Planting Bell Pepper Plants (Capsicum annuum) can seem like a lot of work, but it is well worth it once you harvest those delicious fresh peppers. And if you grow them under ideal conditions, you can expect plenty of them!
The average Bell Pepper Plant produces 5-10 Bell Peppers per growing season and typically produces 2-4 peppers at a time with multiple harvests each growing season.
How Many Peppers Can A Plant Produce?
Members of the nightshade family (Solanaceae), Bell Pepper Plants produce some of the largest peppers, but the tradeoff is that they do not grow as many fruit. While some other pepper plant varieties can produce 20 and upwards of 50 peppers each season, Bell Peppers can grow up to 10 peppers.
A big reason for this is the size of the fruit. It takes considerable effort to produce such a large fruit, which means that during a typical growing season, Bell Pepper Plants can only expend so much effort within a given time.
Another reason for less yield is the length of the growing season. Bell Peppers need ideal conditions, temperature, and sunlight, to produce as much fruit as possible. Depending on your climate, the optimal growing season for Bell Peppers Plants may only consist of a few months, which isn’t very much time for them to produce more than ten peppers.
On the other hand, if you grow your Bell Pepper Plant in a greenhouse with a more controlled environment, you will likely get up to 12 peppers each season.
How Many Red Peppers Can One Plant Produce?
Once the green peppers reach full size, you can harvest them, but if left on the plant, they will eventually turn red and become sweeter. Therefore, if you prefer to wait to pick the fruit from your Bell Pepper Plant until they turn red, you will ultimately have fewer peppers to harvest overall.
How Can I Get My Bell Pepper Plant to Produce More Peppers?
If you want to maximize the number of peppers you harvest, you will want to give your Bell Pepper Plant ideal growing and fruiting conditions.
Start with a Healthy Bell Pepper Plant
While you can certainly grow Bell Pepper Plants from seed, you might not yield as much fruit. Seeds need ideal soil conditions and temperatures to germinate, so they cannot be started too early in the season.
When grown from seed, Bell Pepper Plants take approximately 120 to 150 days to harvest. With only a 60-90 day growing season, most people opt for purchasing a healthy plant over starting from seed. If you are determined to start Bell Peppers from seed, it’s best to do so indoors ahead of the growing season.
Plant your Bell Pepper Plant in nutrient-rich, well-draining soil with plenty of compost. The soil temperatures should be a minimum of 55°F to 65°F (12°C to 18°C) before planting. Planting Bell Peppers in soil that is too cold will shock the plant and result in stunted growth.
It’s also essential to plant your Bell Pepper Plant at the soil level. Unlike tomato plants, if you plant Bell Pepper Plants too deep in the soil, they will not grow as large or produce as much fruit.
Make sure to give your Bell Pepper plant at least one square foot dedicated to growing strong, healthy roots. Giving them enough space also means they don’t have to compete for nutrients with other plants. If you are potting your Bell Pepper in a container, provide them with a pot about 10 inches deep, so their roots have enough room. Be sure to weed the area, but do so gently as Bell Pepper Plants dislike their roots disturbed.
Bell Pepper plants also do not like very acidic soil, so when fertilizing, choose a more balanced fertilizer mix like a 10-10-10, so the soil pH levels remain around 6 to 6.5. Too much nitrogen in the soil will cause more leaf growth but less fruit, so choose a balanced fertilizer to increase pepper production.
Bell Peppers can tolerate drying out periods but prefer moist soil conditions, as long as they are not sitting in soaking wet soil for too long. If leaves are curling, it is a sign that they have been overwatered.
This can shock the plant and inhibit flower production. If in doubt, it’s best to let them dry out between watering. Water is also a great way to regulate soil temperatures and prevent the soil from getting too hot, particularly when the conditions are especially hot and dry.
Light and Temperature
For optimum pepper production, Bell Pepper Plants need plenty of sunlight. Therefore, you will want ideally 5-8 hours of sunlight if you want your Bell Pepper Plant to produce more fruit.
Bell Pepper Plants are susceptible to extreme temperature conditions and will drop their blossoms if conditions become too hot or too cold. We want to ensure that Bell Pepper Plants hold onto their blooms because those will eventually develop into fruit, so temperatures should be 65°F to 85°F (18°C to 29°C).
Low humidity levels and dry conditions may also cause dropping flowers for your Bell Pepper, so if a dry spell occurs, be sure to mist your Bell Pepper Plant regularly so it will hold onto those flowers and produce more fruit.
Do Bell Peppers Produce More Than Once?
Under ideal conditions, especially if the first harvest is early in the growing season, your Bell Pepper Plant should produce more than once each season. The more you harvest your Bell Peppers, the more fruit they produce.
Depending on the length of your growing season, if you want your Bell Pepper to produce more than once, you can hold off on pruning the leaves. Pruning is a great way to stimulate more leaf growth, but since the time frame is minimal for Bell Pepper Plants to produce fruit, you want your Bell Pepper Plant to devote all of its energy to making flowers and fruit.
On the other hand, if you have a longer growing season or are growing your Bell Pepper Plant in a greenhouse, pruning can be beneficial because it will help your Bell Pepper Plant grow into a larger plant that will eventually yield more fruit.
Do Bell Pepper Plants Keep Producing?
If you want your Bell Pepper Plant to keep producing fruit, you will want to harvest the fruit as much as possible. To keep your Bell Pepper producing more fruit, harvest your peppers when fully grown but still green. Typically a Bell Pepper plant will have 2-4 peppers at a given time, so you can expect it to continue to develop more fruit with an earlier harvest.
How Many Times Can You Harvest Bell Peppers?
Holding off harvesting your Bell Pepper plant will only slow down production as your Bell Pepper Plant will devote all of its energy to ripening the existing fruit rather than growing new fruit. You can harvest your Bell Pepper plants as often as they produce fruit, and they will continue to produce more for the length of the growing season.
How Long Will Bell Pepper Plants Produce?
Your Bell Pepper plant will continue to produce fruit until the conditions are no longer optimal for pepper production, typically toward the end of the growing season. When the daylight hours shorten and temperatures fall below 65°F (18°C), your Bell Pepper Plant will stop producing new flowers, and any existing flowers may drop off.
If your Bell Pepper Plant grows in greenhouse conditions, this season may extend a bit longer. If you supplement artificial light and keep temperatures high, you should be able to get in a few extra harvests.
Under the right growing conditions, the average Bell Pepper Plant produces 5-10 Bell Peppers per growing season and typically produces 2-4 peppers at a time with a couple of harvests each growing season. Knowing how to grow happy and healthy Bell Pepper Plants can be a bit of a learning curve, as the conditions needed for a bountiful growing season are a bit more precise than other edible garden species.
Bell Pepper Plants need nutrient-rich, well-draining soil with plenty of compost and soil temperatures should be a minimum of 55°F to 65°F (12°C to 18°C). Bell Peppers also need 5-8 hours of direct sunlight per day.
Once you facilitate the ideal growing and fruiting conditions, they can be pretty easy to care for and produce several large peppers for you throughout the growing season.