Can Peppers Grow in the Shade? (Answered!)


If you want to grow pepper plants but don’t have a sunny garden, you’re probably wondering if peppers will flourish in your garden. Although most varieties of peppers don’t grow well in the shade, there are some that do.

Most pepper varieties don’t grow well in shaded regions, but two varieties that are more shade tolerant are Bell and Manzano peppers. You might consider using garden mirrors, sunlight reflectors, or outdoor grow lights if you’re trying to grow peppers in a shaded area.

Photo of three red bell peppers ripening on the vine
Photo by Iamtkb

Can You Grow Peppers in the Shade?

Peppers need more sunlight than most plants but too much direct sunlight can be damaging to peppers. Many peppers can grow in areas with 10 to 30 percent shade, but for most pepper varieties, growing in greater than 30 percent of shade will stunt their growth.

Why Don’t Most Peppers Grow Well in the Shade?

Most peppers don’t grow well in the shade because they need six to eight hours of sunlight a day for photosynthesis. This process allows plants to absorb sunlight and convert it into essential food which provides energy to fuel growth. Pepper plants need enough energy to grow and fruit. Without enough sunlight, most varieties of pepper plants won’t fruit.

If you try growing peppers without any sun, you might notice them turning yellow or brown. Some of them lose their leaves or dry out because they cannot absorb enough water. This process creates a drought within the plant, which leads to dehydration. On the other hand, root rot is another common problem for peppers growing in the shade because there’s not enough sun to prevent water from puddling.

Which Variety of Peppers Are More Tolerant to Shaded Environments?

The good news is that not all peppers need up to eight hours of sunlight daily. There are a couple of pepper plants you can add to your garden, even if you have filtered light or mostly shaded areas. If you choose either of these peppers, it’s crucial that you give them high-quality soil with nitrogen-rich fertilizer.

Bell Peppers

Bell peppers are some of the most popular peppers worldwide and the good news is that they don’t need as much sunlight to grow as other pepper varieties. You can grow Bell peppers at home by performing the following steps:

  1. Get an empty egg carton and fill it with soil
  2. Place one to two seeds in each pocket. Don’t add more than two seeds, or they’ll fight for space when they grow roots.
  3. Cover each seed with a little more soil and water them immediately.
  4. Water the pockets daily until they sprout, then place each sprout in a five-gallon (18.9-liter) pot or in the ground. You can grow several bell peppers plants in a bucket and even more in an open plot.
Photo of red and green Rocoto Manzano peppers on a burlap bag that are native to Peru
Photo by Dany Kurniawan

Manzano Peppers

Manzano peppers can grow in almost any environment, including cold and warm climates. Don’t let them freeze while they’re growing, or they’ll wilt and fail to produce fruit. Instead, grow your Manzano peppers on a vine since they can stretch up to ten feet tall.

Manzano peppers have grown in shaded regions in the Andes mountains for many years, so they’re no stranger to filtered and shaded light.

What Happens if You Try to Grow Peppers in the Shade?

Unless you are growing Bell or Manzano peppers, the chances of growing other pepper varieties in the shade are slim. The reasons why peppers don’t do well in shaded environments include:

  • If your peppers don’t get enough sunlight, they won’t photosynthesize. In other words, they won’t consume the nutrients they need to survive and thrive.
  • Without sunshine, most pepper plants will lose their leaves or fail to grow peppers.

How Can You Introduce More Sunlight for Peppers if Your Growing Area is Too Shaded?

If you don’t have enough sunlight in your yard, you’re not out of luck. There are some ways to improve the situation. Below, we’ll cover three tools you can use to provide your peppers more sunlight if they’re inside or under trees, tarps, ledges, etc.

Gardening Mirrors

Using gardening mirrors can help reflect sunlight from an exposed area to your plants. Place the mirrors on a fencepost or something stable, face it toward your plants, and ensure there’s enough sunlight pouring on the area. It’s an incredibly effective tool you’ll enjoy since you can use almost any mirror.

Jalape_o_Pepper_Lines (4)
Jalape_o_Pepper_Lines (4)

Sunlight Reflectors

The Neewer Light Reflector is an excellent example of a sun reflector set. These reflectors are commonly used for photography, but you can place them around your yard to provide light for your plants. Like garden mirrors, you can place them wherever you need and direct light to the darker areas of your garden.

Outdoor Grow Lights

Outdoor grow lights are perhaps the best solution for extremely shady gardens. Place them around the yard, facing the soil where you’re growing your peppers. You can grow almost any pepper with a good grow light.

Closing Thoughts

Most pepper varieties don’t grow or fruit in shaded regions, but two varieties of peppers that are more shade tolerant are Bell and Manzano peppers. If you’re growing peppers in a shaded area, you might consider using garden mirrors, sunlight reflectors, or outdoor grow lights to provide your plants with ample light and heat to flourish.

Here are Some of my Favorite Gardening Products and Tools

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful for growing some new plants in your home or garden. Here are some products I like that I hope you’ll also find helpful. These are affiliate links, and I am compensated for referring traffic. But in all honesty, these are the exact product that I use or recommend to everyone.

Soil: For high-quality soil, I really like Fox Farm Ocean Forest. I do all my growing in containers and this soil has worked great for me. I like how they use nutrient-rich contents like earthworm castings, bat guano, and composted crab and fish.

Fertilizer: Currently I am using a seaweed-based organic fertilizer call Neptunes Harvest. This is a great milder fertilizer option if you want to use something organic. If you want a more powerful fertilizer, I recommend Fox Farm Liquid Nutrient Trio, lots of people have had great growing success with this product.

Pruning Shears: Pruning shears are one of the most useful gardening tools to have because it’s important to prune your plants to keep them healthy. The pruning shears I recommend are the Gonicc 8’’ pruning shears. I like them because they are built sturdy and work both on bigger and smaller plants, so you don’t need to have multiple pruning shears.

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Supriya

Hi! I'm Supriya. I'm a home cook, bulldog mom, spicy food lover, and founder of The Spicy Trio. I have been a home cook for about 15 years and have been growing plants for the past six years.

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