Peppers do not like cold weather. Most gardeners have to wait until winter is almost over before they can plant peppers. It can be difficult to know when to plant pepper seeds because it depends on where you are.
To make it easier, I’ve created a pepper planting chart that shows when to plant pepper seeds indoors for each winter hardiness zone (except those that are too cold for peppers). It also indicates the last average date of freezing (night temperature of 32°F).
- Freeze dates are not guaranteed, only estimates.
- Check the local weather every year
- Plant peppers outdoors only when night temperatures are above 55°F.
|Rigidity zone||Date of last freeze||When planting pepper seeds indoors|
|3||3. June – 13. June||22. April – 2. May|
|4||29. May – 10. June||17. April 29. April|
|5||16. May – 30. May||4. April – 18. April|
|6||26. April – 8. May||15. March – 27. Mars|
|7||4. April – 15. April||21. February – 4. Mars|
|8||3. March – 22. Mars||20. January – 8. February|
|9||8. February – 22.||28. December – 11. January|
You see, the colder your climate, the more you have to seed indoors. In extremely cold climates, you can opt for a slightly earlier growing season to extend the growing season by a few extra weeks.
Check the date of the last frost at your specific location here.
We’ve experimented with planting peppers early, but we’ve found that it’s best to keep them indoors only as long as it’s really necessary.
However, early planting can sometimes be beneficial, especially for super hot pepper varieties whose fruits need a long time to ripen. Make sure you have an indoor space and good light to grow the plants.
When transplanting sweet peppers outdoors
In general, pepper seeds should be planted indoors about 8 weeks before transplanting outdoors. However, we recommend sowing about 6 weeks before the average date of the last frost.
Most peppers should only be brought outside if the night temperature is consistently above 55°F. The last frost usually occurs a few weeks earlier.
After 6 to 8 weeks of indoor growth, the pepper plants should be ready to be transplanted to their final location. It can be a large container, a raised bed or a garden plot.
To learn more about transplanting peppers, click here.
Why is the date of the last frost important?
The date of the last freeze is the average. This should not be considered a guarantee. In some years the last frost will be much later and in other years much earlier.
A freeze date is important because peppers are not cold. In other words: Freezing temperatures kill most pepper plants.
Peppers grow at temperatures between 70°F and 85°F. Anything below 55°F can stress your plants. Therefore we recommend to wait a few weeks after the date of the last frost to transplant the peppers permanently outside.
When to plant sweet peppers?
Hot peppers generally require a longer growing season than sweet varieties. These include Habaneros, Ghost Peppers, Scotch Bonnet and many others.
For best results, plant pepper seeds indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the date of the last frost in your area. This gives the plants an advantage when the temperature outside rises.
Once the night temperature rises above 55°F, you can safely remove your pepper plants during the growing season.
How to protect sweet peppers in cold weather
Sometimes time doesn’t help. Here in New England, we’ve already experienced total frost in June! If your plants are already outside and you expect it to be cold, here’s what you can do.
Protect pepper plants in cold weather by covering them with a garden towel or plastic bags. This insulates the plant in cold weather and protects it from damage. You can also put mulch around the stem of the plant to protect the root system.
I hope this article will help you decide when to plant peppers. Timing is important to get the most out of your pepper plants, so experiment with what works best for your climate!
More information can be found here:
One of the original s! When Calvin isn’t gardening or learning about peppers and botany, he might be traveling to new places or making music.
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