Jalapeno Pepper Basics: Growing Jalapenos 101

Published in Categories, Growing Hot Pepper Plants, Growing Jalapeno Peppers, Jalapeno Peppers on 30th November 2012



Growing jalapeno peppers can be done by starting them from seed or by purchasing from a nursery. Of all the hot pepper varieties, jalapeno peppers are most popular. The seeds are named after their place of origin in Mexico, and they can create a delicious, spicy flavor in many cuisines. Hotness of these peppers lies anywhere between 2,500 to 10,000 Scoville units. For comparison, the heat index of common sweet green peppers is zero, while the hottest peppers measure around 300,000 Scoville units or more.

Planting Jalapeño Pepper Seeds

Plant jalapeno seeds indoors in pots or in a propagator about six weeks before the last expected frost. For many locations, this will be anywhere between January and March. Use a sterile seed-starting mix to fill the containers about 3/4 full. Drop one to three seeds in and cover them with a light layer of soil. Allow plenty of air ventilation to prevent fungal rot. It generally takes between 3 to 5 weeks to germinate chili pepper seeds.

Jalapeño Pepper Light Requirements

The seedlings should be exposed to light for up to 16 hours a day, which means you should place them in an area that receives indirect sunlight from a window. If you don’t have a sunny spot, hang grow lights positioned 2 to 4 inches above the plants. If your seedlings begin to lean, try moving the light closer to the tops of the plants to see if they straighten up. On the other hand, if they begin to wilt, your light might be too close. Keep a close eye so you can make adjustments as needed.

purple jalapeno pepper growing on the vine

Purple jalapeno pepper. Copyright GrowHotPeppers.com.

Potting Up Jalapeno Seedlings

Replant your seedlings in larger pots after they have at least four leaves or are at least 2 inches tall to make sure they have enough room to keep growing. Your Jalapeno plants will probably need to move to larger containers at least three times during the growth process.

Hardening Off Jalapeno Plants

Prepare your Jalapenos for the rigors of the outdoors before they actually go outside. You can harden them off — or toughen them up — safely by letting a small fan blow on them for a few hours a day. You can also very gently grasp the stems and move them back and forth and side to side to encourage these parts to thicken up.

Moving Jalapenos Outdoors

After two more weeks and after the last potential frost, you can move the jalapeno plants outside. Place pepper plants in 2 to 5 gallon containers, or plant them directly in the ground about 16 to 18 inches apart.

Click here to learn more about how to grow jalapeño peppers.

Outdoor Jalapeno Plants

Outdoor plants should get at least 6 full hours of sunlight each day. Jalapeno peppers grown in temperatures between 80F to 90F degrees yield maximum fruit. A standard 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer can be used to feed plants, but make sure you follow the directions on the fertilizer container so you don’t use too much and burn the plant. Further, organic matter, such as manure, is ideal for giving peppers the boost they need to thrive and for preventing weeds. Lastly, jalapeno plants do well with an inch of water each week, but don’t let the soil become too waterlogged because this is detrimental to the health of the plant. Watering peppers is tricky due to peppers being subject to damping off, but you can use a moisture meter or try the bottom-watering technique to make this task easier. Depending on the variety, the size of the peppers varies from 2 to 3.5 inches and the color of the fruit is typically red or green during ripening.

Handling Jalapeno Peppers

These peppers may irritate the skin because of their capsaicin content. While cooking, consider wearing latex gloves, or else keep the dish soap nearby. If you do feel the spicy bite of capsaicin, wash your hands with dish soap, or hold a towel dipped in milk over the affected area.

 

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.



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  • http://www.kochsgarden.com/ Kochsgarden.com

    This year I’m going to grow like crazy! Jalapeno peppers everywhere.

  • george Bartholomaeus

    When do you know to pick the peppers. red or green and then how to preserve them ( refrigerate them, leave them on the counter to dry out.?)

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com Grow Hot Peppers

      Either green or red is fine to begin picking jalapenos, but you want to make sure that they are shiny, firm to the touch and come off easily from the branch. When you pick them depends more on your preference. If you want to use the chillies for salsas, for example, pick them when they are green, but, if you plan to dry them, harvest the jalapenos when they begin to turn red.

      As for preserving, there are numerous ways to this. One quick and easy solution is to freeze your jalapenos. After washing and drying them first, lay the peppers on a flat surface and stick them in your freezer until they are frozen. Double bag your frozen chillies in freezer bags and they will stay good for approximately 9 to 12 months.

      A great resource that covers both of these topics is The Complete Chile Pepper Book: A Gardener’s Guide to Choosing, Growing, Preserving, and Cooking.

      Thanks for your questions!

  • tom

    If jalapeno plants freeze over the winter will they sprout again in spring?

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com Grow Hot Peppers

      Your jalapenos should sprout again, but it depends on how often they were subject to frost and the low temperatures that they were exposed to. Ideally, you should winter your pepper plants by digging up in-ground chillies and placing them in 10-inch pots. Leave your plants outside for a couple of days and water them to allow them to get used to the new environment. Cut back any dead vegetation and inspect the branches and leaves for insects before bring your peppers inside. If you don’t have room in your house, leave the chile plants in the garage. You can put your pepper plants back out when spring comes.

  • Peggy Kasper

    I grew several types of hot peppers but none of them were hot. Grew them in containers with mostly compost and potting soil. The soil here is pH 8-9 and heavy clay and hardly will grow weeds. WHAT do I need to do for my peppers???

