How and When to Water Pepper Plants

One of the most common problems people have while growing peppers is over watering. Pepper plants need a lot less water than people think and regardless of whether the pepper plant is growing in a pot, raised bed or directly in the ground too much water is one of the worst things you can do to your plants. Over watering can stunt growth, washes away nutrients and invites pests and disease.

If you are growing your peppers in pots you will need to water much more frequently than if you were growing them in the ground. As a general rule you should water when the plants are wilting, but, make sure it’s not just due to excessive heat. When it’s very hot…say 95 degrees+ pepper plants in the direct sun may wilt during the day. This is normal and is just the plants way of reducing the surface area exposed to the sun to help keep it cool. When I grow in pots before I water I like to see some non sun related wilt and I check the pot to make sure it’s bone dry. Often while growing peppers in pots the top of the soil is dry but the bottom is mud. This can happen very easily especially if the pot does not have great drainage. If the pot is completely dry and there’s a little non sun related wilt (best time to check is earlier in the morning or in the evening when the plants are not in direct sun) I give each pot a good soaking. I like to see just a little bit of water coming out of the bottom. Too much and you just wash out your nutrients so soak them but not to excess.

If your pepper plants are growing in raised beds or in the ground a lot of the same rules apply. The main difference is you will find that you need to water much less frequently than when growing in pots. It’s not unusual for me to water my plants in pots every day – sometimes even twice – vs my plants in raised beds that can at times go for weeks in a row without water. When watering my plants in ground/beds I give them a long soaking to really get the soil 6+ inches deep really wet. Infrequent deep watering encourages deep roots which leads to plants that can go longer without water.

If you have any questions or comments about watering peppers feel free to leave them below.

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296 Responses to How and When to Water Pepper Plants

  1. pepperseed says:

    Probably not a watering issue then. Could be any number of things, pests, disease, temperatures, etc. A year without pods is a long time. Is it getting much sun and how is being fertilized?

    • Montrell Coley says:

      I planted my reaper about 2 weeks ago its not dieing but some of the leaves are turning yellow and falling off and some look a little burnt….I was told I was watering to much so I think I will be not watering for about 4 days. Will this help get the dark green back?

      • pepperseed says:

        Yes that should help. Sometimes after a transplant it takes them a couple weeks to settle in too…transplanting is a shock the the system!

  2. Terese says:

    2 weeks ago I transplanted my peppers and tomatoes to my garden (after hardening them outside for 2 weeks). The plants were all very healthy at the time. When transplanting I mulched around each plant in the raised beds. I have drip watering system timed to water each morning for 45 minutes. Plants did well for first week and a half. I checked them 2 days ago – all good. Went to check them this morning and they all were completely wilted…and virtually DISINTEGRATED, except for two jalapeño plants. I had cayennes, banana peppers, bell peppers and jalapeños. I checked the soil and it was very moist. Any thoughts as to why this happened?

    • pepperseed says:

      45 minutes a day of watering for peppers is waaaaaaaaaay too much. I’m fairly certain your plants drowned.

  3. Montrell Coley says:

    I wish I could post a picture of my carolina reaper its still green around the bottom but the leaves going upthe stem and on the llittle branches are almost all gone or yellow. ..what can I do or is it too late?

    • pepperseed says:

      You can pick it, it will ripen after it’s picked. You can leave it too…either way it should ripen. I’d leave it a few more days unless you have weather concerns or something else.

      • Montrell Coley says:

        I was thinking about buying a whole new set of seeds and starting over. Can I start the seeds outside in the ground or do I have to start in pods?

        • pepperseed says:

          Typically you would want to get them going inside…much easier that way in my experience.

          • Montrell Coley says:

            I posted abot my leaves falling of and yellowing I haven’t watered them in about 7 days . I went ououtside ttoday and saw alot of gregreen around to bottom. Now it’s storming so I guess I won’t be watering it for another week or so

          • Montrell Coley says:

            I posted abot my leaves falling of and yellowing I haven’t watered them in about 7 days . I went outside today and saw alot of green around to bottom. Now it’s storming so I guess I won’t be watering it for another week or so

  4. lisa stossmeister says:

    Hi! I live in Alaska and have been doing a greenhouse/garden for years! BUT!!!! This year, I am growing Hungarian Hot Wax peppers and they keep losing their buds/flowers! I should have tons by now…HELP!!!! :/ Lisa Stossmeister

    • pepperseed says:

      @ Lisa, flower drop is not unusual…they will “stick” when the conditions are right. Most of my plants typically drop flowers for a few weeks before peppers start forming.

  5. Great Information Thanks , I will pass this on to my group on Facebook “Pepper T Sherwood & Chili Heads..

  6. Montrell Coley says:

    Mostly all of my leaves have fallen off the top of my reaper plant but the bottom has bushed out and is growing great. Do I need to cut the top ( the V and the stem ) off or will it grow the leaves back?

  7. Cindy says:

    Hi,
    I have banana peppers, cherry peppers, and jalapenos panted in a small garden in front of my house. They get plenty of sun every day. All of the plants were looking very healthy and producing LOTS of blooms with a few peppers growing. We have had a lot of rain here in OK lately. In the last 2-3 days, I have noticed a LOT of leaves and blooms on the ground under the plants. No holes in the leaves like grasshoppers eating them; just seem to have fallen off. I have sprayed with soapy water to fend off the grasshoppers. I have a ton of baby ones in the yard. Not any yellowing going on. Have they just had too much water? If so, will they come back. They were doing so well!! Could it be lack of fertilizer? Any information you can share would be great.
    Thanks!

    • pepperseed says:

      Flower drop is totally normal, I would not worry about it. They’ll bounce back and you’ll have more peppers than you know what to do with before you know it.

  8. Montrell Coley says:

    How long after flowering starts should I expect to see peppers?

    • pepperseed says:

      Depends on the kind of pepper but in general you’ll start seeing little pods forming in 2 – 3 weeks after flower set.

  9. Montrell Coley says:

    I planted my Reaper outside after the season is over what do I do with the plant?

  10. Dude says:

    Hey 🙂

    I have a pepper plant and one of the branches has 2 little peppers growing. The problem is that it fell and that particular branch broke, but not completely. There’s a bit of tissue still holding it together. What do you think I should do with that branch?

    Thank you.

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