Sweet green bell peppers (Capsicum annuum) thrive in many different climates throughout the United States. They are moderately easy to grow, and the resulting multi-lobed, somewhat bell-shaped vegetables can be used in a number of different dishes, ranging from stir fry to casserole. To properly grow green bell peppers, space plants at least 18 to 24 inches apart.
Growing Climate and Conditions
Although green bell peppers thrive as annuals throughout most of the United States, they will not tolerate temperatures of less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, wait a few weeks after the last spring frost before you plant peppers outdoors.
Green bell pepper plants require full sun and soil that drains well. Ideally, the soil should be in the pH range of 6.0 up to 6.8. They can be grown both in a garden plot and in a container, provided the container is large enough for the plant's root system. Containers that are at least 12 inches in diameter are preferred.
There are different varieties of green peppers, most of which prefer a slightly different climate:
- In the North and Midwest, "Big Bertha," "North Star," "Lady Bell," "Jupiter" and "Bell Boy" grow well.
- In warmer climates, such as those in the South and Southwest, "Bell Tower" and "Shamrock" grow well.
- Varieties such as "California Wonder," "Keystone Resistant Giant" and "Yolo Wonder" grow throughout the United States, regardless of region.
Growing From Seed
Green bell peppers can be grown from seed, then transplanted into your yard once the weather has reached optimal conditions and the seedlings are large enough. Start the process of growing them from seed eight to 10 weeks before you will be able to plant them outdoors.
Select a flat area such as a table, away from cool drafts and, if possible, with natural light as your space to propagate the seeds. Place the grow light over the chosen area, and, if necessary, the space heater near it, keeping it around 12 inches away.
Pour the potting soil into the peat pots, leaving 1 to 1 1/2 inches of space at the top.
Place the peat pots on the plastic tray, leaving 3 to 4 inches between each. Turn on the grow light and space heater to heat soil to around 80 degrees F before planting seeds.
Place one green bell pepper seed in each pot, 1/4 of an inch down into the soil. Smooth the soil over the top of the seed.
Keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged. Check it daily by inserting a fingertip into the top of the soil to check it. If it is dry, add more water. You may need to pour excess water out of the tray if it seems to puddle around the seeds. Once the seedlings have reached a height of 6 to 7 inches, and the outdoor weather conditions are optimal, transplant outdoors.
Plant green pepper seedlings outdoors, roughly two or three weeks after the last frost, and after four to five days of sustained temperatures of 65 degrees F. Planting them any earlier can damage the green bell pepper plants.
Plant in a spot in the yard that receives full sun and has soil that drains well and has a high concentration of organic matter. The soil should not be heavily packed together.
Dig small holes for the pepper seedlings that are between 18 to 24 inches apart and in rows of between 24 and 36 inches apart. The holes should be roughly the size and depth of the peat pots. Place them in the ground, peat pot and all. The peat pot will dissolve over time, and its makeup allows the roots to grow through it. Cover the root ball of the plants with loosely packed soil, and water until the soil is moist, but not so much that the plants are waterlogged and sitting in puddles of water.