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com Grow Hot Peppers

      Hi Peggy, peppers need to be stressed out once they’ve gone past the seedling stage to produce a hotter flavor. This means water your chillies less. Also, what types of peppers are you growing? Some varieties of jalapenos, such as the NuMex Primavera, are pretty mild compared to the more traditional jalapeno. Further, peppers in the chinense family, like scotch bonnet and trinidad scorpion, are extremely hot so you may have better luck with them. Hope this helps!

  • colleen

    do you replant pepper plants every year like you do with tomatoes?

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com Grow Hot Peppers

      Hi, peppers don’t need to be replanted every year. Chile plants typically last between 10 to even 15 years. Thanks for your question.

  • http://www.astiriai.lt Pipirai

    What is the lowest temp for growing Jalapeno?

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com Grow Hot Peppers

      I believe the lowest temperature would be about 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but that’s really pushing it. For the best germination rates and plants that yield maximum fruit, try to give your chillies at 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Hope that helps!

  • Fran

    We just bought some jalapeno plants that are very tall and leggy. Can, or should I pinch the tops back to promote more branching?

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com Grow Hot Peppers

      Hi Fran, thanks for your question. If your jalapeno plants are leggy, you definitely can pinch off the lateral branch tips with its top two leaves. This practice promotes a bushier plant so the jalapeno isn’t so top heavy.

      If you grow your peppers from seed and provide a grow light when they germinate, this bypasses the need for pinching because they won’t become so leggy. Some growers prefer to pinch anyway, but it’s dependent on your preference. Hope this helps.

  • Jen

    This is my first year to grow jalapenos and they are all pretty short (~2 inch). I’ve let them sit on the branch hoping they might grow longer but no luck. Could it be because I grew them in a pot? Thanks!

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com Grow Hot Peppers

      Hi Jen, congrats on your first jalapeno-growing journey! The size of your jalapenos is dependent on the variety you are growing; some are much smaller than others. The ones in the grocery stores are often hybrids, which is why they are sometimes larger than what we grow on our plants. And no, growing your chillies in a pot shouldn’t affect how large the fruit gets. Hope this helps!

  • Mike

    This is my first season planting a garden and everything is rockin and rollin, but on of my jalapeños on the bottom tip is discolored and for lack of a better term “soggy”. The whole pepper is a beautiful green color then the last inch is brown and soft. I cut it off the plant to inspect and I didn’t want this pepper stealing nutrients from the other healthy fruits. What causes this and is there any way to avoid this happening??

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com Grow Hot Peppers

      Hi Mike, sounds like your jalapenos might be suffering from blossom end rot (BER). The best way to avoid this is to give your plants a calcium supplement such as Cal-Mag. Cal-Mag is great because its designed to feed the roots of your plant and it also gives your peppers an essential magnesium boost as well. Try this and see how your chillies respond. Good luck!

  • terry watson

    Plants growing & flowering like crazy but only one pepper has survived past flowering.

    • Stacy McCrary

      I’m having the same issue. Plants are flowering but not producing anything. Am I not being patient enough? This is my first year growing jalapenos and I have them in a pot. I read that sometimes it takes 3-4 months for them to produce. I planted them from mature seedlings I purchased at a local greenhouse.

      • http://www.growhotpeppers.com admin

        Hi Stacy,

        This is a common question. Yes, it can take some time for pods to form, but you may need to give your plant some help. Try rubbing a paintbrush or even your finger in the middle of each flower to stimulate growth. This is especially helpful when there aren’t enough bees around to do the job. Good luck!

  • Jim

    This is my first year growing jalapenos in my garden. Plants are doing great and each one is producing a good yeild. I’m a little confused on the harvesting though. It seems that, once they reach a good length, they are the bright green color that is recommended for havesting. Then they turn a dark green. Do I need to harvest before they turn dark green?

    Many Thanks

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com Grow Hot Peppers

      Hi Jim,

      Honestly, it totally depends on your preference. I would pick the jalapeno at different stages to taste them and make a decision from there. Some people pick them at the bright green stage, others wait until the pepper displays “corking,” which appears as small, brownish marks along the body of the chile and others even wait for the pepper to turn red.

      I hope this helps and congratulations on healthy plants! My first jalapeno plant died so I’m happy to hear of your success. =)

  • angie

    this is my first time growing my own peppers (for POPPERS). They have done very well since we first planted them but…my question is: once you pick the peppers do they “grow back” in the same place they were previously picked? Also – I live in missouri is it “safe” to leave the plants outside for the winter and Hope they come back next year? Thanks!!

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com Grow Hot Peppers

      Hi Angie, great questions. It’s hard to answer the first one because I’ve had chile plants behave different; some peppers grew back in the same spot, while other varieties didn’t. The best way to know is to just pick your chillies and watch closely to see what happens. As for the winter, I wouldn’t leave the pepper plants out if you want them to survive and continue producing next year. I’m working on a new article about overwintering, but basically, you want to move your plants indoors before it starts regularly getting below 50 F. What I do is prune the plant, put it in a container (if it’s in the ground), and fill the container with new soil. I then move the containers to an indoor area like a garage and wait to move them back out only when the last threat of frost has passed. I hope this helps and good luck!

  • Del

    First year growing them hard to find a constent supply so I have way enough plants of diffent varieties to start with ,Seems like its taking forever to get any start of fruit though is this normal?

