Jalapenos are a favorite mid-sized chile pepper famous for bringing heat to various dishes for thousands of years. These spicy peppers can be traced back to ancient Mexican civilizations; today, it seasons many recipes from salad dressing to salsa.
In addition to bold flavors, Jalapenos are an excellent source of vitamins A and C. Jalapenos have another nutritious compound –Capsaicin– that offers health benefits and also provides Jalapenos peppers with their spicy taste.
For Jalapeno lovers, growing your own chile plant is a fantastic way to keep some of your favorite flavors on hand, bringing extra freshness to your dishes. Jalapeno Peppers can grow in well-drained pots or containers as long as they receive plenty of direct sunlight and minimal watering once per week, around 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) of water. Refrain from watering Jalapeno plants until the soil has dried, and then only water the roots.
Do Jalapenos Grow Well in Containers?
Jalapenos are one of the easiest plants to include in a patio container garden or just plant in a sunny site in the garden– just be sure you have suitable soil and plenty of sunshine. Jalapenos prefer sandy, loamy soil with plenty of rich compost mixed in, if possible.
Since Jalapenos originated in the hot desert climate of Mexico, they do not require an abundance of moisture (although they certainly require periodic moisture). This is another reason they thrive in loamy, sandy soil.
Set your potted Jalapeno plant where it can soak up plenty of warm sun rays. Consider adding some good fertilizer or compost to the soil, but do not add fertilizer directly to the plant or leaves.
How Often Should I Water Jalapeno Plants?
Do not be tempted to water a Jalapeno plant every day. It is best to let the soil completely dry before watering. If the soil feels moist around the base of the plant, you can skip the irrigation that day.
If the Jalapeno plant receives too much water, it can dilute the soil of necessary nutrients and block oxygen flow to the roots. In addition to deficits in nutrition, too much moisture can also promote fungal growth and root rot.
Remember, just enough water and not too much is key to the Jalapeno’s success. If your local weather forecasts several days of heavy rain, consider moving the potted plant to a covered area to give it time to dry out.
Do Jalapenos Need Full Sun?
Mature Jalapeno plants do require mostly full sun but can tolerate minimal shade as long as temperatures are warm. However, depending on your climate, sunshine requirements may differ during the germination and sprouting stages. Here are some tips for growing Jalapeno plants from seed:
- Ensure the soil is at least 65°F (18°C): If you are planting the seeds outdoors, ensure temperatures are climbing in the afternoon and plant only after the threat of early spring frost has passed. If you want to establish seedlings before moving them outside, start the seeds indoors in late winter or early spring. Cover the seeds with 1 inch to 2 inch (2.5 to 5 cm) of soil in an egg carton or similarly-sized container. Water well after planting.
- Transplant when temperatures are warm: It takes a few weeks for the seed to germinate and sprout. Depending on when you started the seeds indoors, it may be time to transplant them outside by the time the plant sprouts. Seedlings need about six hours of direct sunlight per day. If you are still experiencing cold nights and mornings, keep the seedlings indoors until the afternoon. Then move them outside for a few hours to soak up the afternoon sunshine.
Does a Jalapenos Plant Need a Cage?
Most pepper plants produce high fruit yields but have relatively shallow root systems. This imbalance can make the plant top-heavy and susceptible to breakage as the peppers weigh down the Jalapeno plant’s stems. When growing Jalapenos in containers, raised beds, or directly in the garden, it is a good idea to stake or cage the plant to provide extra support.
Typically, plants that are less than 18 inches (45 cm) can be supported with a small stake, such as a skewer. Larger plants that exceed 18 inches (45 cm) will probably require a cage.
How to Stake Jalapenos Plants
- Be sure the plant has sprouted and started to grow leaves before you stake it. Once the plant begins to mature, place a small stake or cage securely into the surrounding soil. Be sure to space it out at least 2 to 3 inches (5 to 8 cm) from the plant, so the roots are not damaged.
- Be mindful of roots when staking Jalapeno plants. While you want to insert the stake or cage enough to secure the plant, you don’t want to damage the roots. Be sure to space the stake out at least 2 inches (5 cm) and push it in at least 6 inches (15 cm) deep.
- Tie the plant to the stake. Use twine or string to tie the plant to the steak securely but carefully. As the plant grows, tie more parts of the stem to the steak, spacing the ties at least 3 inches (7 cm) apart.
FAQs About Growing Jalapenos
Can I Grow Jalapenos on a Balcony?
Jalapenos can grow anywhere, hot and sunny, and they are excellent choices for container gardens. These factors make them excellent plants to grow on the balcony or patio. Place it in an area that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. Use quality soil in at least a 14 inch (33 cm) container.
How Big Do Jalapeno Plants Get?
Healthy, fruit-bearing Jalapeno plants can reach 2 to 3 feet (30 to 91 cm) in height and up to 14 inches (33 cm) in width. This means they are both tall and wide. Be sure the plant has optimum sun and water conditions so that it can reach its full size.
How Far Apart Do You Plant Jalapenos in a Raised Bed?
Jalapeno plants can grow up to 3 feet (91 cm) in height, producing big leaves and medium-sized peppers, so they need plenty of room to expand. Plant the seeds or seedlings at least 14 inches (33 cm) apart in a garden or raised bed. This means that the raised bed itself should be around 14 inches (33 cm) high.
While the leaves need room to flourish, and you will need to get between the plants to harvest the peppers, do not space the plants too far apart. 14 inches (33 cm) apart will help the broad Jalapeno leaves to shade the soil and deter weeds.
Jalapeno peppers are excellent choices for any spice-loving gardener. In the garden or on the patio, Jalapenos can thrive anywhere there is heat and sunshine. Jalapeno Peppers can easily be grown in well-drained pots or containers that receive plenty of sunlight as long as the roots are watered once the soil has dried. Remember to use well-drained soil and work some compost into it for best results.
Although they are drought-resistant, Jalapenos do require some moisture. Wait until the soil dries completely before watering. Proper watering techniques can prevent fungal infections and root rot in the plant. Do not forget to stake or cage the plants once they start to grow. This can help stabilize the plant as it grows, preventing breakage or uprooting.
Enjoy the health benefits and bold flavor of Jalapeno peppers more frequently by growing your own.