User avatar
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 6666
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:59 pm
Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

Do sweet bell pepper plants like acid soil?

I have heard bell peppers like acid soil? I also heard peat moss is acid. I usually till a whole 3.3 cu ft bag of peat moss into the soil for my bell pepper row which is usually 4 or 6 plants depending on what size plant tray is available at the garden store. Plants grow much larger and make lots of very large bell peppers, often 50 peppers per plant 4" to 4.5" diameter in cool Fall weather.

This year I bought a 4 pack plant tray of sweet bell peppers. I only had enough peat moss left over from last year for 2 bell pepper plants. The 2 plants with peat moss are 59" tall and slowly producing peppers. The 2 plants with no peat mass are 41" tall and producing no bell peppers yet.

2 weeks ago I started putting, scrap tomatoes, coffee grounds, pineapple scraps, around both the 41" tall plants that are making no bell peppers. These scraps are all acid.

Today I noticed the 41" plants have new growth, 1 plant has 19 tiny bell peppers, the other plant has 15 baby size bell peppers. The 2 taller plants are making new growth too, 1 plant has 11 tiny bell peppers, the other has 10 bell peppers.

Weather has changed, days are 1 hour less sun light, temperature is below normal 85 yesterday and 86 today. It appears to me the 2 short plants are doing better than the 2 tall plants because they have about 2 times more bell peppers and several blossoms.

I never water any of my plants that forces them to grow deep roots in preparation for hot 98 degree weather. I have given all 4 plants pellet lime for BER but no fertilizer this year. All 4 plants get morning sun the cool part of the day. About 12 noon by the clock all 4 plants get shade from a large tree the rest of the day until dark.

High noon here according to my scientific test, compos and shadow test is 1:10 pm. As soon as daylight saving time is over high noon will be 12:10 pm.

What is your experience with bell peppers that makes them grow lots of large bell peppers?

User avatar
Full Member
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2015 3:15 pm
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Do sweet bell pepper plants like acid soil?

I'm really intrigued by the experiment your doing and think I may give this a shot next year as well.

I can't say that all of my peppers have turned out huge, but this year to produce lots of peppers I began my plants indoors in late January/early February and do intensive pruning. My intention was to get a head start and strengthen the plants/roots before transplant into the garden. I do not have a very long growing season here and usually end up with a single crop of peppers. This year however, I'm finishing up a second cropping of peppers and may even get a third (knock on wood) by doing this.

This may not be feasible for everyone due to space in the house, but good results for the number of peppers produced. Size seems to be a whole different ball game. Interested to give your technique a try!

Posts: 12809
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:32 am
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Do sweet bell pepper plants like acid soil?

I test my soil pH in the garden it was pH 6.0 this year. It is fine for corn, tomatoes, peppers, just not good for root crops. I also have a lot of nitrogen in the soil.

I use 50% peat moss and 50% perlite for my peppers and I give them citrus food which is acidic. Peppers still produce. Peat moss I buy has been buffered so it has a pH around 6.0. Ony pure peat moss that has not been buffered has a pH of around 3.0 and it is hard to find that. If you are adding compost to our mix and your soil is basically sand or limestone, it would take a lot of peat moss to counter that.

As for bell peppers. I grow them in peat lite. Bells don't do very well in a tropic climate I may get 3-8 peppers before the plants succumb to disease. They are sensitive to temperature. They don't really get started until the temps are at least 68 degrees but they start to have problems when the temps get much above 86 degrees. They wilt a lot in the daytime, I get sunscald and only the mini Kaala bell pepper which is bred for hawaii and hot peppers do well. My older peppers are fed monthly with citrus food or 10-20-20.

Return to “Pepper Forum”