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Spicy exchange / 2023

What to do if your pepper plants aren't growing

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Growing peppers

Growing peppers is an exciting venture, allowing you to explore flavors and heat levels, so it can be incredibly disheartening when your pepper plants fail to thrive.

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This story will break down common growth issues based on stage: seed, seedling, transplant, and mature plant. 

Addressing issues by growth stage

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Free pepper growing guide

Not sure where to start? I've put together a 34-page guide to help you grow an abundant harvest.

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The first step to growing peppers is getting your seeds to sprout. The most common reasons seeds aren't sprouting are insufficient heat or poor germination rates. Note that it can take some peppers as long as 6 weeks to sprout, so you may just need to be patient.

Pepper seeds not sprouting

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Too late to start again?

Don’t lose hope if your seeds seem unresponsive and you’re concerned about their viability. You can buy seedlings ready to transplant at your local nursery, or for specialty varieties you can shop online at Pepper Joe's.

*Note: This is an affiliate link

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A few factors must be considered if your seedlings sprouted but are showing little growth. If they are tall but not growing more leaves, they may not have enough light. It may also be time to up-pot if they have their first true leaves but their growth is stalling. 

Seedlings are struggling

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Delayed growth after transplanting

It's common for peppers not to grow noticeably for the first couple weeks after transplanting as they establish their roots. Temperatures below 50 degrees F are another reason that growth may stall after transplanting.

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If you transplanted your pepper growth has stalled, it may be: - The plant has already reached its mature size - Insufficient sunlight - Over or under-watering - Too many weeds - Disease or pests 

Stunted growth well after transplant

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Flowers are falling off without fruiting

Not every single flower will turn into fruit, but if all of your flowers are falling off, it may be too hot or you may have pollination troubles. 

Get the free guide to growing chili peppers

The "green thumb" is a myth — with the right information, anyone can successfully grow peppers. Enjoy this free 34-page guide to help you grow an abundant harvest.

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