Capsicum Growing Guide

Capsicums are a popular vegetable to grow in warm areas, as they are relatively quick to produce a crop, don’t require a lot of special care, and come in such a lovely range of colours. Most varieties start off green, then change to red, purple, black, yellow or orange as they ripen.  

Prepare

Sun, sun and more sun is the key to growing capsicums, along with high temperatures. They are frost-tender, so in cold areas don’t even think about planting them outdoors until November. This isn’t too late, as they take only three months to mature.

Refer to our Planting Calendar for planting and harvest times in your region.

Capsicum favourites include the following varieties: Target, Sweet Banana, Sweet Conical, Midas, Chocolate Beauty, Purple Beauty and Californian Wonder.

If growing from seed, seeds are best raised under glass as they need high temperatures to germinate. Sow in trays in spring and transplant into the garden once the plant is at least 5cm tall and the soil has warmed.

Plant

Like building a house a good foundation is the key to success in your garden. The better the soil, the better your plants will grow. Capsicums require rich, fertile soil. If you are starting with an existing garden bed dig in organic matter like Tui Sheep Pellets and Tui Compost to your soil. Then you can add a layer of Tui Vegetable Mix. If planting in pots and containers, fill with Tui Vegetable Mix. Capsicums will happily survive in containers if there is at least 25 cm depth of soil.

The best times to plant are early in the morning or late in the day, so the plants aren’t exposed to the hot sun straight away. Always water plants well before and after planting.

 

Planting in garden beds

The variety you choose to grow affects how far apart you need to plant the seedlings, however on average 50cm apart seems to work well for most types.

  • Water plants thoroughly before planting and allow to drain.
  • Dig a hole, approximately twice the depth and width of the root ball of your plant.
  • Partly fill the hole with Tui Vegetable Mix.
  • Gently loosen the root ball of your plant and position the plant in the centre of the hole.
  • Fill in with Tui Vegetable Mix.
  • Press soil gently around the base of the plant.
  • Water your plant well.

Planting in pots and containers

  • Water plants thoroughly before potting and allow to drain.
  • Partly fill your container with Tui Vegetable Mix.
  • Gently loosen the root ball of your plant and position the plant in the container.
  • Fill your container with Tui Vegetable Mix up to 3cm from the top.
  • Tap the container gently on the ground to settle the mix.
  • Press soil gently around the base of the plant.
  • Water your plant well.

Nourish

Feed your plants and they will feed you. Plants use nutrients from the soil as they grow, so replenishing the nutrients ensures your plants grow to their full potential.

Select a fertiliser specially blended for your crop like Tui Vegetable Food. Feed capsicums planted in pots and containers with Tui NovaTec® Premium fertiliser. Keep the soil moist throughout the growing season. While your capsicums are growing regularly apply a dose of Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic to give them a welcome boost.

Well-watered, well-nourished capsicums will have a better chance of keeping insect pests and diseases at bay. 

Harvesting

As they mature the colour and taste of capsicums change, so they can be picked for the flavour required and eaten cooked or raw. Cut capsicums off the plants when they are ready. Don't pull them off the vine as they will often rip and won't keep as long without the stem. 

Staking may be required for taller plants or those grown in wind-prone areas.

Be vigilant and stop unwanted insects and diseases from ruining your plants. Slugs and snails can be an issue - lay Tui Quash slug and snail control around young plants.