Jalapeno Plant Stages – From Seedling To Harvest (w/Pictures)

In this article, we’ll go through the main stages of growth for jalapeno plants. Each of the various plant stages requires different care. We will touch on the important changes to make for each of the jalapeno plant stages.

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Jalapeno plant stages of growth.
Jalapeno plant stages of growth.

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Before we move on, it is important to be aware that timing varies based on growing conditions. For example, jalapeno plants grown in soil will typically grow more slowly than in hydroponics. Similarly, nutrient deficiency, inadequate sunlight, or poor-draining soil can slow plant growth.

For an in-depth guide to growing jalapenos from seed, read our article here.

Learn when to plant jalapeno seeds in your climate here.


Seedling Stage (0-3 weeks)

The first stage of growth for jalapenos is the seedling stage. This lasts from the day of a seed sprouting to about 3 weeks, when true leaves begin to form.

Pepper seedlings
Pepper seedlings sprouting (stage 1).

Seedlings are very vulnerable and require close attention and care to ensure a healthy plant in the long run. This includes 16 hours of light per day, even watering, and good airflow.

Note: Most pepper varieties look very similar at this stage, which is why we recommend keeping organized if you’re growing multiple types.

Fertilization can begin around week 1-2 at a reduced strength. We also recommend sprouting your seeds in an organic seed starter mix rather than potting mix. This nutrient-deficient material is ideal for allowing young plant roots to form.

Jalapeno seedling care:

Fertilizer: 1/4 – 1/2 recommended strength, high-nitrogen fertilizer.
Water: Bottom water, keeping soil moist but not soaked.
Light: Indoor grow lights at 12-24″ above leaves (depending on light power) for 16 hours per day.

Adolescent Stage (3-4 weeks)

After the seedlings have been alive for a few weeks, they will have developed several sets of ‘true leaves.’ These are the leaves that follow the initial two leaves of the seedling, and are considered to be in ‘true’ form.

Pepper Plant - Adolescent Stage
Pepper plants at about 3 weeks old (stage 2).

At this stage, jalapeno plants can be transplanted out of seed cell trays and into slightly larger pots with standard potting mix. The plants can handle stronger feeding (either through soil-based nutrients or water-based fertilizer).

Lighting can be kept the same for now at ~16 hours per day. As the plants grow taller and stronger, they will get closer to the lights, absorbing more energy.

Adolescent jalapeno care:

Fertilizer: Full-strength, high-nitrogen fertilizer, or nutrient-rich soil.
Water: Base of plant, keeping soil moist but not soaked.
Light: Indoor grow lights at 12-24″ (depending on light power) for 16 hours per day.

Growth Stage (4-8 weeks)

As the jalapeno plant’s root systems grows, the plant above soil will grow faster and faster. This stage of rapid growth requires consistent watering, fertilizing (if soil does not contain fertilizer), and transplanting.

Pepper Plant Stages - Young Plant
Healthy pepper plant at ~6 weeks (stage 3).

As young jalapeno plants are growing, they need lots of nitrogen for healthy foliage development. A lack of nitrogen could lead to poor growth rate or yellowing leaves that may eventually fall off.

At this time, flowers may begin to form on the plant. This is a sign that the plant needs to be transplanted into a larger pot. Prune flower buds at this stage to encourage more leafy growth.

Learn more about transplanting peppers here.

Jalapeno growth stage care:

Fertilizer: Full strength, high-nitrogen fertilizer.
Water: Water at base of plant, allow for adequate drainage.
Light: Indoor grow lights for ~14 hours per day.

Maturation Stage (2-4 months)

After your jalapeno plants have been moved into their final pot or container, they will continue to grow to a mature size. This stage usually involves transitioning (hardening off) the plants to the outdoor environment into full-sun.

Jalapeno Plant Stages - Mature Plant
Mature jalapeno plant in 10″ pot.

