Bell peppers are a delicious and versatile vegetable that can thrive in different climates. But how long does it take for a bell pepper plant to reach maturity?
Discover the bell pepper growing stages from seed to harvest. Learn about the growth and development of this versatile vegetable and what to expect at each stage.
The journey of a bell pepper starts with a seed. After germination, the seedling grows into a small bell pepper plant. Approximately seven weeks (49 days) later, the plant begins to flower, producing white or yellow blooms that will develop into fruit.
During the summer months, the bell pepper plant reaches its peak growth stage. At this time, the plant is actively producing and ripening fruits, which are ready to be harvested.
So, let’s dive deeper into each of the bell pepper growth stages.
Growth Stages Of A Bell Pepper Plant
A bell pepper plant takes 90 to 120 days to produce fruit from seed that can be harvested. During this time, the plant goes through 7 growth stages.
Stage 1. Seed Sowing
The initial step in growing bell peppers is to sow the seeds. Bell pepper seeds require warm soil, at least 70°F (21°C), to germinate. You can sow seeds directly in the garden or start them indoors for a head start and an earlier harvest.
If you sow the seeds directly in the garden, plant them about 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) deep and 18 inches (45 cm) apart.
If you decide to start seeds indoors, plant 2 to 4 seeds in one pot, 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) deep and 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Ensure that the soil remains moist but not waterlogged, and place the pots or trays in a warm location until the plants emerge from the soil.
Pro Tip: Bell peppers need a long season to grow, so it’s best to sow seeds as early as possible. Start seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date.
Stage 2. Seed Germination
The second stage in the growth of bell peppers is the germination of seeds. The time it takes for germination can vary, but it typically takes 7 to 14 days.
For successful germination, bell pepper seeds require warm soil and consistent moisture. Once the seeds sprout, they will begin to develop roots and shoots. The first leaves to appear are known as cotyledons.
After about a week, the first set of true leaves will emerge. These leaves are larger and are different in shape than the cotyledons.
Pro Tip: If you sowed bell peppers outdoors, seedlings could be vulnerable to pests such as aphids, cutworms, flea beetles, or armyworms. You can use protective coverings like horticultural fleece or spray plants with neem oil to protect your seedlings.
Stage 3. Vegetation Growth
After germination, bell pepper plants enter the vegetation growth stage. The plants develop more leaves during this stage and establish a robust root system. This stage lasts for the majority of the bell pepper plant’s lifespan.
Bell pepper plants require full sun, which is at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day, and enough nutrients to develop healthy and robust vegetation.
These plants can grow up to 3 feet (91 cm) tall and around 2 feet (61 cm) wide. It is important to provide enough space for upward and sideways growth to ensure proper development and prevent stress that can result in fewer fruits during the season.
Thin out any excess plants to prevent overcrowding and competition for resources. Applying mulch around the plants can help conserve moisture and prevent weed growth.
Pro Tip: If you have sown your seeds indoors, this is the time to transplant them outdoors. Be sure to harden your plants by gradually exposing them to the harsh and unforgiving world before transplanting.
Stage 4. Flower Blossom
After the bell pepper plant has grown and matured, it will enter the flower blossom stage. During this stage, the plant will produce small white flowers. These flowers will eventually develop into the fruit of the plant – the bell pepper.
The flower blossom stage is an exciting time for gardeners as it signals that the plant is healthy and on track to produce a bountiful harvest. It’s important to continue to provide the plant with proper care during this stage but not to overfertilize.
As the flowers bloom, they will attract pollinators such as bumblebees and hoverflies. While pollinators are not crucial for bell pepper flowers, they will play a role in the next stage of the bell pepper’s growth – pollination.
Stage 5. Flower Pollination
After the bell pepper plant has produced flowers, it will enter the flower pollination stage. During this stage, pollinators such as bumblebees and hoverflies will visit the flowers and pollinate them.
While pepper flowers have the ability to self-pollinate and produce fruit without the need for cross-pollination, pollination by insects can result in larger and heavier fruits.
You can help encourage pollination by planting a variety of flowering plants near their bell pepper to attract pollinators.
Once pollination has occurred, the flowers will begin to form fruit, signaling the start of the next stage of growth – fruit development.
Stage 6. Fruit Development
After the bell pepper plant has been pollinated, it will enter the fruit development stage. During this stage, the plant will produce small green fruits that will eventually grow and mature into bell peppers.
The fruit development stage depends on the variety of bell pepper and the growing conditions. It takes around 35 days for the bell peppers to grow from when they start to form until they reach their full size. After reaching full size, it takes about 2 more weeks for the bell pepper fruits to change color and fully ripen.
