Best Seed Starting Soil Mix for Hot Peppers

Published in Categories, Growing Habanero Peppers, Growing Hot Pepper Plants, Growing Jalapeno Peppers on 10th February 2011



Your hot peppers need to have a seed-starting soil mixture that supports their nutrition and hydration needs so that pepper seeds turn into seedlings (germinate)and the seedlings grow into strong and healthy plants. This ideal mixture has a combination of materials, which prevents sogginess from water buildup, yet feeds the budding pepper and maintains an ideal soil pH level of between 6.0 to 6.8. Acquire the best soil possible to grow your own hot chili pepper plants.

What to Look for in Pepper Soil

To start off, pick the right product for your purposes. If you’re just starting your pepper seeds, select a “seed-starting soil mix” that will give your chile seedlings the nutrients they need to turn into little plants. Otherwise, if they have surpassed this stage, choose a “potting soil” that meets the criteria below.

Growing your own hot peppers means that you need to provide a soil or soil-free mixture that has the ingredients that are light and allow for air flow. Ingredients that encourage this flow include vermiculite, perlite, sphagnum peat moss (peat) and sand (builder’s sand). A warning about peat moss: make sure that your soil or soil-free mixture is not composed primarily of peat because this organic material is very acidic and is known to effect the growth rate of peppers.

Your mixture must also meet the nutritional needs of your chile pepper plants. Look for organic ingredients, which include composted pine bark, chicken manure, alfalfa, coir and kenaf. Alternately, non-organic mixtures should contain a commercial fertilizer to feed your chillies.

With a combination of the above ingredients in the mixture that you choose, growing your chile peppers will become much more successful. As a side note: many seed-starting mixes that are labeled for orchids contain many of these essential ingredients and are sufficient for germinating and raising your chillies.


Natural Beginnings<small><sup>TM</small></sup> Seed-Starting Mix
Natural Beginnings Seed-Starting Mix

Pepper Soil No-No’s

Watch for mixtures that have large chunks of materials because these substances will prevent the airflow that is so crucial to pepper plants. Hold the soil in your hand and make sure that it feels light.

Also, if you open your soil bag and find insects do not put your pepper seeds or hot chillie seedlings in this soil. The adult bugs will eat the nutrients and your growing plants before they have time to grow and chances are that these mature bugs had time to lay eggs in the soil, which will become a nightmare to your seedlings once they hatch.

Lastly, don’t use an older mixture (older than a year) because the fertilizer or other nutritional elements may not be as effective in feeding your growing pepper plants. Buy a fresh bag to give your chillies a healthy start.

Growing Hot Peppers with Organic Mixes

Organic seed-starting soil mixes that are organic do not include pesticides, wetting agents or other chemicals that are synthetic. The absence of this non-natural ingredients gives you the ability to grow certified organic peppers and ensure that your hot chillies are as healthy as possible.

Look at the seed-starting or potting mixture bag to ensure that it says “organic” on it because it if doesn’t, then you can safely assume that it is not. If you purchase your soil from a distributor, check if they will prepare an organic mixture for you.

Did you enjoy this article? If so, check out the "Grow Your Own Jalapenos and Super Hot Peppers in Containers" e-book for detailed, step-by-step instructions that explain how to grow all of your favorite chillies from beginning to end.



Grow all of your own Jalapenos, Habaneros, Ghost Chillies and more with this clear, step-by-step ebook!

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  • kon

    Thanks for the advice. I don’t have much of a green thumb, so the tip about seed-starting soil mix was key for me. Good write-up!

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In this step-by-step guide, you'll learn:

  • When to plant
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  • How to make a chamomile tea solution for watering
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  • How to provide a cover and heat source
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