This jalapeno plant stage is important in setting the stage for healthy yields. We want plenty of light and nutrients to allow the plant to grow as efficiently as possible.

Note: Jalapeno plant size can vary drastically based on the size of the container in which they are grown. We recommend pots of at least 3 gallons for the best yields.

Maturing jalapeno plant care:

Fertilizer: Full-strength, high-nitrogen fertilizer.
Water: Water at base of plant with adequate drainage.
Light: Harden off plants to outdoors in full sun.

Flowering Stage

This stage overlaps with the previous stage of maturation. Jalapeno plants should begin to produce flowers after being outdoors for 2-4 weeks. We recommend plucking flowers until this point in time to encourage the plant to produce leaves.

Pepper plant flowering
Pepper plant flowering stage.

Once your jalapeno plants begin producing flowers, the plants don’t need nearly as much nitrogen. We typically change the type of fertilizer to a more phosphorus-rich blend.

Try Fox Farm’s 3-part liquid fertilizer regimen to keep fertilizing simple. At the flowering stage, you would switch from ‘Grow Big’ to ‘Tiger Bloom.’

Tip: If you are growing indoors, you may need to provide a breeze with a fan or gently shake the plants at this stage to encourage pollination. Jalapeno plants readily self-pollinate outdoors, but indoors they may need some encouragement.

Why are jalapeno flowers dropping off the plant?

This is a common question you may ask at this stage of growth. Some flowers falling off the plant is natural, but it should never be all of them. If your plant is dropping all of its flowers, there may be an environmental issue.

Typically, jalapeno plant flowers drop due to high temperatures, poor pollination, or overwatering. If your plant is not producing any peppers, consider adjusting one of these factors to improve flower pollination and plant productivity.

Jalapeno flowering stage care:

Fertilizer: Reduced-nitrogen fertilizer (Fox Farm or Neptune’s Harvest).
Water: Water evenly with good drainage. Hot weather means more water usage by the plants.
Light: Full sunlight (or 12 hours of strong light indoors).

Fruiting

As you probably know, jalapeno plant flowers will turn into peppers. If a flower is successfully fertilized, the flower will drop it’s petals and begin to form a fruit and seeds.

Jalapeno Pods
Jalapeno peppers forming (final stage).

At this stage, it is important not to provide too much nitrogen. Phosphorus becomes more important for big, healthy blooms and fruits.

Jalapeno peppers will ripen from a light green, to a deep green, to almost black, and finally to red. There are other jalapeno varieties that will ripen to other colors, too.

For best results, keep the soil evenly moist and try to avoid overwatering. If the plants are underwatered, they will typically start to wilt. This is not ideal but is preferred to overwatering.

Jalapeno fruiting stage care:

Fertilizer: Full-strength, low-nitrogen fertilizer.
Water: Even watering with good drainage.
Light: Full sunlight (or 12 hours of strong light indoors).

Read Next:

I hope this article helps you understand the life cycle of a jalapeno pepper plant. The jalapeno plant stages are fascinating to witness, all the way from a tiny seedling to a sprawling plant full of peppers. Happy growing!

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.

2 thoughts on “Jalapeno Plant Stages – From Seedling To Harvest (w/Pictures)”

  1. This was my first year of growing Jalapeno peppers. I noticed some of my mature ones had started turning to a darker colour from the bottom up and my thought was they had somehow gone bad. I picked them off and discarded them. Now having seen this post I’m wondering if they were simply changing from green to red. Please give me your thoughts. Also, what is the best way to store peppers once picked? Enjoying your posts on Peppers. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Yes, that sounds like a normal jalapeno ripening pattern. You are not alone – so many people have messaged us that we helped save their black jalapenos from the trash. It’s better that you know now that it is normal! As for storing peppers, you can freeze them for long term storage (super easy) or you can pickle, dehydrate (make powder), etc. Ideally, you have a use for them while they are fresh, but I know each plant can produce a mountain of pods!

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