How often should I water my pepper plants?


green bell pepper in garden

QUESTION: How often should I water my pepper plants? I barely had any peppers last year, so I’d like to do better this year. I wonder if I was under or over watering and that was part of my problem. What are your recommendations? – Yvonne I

JENNIFER POINDEXTER AT GARDENING CHANNEL REPLIES:  How frequently you should water your pepper plants varies depending upon where your plants are growing.

Before we discuss this, let’s first discuss how you should water your plants and how to tell when they need more water.

The deep watering method is preferable for pepper plants. You practice this method by watering your soil for a longer period of time, fewer days of the week.

This allows water to seep into the soil and encourages the roots to dig deeper to retrieve it. If you practice shallow watering, the roots will spread at the top of the soil to retrieve water there.

In general, plants with deeper root systems are typically healthier. Once your plants are watered deeply, you should test the soil before watering again.

You do this by inserting your finger into the soil next to the plant. When it’s dry to your first knuckle, water the plants deeply again.

If it’s still damp, wait another day or two before testing the soil again. 

Now that you know how to water your pepper plants and how to know when more water is needed, let’s discuss the factors that can impact water retention. 

Plants need water more frequently depending upon the gardening method used. If you grow your pepper plants in the ground, they probably will only need to be watered a couple of times per week when using the deep watering method.

The reason being is they have more soil around them to retain moisture. Whereas if you grow pepper plants in containers or raised garden beds, they’ll still need to be watered approximately every other day when watered deeply because there isn’t as much soil to retain the moisture.

You can add mulch around your pepper plants to help retain moisture in any gardening method used. Plus, you should consider the planting zone where the peppers are growing.

If you live in an extremely dry climate, your plants may need more water than if you live in a cooler climate.

Next, you must consider the time of year to better understand how frequently your pepper plants should be watered.

Peppers thrive when it’s hot outside. In many cases, they’re slower to take off in the garden than other plants around them.

During the early part of the growing season, peppers may not need as much water because the temperatures haven’t risen yet.

However, as the season moves on and the days become longer and hotter, your pepper plants should need more water.

Finally, you must consider how windy the growing location is. I live in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains.

We get some pretty windy days. When weather like this arises, my plants need more water.

However, if you live in an area where there isn’t a lot of wind, you don’t have this extra force drying out your soil, so your peppers may be able to retain their moisture at a steady rate.

How frequently your pepper plants should be watered depends upon the factors discussed here: watering method, growing method, growing climate, stage of the growing season, and wind.  

You’ve also been provided tips on how to test your soil to know when more water is needed. Utilize these tips to figure out the best watering routine for your pepper plants when growing them around your home or garden.

Quick Reference Pepper Growing Chart

Category Key Points
Planting & Care Warm-season crop, Requires 3-4 months of frost-free days, Plant after frost danger is past, Susceptible to transplant shock, Need warm temperatures (avg. daily temperatures of 65F), Won’t set fruit at temperatures below 55F
Transplants Choose plants with straight, sturdy stems, 4 to 6 young true leaves, No blossoms or fruit, Free of insect pests and diseases, Set outdoors after frost-free date
Planting Process Rows 24 inches apart, Plants spaced 12 to 18 inches apart, Transplants one inch deeper than in original container, Firmly press soil around plant, Water well after planting
Weed Control Shallow cultivation when weeds are small, Mulching and hand pulling recommended, Use four inches of straw mulch around plants

Learn More About Growing Pepper Plants

https://extension.sdstate.edu/peppers-how-grow-it

https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/hyg-1618

https://ag.umass.edu/home-lawn-garden/fact-sheets/peppers-growing-tips

The post How often should I water my pepper plants? appeared first on Gardening Channel.

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