How To Make Peppers Grow Faster

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So you’re growing peppers and you want to speed up the process. Maybe you are behind on planting this year, or you just want to increase your pepper plant’s yield this season. Pepper plants grow pretty fast when cared for properly, especially after they are a month or so old.

However, there are a few techniques you can try to make your peppers grow more quickly. In this article, I’ll share some tips on how to make peppers grow faster.

How to Make Peppers Grow Faster

Use A Grow Light

Most climates require you to start your peppers indoors. Unless you live close to the equator, the winter months are too cold with too little sunlight to grow peppers year round.

Thankfully, starting plants indoors is easy and gives the peppers enough time to mature outside. However, if you start your seeds inside, you should always use a grow light.

Grow lights are becoming more affordable and much less cumbersome. Older lights were large and loud, with cooling fans running non-stop. Now, a small, quiet LED grow light can help your plants grow fast and strong from seed.

Read our detailed article about the best grow lights for peppers here.

Keep the lights running for at least 14 hours per day, and up to 18 hours. This longer period of light means more photosynthesis, leading to quicker growth. Also, position the grow lights an appropriate distance above the peppers.

I built a simple seedling shelf to mount grow lights above our pepper plants. The distance from the light to the plants varies from one light to another, so be sure to read the instructions.

Pepper seedlings growing on grow shelf under grow lights
Pepper seedlings growing under grow lights.

Not only will your young peppers grow faster, but they will be stronger and leafier. Without providing strong light from day one, your pepper plants will become tall and leggy. They will also likely have smaller harvests and may require staking.

Try Liquid Fertilizer

Light is important, but nutrients are equally vital. Without proper nutrition, your pepper plants will grow slowly and may develop issues. These include yellowing leaves, improper root development, curling leaves and yes, stunted growth.

With so many options on the market, choosing a fertilizer can be overwhelming. However, we always recommend using fertilizer with a higher percentage of nitrogen during younger plant growth.

While granular fertilizers are great for slow-release nutrition, liquid fertilizers can feed your plants instantly. This is useful for growing peppers in containers where the nutrients are depleted more quickly.

Fox Farm makes an excellent trio of fertilizers that work great for pepper plants.

Each of these three fertilizers is designed for the different stages of plant development. The first stage helps the plants grow plenty of healthy leaves and branches. The second helps encourage lots of flowers, and the third accelerates fruit production.

Fox farm trio fertilizers
Fox Farm fertilizers.

If you prefer organic gardening, we have had great success using Alaska fish emulsion and Miracle-Gro organics. Both of these options will provide quickly-available nutrients to help your pepper plants grow fast.

To learn more about the best fertilizers for pepper plants, read our article here.

Transplant At The Right Time

Transplanting peppers is important to give the plants room to continue growing. If you wait too long, your plants may become root bound.

If you start your seeds indoors in small seed cells (1 inch x 1 inch), then they will need to be transplanted into larger pots around 2-3 weeks after sprouting. The root systems should just be reaching the bottom of your container when you transplant.

Transplanting at the right time ensures that the root system is never constrained by the size of your pot. I usually start pepper plants in seed cell trays, move them to 3.5″ pots, and then to their final containers (either into the ground or in large pots).

Pepper seedling plug
Pepper seedling being transplanted.

Learn more about transplanting peppers here.

Use A Large Enough Container

When pepper plants are constrained to a small pot, the plant’s size will stay smaller as well. This is because the root system runs out of space to expand, leading to a smaller overall plant size.

Pepper Planter Pot Sizes
Pepper plants in various container sizes.

Most pepper varieties require a minimum of 3-5 gallons of soil to grow optimally. This varies from one type to another, but it is best to be on the safe side and go bigger. As a rule of thumb, the larger the pepper variety, the larger the pot should be. For example, bell peppers should be planted in a larger pot than Thai chilies.

Learn more about choosing the right container size for your pepper plants here.

Plant In Full Sun

Once your pepper plants are ready for the outdoors, make sure you choose a location with the most sunlight possible. If your garden space is shaded, do your best to avoid unnecessary shade throughout the day. Peppers will grow faster during sunny days.