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com Grow Hot Peppers

      Hi Del, did you sow your Jalapeno seeds, or did you purchase the plants? This variety can take between 75 to 90 days or more to produce fruit, depending on the type you are growing. I hope this helps!

  • lambertus

    hallo all its my first time growing chilli of any kind. I am growing jalapenos now they say it takes roughly 70 days to bear fruit. Mine is now a month old and has just started to grow true leaves. My question is are mine on the rite track? im growing Telica Jalapenos.

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com Grow Hot Peppers

      Hi,

      Congratulations on growing your first hot peppers! It sounds like your Jalapenos are right on target. I know it can be hard to way for the chillies; they sure take a long time compared to other plants.

      Have fun and keep those questions coming.

  • mudpuppy

    Hi, I am also a first time planter, I planted the Jalapeno seeds mid June and now it is August the plants all look pretty healthy, but none of them have produced fruit or even shown signs of producing fruit. When should i expect the Jalapenos to begin to appear?

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com Grow Hot Peppers

      Hi,

      Depending on the variety, Jalapenos take 75 days or more to start growing chillies. So, if you sowed seeds in mid June, I’d guess you might start seeing flowers in mid to late September. It’s a good thing that you don’t see any fruit appearing yet because the plants are taking their time to build a strong structure to support lots of fruit.

      Good luck!

  • Julie

    I have a plant bought from a nursery aprox. 2-3 months ago. It has flowered numerous times, but no peppers. Also, the lower leaves have a white pattern on them, kind of wavy. No bugs that I can see. I am growing it in a pot on the patio. Will I ever get peppers?

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com Grow Hot Peppers

      I have a plant bought from a nursery aprox. 2-3 months ago. It has flowered numerous times, but no peppers. Also, the lower leaves have a white pattern on them, kind of wavy. No bugs that I can see. I am growing it in a pot on the patio. Will I ever get peppers?

      Hi Julie, oftentimes, chile plants will flower many times over before they begin producing peppers. Your plants will produce eventually. Also, the wavy lines could be the result of leaf miner insects. I would prune away any infected leaves and then apply Neem oil – an organic oil – or install yellow sticky traps to catch them.

      Good luck!

  • Stephen Richardson

    I’ve been growing cayenne peppers for a long time, but this is my first time growing jalapenos in pots. From my prior experience with hot peppers, I do know that the roots of cayenne and jalapeno pepper plants tend to grow deep. Exactly how much depth should i allow for the roots to grow to their full potential in a pot?

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com Grow Hot Peppers

      Hi Stephen, 10 to 12 inches is usually sufficient, which is typically a five to seven gallon pot. If you’re growing a smaller chile variety, such as the white habanero, you can go with a 2 gallon container. Hope this helps!

  • Tropical farmer

    Hey,

    I have about 5 Jalapeno plants and I have had success before with nice smooth shiny chillies…but this time around they seem to be ‘corking’ is this normal? how do i stop it from happening?

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com Grow Hot Peppers

      Hey,

      I have about 5 Jalapeno plants and I have had success before with nice smooth shiny chillies…but this time around they seem to be ‘corking’ is this normal? how do i stop it from happening?

      Hi, yes, corking is normal and is just a sign that your Jalapenos are mature and ready to be picked. You can’t stop them from corking, but you can pick them before they reach this stage. Also, you can grow Jalapeno varieties, such as the El Jefe, that are less prone to displaying these crack marks. Thanks for your question.

  • Ryan

    Hello, love the site. I was transferred for work from Louisiana to Gabon, Africa (on equator). I am addicted to hot peppers and much to my surprise Gabon does not have Jalapeños. I was able to mail some seeds (don’t tell anyone) and started my own pepper garden but need some advice…

    1. How do peppers do in equatorial climates?
    2. Will they grow all year round?
    3. How big of pots are required (growing on porch)? I have read anywhere from 2 to 5 gallons. 5 will be hard to find, how small can I go?

    Thanks

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com admin

      Hi Ryan,

      Thanks for your comment! Your peppers should do fine in your climate assuming you provide good drainage, nutrients and water. You might want to mix in a mulch like hardwood chips with the soil to keep plants cool during those hot days, also filter the hot mid-day sun by placing containers in the shade during that time.

      As for year-round growing, I can’t say for sure, but I don’t see why they wouldn’t keep growing. It’s the cold temperatures (below 50 degrees Fahrenheit) and low light levels that make plants go into hibernation.

      You should be able to use 2-gallon containers. I wouldn’t go much smaller than that.

      Hope that helps!

  • Marcus

    (From South Florida) I currently have my first 2 attempts at jalapeno plants: one that I purchased at the store which was already a foot or more high when I brought it home, and 2 or 3 others that were started from seeds. They are both “tam” jalapenos. I don’t know anything about this variety, other than they say they are ‘milder’ than regular jalapenos (I sure hope they’re not too mild!).

    I’ve gotten my first jalapeno and now this week 3 more on the way, on the first already-planted one, and the plant itself is about 2 to 2 and a half feet high. The first jalapeno started to weigh down the top of the plant. Should I stake the plant to support this if it keeps getting top-heavy and looking like it’s going to droop over?

