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How to Pick Peppers so the Plant Produces More Peppers

Peppers are relatively easy plants to grow that bring beautiful and vibrant colors to your garden and flavorful meals to your family. While they are easy to grow, it’s essential to harvest your peppers correctly to see the best results. Picking your peppers the right way and at the right time will encourage even more fruit production on your plant.

To keep your plant full of peppers, don’t let ripe peppers sit on your plant for too long, as it will discourage your plant from producing more. You’ll also want to use gardening scissors to remove your fruit from the plant to see the best results, as pulling fruits may damage your plant.

In this article, we’ll explore the best techniques when it comes to picking peppers and why your plant may not be producing as much fruit as you expect.

Photo of three Jalapeno peppers on the vine, two green one ripe and red.
Photo by Stephanie Bileski

Best Techniques for Picking Peppers to Enable Further Fruiting

We’ll explore the best techniques for picking your peppers once they’re ready to be removed from their plant, so that your plant continues to be bountiful.

Pick When They Are Full-Size

As we stated earlier, you’ll know your peppers are ready to be picked when they have reached their full-size. Depending on the kind of peppers you’re growing, the full size of your fruit may vary.

For instance, Banana peppers are about 6-8 inches long once they have become full grown, while Bell peppers will reach up to 4 inches once they have reached their full size. It depends on what kind of peppers you’re growing in your garden, so it’s essential to know how big your peppers can become to pick them at the correct time.

Waiting for Your Peppers to Turn the Expected Color

Size isn’t the only indicator that your pepper is ready to be harvested. Even if your pepper has reached full size and is firm to the touch, it’s best to wait for your pepper to turn the proper color before you pick it.

It’s best to wait for your pepper to turn the expected color before you harvest it, as this will ensure you receive the best results. Of course, you might want to wait until the pepper has reached the color you want before your harvest them, but keep in mind that may delay your plant from producing more peppers.

Use Gardening Shears or Scissors to Remove Ripe Peppers

It’s recommended that you use a garden shear or pair of scissors to remove your peppers properly. Tearing your peppers off the plant by hand can potentially damage your plant, as well as the fruit.

When cutting your fruit off the plant with scissors, it’s best to sterilize the object before using it on your plant. Not disinfecting your gardening tools can lead to the spread of unwanted bacteria from one part of your garden to another, further damaging your plants and fruits.

Use Gloves

Using gloves while harvesting your peppers is another way to keep your fruit and your plants safe. It helps prevent you accidentally infecting your plants with any diseases or bacteria. Wearing gloves will also keep you safe if you’re dealing with hot peppers and if you were to come across anything sharp or thorny in your garden.

Wearing all the appropriate gear while harvesting your peppers is key to keeping your fruit in the best condition while also keeping you and your garden safe.

Pro Tip: Leave a Short Amount of Stem on Top

This last tip is more about keeping your harvested fruit stay fresh longer, and not so much about helping to keep your pepper plant produce fruits. It’s recommended that you leave a short amount of stem on top of your pepper once you’ve harvested it. Doing this will ensure that your fruit lasts longer, giving you the best results.

While this is a small note to make, this little detail will ensure that the peppers you worked hard to grow will last as long as possible, giving you sweet and delicious peppers to enjoy for twice as long.

Other Factors to Consider When Harvesting Peppers

We’ve gone over some of the best techniques you should put into play when harvesting your peppers, as well as what mistakes you should avoid. But what are some other factors you should consider before you begin picking your peppers?

Time of Picking

Depending on how well your pepper has grown, your fruit will be ready for harvest anywhere from 60-95 days after sowing. It’s best to keep track of how long your peppers have been growing to harvest them at the proper time.

As we stated earlier, it’s best to harvest your peppers after they have reached full size and have become firm to the touch. This tells your plant that it can work on producing more fruits.

Age of Plant

The age of your pepper plant can be another contributing factor as to why your peppers may not be producing fast enough. Even if your plant is subjected to the correct conditions and environment, its age may slow down the growing process.

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

Common Mistakes Made When Picking Peppers Which Can Prevent Further Fruiting

It can be frustrating when you don’t see results in your garden, especially after working hard to grow big and colorful peppers.

Below we’ll explore a handful of external factors that may be causing your plant to be unable to produce fruit.

Ripeness of Pepper

You’ll know when your peppers are ripe based on a few different factors. Depending on the type of pepper you’re growing, you should look out for specific signs that your pepper is ready to be harvested.

For example, if you’re growing Bell peppers, you’ll know they’re ripe when they are a bright green, about four inches long, and completely firm. If your Bell pepper is in this condition, it’s reached its full size and is ready to be picked. Of course, if you’re waiting for yellow or red varieties, or if you’re growing a hot pepper you might be waiting for them to get to their hottest stage before picking them. Just keep in mind that this might reduce the number of fruits your plant provides.

Allowing your ripe pepper to sit for too long will discourage the plant from producing more peppers in the future, so it’s essential to be mindful of that. If you have ripe peppers sitting too long on your plant, this may contribute to why you do not see any more fruit.  

Not Receiving Enough Potassium or Phosphorus

Potassium and phosphorus encourage your plant to keep producing fruit, so you might want to look at what kind of fertilizer you’re using. Using fertilizer with higher levels of potassium and phosphorus will ensure that your plants see the best results when it comes to fruiting.

When choosing the best kind of fertilizer for your pepper plants, it’s best to choose one that contains half as much nitrogen as potassium and phosphorus. You can check the three-number code found on the bag of fertilizer to figure out the proportions of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous.

If you’re looking for the ideal fertilizer for growing peppers, a 5-10-10 fertilizer is the way to go. A fertilizer bag with this three-number code contains 5 percent nitrogen, 10 percent potassium, and 10 percent phosphorous, making it perfect for encouraging more pepper growth in your plant.

If your pepper plants just aren’t producing enough peppers, you might want to consider their potassium and phosphorus levels, as well as what kind of fertilizer you’re using.

The Weather Can Play a Role

The environment that your plant is in can also play a role in how well your peppers are growing. Peppers thrive in warmer climates and temperatures around 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit (21-29 degrees Celsius) when the sun is up and 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit at night (15-21 degrees Celsius).

If your plant is subjected to conditions colder or hotter than this, this may slow down how fast your peppers produce. Temperatures ranging over 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius) can endanger your plant, so it’s essential to be mindful of this as well.

During your plant’s growing season, they need six hours of full sun to receive the best results. Keeping all these environmental factors in mind will allow your plant to remain in the best condition while consistently producing peppers.

Closing Thoughts

In this article, we explored how to pick peppers in a way that helps the plant keep producing peppers. We also explored what may be stopping your plant from growing peppers and other factors to keep in mind to have the healthiest pepper plant possible.

Hopefully, now you have all the knowledge and tools you need to keep your plant full of delicious and vibrant fruits that you’ll be sure to enjoy once you’ve correctly harvested them.

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. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to also participates in affiliate programs with other sites. is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.