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Best Fertilizer for Pepper Plants and Why it is Important

Growing your own food and helping life flourish is a fulfilling experience. It won’t take long after you start growing peppers for you to start asking, is there a way to grow pepper plants faster and produce a larger pepper harvest?

The answer is yes, you just need to incorporate fertilizer into your pepper growing process. But which is the best fertilizer and why is it important?

The best fertilizer for pepper plants is Miracle-Gro Shake ‘N Feed Tomato, Fruit, and Vegetable Plant Food. It contains import ingredients to ensure a pepper plants healthy growth such as earthworm castings, bone meal, and has generous amounts of phosphorus, potassium, nitrogen, and calcium.

Each of these nutrients is important for the growth and development of plants. We have tons of useful information to assist you in growing your peppers to their full potential. Keep reading to find out how, and why it is important to know your peppers’ needs.

The Best Fertilizer for Pepper Plants

Miracle-Gro Shake ‘N Feed Tomato, Fruit, and Vegetable Plant Food is the best fertilizer for pepper plants. It is an inexpensive product and one of the most popular fertilizers. It even provides you with directions on the dispenser on how to use it effectively.

Since this fertilizer has plenty of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, your pepper plants will develop a bounty of leaves and supply the necessary amount of nutrients needed to grow those yummy peppers!

If you are still deciding if Miracle-Gro is the right option for you, read on to learn more about key characteristics of good fertilizers and what to keep in mind when choosing the right option for you and your plants.

The Fertilizer Grade

While browsing for that perfect fertilizer for your pepper plants, you will see three numbers on the bag. This value is known as the fertilizer grade or NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium) value. They are the core nutrients that plants need to thrive.

  • Nitrogen (N): Responsible for giving plants chlorophyll, the green color that takes in the sunlight for photosynthesis, which causes the production of leaves and blooms
  • Phosphorous (P): Helps all the nutrients your plant is pulling from the soil and sun work together to grow
  • Potassium (K): Helps move photosynthesis further along and protects plants from diseases

It is highly recommended test your soil before deciding which fertilizer is the best option. Soil test the ph or level of acidity in you soil as well as the Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium levels. You can use this information to find a fertilizer with a NPK grade which helps balance your soil.

For example, if your soil test low for Nitrogen but sufficient in Phosphorous and Potassium choose a fertilizer that has more Nitrogen.

The reason it is so important is that pepper plants need a good amount of Nitrogen in the beginning stages of their lives is to produce beautiful strong foliage and blooms. But, having too much Nitrogen in the later stages will call for a stunning plant, but little to no pepper production.

That is where the Phosphorus and Potassium come into play. Once your pepper plants are starting to look good and healthy, you can then switch to a fertilizer with a higher amount of Phosphorus and Potassium than nitrogen.

Since they aid in the flow of nutrients and photosynthesis, your plants will then be able to start producing peppers without giving all of the “good stuff” to the leaves!

Pro tip: If you don’t have the time or patience to rotate your pepper plant fertilizer based on its stage of growth, It’s best to use a fertilizer that is a 5-10-10, which means it contains half as much as nitrogen as it does phosphate and potassium. This is the perfect combination to encourage your plant to grow, while helping to produce healthy fruits. 

Is it Important to Fertilize Pepper Plants?

It is import to fertilizer pepper plants to grow healthy plants which can product an abundance of peppers to harvest. Like mentioned earlier, if your soil has an imbalance of nutrients your pepper plant may grow big and bushy but might not produce any peppers. What is the point of growing a pepper plant if you do not get a chance to harvest and eat its delicious peppers!

Types of Fertilizers

It is absolutely essential to have good fertilizer for your pepper plants. Going to the store and seeing the array of options, though, could be a bit overwhelming. Luckily, during our research, we gathered up some information to help make it easier for you to understand the different types of fertilizers.

LiquidFertilizer that is diluted with water; concentratedAbsorbs into plants quickly; easy to spread
PowderNutrients ground into fine powder; can be mixed with waterLong shelf life and inexpensive
GranularResembles tiny rocks; must mix into soil; must be watered to release nutrientsSimple use; easy to store; inexpensive

How to fertilize pepper plants?