    Also, the newest leaves on top have constantly been looking very dried out and looking like they were in a very bad shape, but I’ve realized over the last month or two that they seem to be uncurling and opening up into full leaves as they grow bigger. Is this normal? This particular plant is very dark, and the leaves droop real quick, too, if it gets dried out, so I keep it watered, and have used a little multipurpose MiracleGro (tomato-style) and its doing alright now. Additionally, its wooding up the stalk just a tiny bit about an inch or two at the soil level. Is this ok?

    The other plants from seeds are small, lighter green, softer, and ones starting to flower. They’re both just at a foot high or less. I trust they’re well.

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com admin

      Hi Marcus, you should definitely stake your plants because they can topple over in high winds and with a lot of heavy pods. Sounds like you are watering and fertilizing correctly if the leaves are opening up. It’s not uncommon for leaves to curl up during the hottest part of the day and then open up again. And yes, the woody area above the soil line is okay.

      Hope this helps!

  • Lyndon

    This is my first season growing stuff. I eat loads of jalepeneos and have been throwing the seeds in the gardent. It is winter in Houston (zone 9) so I don’t expect anything to happen until after January. However, I was reading online concerning growing peppers and the seed germination process requires several steps. My question follows: Will the “throw the seeds in the garden” technique work or should I go through the multi-step germination process?

    On a related topic, I planted a banana pepper plant several months ago and it has been blooming and producing peppers through the witner. My second question follows: Is the banana pepper similar to the jalepeneo pepper in terms of the results I have experience in zone 9?

    Thanks for your help.

  • Amjad

    My jalapeno plant has been growing indoors and is a sturdy plant that has grown to a height of nearly 3ft. I has a couple of branches. I am worried it is getting too big and I wanted some advice on whether I can cut off some of the branches and replant them. Is this possible or am I going to kill the plant.

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com Grow Hot Peppers

      Hi Amjad, yes, you can replant a pepper branch. Just make sure your cutting device is sterilized first to avoid transferring pathogens to the plant. Hope this helps!

  • Mr. Mayo

    PEPPER TIME!

    This will be my 3rd year with peppers. Last year I grew 16 of each spicy banana and jalopenos. We gave away tons eat a ton fresh and canned several jars and and looks like were going to be rite on target to run out in April May. This year I am intending on planting 36 plants of each. Wich would you recomend? Trying to grow from seed to be cost effective or transplanting for a higher survival rate? Our last frost is mid march. Weather here on the gulf coast is HOT AND HUMID!!!!

  • Robert

    I live in Saigon, Vietnam, and I want to grow jalepenos here bcause they are so expensive, and I need them for my business, plus I can sell them for $5.00 a pound. Any tips for grow here, the average temp here is around mid 80′s year yound, with a 6 month rainy season. Alot of people have tried to grow them here but always fail. So any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • mikeinbkk

      robert-

      i am in a similar situation in thailand as you. perhaps we can link up outside this venue to figure this stuff out together.

      mr. moderator- can you send robert my email? or should i just post it?

  • danny6114

    Will jalapenos ripen to red off the bush?

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com admin

      Yep! Mine usually start turning red after a couple of days.

  • TracyM67

    Hi I am growing Jalapeños and Cayenne peppers and they both flowered and had a lot of fruit and I picked them and the cayenne is once again full of fruit but the jalapeño has hard bits where the flowers were sprouting. Do jalapeños flower more than once in summer? Should I feed them with osmocote and thrive? Or just wait and see if they will reflower?

  • Wade

    Hi, I currently have several jalapeno’s and bell’s that have survived the winter here in central Louisiana due to an extremely mild winter. My plants have continued to grow and produce non-stop but the growth rate has slowed. The peppers produced are much smaller or deformed (small “jug like” peppers). The plants (the jalapeno’s especially) have grown to about five feet, produced a bushel of peppers that were mild to extremely hot.

    Now that we’re starting a new growing season my question is …Do I need to prune my plants back? They seem very healthy (even though a little stringy and thin,leaf wise) and I don’t want the new fruit to over-weight the stems.

    Suggestions?

    Thanks, wade

  • melba henderson

    last year I grew long,green jalapenos, and this year they are short and red? Does anyone know what happened?

  • Erik Rhein

    Hi i was wondering…i started my seeds this year in a grow tray i have red habanero’s, jalapenos, cayenne, and bell pepper…i got started a little late this year as today is april 24…people always talk about the hardening of stage but if you start your seedlings in the grow tray and at first sprout just put them directly in sunlight and pull the whole tray in if it gets to cold at night do you need to go through the hardening off stage?

  • Nancy

    Hi, may I have some advice on growing them in NW Montana? I plant in 4′ x 12′ raised beds. Two years ago, I planted jalapeno starts late (mid-June), they stayed only a foot tall and produced some peppers. Last year, I planted earlier and we had a wet spring and June. Again I ended up with plants 18″ tall and peppers – not nearly enough. This year I planted starts May 8 and left them covered with “garden fleece” day and night for 2 weeks. Then we put up a pvc and 6 mil anti-condensate plastic 7′ tunnel greenhouse over every bed. So they have had this covering for about 3 weeks. With them in the bed are tomatoes and tomatillos. Everything is growing except the jalapenos. The leaves have retained their color and stayed on, but they have not grown an inch. They are the same 8″ they started out. I took the flower buds off when I planted them. What am I doing wrong? Thank you for your help!

