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How To Fertilize Pepper Plants For A Big Harvest! The Simple Secrets To Success

If you are looking to grow a bumper crop of delicious peppers this year, then knowing how and when to fertilize your pepper plants is one of the best ways to ensure a big harvest!

Whether you love growing sweet peppers, green peppers, ornamental peppers – or the hottest peppers on the planet, supplying them with the power and energy they need is important for growing strong, healthy plants that produce a big harvest.

Much like tomato plants, pepper plants are heavy feeders from the soil. To develop strong roots and healthy foliage, they need a constant supply of energy. And they need even more when it comes time to start producing blooms and fruit.

how to fertilize pepper plants
Pepper plants require a lot of nutrients from the soil to develop their fruit. Without it, the plants will slow or stop bloom production to compensate for lower energy levels.

Unfortunately, even when growing in the best of soils, pepper plants often run out of available nutrients. That can be true whether you grow your peppers in a traditional garden, raised beds, and especially in pots and containers.

When a pepper plant fails to get the energy it needs, not only will the plant’s health suffer, but your harvest will too. And that is exactly where fertilizing comes to the rescue. With that in mind, here is a look at the simple secrets to fertilizing your pepper plants for big success this year!

How To Best Fertilize Pepper Plants

Powering your pepper plants at the right time and with the right fertilizer is a big key to success. As is making sure the dose of energy you are giving them isn’t too strong or too weak.

If you provide too much energy too quickly, it can lead to an overabundance of foliage growth. When peppers receive too many nutrients at once, they put all of that power into growing bigger. Unfortunately, that comes at the expense of producing new blooms and fruit.

On the other hand, supplying too little energy leads to weak plants that do not have enough power to produce blooms or mature fruit. So what is the perfect balance?

young pepper transplant
Before fertilizing, allow your plants time to adjust (7 to 10 days) after planting outdoors. Applying fertilizer as soon as you plant can shock and injure young plants.

It all comes down to supplying your pepper plants with fertilizer at regular intervals, but in smaller doses – and that can be best done with a combination of liquid and dry granular fertilizers. First, lets take a look at what each fertilizer can do, and then see how to use them to power your peppers.

Granular vs. Liquid Fertilizers – How To Fertilize Pepper Plants

Granular and liquid fertilizers both have their place when it comes to fertilizing pepper plants. Although each supply energy, they do so in slightly different ways.

Dry, granular fertilizers are applied on top of the soil. They break down slowly and feed a plant’s roots at a slow and steady pace. Liquid fertilizers on the other hand are absorbed via a plant’s leaves, stems and roots. This method of fertilizing can reach and power the plant much faster.

Together, a combination of the two can really help pepper plants grow strong and healthy – and keep them producing heavily as well.

Fertilizing Young Pepper Plants

When pepper plants are first planted outdoors, it is important to allow them a bit of time to adjust before applying any fertilizer at all. This allows the plant to acclimate to the soil without causing any undue stress.

Listen In Below To Our Podcast On Fertilizing Your Garden Plants!

Although it can vary due to the spring temperatures and weather, a good rule of thumb is to allow plants seven to ten days to adjust before applying your first dose of fertilizer. This will give them plenty of time to begin to set roots and settle into their space.

For young plants, a good all purpose liquid fertilizer can really spur strong initial growth without overpowering plants. Compost tea, worm casting tea, or a lightly mixed commercial liquid fertilizer are all good options.

If you use a commercial liquid fertilizer, mix it at half of the recommended strength to prevent giving too many nutrients at once. Compost tea and worm casting tea are fine to use at full strength. Apply every 10 days for the first month to build strong, early growth.

Early Summer Fertilizing – How To Fertilize Pepper Plants

After a month of growth, it is the perfect time to begin fertilizing your pepper plants with an application of a granular, slow release fertilizer.

fertilizing peppers in summer
Steady, regulated doses of fertilizer can produce a steady supply of fresh peppers. The real secret is supplying the energy in small but more frequent doses to keep plants powered up.

At this point, your pepper plants are not only growing, but beginning to set blooms and early fruit. Because of this, they can benefit from a fertilizer that helps power those blooms and fruit even more. And this is where paying attention to the 3 numbers on your fertilizer bag will pay big dividends!

Why N-P-K Is Important

Nearly all fertilizer bags or containers contain three very important numbers somewhere on their label. These three numbers represent the fertilizer’s N-P-K ratio. It stands for the percentage of Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), and Potassium (K) in the fertilizer mix.

Most all-purpose fertilizers contain an equal amount of each. 5-5-5 and 10-10-10 are the most common percentages among vegetable and flower fertilizers. Although these will work for your peppers, it is best if you can find a fertilizer in the range of 5-10-10.

This will give you a higher percentage of both phosphorous and potassium, and only half as much nitrogen. Why is this important? Because phosphorous and potassium are critical for bloom development, where nitrogen simply helps a plant grow. Product Link : 5-10-10 Vegetable Fertilizer

5-10-10 vegetable fertilizer

Nitrogen is still very important for peppers, but too much of it leads to more foliage and less blooms. That is why the 5-10-10 mix is excellent for pepper plants just as you hit the fruit development stage.

Applying Granular Fertilizer – How To Fertilize Pepper Plants

After about 30 days of growth outdoors, apply an application of granular fertilizer to your pepper plants. Follow the recommended dose on the label as each will be slightly different. Continue to apply a monthly dose for the remainder of the season or until early fall when plants begin to fade.

Continue to supply your plant with a liquid fertilizer after the first month as well, however, cut back your feeding to every 14 to 21 days. This will continue to help the pepper plant have a boost of energy for continued growth – but not too much to overpower the plant.

This dual approach to fertilizing your pepper plants will pay off with a delicious and robust harvest – no matter if your peppers are hot, sweet or mild!

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