promoting bounty vegetable and fruit growth. Further, the processed manure in the product help in improving overall soil health. For best results, you have to reapply it every two months.
- Even feeding.
- Requires regular replacing of spikes.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do peppers like coffee grounds?
Earthworms play a major role in maintaining the health of the soil. These earthworms are fed by the organic matter we supply to the plant. Coffee ground is one of the organic wastes easily available and is also a good feed for earthworms.
What about peppers? Do they like coffee grounds? Of course, Yes. Peppers require nitrogen to grow and bear fruits. Since coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen, peppers love coffee as much as you do.
2. Are eggshells good for pepper plants?
As we all know, eggshells are one of the common kitchen waste. But most of us may not be aware that they are a good source of organic fertilizers. Yes, the eggshells can be washed and used to prevent your plant from pests.
Considering peppers, blossom end rot is a major problem faced by the plant during growth. These occur due to the lack of calcium in the soil. This can be rectified by supplying your plant with a good number of crushed eggshells. The eggshells are hence good for peppers.
3. Is baking soda good for plants?
Black spots and powdery mildew are common problems in plants during cold weather conditions. This is mostly due to the growth of fungus in the soil. Since Baking soda is an antifungal agent, applying it to the soil will definitely do good for the plants.
However, you cannot use it alone to fertilize plants. Together with Epsom salt, it can substitute for a good fertilizer. You can also use it with household ammonia.
4. How do you increase the yield of a pepper plant?
To increase your pepper plant’s yield, you have to start caring for it right from the seed stage. Firstly, you should sow the seeds in light soil, indoors. For light, use grows lights over the plants. Soon after germination, transplant it with nitrogen-rich soil in a big container. Follow a proper fertilizing schedule. Regularly prune your plants during the growth stage. Finally, ensure your pepper plants receive optimal soil, warmth, and water.
5. Why are my pepper plants so small?
Pepper plants grow small when in unfavorable climatic or soil conditions. To produce healthy and tall pepper plants, you should care for the plants right from the beginning. First, check your soil condition. Too much moist or too dry soil is not suitable for pepper’s growth. Second, water it regularly in the required amount. Only well-drained soil produces tall plants. Finally, provide enough warmth to the plant.
6. Should I pinch off pepper flowers?
Yes. It is a good practice to pinch off pepper flowers at the early stages. Usually, this has to be done when the plants produce the first set of flowers. Pinching off the flowers will enable the plant to focus on growth rather than producing early fruits. However, care should be taken while pinching. Rough handling will end up in pulling off the plant from the soil itself. Use your fingers and pinch them gently.
Growing peppers is not as difficult as it appears. Regardless of the climatic and soil conditions, pepper plants required proper care to grow and produce a high yield. With a proper fertilizing schedule, you can harvest healthy and bounty peppers from your pepper plant garden.
Same fertilizers work differently, depending upon other factors. It is your responsibility to choose the best one that works with your plant. Apart from those mentioned in the article above, there are different products available in stores as well. If you are still are unable to find the best product, take help from an expert gardener.
Before that, take a soil test to know what it lacks. This will help you in choosing the fertilizer with that particular nutrient in a higher ratio. Check for the national fertilizer standard to know about how it will feed your plants. Finally, avoid overdoing it. This will not only burn the leaves but will also end up spoiling the entire plant growth.
Hope this article helped you get a clear picture; of the pepper plants, the nutrients required, and how to fertilize them the right way. Follow all these steps and grow vibrant peppers in your own garden. Roast tasty peppers in your pan and don’t forget to thank us later.
James Fields is the founder of Gardener to Farmer. His passion for gardening goes back to his childhood days when he would visit his grandfather during the holidays and help him with the plants in the backyard. This has now translated to creating a dependable resource for gardening.