  • Jason t

    Hello, i read a couple of posts where you mention to keep the jalapenio plants in a garage over the winter. I don’t have s garage, will they do ok in my crawl space? The low temp in the crawl space is around 35-40? Do they need light during the winter or will they do ok in the dark? Thanks for any info you can give

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com admin

      Hi Jason,

      Any indoor area or even covered patio should work for the winter. Your crawl space sounds too cold because peppers do not do well if they are consistently exposed to temps under 50 degrees Fahrenheit. And yes, peppers do need light (approximately 8 – 10 hours) during the winter.

      If you keep peppers outdoors, you can place a frame, such as a tomato cage, over the plant and hang a shower curtain, bubble wrap, frost blanket, floating row cover or other lightweight material over it to keep the plant warm at night. Just remove the covering first thing in the morning.

      Hope this helps!

  • http://www.growhotpeppers.com Josh

    First time growing jalepenos. My plant is nursery bought and is now about 3 feet tall and super healthy. Though it has produced probably 200 flowers in the past 2 months, I don’t have the first pepper. Is this normal? I’m starting to think I need to bribe some bees to germinate the plant.

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com admin

      Hi Josh,

      Yes, this sounds pretty normal. Sometimes it takes awhile for the pods to come, especially if this is the plant’s first year. Try rubbing your finger in the middle of the flowers to get them going. Also, it’s been my experience that temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit or below 65 degrees can keep peppers from growing.

      Sounds like your plant is healthy. You’ll be enjoying jalapeños soon. =)

      • http://www.growhotpeppers.com Josh

        I reluctantly tried your tip. I thought you may have been having fun with me. Today, two days after that, I have a dozen small peppers. Many thanks.

        • http://www.growhotpeppers.com admin

          Hi Josh,

          Thanks for keeping me updated. Your post made me laugh. Nope, I would never joke about how to raise peppers because I know how much work it takes to get those chillies!

          Hope you’re enjoying your summer and that you have an abundant harvest. =)

  • George

    Can i use an Aqua Globe for my jalapeno peppers to water it?

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com admin

      Hi George, I’ve never tried an Aqua Globe so I can’t say for sure. If you do try it, make sure to watch your plants closely to see if they exhibit any negative signs, such as leaf drop or discoloration, so you can stop using it if necessary. Hope this helps.

  • Carrie

    My green jalapeno plant is growing one red pepper (it was red to begin with). Why is this?

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com admin

      Hi Carrie, that’s interesting! Typically, jalapeños start off green and then turn red when fully mature. That one red pepper must have matured very quickly. Hope you enjoyed it. =)

  • Brian

    Hello,

    I’m growing Jalapenos for the first time. I have 3 plants in one large pot. They are all producing peppers but they are only growing to about 1-1/2″ long before darkening, corking and then turning red. I have one that turned red immediately and is about the size of a grape. The plants are getting sunlight about half the day, inside a screened porch and staying wet. I used one of the peppers on a salad and it was very hot but I was hoping for larger ones to stuff and grill. Any suggestions would be great.

    Thanks from a newbie :)

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com admin

      Hi Brian, sounds like you’re having a lot of success growing jalapeños — especially since this is your first time! The size of the jalapeños really depends on what variety you are growing. For instance, some varieties like the Early Jalapeno are a bit smaller than other types like Mucho Nacho. What kind are you growing? Also, the size of your pot could be part of the size issue. I would try picking peppers before they get to the red ripe stage so that the energy goes to the other chillies and potentially makes them larger. Lastly, how long has the plant been producing peppers? I ask because sometimes the very first peppers that grow are the smallest. I’ve had lots of pepper plants produce tiny pods at first and then start producing bigger chillies later in the growing season.

      Hope this helps!

  • Stephen

    I have 6 jalapeno plants that are doing ok.. however I have a small problem with black ants living around/next to my plants. Theres alway a few ants on each plant. I don’t see them eating anything, but I really don’t know if they are harming them or not?? And if so, how can I get rid of them, with out using ant killer? Thanks

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com admin

      Hi Stephen,

      You might check your plants for aphids or whiteflies because these insects are known to secrete honey dew, which attracts the ants. What you can do is spray the leaves, stems and other plant parts with a sharp stream of water to get them off. Do this everyday. Otherwise, introduce beneficial insects like ladybugs, or use an organic spray, such as Neem oil, to control the problem.

      Hope this helps!

  • http://Growhotpeppers.com Putnam

    I put the jalapeno I grew in a pot last November in my garden this past summer. Here in hot south Florida, we cannot garden much in the summer because the sun is too intense. This plant grew like crazy, but produced no fruit during the summer. It is now September 10th, and the plant is 5″ 7″ tall, and full of peppers. It is a mammoth variety jalapeno, and the fruit is pleasingly hot. I wonder if there is a record for the world’s tallest jalapeno bush.

  • Stephen

    Wow! Thats so crazy. Because, before I wrote to you I got really close to one of my plants and watched what the ants were doing… and, I did notice a small (and when I say small, I mean really, really small) pile of what I thought at the time was piles of the flower or something. And thinking about it now, they were little aphids!! I had no idea. I did a little research, and come to find out, the ants will actually protect these little guys! haha Crazy Stuff! My plants are doing really good. The ants and aphids don’t seam to be slowing down production, so I’ve just let them be. Thank you so much for the feedback, because at least now I have peace of mind.

    Thanks again,
    Stephen

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com admin

      I’m so glad I could help. =) Thanks for writing.

