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The Ideal Container Size For Pepper Plants

If you are growing your pepper plants in pots, you should give the plants enough room to grow to their full potential. Pepper plants require adequate space to mature and produce lots of fruits. The best container size for pepper plants will vary based on which variety you are growing.

In general, the larger the pepper variety, the larger the pot should be. For example, a bell pepper plant requires more space to grow and mature than a cayenne pepper plant.

In this article, I’ll help you pick the right sized container for pepper plants. I’ll also share some of our favorite types of planters that you can find online.

Container Size For Pepper Plants

In this article:

Container Size For Pepper Plants (Video)


What size pot is best for pepper plants?

While the perfect planter does not exist for all peppers, there is an ideal size range to look for. Generally, pepper plants need a minimum of 3-5 gallons of growing medium to produce a healthy yield. However, this varies based on the type of pepper.

For smaller pepper varieties, like cayenne peppers or Thai chilies, your pots should be at least 3 gallons. For larger varieties like bell peppers and banana peppers, aim for a pot with 5 gallons or more.

Buy our ebook: Growing Perfect Peppers
Buy our ebook: Growing Perfect Peppers

Some pepper varieties, like ghost peppers and other Capsicum chinense varieties, can make use of 10-15 gallons of soil (or more!). However, this large container size may be inconvenient for some growers.

3+ gallons/11 liters (small peppers):

  • Serrano
  • Thai chilies
  • Cayenne
  • Fresno
  • Aji charapita
  • Dwarf varieties (like medusa)
  • Other small pepper varieties

5-10 gallons/19-38 liters (large sized peppers):

  • Bell
  • Jalapeño
  • Poblano
  • Banana
  • Any other large pepper variety

10+ gallons (38+ liters):

Pepper Planter Pot Sizes

Keep in mind these are meant to be minimum container sizes for happy, healthy pepper plants. If you want to achieve larger harvests, grow in larger containers to allow your pepper plants to mature to their maximum size.

Also, you can grow your pepper varieties in smaller pots and still get some peppers. However, you will end up with a smaller overall plant size, and ultimately smaller yields.

Small KSLS x CGN 21500 pepper plant with fruits
Small pepper plant growing in a 4 inch pot.

The Cheapest Pots

For the frugal pepper gardener, look no further than the 5-gallon bucket. These are usually between $3-5 and can work as a pepper plant container. Just be sure to drill some holes in the bottom for water drainage.

While 5 gallon buckets are not the most aesthetically pleasing to put in your yard, they are a practical and affordable option.

Note that 5-gallon buckets are not made for growing plants, and that the plastic used may not be food-grade. Use them to grow peppers at your own discretion.

Get some on Home Depot here.


Fabric Planter Grow Bags

One unique option for gardeners are plant grow bags. They are highly effective for faster plant growth because of their breathable walls. Fabric grow bags are affordable, collapsible, and easily stored after the growing season.

While some bags are made of woven fabric, others are felt, offering better stability of temperature and a longer lasting build. One of the greatest benefits of this design is root pruning, which prevents the root system from circling the pot.

What sized grow bag for peppers?

Grow bags come in every size, but we recommend at least 5 gallons for growing peppers to avoid issues with the soil drying out. These 7-gallon bags from Bootstrap Farmer are perfect for pepper plants and come in a variety of colors.

Huge Bhut Jolokia ghost pepper Plant in 7 gallon grow bag
Ghost pepper plant growing in a 7 gallon fabric pot.

Affordable Plastic Pepper Plant Pots

We have been using these plastic pots for years. They are made of thick, sturdy plastic and can be reused season after season. If you live in a cold climate, I suggest bringing them indoors for the winter to avoid cracking.

I would recommend going with the 10″ pots or larger, depending on which varieties of pepper you plan to grow. Our bell peppers typically produce about a dozen fruits in the 12″ containers.

See them on Amazon here.

Scotch bonnet in large pot
Scotch bonnet in 5 gallon pot.

These pots also come in many colors, perfect for color coding your plants, or simply making your garden more quirky and fun.


Modern Planter Pots

If you want a modern look to your outdoor garden, you may find what you’re looking for on AllModern.com. You can also shop for attractive planters at department stores, gardening centers, Etsy, thrift stores, and yard sales in the spring.

Though these pots may be aesthetically pleasing, many of them do not come with drainage holes. For peppers, it is important not to over-water, so be sure your pot of choice has drainage before planting.

You can easily drill your own drainage holes, so this shouldn’t be a deal breaker. Or, plant in black nursery pots, and place them into a decorative planter.

Dorset naga pepper plant growing in a 24 gallon half-barrel planter.
Large Dorset naga pepper plant in a 24-gallon decorative planter.