Most fertilizers you purchase will have a recommended feeding schedule, so if you’re a first timer, you can use that as a guide to follow along.

If you’re using a granular type of fertilizer, make sure the plant does not come in to direct contact with the granules, as this could harm the plant and even burn it. A better method is to apply the fertilizer around the plant and add a lot of water, to encourage the granules to release nutrients to the plant.

If you decide to go with a liquid type of fertilizer, make sure you follow the directions and dilute it with the right amount of water. Then, spray the mixture at the base of the plant. Do not spray the tops of the plant, as the nutrients in the fertilizer need to be absorbed by the soil, rather than the leaves of the plant for best results. In fact, spraying the top of the plant could actually lead to your plant developing a disease.

Regardless of what type of fertilizer you end up using, we recommend adding a layer of mulch to the soil. This helps to keep the nutrients in tact, and prevents the moisture from the nutrient-rich soil from evaporating. This mulch can be tilled and re-applied to the soil in your garden even after the growing season is over, which is a nice way to add nutrients to your garden’s soil in the off season. Mulch is only required when you are planting directly in your garden and is not required if you are using containers to grow your peppers.

How often should you fertilize your pepper plants?

The frequency at which pepper plants need to be fertilized varies depending on how well the plant is doing in a particular stage of its life. It is recommended to fertilize the soil a couple of weeks before the peppers are planted.

It will not be necessary to fertilize them again if they are growing leaves in the recommended timeframe, based on the type of pepper plant you are growing. Fertilizing them with too much nitrogen at this point would cause low pepper production.

After a few weeks, when the blossoms are starting to bloom, you can then add a fertilizer that has a lower value of nitrogen and higher values of phosphorus and potassium, to help your pepper flourish.

Does fertilizer aid in a pepper plant’s flavor?

There is, perhaps, one thing that is more important than how well your peppers look. And that would be how well do your peppers taste! Are they spicy? Do they have thick juicy walls?

You may be wondering if a good fertilizer would have something to do with factors like these. While a fertilizer will supply enough nutrients to allow the peppers to be full-bodied and wonderfully pigmented, fertilizer surprisingly does not directly make peppers spicier, if you are interested in growing extremely spicy peppers check out our article on How to Grow Flaming Hot Peppers.

Quick tips on growing spicy peppers?

Okay, if you do not have the time to read our article but want the quick easy tips to get 80% of the way there on growing some of the hottest peppers, keep reading.

Most peppers, with the exception of the bell pepper, contain a chemical called capsaicin, which causes the burn from touching and eating the peppers.

It is believed that the chemical is produced by the plants as a type of defense mechanism to fight off predators. According to Gardener’s World, the capsaicin is highly reactive to stress.

So, if you want to have those peppers that “knock your socks” off with heat, then read the shortlist we have compiled for best results in growing hotter peppers. As mentioned above, we highly recommend reading our comprehensive guide to growing hotter peppers.

  1. Choose a pepper that is naturally spicy such as Jalapeños or Habaneros
  2. Plant your peppers where they will be in sunlight for most of the day
  3. Water them less
  4. Do not fertilize them too much
  5. Snap some leaves off the stem when peppers are starting to grow to stress them and encourage them to produce more capsaicin.
  6. Let your peppers age on the vine

A fun and interesting fact about peppers is they tend to cross-pollinate, meaning pollen from the male reproductive organ transfers to a female reproductive organ, usually by wind or bugs. Because of this, you can make sweet peppers spicy if they are planted close together!

Are there natural organic fertilizers for pepper plants?

There are natural organic fertilizers widely available online. If you want to use a great organic fertilizer we recommend Espoma GT18 Garden Tone. Being careful of the things we put in our bodies is so important. You only get one, right? So, picking an organic fertilizer can provide peace of mind that the compounds you consume when eating your peppers are as natural as the soil you grew it in.

Are natural and organic fertilizers better?

It really depends on your preferences.

At the end of the day a pepper will grow great with organic or non-organic fertilizer the most important factor is the nutrient level of the fertilizer and how complements your existing soil nutrient levels. I would say from searching around the web, non-organic fertilizers come I a greater variety of NPK ratios which makes it easier finding the one that works best for your soil.