  • nigel

    Hi I have a greenhouse so can I get chills of the same plant 2 years running

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com admin

      Hi Nigel, yes, a greenhouse is ideal and you can overwinter your chillies so they grow for more than one year. Just make sure your plants are not exposed to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit and outside elements like frost and snow. You can get the same plant to grow peppers for many years.

  • Sonja

    Hi, I am caring for a friend’s jalapeno plants while she is away on vacation. They are producing small mild flavored peppers, but interestingly, there are also small round berries on the plant, distinctly different from the peppers. The immature berries start out green and turn near black, they resemble a small blueberry in size and shape. What are these berries and is there a use for them? Also, i see that my friend has been putting eggshells on the surface of the soil. is that helpful to the plant? Thanks in advance. :)

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com admin

      Hi Sonja, so both the Jalapeños and black berries are growing on the same plant? Wow, I’d love to see a picture! It’s possible to graft two different types of pepper varieties to each other so that different chiles grow on the same plant. As far as the berry-like pods, that sounds like it could be the black pearl pepper, but it’s hard to say without seeing the pods. The black pearl is edible and hot. Some people like the taste and others don’t.

      As far as the eggshells, that is an excellent calcium source for peppers, which helps prevent diseases such as blossom end rot (BER).

      Thanks for writing!

  • John

    Is it to late to start growing Jalapeno and Serrano peppers in May? I am starting from fresh pepper seeds and the average temp outside is 80-85.

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com admin

      Hi John,

      This question usually depends your pepper variety’s mature date and how long of a growing season you have. Personally, I don’t think May is too late to start. Just protect your plants when temps start to drop by adding a cover or bringing them inside where it’s warmer.

      Thanks for the question!

  • Jason

    Hi,
    I have jalapeno plants growing outside, all is going good so far but a few leaves died because my cat decided to munch on a few. What should I do with the dead leaves?

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com admin

      Hi Jason,

      Sorry to hear about the jalapeño! You can always just compost the leaves or use them as mulch since they didn’t die from disease.

      Enjoy your weekend!

  • Carsten Kieffer

    Hey guys and girls

    I really enjoyed reading all the questions and answers, and i learned a lot.
    I started my seeds on 3-6-2013 and now (5-31-2013) i have 2ft tall plants with a lot of flowers and a few growing peppers.
    I live in Florida and plan on keeping my plants out all year, i have them in 3 gal. pots and im planing on keeping them in the pots.

    Thanks for all your help and good luck on your growing

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com admin

      Thanks for writing Carsten!

      All the best for an amazing harvest. =)

  • http://Yahoo Bryan

    So I have a garden salsa amongst 5 jalapeño plants and all of them look great and healthy but I’m concerned about the garden salsa plant because it is only 4″ tall and it has a pepper on it that is 4 1/2″ long and about an inch thick. Should I pick this pepper now it is a light shiny green but as I read above I tried to pull it off lightly and it put up a fight?

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com admin

      Hi Bryan,

      You can pick your peppers at any time, but if it’s giving you resistance, then I would make sure to cut it off so you don’t accidentally damage the plant. The information in the article is a general guide as to what you should look for before taking them off, but when you harvest your peppers depends on your personal preferences.

      Thanks for the question.

  • Jenny

    Hi, So I’ve Been Growin A Jalapeno Plant And I Have About 12 Jalapenos But On About 4 Of Them The Tips All Of A Sudden Became All Wilted, How Did That Happen?

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com admin

      Hi Jenny,

      Without seeing a picture of your jalapeños it’s kind of hard to say, but it sounds like your plant is lacking calcium. I would try adding some CalMag or bonemeal to the soil and see if that helps.

      Good luck!

  • http://Jonesgardenblog.com Jones Garden Blog

    I am growing jalapeños, bell, and New Mexico peppers. The plants look great and are getting a lot of peppers but they all mature while they are really small. Any advice?

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com admin

      Hi,

      What’s your growing situation like? It’s possible that the plants need more room to grow. Planting in the ground gives peppers the best chance to spread out, but if you container garden, I find that a minimum of a 5-gallon pot per one plant works best.

      You also might want to try pruning off some of the peppers and branches to allow your plant to give its energy to the remaining peppers. Hopefully, that will give it the boost it needs to get those chiles to grow larger!

  • Jim Beattie

    Hi, this is my first time growing chillies and am after a little bit of advice please. I’m growing jalapeño early plants and have got quite a few fruits now. A few of them had started corking so I thought it was time to pick them. I picked one and decided to try it before picking more and was really disappointed. The chilli had no heat/spice to it at all and little to no flavour. Have I picked it too early?

    Thanks for all the advice on this page, I’ve found it really helpful

    Jim

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com admin

      Hi Jim,

      It sounds like you picked the pepper at the right time. Sometimes overwatering can can the chile to have very little heat. Also, if this was the first chile you picked, it’s possible that this first one just tasted off. I usually don’t like the first couple of peppers on my own plants — it’s like they need to hit their stride first or something.

      If you still find the other chillies disappointing, I would go with another variety of jalapeño next time. They all vary. I used to grow early jalapeños as well, but found I much preferred mucho nacho and purple jalapeño.

      Hope this helps!