For fancy, upscale planters, we recommend using a cheap nursery pot placed into your planter box, out of sight. Just check that the nursery pot will fit comfortably in your planter beforehand.


Related:

I hope this article helps you find the perfect sized container for your pepper plants. Good luck with growing your peppers in pots this year!


Calvin Thumbnail

Calvin

One of the original Pepper Geeks! When Calvin isn’t gardening or learning more about peppers and botany, he might be traveling new places or playing some music.

Scott

Sunday 21st of May 2023

How do you feel about self watering pots for chili peppers?

peppergeek

Monday 22nd of May 2023

I just made one this year for our dorset naga challenge, should be interesting to watch it grow.

AlliOop

Friday 19th of May 2023

When you say gallons do you mean true volume? Nursury/retail slang will call a "#5" container a "5 gallon" but a #5 is actually about 4.3 gallons to the brim(depending on squat vs tall and manufacturer)and even less when space is left for watering and mulch; likewise a #3 is under 2.5gallons, #1 is only 2.5-3qt, a #7 is 6-gallons, etc.

Which tends to be a larger plant, Habanero[orange] or Tabasco? Container grown. I'm allocating my pots and I don't want to just use the largest I have, so I can overwinter these without too much logistical hassle.

Going off topic, I occasionally see Tabasco seeds advertised as "Greenleaf" strain and supposedly better in the southeast US(I'm far west, way different season). This implies there is more than one sub-cultivar of Tabasco, but I never see any that are "Not greenLeaf" or any other definite indication of strain, and I don't know if one makes a larger plant anyway.

Martin

Sunday 2nd of April 2023

I have been following you guys for several years and have learned plenty. I live in central Florida and I’m nursing my ghost pepper plant back for a 2nd year. I didn’t have much luck last year as none of my peppers grew to more than 1 1/4 “ even though the plant itself was over 3 ‘ tall, the plant is in a 5 gal pot and this year I’m using organic fertilizer. What can I expect? Is it possible the seeds I bought last year on line were not that great? In recent years I have grown reapers, habanero’s, and 7 pot with great results. I’m open for any suggestions, including replanting with the same seeds, and new soil (I use a compost and manure mixture) or ordering new seeds. I value your opinion, so if you can please get back to me.

Rodney Galea

Sunday 2nd of April 2023

Hi there. I love your newsletter and have just got involved in growing my own peppers (the superstore ones are a bit wishy washy). However, being from the wrong side of the pond - in the UK, I am confused with your references to pot sizes in gallons. I am old enough to understand gallons but I can't relate that system of sizing to plant pot diameter in inches. Can you help? Thanks.

Rodney Galea

Monday 3rd of April 2023

@peppergeek, Many thanks for the prompt reply, now I know where to start.

Tony Sarchet

Monday 3rd of April 2023

@Rodney Galea,

I'm also a UK-based fan. I found these details from a pot supplier quite useful:

12 Litre Plant Pots Dimensions: 30cm diameter top, 24.2cm diameter base and 23.8cm depth. Internal top diameter 27.5cm. Capacity: 12 litres. Recommended use: Heavy duty plant pots used for tree production and growing.

15 Litre Plant Pots Dimensions: 32.8cm diameter top, 25.5cm diameter base and 25.8cm depth. Internal top diameter 30cm. Capacity: 15 litres. Recommended use: Heavy duty plant pots used for tree production and growing.

20 Litre Plant Pots Dimensions: 35.5cm diameter top, 27.6cm diameter base and 26cm depth. Internal top diameter 32.5cm. Capacity: 20 litres.

(30 cm = 12 inches)

Debbie Larsen

Monday 3rd of April 2023

@Rodney Galea,

Google is your friend. Just write something like "How many cubic feet (or whatever unit of measure you would use) are in 5 gallons?" Google will pop up with the answer and often a calculator to use various units of measure.

peppergeek

Sunday 2nd of April 2023

Hi there, so a pot with a diameter around 12 inches or 30 cm is a good place to start. Alternatively, look for pots labeled at least 15 liters, though many varieties can benefit from even larger pots.

Reuben

Monday 14th of March 2022

Thai pepper plants absolutely Thrive in container growing, even two or three gallon pots are usually plenty to yield a crop, and they are beautiful as ornamental house plants as well, yielding a variety of colors of peppers, green to red. They store well, take up very little space, and pack a delicious but hot punch. Scoville Rating 50,000 - 100,000 SHU - There are a variety of simple sauces online, Thai fish sauce being one of the simplest and best known, with only about four or five ingredients. Dried Thai peppers are an option for storing, and it is a cinch to save the multitude of seeds for the next season as well. Happy harvesting!