If you are growing any taller plants along with your peppers, make sure that the peppers are on the South side (if you are in the Northern hemisphere). If you are growing in containers, be sure you place the pots away from any tall structures (like your house, trees, patio umbrella, etc.).

Pick Peppers Regularly

In order to allow your plants to produce regularly, you should harvest peppers when they are ripe. This allows the plant to continue driving energy to producing more peppers. The remaining peppers will grow faster if you are regularly picking older fruits off the plant.

Some varieties can be picked before they full ripen. For example, jalapeño peppers are usually picked when green, but will eventually ripen to red. Picking them early when they are green leads to a larger overall yield. However, jalapeños become sweeter the longer they remain on the plant, so consider this before harvesting.

Jalapeno Pepper Turning Red

I hope this article helps grow your pepper plants faster! There is only so much you can do to speed up growth for your pepper plants, but these tips should help. Let me know how your peppers are looking after making these adjustments in the comments below.

Calvin Thumbnail


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.

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  1. I live in the high desert in New Mexico. So hot summers with chilly nights. It’s just about our last frost date but temperatures are still in the high 60’s during the day with high 40’s at night. Next week they are forecasting a few low 70’s with high 40’s. at what day temperatures do I trust to actually plant my peppers in my garden beds. I have row covers for the nights. But are the plants going to be ok if temperatures at still in the 60’s occasionally during the day for a couple more weeks. Can I at least start hardening them off with the occasional cooler day?

    1. 70s is a great temperature to be at for transplanting out. High 40s isn’t the end of the world, especially for the right varieties for your region. The desert will be cool overnight, so best to just get the plants used to it now and start hardening

  2. My wife and I have had pathetic results growing and harvesting peppers we just planted some plants hydroponically (using the Keatky method) and will see if we can do better and am looking forward to planting your way, using your suggestions.

  3. Looking for a banana pepper tha has a little heat, less than a poblano but more Thant 5he sweet variety , any suggestions? Thanks Peppergeek!

  4. I’ve been using a weed mat and it seems my Peppers have a hard time growing . Is this a problem others are having. They grew better without the matt but pulling weeds with my back was the reason I use

  5. Black panther , ghost and other seedlings are ready for their final pot(5gallon buckets ) . Is it best to plant only one per bucket or can I plant 2 . Which will give me the best yield.

    1. Are they in their final pot? If so, you can let them flower and fruit. If the plants are still pretty small (under 1 foot tall) I would pick off any early fruits that begin to form so the plant focuses on leafy growth before fruiting.

  6. Hi! I have a few chili plants as well, but after the aphids attacked them they didn’t produce any chili. I’ve also tried multiple methods to repel the aphids but none worked. Hope you can help and give some advice..
    Thanks in advance!

    1. @Han, Neem oil has been my secret weapon. Just use as directed. I live in central NC and have all sorts of bugs but this has been the key. Also, a companion plant that attracts green lace wings would help too. Or some marigolds.

  7. Been trying so hard to grow tabasco peppers. I have a dozen failed attempts, and finally have one plant about a foot tall. I too live in SoCal, and have pretty much unlimited sunlight, but I have found that leaving any of my plants out in it for more than a few hours will wilt the leaves. My surviving plant is about 3 months old, I dont understand why these are just not growing properly.

    1. Strange, we haven’t grown the official Tabasco pepper, but we did grow another C. frutescens variety last year and it flourished in full-sun. The plants should get used to full sun eventually if you gradually increase exposure. Some wilting during the transition is fine, and even after transitioning during especially hot weather. Also, keep them watered as they’ll drink a lot more when it is hot and dry!

  8. Hi,
    Peppers are my favorite plant to grow, too. I have two greenhouses and am having terrible problems with aphids. They, too, seem to prefer peppers. I’ve used soap, Neem oil, diatomaceous earth. And the aphids just keep coming back. Peppers are stunted because the aphids attack new growth. Hoping you might have some suggestions.


  9. Really enjoy all the info you provide, being in southern CA conditions are quite different. Thank you

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