  • Randon Guy

    I have a jalapeno plant I got from a Lowe’s Nursery back in March, probably a Hybrid as a lot have said. I have fertilized it along with my other peppers very heavily and back when I bought it 6 months ago I bought the small kinda dense bush and it had a few peppers. Now it is a massive 4ft. + in the Nevada Desert! I have berms around all my veggies and trees and the chillies have a 3 inch berm and it fills to the top and then I slow the water coming out of the hose down and keep it top filled for about an hour around 9-10am because around 2-4 it gets to be 115-130* at the hottest in the summer. Anyways, I like to see what they look like in winter and this coming summer again…we had a week cloudy with rain and it grew like 25% bigger in the 6 days of rain and 2 following days of sunlight…a break from the stress of intense heat no doubt but I believe it was bred for areas such as this as Home Depot and Lowe’s tend to choose and pick plants to sell and adorn the home and garden according to there area. Around here you will find lots of shrubs, cacti, high temp tomato, strawberries, squash and zucchini as in a colder more frosty climate like Prescott Arizona would have more fruit, vegetable, trees,flowers and vines. I hope my Jalapeno get’s to 6ft! :)

  • Ibenge

    I have these large reddish berries growing with my jalapeno peppers? What are they
    ?

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com admin

      Hi,

      Not sure what berries are. Jalapeños definitely don’t grow berries on the plant — sounds like you might have something else.

  • Jan

    We are not gardeners by any means, but would like to grow jalapenos in 2014. We live in southern Alabama and it gets hot starting in February/March.

    What should we do about too much direct sunlight if we plant in a raised bed in the yard? If I plant in pots, I have a back porch that gets afternoon/evening sun. Which would be better?

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com admin

      Hi Jan,

      For your raised beds, you can always use a floating row cover to shade your plants. That should block out enough sunlight if you’re concerned that they are going to get burned.

      As for the pots, you can try it out to see how your peppers like it on the pots. The great thing about containers is that they can always be moved to see if another location works better for them.

      Good luck!

  • Rob

    Thanks for this great site. Having fun with my el Jefe. It produced a couple dozen peppers here in British Columbia in the summer and because I found this site I learned I can bring it in over the winter.

    So it is still producing lots of peppers though once it came inside they have been smaller and turning red faster.

    Here is my question: the leaves are always wilted and tend to drop. It’s like it needs water but I am watering regularly. I did burn the plant with fertilizer when I first bought it and while it recovered I wonder if either this wilting is normal, or if it is just because it never really recovered from burning months ago, or whether it needs something?

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com admin

      Hi Rob,

      It sounds like your plant is still recovering from the fertilizer burn. To be safe, I would repot the el Jefe in fresh soil so it recovers faster.

  • jonas

    I just removed seeds from a jalapeno. I would like to know if I can directly put the seeds in a pot and start planting them or do I have to wait a certain period to dry them? Thanks.

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com admin

      Hi Jonas,

      You definitely want to let your seeds dry out first. Otherwise, they can develop mold/bacteria in the soil, and that will kill the seedling.

      You can dry seeds from a fresh pepper by removing any debris and then leaving them on a paper plate or paper towel for a couple of weeks. The seeds are ready when you press your fingernail into it and it doesn’t leave an indentation mark. You can reference our saving pepper seeds article for more techniques.

  • jose

    I am trying to grow some jalapenos from store bought chiles they were in the fridge when I ate the jalapeno and found it was great (hot). what are the chances that my plants will germinate and give some chiles?

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com admin

      Hi Jose,

      I haven’t had much luck with germinating store-bought chiles, but you never know. You should give it a try and let us know what happens!

  • Tudor

    Hi,
    I have just move my jalapeno in final pot of 11 inch. But it after the re poting when I expose them to the sun they wilt :-( and very fast. When i move them to the light but not in direct sun, they recover.
    Please tell me if do you know why, because from my knowledge they need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. Maybe it is because they have very small buds, so they are flowering?
    Thanks a lot,
    Tudor

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com admin

      Hi Tudor,

      Wilting is a common problem when plants are not sufficiently hardened off before they go outside. Each plant needs to be slowly exposed to the outdoor elements so it can toughen up first. What I would do is wait until late afternoon when the sun is not at its brightest, and then put your plant out for about a 1/2 hour exposure. Continue to do this for a couple of days if you don’t see any damage. After a couple of days, leave the plant in the sun longer, such as 45 minutes, and then move it back to a shadier spot. Keep gradually increasing the plant’s time in the sun until it can withstand at least 6 hours of sunlight.

      Hope this helps!

  • Jeremy

    I started jalapenos and habaneros in a jiffy greenhouse. As I was outside removing other pants from it, the wind blew it over and mixed them up in the process. Is there any way to tell the difference between the 2 when they are seedlings and only an inch or 2 tall? Worse case, I’ll just plant them all…

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com admin

      Hi Jeremy,

      When chillies are that young, you can’t really tell them apart because most seedlings look the same. I do know that my habaneros tend to have slightly larger, wider leaves than the Jalapeños. Hope that helps.

  • Tristan

    This year Im growing jalapeno, el loco, banana and hot bell. Is there an easy way to hybrid them like root grafting? Also are there any tricks to increase the heat level of the peppers? Im in a hot dry climate and growing in a mixture of local soil and compost. So far my jalapeno and el loco plants are about 2 feet tall and fruiting but my bell and banana plants are very squat. Is it normal for those types to be smaller? and to fruit later?

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com admin

      Hi Tristan,

      Root grafting is an interesting question, but it’s not something I have experience with just yet. Maybe someone else on this tread can chime in.

      For heat levels, I usually stress the plant out a bit by not watering it as much to help make the pods hotter. Wait until the leaves start the wilt before the next water.

