This article will answer the question “How long do bell pepper plants live?”, and how to plan bell peppers?
How long do bell pepper plants live?
The life expectancy of the bell pepper varies with the growing conditions, cultivar, location, weather, and zone. Generally, bell peppers last a few years.
You can expect a much longer life than the typical 1-3 years for bell peppers with adequate care, the right nutrients, and stable warm temperatures.
Wild bell peppers naturally have a life expectancy of decades much longer than their domesticated counterparts. The 5 key varieties of bell peppers along with their average life are listed in the table below.
|Pepper variety||Expected age|
|Capsicum annuum||1-3 years|
|Capsicum chinense||3-5 years|
|Capsicum baccatum||4-6 years|
|Capsicum frutescens||3-8 years|
|Capsicum pubescens||5-10 years|
With the shortest life expectancy among the bell pepper varieties, Capsicum annum is best grown as annuals. This cultivar becomes perennial If cultivated in tropical climates.
For example, sweet/Italian Peppers, Cayenne, Paprika, Hatch Chile Peppers, NuMex Twilight pepper, plus the fast-growing Jalapeños. Plant fresh plants each year to get the best and freshest harvest.
With appropriate care and the right environment, this variety can be harvested all year round. It includes the South American varieties such as Ají Amarillo, Ají Limón, etc.
This variety encompasses the hottest peppers such as the Habaneros, Scotch Bonnets, Trinidad Scorpions, the Bhut Jolokia Ghost Peppers, Carolina Reaper, and the new Dragon’s Breath Pepper.
Mostly grown in India, this variety gives the largest harvest during the first growth year and includes Tabasco Peppers, Malaguetas, Thai Hot.
This variety includes the peppers with the longest life expectancy i.e Rocoto and Manzano peppers. Rocotos have been found to grow for as long as 15 years. Rocotos thrive in extreme day/night temperature fluctuations.
How to plant bell peppers?
Seeds are planted indoors 2 months before the last spring frost date. This varies with the hardiness zone. Follow the steps below to plant bell peppers the right way.
Start seeds indoors first: This is particularly important If the outside environment is not favorable for pepper growth.
Make a quarter of an inch deep hole into the soil and plant the seed. Sprinkle some water and provide adequate sunlight. Place a heating pad beside the planting tray to maintain a minimum temperature of 70℉.
Harden off your plant: 1-3 week old seeds have sprouted and are ready to be planted outside. To prevent transplant shock, which is common in bell pepper plants, familiarize the bell pepper plants with the outside environment gradually 10 days before the transplant.
Expose the seedlings to outside conditions while increasing the dose per day with each passing day.
Transplant outdoors: The soil temperature of your garden should be 65℉ with a nighttime temperature of at least 60℉ before transplanting the bell peppers outside. The seedlings should be planted 18-24 inches apart in well-draining soil.
Care tips for bell pepper plants
Provide enough sunlight
Bell peppers thrive in full sun. Too high temperatures can result in sun-scalded fruits and leaves. Sun-scalded fruits are not very pretty to look at but are safe to eat. Provide 6-8 hours of sun every day to your growing bell pepper plants.
Provide sufficient water
Overhead watering can deprive the plant of the moisture it needs to develop a strong root system. Such plants are more susceptible to diseases like anthracnose or blossom end rot.
Therefore, water the plants deeply into the soil. The frequency of watering depends upon how hot the summers are in your area. You might need to water daily in case of super hot summers.
Select the perfect soil
Bell pepper plants thrive in sandy to loamy soil. Purchase a potting mix or make your own by mixing each nutrient.
Over-fertilizing can make your plant produce more foliage instead of fruit. Sandy or loamy soil drains quickly which raises the temperature of the soil at a faster pace.
The ideal soil ph should be slightly acidic i.e around 6.0 and 6.8. Adding crushed eggshells to the soil is a natural way to avoid blossom end rot; a disease that results from calcium deficiency.
Staking is optional but it significantly reduces the attack by pests and prevents sunscalding. Staking helps keep the fruiting canopy of the bell peppers upright.
This article answered the question “How long do bell pepper plants live?”, and how to plan bell peppers?