If you are planning to grow peppers in either a raised bed or a garden bed, you’ll want to make sure you have your pepper plant spacing right.
Every plant needs a different amount of space to thrive. Some vegetables need several feet between plants, like squash or tomatoes. Others need just a few inches, like carrots and many herbs.
Spacing between pepper plants will vary from one variety to another, so we have rounded up some of the most popular pepper types. In general, the larger the pepper, the larger the plant, and thus the wider your spacing should be.
In short, peppers should be spaced at 12-18″ between plants, stem to stem. For larger varieties, more space may be beneficial for easy access while harvesting.
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How To Read Seed Packet Spacing
Spacing is a commonly misunderstood issue with seed packets. When you buy a pack of seeds, there is usually a plant spacing guide. However, the spacing is usually not meant to be the space between plant stems, but rather the diameter of the circle surrounding your plant.
For example, if your seed packet recommends 12 inch spacing, this means that plants can be spaced every 6 inches, stem to stem. Each plant will then have a 12 inch diameter circle of space around it.
Using this method will maximize your gardening space, so keep this in mind. If you prefer to have wider spacing (for easier access while harvesting and watering), you can simply space wider than the minimum width.
In this article, we will recommend the spacing between pepper plants. In other words, we will recommend the amount of distance from one plant stem to the next.
General Pepper Plant Spacing
Different pepper plant varieties have different growth patterns from others. Some tend to grow wide and bushy, while others grow tall and slender. Leaf sizes are also highly variable.
Generally speaking, if you are growing peppers from seed, they will likely not grow much taller than 3 feet during a single season. Many varieties will stay much smaller, while others may be slightly larger.
So, how much space do peppers generally need between plants? For most varieties, pepper plants should be spaced at 12-18″ (30-46 cm) between plants. Larger varieties can be given slightly more space, but will usually not need more than 18 inches. This spacing will prevent the plants from competing for space both above and below ground.
We have experimented with spacing closer and farther, but generally your peppers will be happy with this amount of room. If you space your plants any closer, they may compete for light and root space. Tight spacing also restricts airflow which can cause other issues with your pepper plants.
Since peppers self-pollinate, you can space peppers as far away from one another as you like. These spacing guidelines are meant to maximize your garden space.
Bell Pepper Plant Spacing
Bell peppers are among the largest pepper varieties, and also the most commonly grown. The plant’s leaves are broad, and plants can grow quite tall, up to 3 feet in one season. However, they tend to be slender rather than bushy, so they may not take up as much space as you might expect.
With that said, you should give your bell peppers plenty of space to produce. We recommend spacing bell peppers at 18 inches (46 cm) between plants. Though the plants are usually slim, the root systems can be extensive, requiring a bit of extra space. We prefer to be on the safe side to maximize our pepper yields.
Having neighbors can be helpful for bell peppers. They can provide added shade for the fruits to avoid sun scalding on the pepper’s skin during early growth.
Jalapeno Plant Spacing
Another popular pepper to grow at home, the jalapeno is a much smaller pepper than the bell pepper. The plants will not grow as large as a bell pepper plant, and thus you can usually space them a bit closer.
We recommend spacing jalapeno plants at 12-18 inches (30-46 cm) between plants. You may give them more space if desired, but the plants should produce optimally at 18 inches.
Jalapenos are part of the Capsicum annuum species, along with banana peppers, poblanos, bells, serranos and many others. These plants tend to be more compact when mature, thus 12 inch spacing will work for all of them.
Habanero Plant Spacing
For the habanero-type peppers, we recommend at least 18 inches, and up to 24 inches for more mobility during harvest and plant care. This spacing will allow the plants to reach a mature size of 5 feet or taller in a single season!
Keep in mind that, by spacing closer, your pepper plants will help shade the ground below, preventing weeds from growing. Spacing correctly also makes the best usage of your garden plot.
What To Plant Near Peppers
Perhaps just as important as pepper plant spacing are plant companions. We wrote a post dedicated to this topic, but here are a few options for what to plant near your peppers.
Basil. We absolutely love growing and cooking with basil. There are a ton of different varieties to choose from, each with a unique flavor and color. Basil is also a great companion for tomatoes!
Chives. Another easy-to-grow herb, chives are happy to be planted nearby your pepper plants. They don’t grow too tall and can help deter certain types of flies.
Garlic. You may think that growing garlic would be difficult. Not so! If you have a fresh, organic garlic bulb, you can use it to grow more garlic. It is a great companion for most plants, and a culinary treasure.
Rosemary. Another fragrant and delicious herb, rosemary is a staple in our kitchen. It grows well and is very hardy throughout the season. Bonus: Planting rosemary near your peppers can help with water retention in the soil.
Tomatoes. Though this may be debated by gardeners, we always have a few tomato plants alongside our pepper garden. We recommend rotating where the tomatoes are planted each year to avoid potential pathogen issues.
I hope you found this article useful for your pepper plant spacing in the garden this season. Let us know if you have experimented with smaller or larger spacing and how it worked for you. Thanks for reading!