Updated at: 28-02-2023 - By: Sienna Lewis

Peppers outshine everything else in my garden at the end of the season. This year’s corn crop has been harvested and the stalks dried, tomatoes are turning brown from the bottom up and peppers are still a vibrant green and covered with brightly colored fruits.

The fact that peppers are best planted later than the other summer crops explains in part why most other plants are exhausted by the time peppers reach their prime. Pepper varietals, pests, and growing conditions in Southern California will be discussed, as will the best times to sow and plant peppers.

Until then, let’s discuss the process of sowing and planting.

Sowing and planting peppers

On February 13 of last year, I sowed pepper seeds in trays in my garage. Here is a picture of them in the garden that I took on June 2:

During the middle of the summer, we started eating from these plants.

7 garden tips for growing peppers in Southern California – Orange County Register

Those plants will need to be nurtured for five months before they can be harvested. It takes a long time to grow peppers from seed, especially if you don’t use heating mats or grow lights to get them going (I don’t use either).

For this year’s planting, I went with seedlings from the Territorial Seed Company in Oregon, acquired in the year 2020. Seedlings came in a box on May 7:

In mid-summer, we began eating from the seedlings that I planted on May 9. Before harvesting, the plants need only two months of care. Starting your peppers as seedlings is a better use of your time than starting them from seeds. Usually.

If you’re going to start from seed, the best months to do it are February and March. If you’re starting from seedlings, May is the best month to grow peppers.

Planting peppers earlier than May is possible, but because to their slow growth, the plants will be unable to recover from harm caused by insects like earwigs. When it comes to peppers, you can plant them later than May, but you’ll receive fewer fruit out of the plant if you do so.

What makes May such a good month to plant peppers? In the first month of the year, temperatures are warm enough to delight peppers. UC Davis recommends that peppers be grown in temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit at night. In May, the majority of Southern California experiences its first high of this kind.

Peppers, in contrast to tomatoes, require a warmer environment to germinate. If you examine the germination times of tomato seeds and pepper seeds in a compost pile, you’ll note that the peppers always sprout later, when the temperature is warmer.


Peppers come in a wide variety of colors and shapes. Our peppers are grown in three major varieties, which we select based on how we like to consume them.

We have Ancho Magnifico, Padron, Early Jalapenos, Miniature Red Bell, Orange Bell and Yellow Bell this year: a total of seven varieties.

A poblano type or Anaheim chile must be on hand to prepare “cheaper” rellenos.

We remove the stem and seeds, load the peppers with a block of string cheese, then bake them. We used these phony chile rellenos in burritos and scrambled eggs, among other things.

We also need medium-spiced peppers for salsa. Here are the Padron and Jalapenos to help.

I also use sweet peppers as a substitute for iceberg lettuce in summer sandwiches. Banana peppers have been my go-to in the past, but this year I’m switching to little bells. To achieve that satisfying crunch, I like to slice them and put them in a sandwich.

Carrots will be replaced this year with little bells. I eat them as a snack with hummus. In any case, I’d advise you to produce peppers that you’ll actually use. A wide variety of peppers can be used in many different ways, from spicy sauce to pickles to pan blistering.


Is it necessary to provide some sort of support for your pepper plants? Sometimes. Smaller-fruited varieties are more likely to stand their ground and not topple over under the weight of their own fruit. A few years ago, I didn’t have to care for this Serrano plant:

In contrast to last year, I didn’t wait until the plants started leaning this year. When I first planted them, I used stakes and string to keep them in place, just like tomatoes. (See my previous post on how to string tomatoes.)

As a bonus, this helps keep the pepper plants erect, as well as condensing the foliage and protecting the fruit from the sun.

Shading to prevent sunburn

“Anyone can grow green bell peppers,” said one of the best vegetable gardeners I know. Green bell peppers are reasonably easy to produce because they’re usually green while they’re just starting to develop. There are a few exceptions to this rule: if they’ve been on a plant for a long period of time (say, more than a few weeks), then they’ll become yellow or orange or red or other colors.

It’s a two-pronged strategy employed by Roy Wilburn, a vegetable gardener, to protect his bell peppers from sunburn. First, he arranges them in two rows, which makes them densely packed and prone to overshadowing one another.

Two, if the temperature rises above 90 degrees, he covers the plants with shade fabric. Shade fabric is spread across metal hoops with 30 percent of it.

On scorching days, I’ve been using 30 percent shade cloth to protect my peppers. There is virtually no risk of skin cancer from excessive exposure to the sun. At 109 degrees one day, a few pieces of fruit were slightly scorched.

When to Plant Bell Peppers in Southern California (SC)

You could ask if it’s better to place the peppers in partial shade or full shade, and if so, how much shade is optimal. While the peppers thrive in this environment, they produce significantly less than when they’re kept out of the direct sun and just gently shaded during the hottest days of the year.

Sunburn isn’t a big deal if you live near the coast, where the temperature rarely rises above 90 degrees.

Disease-carrying insects and pathogens

Peppers aren’t plagued by pests or diseases in Southern California, where I’ve cultivated them.

The earwigs aren’t a problem if you plant late enough. Pepper aphids are a problem, but a regular watering regimen keeps them at bay.

The hornworm feeds on the foliage of peppers, just like it does on tomatoes. Alternatively, as my son is about to demonstrate, you can simply pluck them off with your fingers:

A special pepper plant

The slow growth of peppers necessitates the use of seedlings rather than seeds, which is why I said earlier. Usually. Some pepper cultivars may only be obtained by spreading seeds, which is one good reason to grow plants from seed.

Back in May, a generous Yard Posts reader from South Africa (now residing in San Diego) sent me seeds of a pepper variety native to that region of the world, sometimes known as African Bird’s Eye pepper or Peri-peri. I grew these peppers with the help of my neighbors while living in Lesotho. For years, I included them in nearly every meal.

