Do Peppers Need a Trellis? How to Grow Peppers Vertically
If you’ve read up on peppers, you know that they grow vertically. Staking them is one way to grow them vertically, but a more visually pleasing option is to use a trellis. Growing peppers with a trellis keeps them away from harmful microbes in the soil. Another benefit of a trellis is that the peppers have stable support that won’t sag under the weight of the plant when it fruits. Let’s check out what you need to grow peppers vertically and how to go about it.
Before You Start
Like many gardening projects, you don’t need a ton of supplies or equipment to effectively grow peppers. In fact, the most expensive part is likely to be the trellis itself.
Another key component of healthy pepper growth is how much sunlight exposure your chosen crop area receives. Peppers love heat and need full sun (6–8 hours per day) to thrive. If your area doesn’t get very warm, you may wish to grow them indoors and use a grow light to supplement natural sunlight.
You Will Need:
- Pepper seeds
- Water hose
- Fertilizer/compost (optional but highly recommended)
The 4 Steps to Growing Peppers Vertically
1. Sow Your Seeds
The best time to sow pepper seeds is 6–8 weeks before the last frost in your area. First, thoroughly water your chosen area, but don’t flood it. Dig your holes ¼ inch deep and 2 inches apart, and mix in your fertilizer or compost if you have some. Put seeds in each hole and rake the soil back into the hole, then lightly tamp it down with your trowel or hand. Don’t pack the dirt too tightly, because your seeds have to be able to sprout through to the surface.
2. Set Up Your Trellis
Once your seeds have sprouted a bit, it’s time to get your trellis into position. Push your trellis into the soil next to the sprout, being careful not to harm the plant in any way. In many cases you can use the same trellis for 2–4 pepper plants, depending on your seed spacing and the trellis size.
At this point, many people often wonder what kinds of pepper plants need a trellis. For some smaller plants, you might get away with not using one. Do bell peppers need a trellis? Because of their bigger size, the answer is yes. However, it is often safer to use a trellis on all pepper plants instead of picking and choosing.
3. Train Your Plant to Grow Vertically
Cut a length of string and lightly tie the pepper plant’s stem to the trellis. Every 8–12 inches, tie another length of string around the stem and trellis. Do not tie too tightly because you can stunt the plant’s growth. As the plant grows, tie more string to secure the plant to the trellis and help it learn to grow vertically.
During this stage, you’ll have to maintain generous watering and sunlight exposure. Not watering your plant can make it susceptible to blossom end rot, which is terrible for your plants. If you have liquid fertilizer, you can apply small amounts as the plant grows. Start slow when the plant is young and slowly increase the dose.
4. Harvest Your Peppers
Most green peppers will be ready once they’ve turned light to dark green and will turn brighter yellow and orange colors if left on the plant. Plan your harvest time according to the color and level of heat you desire.
To harvest peppers, simply cut them directly off the plant, being sure to not damage the stems. Harvesting peppers when they’re immature or green will encourage the plant to produce more fruit while waiting to harvest yellow or orange peppers will slow fruit production.
Peppers are a delicious staple around the world and are used to spice up bland meals, make sauces, and flavor food. One of the best ways to grow your own peppers is with a trellis. With a bit of patience and string, you can have your very own peppers in no time.
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Featured Image Credit: GregReese, Pixabay