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Best Container Sizes for Growing Carolina Reapers

One of the most popular ways of growing Carolina Reaper pepper plants is in a potted container. If you plan to grow Carolina Reapers, you’re probably wondering what size of container you will need. The answer depends on the stage of your pepper’s growth. This post will cover the container sizes you will need for your Carolina Reaper plant at all stages of growth.

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How Big of a Pot is Needed for Growing Carolina Reapers

As mentioned above, the best container size for Carolina Reaper peppers depends on its growth stage. Below are some helpful basic guidelines to use when deciding what size of pot you’ll need to grow Carolina Reaper peppers:

Stage of Carolina Reaper GrowthSize of ContainerRecommended product
Seedling Stage1.5-inch seedling plugBootstrap Farmer’s Seedling Tray
Adolescent Stage2.5 to 4-inch nursery potLandmark Plastics’ nursery pots
Growth to Fruiting Stages3 to 5-gallon pot (~10 to 12 inches)The HC Companies 12 Inch Pot Planter
This table outlines the size of container you need for each growth stage of Carolina Reaper peppers as well as recommended products.
Photo of a Carolina Reaper seedling growing out of a seedling plug
This is a photo of my first Carolina Reaper seedling of the season. Photo by Spicy Trio

Seedling Stage

The seedling stage for Carolina Reapers starts right after the seed sprouts and lasts until about two to three weeks after. During this stage, it’s essential to keep your Carolina Reapers in a small seedling plug that is about 1.5 inches in diameter. The smaller grow area helps the seedling balance establishing a solid root base, growing upwards, and sprouting new leaves. A small growing area also means the soil will dry out faster, requiring more frequent watering. The recurring cycle of the soil going wet to dry helps ensure the Carolina Reaper seedling gets moisture and oxygen, vital for growing tiny seedlings.

At this stage of the Carolina Reaper pepper’s life, we use Bootstrap Farmer’s plug trays for seedlings.

At around the three-week mark after your Carolina Reaper seedlings have sprouted, it’s approaching the adolescence stage, and it’s time to transplant them it into slightly larger pots.

Adolescent Stage

At the adolescent stage, your Carolina Reaper should be about three weeks old with an excellent root system, and is starting to outgrow its small seedling plug. It’s time to transplant your pepper plant into a 2.5- to 4-inch nursery pot, so it doesn’t become root-bound (where all the roots start to get tangled and constricted).

For this growth stage, we use Landmark Plastics’ nursery pots.

Your Carolina Reaper should remain in the nursery pot until it’s about 6 inches (15 cms) tall, which is when it’s time to put it in what will be most likely its final container to finish the growth, flowering, and fruiting stages.

5 Gallon pot full of fertilizers
This is a 5 gallon or 12″ inch pot. This is the perfect size for Carolina Reaper plants. Photo by Spicy Trio

Growth to Fruiting Stage

Once your Carolina Reaper pepper plant is about 6 inches (15 cms) tall it’s time to move it to what will most likely be its final growing container. It’s essential to make sure the container is large enough to let your pepper continue to develop its root system so that it can draw more nutrients and moisture from the soil facilitating its flowering and fruiting stages. A 3- to 5-gallon pot should be large enough to ensure you get a decent size harvest from your Carolina Reaper plant.

Pro tip: If you have the space, I highly recommend going with a 5-gallon container. From my experience, I noticed larger species of pepper plants, like the Carolina Reaper, tend to produce more pepper pods when they are planted in a larger container and given full room to grow.

For our Carolina Reaper plant, we use The HC Companies 12 Inch Pot Planter.

Smallest Sized Pot for Carolina Reaper Pepper Plants

We have heard of some folks being able to successfully grow Carolina Reaper pepper plants in an empty 12-ounce soda can. Although it might be possible to do this, we don’t recommend growing Carolina Reapers in small containers unless it’s just a fun experiment. You are less likely to get pepper pods when using a smaller container; you might only be able to get one or two pods if you’re lucky.

Largest Pot Size for Growing Carolina Reaper Pepper Plants

As long as your Carolina Reapers are in the growth stage, you can go as big as you want to and have space for. That being said, anything more than a 7-gallon pot won’t result in a much larger pepper plant. We think the 5-gallon sized pot is perfect, and that’s what we’re using for our Carolina Reaper pepper plants.