As the fruits grow and mature, they will change from green to yellow, orange, or red, depending on the variety. Once the fruits have reached their mature color and size, they are ready to be harvested.
Stage 7. Harvest
After the bell pepper fruits have grown and matured, it’s time to harvest them. The harvest stage is the final stage in the bell pepper’s growth cycle.
Here are some signs that indicate when it’s time to harvest bell peppers:
- They have reached the expected size for their variety,
- They have got the desired color for their variety,
- They are firm,
- They have a shiny appearance.
To harvest the bell peppers, simply cut them from the plant using scissors or a sharp knife. Ensure to leave some of the stem attached to the fruit to help prolong its shelf life.
After harvesting, the bell pepper plant will continue to produce more flowers and fruits, allowing for multiple harvests throughout the growing season.
Bell Pepper Storage
After harvesting your bell peppers, storing them properly to extend their shelf life is important. Bell peppers can be stored for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. However, for the best flavor, eat them fresh.
Bell peppers can be left on the plant and harvested as needed. However, the plant might stop producing more fruits if you do not harvest them.
You can use several methods to extend the shelf life of your bell peppers after harvest. These are:
To freeze bell peppers, first, wash and dry them. Then remove the seeds and membrane, cut the peppers into slices, or dice them.
Place sliced or diced peppers in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer the peppers to a freezer-safe container or bag and store them in the freezer for about 8 months for the best quality. 
Pickling is another excellent way to preserve bell peppers and extend their shelf life. Pickling involves soaking the peppers in vinegar-based brine to preserve them. The peppers can then be stored in the refrigerator for at least 12 months.
To pickle bell peppers, first, wash and slice them into strips or rings. Then pack them into a clean jar. In a saucepan, combine vinegar, water, sugar, and salt and bring to a boil. Pour the hot brine over the peppers in the jar, covering them completely. Allow the jar to cool to room temperature before storing it in a cool, dark place.
Types of Bell Peppers
Bell peppers come in a variety of flavors and colors. They are part of the sweet pepper family. These peppers pack more sweetness than spice, making them great for people looking for a sweet, balanced flavor.
Here are some varieties of bell peppers:
- Red Bell Peppers are among the sweetest of all bell peppers. Their signature sweet and fruity flavor makes them popular in many dishes. In addition to their delicious taste, red bell peppers are also very nutritious. They are a very rich source of vitamin C. 
- Yellow Bell Peppers have a sweet taste and high nutritional content. They are full of vitamin C and a good source of folate. Their fleshy, thick skin allows them to hold a nice flavor during the grilling. 
- Orange Bell Peppers have a fruity, tangy taste, making them sweeter than green bells. They are a good source of vitamin C. 
- Green Bell Peppers: Unlike other bell peppers that change color during ripening and develop natural sugars, these green bell pepper varieties remain green and retain a slightly more bitter, tangy taste. They are not as good a source of Vitamin C as other bell pepper varieties but still have a lot of Vitamin C to offer. 
- Mini Sweet Peppers are sweeter than your average bell pepper. Ranging from red, yellow, and orange, mini sweet peppers add the ideal amount of color, flavor, crunch, and nutrition to your meals.
Bell Peppers Growing Stages Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Deep Do Bell Pepper Roots Grow?
The depth of bell pepper roots can vary depending on the growing conditions and the space available for root growth.
Typically, the roots of bell pepper plants can grow to a depth of about 18 to 24 inches (46 to 61 cm). However, if the soil is deep and well-drained, the taproots of bell pepper plants can grow even deeper, reaching depths of 3 feet (91 cm) or more.
How Tall Do Bell Pepper Plants Grow?
Bell pepper plants can vary in height depending on the variety. They can reach heights up to 3 feet (91 cm) tall and can have a spread of up to 2 feet (61 cm).
Do Different Colored Peppers Come From Different Plants?
Different-colored peppers come from different varieties of bell pepper plants with different genes that release different chemicals as they ripen.
However, suppose the same variety of bell peppers have different colors. In that case, it is because they are at different levels of ripeness and were harvested at different times.
Are There Male And Female Flowers On Pepper Plants?
No, there are no male and female flowers on pepper plants. Pepper plants produce “perfect” flowers, meaning each flower contains both male and female reproductive parts.
This allows the plant to self-pollinate and produce fruit without the need for separate male and female flowers. 
Understanding the bell pepper growing stages is essential for successfully cultivating these delicious and nutritious vegetables.
From germination to harvest, each growth stage plays a crucial role in developing healthy and productive bell pepper plants.
You can ensure a bountiful harvest of colorful and flavorful bell peppers by providing the right care and attention at each stage.
We hope this article has helped you learn more about bell pepper plant growing stages and how to grow your bell pepper at home. Happy gardening!
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