Different plants in the garden need more or less sunlight to grow. Some prefer partial sunlight, such as green leafy vegetables, beets and other cool-weather crops. Other plants need more solar energy to produce their large fruits.

Peppers grow quickly and give an abundant harvest of large fruits. Therefore, peppers can be demanding when it comes to sunlight. In this article, I will share with you our lighting guidelines for growing peppers in sunlight.

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Pepper plant in the sun Peppers in the garden.

How many peppers do you need?

From seedling to mature plant, peppers need strong light to grow optimally. If you do not allow light indoors, the plants may grow tall and bright instead of low and strong. The same is true for plants growing outdoors.

In short, peppers should be planted in a location where they receive 6 to 12 hours of direct sunlight per day. Morning sunlight should be preferred to afternoon light to prevent direct sunlight from being the brightest at any given time of day.

Pepper garden 2020 Peppers planted in the sun.

Tip: Choose a spot that gets the most sunlight by observing the available space before planting. There are applications to map your land and choose the best location.

The more light a bell pepper plant receives, the more energy it can convert to plant growth. Peppers can survive 6 hours or less of sunlight, but you will probably get a lower yield.

Can pepper plants grow in the shade?

If your garden space is limited or covered, you may be wondering if you can grow peppers in the shade.

Although peppers prefer direct sunlight, the plants can also grow in the shade. However, it is not recommended to grow peppers in the shade. If you do try, you will end up with smaller plants and lower yields.

Without direct sunlight, water is consumed less quickly by the plant. This can lead to poor soil aeration and drainage, and slower transpiration.

However, the main problem is the lack of energy for photosynthesis of the plants. Shade leads to stunted growth, reduced yield and general discomfort of the bell pepper plants.

Passing the peppers from inside to the sun

Although peppers grow best in direct sunlight, the transition from growing light to sunlight should be slow. Because sunlight is intense, the curing process must be gradual.

If you transplant peppers outside, start with a few minutes a day in the sun. Then plant in shade or indoors. Over a period of 2 to 3 weeks, increase the amount of time the plants are exposed to direct sunlight by 10 to 15 minutes a day, until they can be in the sun all day.

This slow process will increase the plant’s ability to tolerate direct sunlight. In this case, the solar energy is used by the plants instead of damaging them.

Can peppers get too much sun?

If you rush the drying process, your plants will undoubtedly suffer from sunburn on the leaves, wilting and even complete leaf drop. It is unlikely that the plants will die, but they may have to revive by growing new foliage, effectively delaying the harvest period.

Sun scald on pepper leaves Sunburn on the leaves of pepper plants.

But even well-hardened bell pepper plants can get too much sun. On the hottest summer days, the midday sun (usually between 3 and 5 p.m.) can stress bell pepper plants.

Provide temporary shade in the afternoon during especially hot periods. This can be done with a towel, an umbrella or by placing potted plants in the shade.

Growing plants in 9+ zones may require accounting for temperature extremes by applying one or more of the above techniques. Shade covers can help prevent peppers from losing their flowers during heat waves, increasing overall yields and reducing solar stress.

What is sunburn?

A sunburn is essentially a sunburn for your plants. It can affect both leaves and fruit. Sensitive plants that are not adapted to direct sunlight are most at risk.

Fruits can also burn if exposed to direct sunlight for an extended period of time. The leaves of your bell pepper plants should provide shade for hanging fruit, but if they are exposed to this, they can develop weak spots.

Sunscald On Pepper Plants Damage to peppers from exposure to sunlight.

This can render the fruit at least partially unusable. Prevent sunburn by properly hardening off the plants and providing partial shade if necessary. Again, the afternoon sun is most intense, so plants can use some respite in particularly hot weather.

Can I grow peppers in a sunny window?

Many gardeners wonder if a sunny window provides enough light to grow peppers. We have experimented ourselves with growing seedlings and peppers in pots in the window.

Unfortunately, sunlight through the window is not ideal for the growth of pepper plants of any age. Young bell pepper plants are likely to become soft and weak, and full plants may not yield.

This is due to the limited time and intensity of sunlight reaching the plants through the window. Some plant species thrive in filtered and/or indirect sunlight, but pepper does not.

For indoor growers, I recommend using efficient lighting for growing seedlings or whole plants. LEDs in particular are becoming more common and can give your plants a good start to the season.

I highly recommend the Viparspectra p1000 LED bulb for versatile and high-quality indoor lighting.

If you must use a window to grow peppers, look for a south-facing window that is not obscured by trees or other shady objects. South is the ideal direction because it receives morning, noon and afternoon sunlight (in the northern hemisphere).

When to plant peppers

If you plan to grow peppers from seed, you will need to determine when to plant them indoors. This depends on your particular climate and can be from early January to early May.

If you live in a warm climate with short winters, you can plant much earlier than in cooler climates.

View our table on when to plant pepper seeds here.

As a general rule, pepper seeds should be sown indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the last local frost date. This gives the plants an advantage by extending the outdoor growing season.

If it does not freeze in your climate, you can plant at any time of year, but you should choose a time when the plants will not experience too much heat stress during fruiting.

What are the temperatures that kill pepper plants?

Peppers grow best at 70 to 85°F. They can tolerate temperatures up to 55°F before showing signs of stress, and up to 100°F. This range varies somewhat depending on the type of pepper.

In short, temperatures below 32°F can cause the death of your bell pepper plants. If it is a light frost that does not freeze the roots, your plants may survive. However, a sudden frost will kill your bell pepper plants.

Capsicum pubescens is the only domestic chili pepper species that can tolerate cold well.

Rocoto Turbo Pepper C. pubescens pepper plants are cold-tolerant but not resistant.

Protect yourself from the cold with a garden cloth, a thick layer of mulch or by moving plants closer to the warmth of your home.

More information here:

I hope this article helps you determine how much sunlight to give your peppers. I wish you the best of luck in growing your plants. Here’s to a good harvest!

Calvin Thumbnail


One of the original ones! When Calvin is not gardening or learning about peppers and botany, he is traveling to new places or making music.

Frequently asked questions

When can I put my bell pepper plants outside?


Can pepper plants grow in the shade?

Harsh summer temperatures often make it impossible to grow peppers, and under such conditions peppers can be susceptible to a wide range of diseases and disorders. Even in spring and fall, heat and direct sunlight can seriously affect the overall quality and marketability of the fruit.

Can peppers survive at 40 degrees?

They all prefer temperatures around 60 degrees or more during the day, but don’t really come alive until 70-95 degrees. If the temperature stays below 55 degrees for a few days to a week, it’s usually a poor harvest.

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