      And yes, bells and bananas can be squat. It all depends their growing environment.

  • UB Still

    I have jalapenos in a large outdoor urn and it is getting in the 90s here by 10a. Should I find a spot in the ground or will they be OK in this heat? Also, would it be helpful to work in some of that moisture hold soil, or do they need to almost dry out before watering? Thanks!

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com admin

      Hi,

      I would watch your plant for a couple of days to see how it does in the heat. Usually, peppers do well in heat, but they just won’t produce pods until it cools down a bit. As for watering, I prefer to let them almost dry before watering.

      Hope this helps.

  • KB

    We have a jalapeño plant that is producing abundant fruit- the plant is just over 1 foot high and has about 50 peppers. (2nd year). we live in southern california near the coast- usually we have heavy fog for most of the day for a majority of the summer but this year its been clear and warm all summer. no June gloom like we’re used to. a huge majority of our jalapeños are turning black, or have large sections of black streaks. Is it from heat? Should I use some sort of shading or are they ok to eat? thank you.

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com admin

      Hi, my jalapeños do the same thing when they get a lot of sun. As long as the black streaks aren’t mushy, which would point to blossom end rot, they should be fine to eat. If you’re still concerned, you can use a floating row cover or put them in a shadier spot to see how they do.

      • KB

        Thank you! They are all firm and shiny like they should be so I will cut a few of them open when they’ve had time to get bigger and see how they taste. Thanks for the help!

  • MCC

    Hello, I had to transplant my jalapeño pepper plant because my cucumbers took over my garden this year. They have about 4 small peppers on them but now the plant is starting to wilt. Do I have any chance of getting them to recover? Thanks

    • http://www.growhotpeppers.com admin

      Hi MCC,

      The wilting may be due to transplant shock. Possibly the roots were too compressed during the move. I would just give my plant care and give it a few days to recover.

  • GTO JOE

    OK. To start out. I started about 100 of these Jalapeños plants, from seeds, that I removed form some beautiful peppers I purchased at my local market here in Northern NY. They took off like a rocket and are now 3 months old and over 3 foot tall. They very abundant with peppers at this time. BUT…. It seems they are not filling out correctly. I have had golf ball size peppers for over 3 weeks. Since then new buds have formed and caught up the the size of the first batch pollinated. This is like the 5th time the plants have reproduced. But the initial ones do not seem to continuing getting length to them. Just staying the same size. Golf ball size like that of my cherry peppers I trimmed them back a month ago in between re-budding, in hopes of getting them to bush out, rather than grow too tall. The stocks are massive and the peppers are very firm and healthy with lots and lots of new buds and peppers starting. Huge dark green leaves. ( Miracle grow daily). I have them in 3 gallon pots on my deck. My question is… Are they fine? Only another month or two before we get a heavy frost. I was hoping to have harvested a couple of times from them by now. Like I have with my cherry and banana peppers. I have harvested 5 quarts of cherries and 10 quarts of banana so far this season. But not one single jalapeño. Thank you. Joe

    • GTO JOE

      Obviously that was not the immage I chose to share. But I cant seem to find how to replace or delete it. lol

  • GTO JOE

    :)

  • GTO JOE

    OK. I started about 100 Jalapeños plants from seeds. I removed form some beautiful peppers I purchased at my local market here in Northern NY. They took off like a rocket. 3 months old and over 3 foot tall, now, they very abundant with peppers. BUT…. It seems they are not filling out correctly. I have had golf ball size peppers for over 3 weeks now. New pods have formed and caught up to the size of the ones that had came a month prior. This is like the 5th time the plants have flowered and produced more pods. In otherwords… The initial ones do not seem to continuing getting any bigger in diameter or length. They have remained the same size for weeks. Yet new ones keep coming and catching up in size, to the older ones. Then they too stop. And more pods come, again and again. They are mostly all the size of golf ball. They resemble the shape of an acorn nut, and are the size of my cherry peppers. I trimmed them back, a month ago, in between the re-flowering process, in hopes of getting them to bush out, rather than grow tall and fall over. The stocks are massive and the peppers are very firm and healthy with lots and lots of new pods starting. Huge dark green leaves. (I miracle grow them daily). I have roughly 10 per 5 gallon bucket on my deck. The buckets drain very well. So I’m sure they are not getting over watered. Nor under nourished. They are in direct sunlight 8 to 10 hours a day. Its been very humid, with very little rain. Temps in the high 80′s to 90′s. My question is… Why are they stopping their growing process, allowing later ones to catch up? Its mid August and there is only another month, maybe a month and a half before we get a heavy frost here in Northern NY. I was hoping to have harvested at least a couple of times from these by now. As I have done with my cherry and banana peppers this season. But not one single jalapeño. Thank you. Joe

    • GTO JOE

      I have about 500 of these. All this size or smaller. This one in particular is about the size of a golf ball and has not changed in size in 3 weeks. Yet pods that had just started 3 weeks ago are now also the same size???

  • Jaye

    Joe, I think you got hybrid seeds and they rarely produce. I started my Jalapeno seeds in February and I have been getting Jalapenos since June and from four plants, I probably have already made about two grocery bags full of Jalapenos. When you get seeds from an unknown source, sometimes you take a chance and miss. Next time, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. I like to experiment and do something like you did with the seeds from a famers market Hot pepeper or something like this but if I do this and If I very much want a harvest, I always buy the same variety seeds from a store too, unless I already have proven seeds.