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Growing Jalapeños in Containers – Step by Step Guide

Growing jalapeños in pots is much easier than you might think. And it’s a great place to start gardening! If you love the fresh taste of a spicy jalapeño in salsa through the summer, let’s dig into this generally fuss-free pepper!

There are many benefits to growing jalapeños in containers. My favorite reason is portability! 

If I start my pepper seeds earlier in the year and take advantage of a sunny window, I get peppers sooner! When it warms up, they can move outside to finish the season basking in the sunlight of summer!

With this in mind, let’s talk about how to get started with growing jalapeños in a pot!

When you choose a pot, consider the size of a mature jalapeño plant. They’re somewhat squat and grow wider – rather than taller.

Jalapeño Peppers in Pots – Supply Checklist

jalapenos in bowl
Photo By Mandy Roberts – Expect your mature jalapeños peppers to grow roughly two to three inches when growing in pots. Some gardeners love to pick their peppers when they’re green. But – you can also let them ripen and change color! Different jalapeños cultivars can turn red, orange, purple, or yellow when maturing.

A great choice to grow peppers in is a 5-gallon bucket! Available in just about every hardware or big box store, a bucket is an inexpensive, practical choice to grow in!

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

Start by setting up the bucket. Drill a 1/4-inch hole in the lower side (NOT the underside) of the bucket to allow for good drainage without draining the pot completely dry! 

Potted plants dry out faster than their in-ground comrades!

By placing the drainage holes on the lower side instead of the bottom, the roots won’t get soggy and can draw on water from the bottom inch of the pot and encourage the roots to dig a little deeper.

The added structure of proper root development will only set our pepper plant up for success!

Choose a soil meant for container gardening. Potted plants can only find the nutrition you supply them with, so planting them in soil with lots of compost and a healthy structure for container gardening is a great idea! 

Additional worm castings are optional. But as a worm farmer myself, I can’t recommend it enough! If you choose to use castings, toss in a couple of large handfuls and mix them into the soil very well. 

Fill the bucket with the garden soil and firm it in without compressing it. Jalapeños prefer a somewhat fluffy growing medium.

Whether you’ve started your pepper plant from seed or purchased from a garden center, this is the proud moment you’ve been waiting for – and it’s here!

Dig a hole big enough to house the pepper plant and the soil from the pot. Carefully remove the pepper from the small pot and place it into the hole. Plant at the same depth as the pot it was in at first. Then, firmly press the soil around it.

Now that our jalapeño fits snugly in its new home, water it while being careful to water the soil and not the plant itself. Wetting the leaves can encourage fungal diseases to develop.

Read More – Winter Greenhouse Gardening – Our Top Veggies for Winter Growing!

beautiful healthy jalapeno plant in pot
Photo By Mandy Roberts – Growing jalapeños in containers is a ton of fun! You can grow other pepper cultivars in pots, too. But – try sticking with shorter and stouter pepper varieties. Otherwise, you may need to stake or trellis your pepper plants if they grow too tall – even while in your pot!

How Do I Fertilize My New Jalapeño Plant?

Now you’ve done the planting, fertilizing is the next big question! Growing jalapeños in a pot is very easy. But it will require some fertilizer! Fertilizing is the most confusing aspect of growing in containers and can also discourage beginner gardeners. 

Let’s talk about it and break down the stages of growth you need to understand to know how to support your new plant!

During the initial phases of a pepper plant’s life, it draws in a lot of nitrogen from the soil. When we’re talking fertilizer, that’s the first number on the package.

You may have seen this series of numbers when looking into gardening before, and it may have been what made you scrap the whole idea in the first place! What’s a 10-10-10? How is it different from a 2-5-3?

Before you start to think you need a gardening masterclass to understand how these numbers work, let’s only talk about the first number for now.

Nitrogen is what helps a young plant develop stronger roots and foliage! It’s so important to supply that heavy nitrogen fertilizer from the start until the plant is ready to put on fruit!

Until then, a fertilizer like Garden Tone is excellent for when the plant is still sinking its roots deep into the soil and drinking in all of that nutrition that puts on gorgeous foliage!

But what we’re looking for is an abundant pepper harvest! Beautiful foliage won’t fill the belly!

Once your jalapeño is well-established in its pot, it’s time to think about lowering the nitrogen-heavy fertilizer. 

When the plant is ready to fruit, continuing the nitrogen will make for a plant that only continues to be beautiful but not fruitful! Lowering the nitrogen load will start to support the plant’s fruiting phase! 

YES! 

Let’s get into that subject!

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08/11/2022 02:51 am GMT

Jalapeño Pepper Plant Fruiting Phase

At this point, start feeding your jalapeño with fish and seaweed fertilizer such as Neptune’s Harvest. The nitrogen is lower (2-3-1), so your potted jalapeño is prompted to start blossoming in earnest! Now is when you begin to see all of your efforts pay off!

Apply the higher nitrogen fertilizer every 1-2 weeks, and apply the lower nitrogen every week! By following this simple schedule, you’ll be picking peppers just like Peter Piper! I still don’t know what a peck is, though.

Watering Your Potted Jalapeño Peppers

Now that we’ve established a fertilizing schedule? Let’s discuss watering options. My preferred method for watering containers is drip irrigation, though many options are appropriate!

The easiest, and most readily available, is the good-ole watering can, sans the showerhead.

The showerhead on most watering cans will shower the foliage, and although it makes for pretty pictures with gleaming water droplets on healthy green leaves, the leaves won’t stay healthy for long.

