rustyboltz
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Location: Kansas City Area

How to Grow Bell Peppers - Only Grow to 18 Inches

In the past, I have tried to grow bell peppers and have very little luck. I can get the plant to grow to about 18" high and get maybe 5 or 6 bell peppers off it. The plant will be a nice green color with no leaf color changes. Also, the peppers are normal size.
I have purchased the peppers from our Ace Hardware store and is the "Chef Jeff" brand "Better Belle" pepper. I plant them in the garden by the tomato plants. The tomato plants do very good, so I don't think it is the soil.
I live in Zone 5.
I have fertilized them with Jobe's general minerals and put a little Epson salt solution on them. Is there anything I am missing? Is there anything I have been doing wrong? I just get the feeling that I am not doing something I should be?

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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: How to Grow Bell Peppers - Only Grow to 18 Inches

Well Better Belle is supposed to grow to 24-36 inches tall according to most sources. So let's see....

I guess the first comment that struck me is that you grow them with tomatoes so the conditions are the same. Well, peppers in general grow better with somewhat warmer soil. If you live in zone 5, your soil might not warm up in the spring as the peppers would actually prefer. You could be planting them too early and stunting them.

You might need to plant them a week or two later.

I bet you might see a difference if you try growing in a container. I've found this to be the case here as well. Peppers and eggplants grow and produce better in containers for me.

Bell peppers actually prefer cooler air temp than tomatoes, but I believe this hybrid is meant to handle hotter temps. But if they are getting too hot, then you might see them do better with some noonday or blazing afternoon shade.
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PaulF
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Re: How to Grow Bell Peppers - Only Grow to 18 Inches

In our location...KC is not all that different than upriver...peppers don't have enough growing season to really get going. Ground temperature for peppers needs to be warmer than tomatoes and as applestar said, plant too early and they can stunt without enough time to really recover. Your peppers are trying hard to produce since you do get fruit. I usually plant peppers a week or ten days later than tomatoes.

Better Belle plants grow to 18-24 inches, so yours are not that far off from average. Some places say they are green to red and some say green to orange. I think green to red is correct. Fertilize at planting outdoors and then again at flowering stage. I would suggest a liquid plant food, diluted a little more than the box suggests, with a lower nitrogen content formula. Get a 'Bloom Booster' with a 8-15-15 (in that sort of range). Higher nitrogen fertilizer, like on tomatoes, will cause plant growth with not much for fruit production.

If you go with a container like a 5 gallon bucket size, be sure to water when it gets dry before the plants wilt. I think you could put two plants in a container. You should then fertilize every ten days since watering will flush out nutrients. I prefer in-ground but they will do OK in containers.
Paul F

rustyboltz
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Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2016 2:57 pm
Location: Kansas City Area

Re: How to Grow Bell Peppers - Only Grow to 18 Inches

I appreciate the input. I learned a lot about the peppers from other post and the comments here provide me more insite into what I am doing wrong.
Back to the drawing board.

imafan26
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Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: How to Grow Bell Peppers - Only Grow to 18 Inches

Well, I get about the same results with peppers as you do. I get 3-5 peppers and then they are done. Tomatoes take more heat than peppers do and where I live there are too many diseases and few peppers have the resistence to live very long. Peppers can be grown year long in frost free areas. Although bell peppers are a warm season crop, they don't really like the hottest parts of summer and do better with milder temperatures. Pepper seeds germinate best at 70 degrees but the plants can handle down to the 55 at night. Day temperatures above 80 will start to cause problems. Peppers like warm and dry. They do not like a lot of rain falling on the plants or high humidity. Those conditions bring on bacterial and fungal diseases. Some cold tolerant ones like gypsy will do better in cooler areas. For me the best peppers are Jupiter, California wonder, yolo wonder, Chinese Giant, chocolate bell, yellow bell and Keystone. The University has a pepper called Kaala which is the only one that has enough disease resistence to last more than a year. It is a mini pepper. Hot peppers like the heat, but other sweet peppers like bull horn, banana, and cubanelles are more productive and can handle the heat a lot better.

Peppers like a lot of sun but not hot sun. In midsummer when the heat is on, it is best to have the peppers shaded in midday. Planting them in pots help since they can be moved to morning sun location in mid summer. I plant peppers in 5-18 gallon pots. Most of my peppers do not live long and they do get to be 18-24 inches. Some peppers are taller, but that seems to be a varietal thing. Peppers do need a bigger pot to get to a larger size. The same pepper grown in a two gallon pot is 1/3 the size of a pepper in an 18 gallon pot. Bigger root systems = bigger plants. The capsicum anuums rarely live long; and most don't live a year. the c.bacatum, c. frutescens, and c. chinense are mostly hot peppers from the tropics and they are less susceptible to disease and live a lot longer.

The solanaceous fruits like even watering and a slightly acidic soil. I usually feed my peppers regularly once the flowers set every month. I give everything in pots citrus food. 6-4-6 plus micros. about a tablespoon per plant per month.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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