Can I Grow Bell Peppers In California?

There is no reason why you can’t produce bell peppers in California. According to studies, California grows about 38% of all the bell peppers consumed in the United States. In addition, the southern coast, the southern desert basins, the central coast, and the central valley of California are the primary producing locations for bell peppers in the state of California.

Open-pollinated bell peppers, such as Keystone Resistant Giant Strains, California Wonder 300, Capistrano, Yolo Wonder, Jupiter, and Grande Rio66, are the most common in California. Vegetables grown in the summer season prefer temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, as well as well-drained soils.

Is Growing Peppers In Southern California Easy?

You betcha! There are some places of the United States that don’t experience freezing weather, but in Southern California you can grow pepper plants year-round.

When it comes to gardening and horticultural magic, an annual plant lives and dies in one season, but a perennial plant lives and grows for many years. In other words, if you live in the southern half of California, peppers are a breeze to grow. You won’t have to replace these plants every year after you have them established in your backyard garden or greenhouse.

This region’s diverse climate necessitates a wide selection, from the mild to the fiery hot, of peppers for a vegetable garden.

How Do You Grow Good Peppers In Southern California?

In order to successfully grow peppers in Southern California, you’ll need to place them in locations that receive plenty of direct sunlight. Planting should be done in the late afternoon or early evening in damp soil with a vegetable fertilizer. Remember to water the young and vulnerable plants every day for around five days before watering them once a week to ensure nice peppers.

Top Vegetables That Grow Best In Southern California

Gardeners in Southern California are able to cultivate a wide range of vegetables year-round, including rhubarb, radicchio, asparagus, and artichokes. In addition to their low-maintenance requirements, these veggies can be grown year-round and year after year. Examine them one by one here:


While most people are aware that rhubarb is an essential ingredient in cobbler and pie, they may not be aware that it is also an abundant vegetable. These plants, when fully grown, can reach a height of four feet and produce the crunchiest, sweetest stalks of green, red, or pink.

Additionally, their leaves can be used to enrich your compost. Keep in mind, however, that rhubarb leaves have a high oxalic acid concentration and should not be consumed. If you’re curious, this chemical compound can be hazardous to humans at high levels, just in case.

For up to eight years, you can anticipate these vegetables to yield. In the first year, you’ll only be able to pick a few stalks, but in the second year, you’ll be able to gather more. You’ll be harvesting a lot of stalks by the third year.


Radicchio, a red-leafed chicory, is another vegetable that thrives in the warm climate of the region. Despite the fact that it resembles a ruby red cabbage with white veins, its head doesn’t get larger than the size of a grapefruit and it remains compact.

The fact that this plant becomes sweeter as the weather gets colder is what makes it interesting. This plant can be harvested for its leaves or it can be cut down after its head has formed.


In general, this vegetable crop takes longer to develop than other types of vegetables, which is important to know. In the case of crowns, for example, you will have to wait a year before harvesting them. If you start from seed, you’ll have to wait up to three years before you can begin harvesting your asparagus.

Asparagus spears can be harvested for up to 30 years if you put in the time and effort to nurture them, and you won’t regret it. This time between planting and harvesting, your garden will be full of brightly colored flowering asparagus spears as well as their tall and fluffy ferns.


When it comes to artichokes, you can’t go wrong with the green or purple types, which have pinecone-like buds, and the silvery-green leaves. What’s more, they’re not just visually appealing; they’re also delicious! This type of plant can produce fruit for as long as five years.

Is It A Great Idea To Grow Peppers In A Greenhouse?

There you go! Planting peppers in a greenhouse is the best way to ensure a large crop, regardless of whether you want mild or spicy peppers. Protecting your plants from harsh weather and pests is just one of the many benefits a greenhouse can provide, but it can also serve as a haven where you can relax and focus solely on the task of nurturing and caring for your plants.

Tips For Planting Peppers In A Greenhouse

You can ensure a healthy and abundant crop of peppers by using a greenhouse to trap heat, moisture, and light. To help you get started, here are some helpful hints.

Soak pepper seeds

Just soak the seeds for around 10 minutes before planting them if you want to speed up the maturation process of your peppers. The hard seed cover of the pepper will be softer as a result, which will speed up germination time.

Let them get at least 6 hours of direct sunlight

Finding an area in your greenhouse that gets at least a half-hour of direct sunshine every day is the greatest place for your peppers, which will yield the most flavorful peppers.

Maintain proper temperature control

Setting up a greenhouse is one of the finest ways to regulate the environment in which your plants develop, including the temperature. Temperatures of 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 60 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for growing pepper seedlings.

Growing peppers in Southern California - Greg Alder's Yard Posts: Southern California food gardening

Use a powerful water hose to remove pests

If you water off your adult plants, you can get rid of those annoying aphids and other pests. However, new seedlings should not be treated in this manner.

Keep the soil wet

To thrive, peppers require a lot of water. Because of this, it’s ideal to keep the soil constantly damp. You should water them every day and every four days when the temperature rises.

Plant them in nutrient-rich soil

Make sure that you plant your peppers in soil that has enough calcium and phosphorus in it. Furthermore, keep the soil pH at 6.0 to 7.0 and its temperature at 70˚F to enhance the plant’s germination process.


Make sure that you plant your peppers in soil that has enough calcium and phosphorus in it. Furthermore, keep the soil pH at 6.0 to 7.0 and its temperature at 70˚F to enhance the plant’s germination process.

Plant your peppers in soil that contains adequate amounts of calcium and phosphorus. Additionally, keep the soil pH between 6.0 and 7.0 and the temperature between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit to help the plant germinate.