Not only will disease be facilitated, but the leaves can also burn and blister, weakening the plant as a whole.

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How Often Should You Water Jalapeño Peppers?

Watering frequency depends on your area and sun exposure. In North Texas, where I am, I have to water my pepper plants every morning, without fail. I choose to grow in white buckets as the darker ones absorb too much of the sun’s heat and dry the soil entirely too quickly.

If you’re not in an extreme-heat zone, you’ll need to water much less frequently! The best test is to stick your finger into the soil by a couple of inches. If it’s moist at this depth, skip watering and check again tomorrow!

What Kind of Jalapeño Pepper Pests Should You Expect?

Planting your peppers in a tall pot like a 5-gallon bucket will help a lot of pests stay away, but some seem to appear out of nowhere. Aphids are one of those pests.

Seen on the underside of the leaves, they suck the life out of the plant, leaving them frail and susceptible to diseases.

To fight aphids, make a daily habit of checking the underside of the leaves, paying close attention to the lower leaves close to the soil. Aphids will look like weird little bumps. They easily brush away but will return.

To fight an aphid attack, make a solution of water and a few drops of castile soap. Apply it with a squirt bottle and wash the aphids away! This method works better than any insecticidal soap I’ve tried and does away with the aphids for longer.

Another issue with jalapeño plants is powdery mildew. To ward off any issues before they start, keep the leaves closer to the soil pruned off so that there’s no contact between moist soil and the leaves. 

Powdery mildew is easy to prevent but hard to battle if not caught in time!

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08/11/2022 02:10 am GMT

Growing Jalapeños in Pots – FAQs

We know that growing jalapeño peppers in pots is tricky if you don’t have much pepper prep experience!

So – let’s quickly go over a few common questions when considering growing jalapeños in containers.

Do Jalapeños Grow Well in Pots?

YES! A resounding yes! Jalapeños grow like crazy little pepper weeds in containers! My preferred method for peppers is always in pots though I have room for them in-ground! Peppers perform better when I can control how and when I feed them. It’s hard to overwater them as well! Since they don’t appreciate wet feed, allowing the drain holes to do their job keeps them from becoming saturated, soggy plants!

How Big or Small of a Pot Can Jalapeños Be Grown in?

I don’t recommend a smaller pot than a 5-gallon bucket, but you could go bigger! If you do use a larger planting vessel, make sure you keep the peppers at least a foot apart to give them room to stretch out! Keep a close eye out for overcrowding and powdery mildew.

What Kind of Soil Do Jalapeño Peppers Need?

Jalapeños appreciate loamy soil with lots of compost. It’s difficult to reproduce the loamy soil they like, so it’s okay to use a bagged soil blend for containers, and they’ll like it just fine! The support they’ll need is fertilizer.

How Many Jalapeños Can I Expect From 1 Plant?

I grew one jalapeño plant last year outside my south-facing bedroom window. It got TONS of sun. We live on a hill, and as soon as the sun breaks the horizon, it’s game on. I have no idea how many pounds of jalapeños my plant yielded, but it was somewhere in the okay – I have too many peppers now – range!

jalapenos in bowl for spicy sauce
Photo By Mandy Roberts – Harvesting your jalapeño peppers is when your hard work pays off! They stay fresh for about a week in the fridge. You can also remove stems, slice them, throw them in a freezer bag, and then the freezer. Due to the high acidity of peppers – no blanching is required!

Should I Grow Jalapeños in Pots?

Yes! Whether you grow your peppers to eat fresh, pickle, or ferment, you can’t go wrong with jalapeños! They’re an easy way to get some fresh produce into your kitchen while learning the behavior of the plant. You’ll discover what the plant needs, what works and what doesn’t. The satisfaction of picking those first peppers is a proud moment!

I promise you’ll be taking pictures of your pepper haul and saying things like I did that! I grew that!

It’s exciting, and soon you’ll be sharing with friends and neighbors until they’re sick of the peppers, too!

While you’re at it, you might as well plant some sweet peppers in another pot since you’re already doing such a great job with jalapeños! The care is the same for hot peppers, and this is just nature’s way of telling you fajitas is always a great idea!

If you’re brand new to gardening, jalapeños, or any pepper, is a great plant to try out! It’s a laid-back plant that bounces back from neglect (I know from experience) and pays back your attention and time with an abundant harvest!

Conclusion

We know that choosing the right growing conditions for your jalapeño peppers is tricky!

We also hope our guide to growing jalapeño peppers in containers gives you plenty of inspiration to carry you from transplant to harvest!

In the meantime – we’re happy to help answer any jalapeño pepper questions you have.

We love brainstorming all things jalapeño peppers – and we thank you again for reading.

Please have a wonderful day!

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08/11/2022 02:25 am GMT

Author

  • Mandy lives in North Texas where she tries hard to break all of the rules of gardening. She raises 5 kids on 4 acres with her husband and an old tractor named Albert Mario Farmall. She tries to grow record-breaking (in her own world) amounts of tomatoes and has a very strange obsession with fermented foods of all kinds. Coffee is her fuel because the kids drank all of her kombucha. Mandy's current growing project is creating an elderberry orchard!

Arleen

Friday 4th of March 2022

Growing in buckets, great idea! Maybe hubby and I will attempt a salsa garden. Thanks Mandy!

Elle

Sunday 6th of March 2022

YES! A salsa garden shall be on my to-do list now too - great idea!

Carole shaffer

Friday 4th of March 2022

Wonderful artical..learned alot

Elle

Sunday 6th of March 2022

Thanks so much Carole, glad you enjoyed it!!!