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Pepper Plants and Sun Exposure: 5 Things to Know

Pepper plants are fairly straightforward plants to grow. Once planted in the right environments, all they’ll need is adequate lighting, nutrients, and watering to thrive. But since pepper plants tend to curl their leaves when exposed to excess sunlight, do they like full sun exposure?

Pepper plants like full exposure to sunlight and generally need six to eight hours of direct sunlight daily to thrive. However, they can burn if exposed to too much sunlight or extreme temperatures, so keep an eye out for any sign of burning which includes drooping and curling leaves.

In this post, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about pepper plants and their lighting needs.

Photo of sunshine and clouds against a blue sky backdrop
Photo by Arl

Do Pepper Plants Prefer Direct or Indirect Sun Exposure?

As day-neutral plants, the ability for pepper plants to flower is not affected by how much light they are exposed to. However, peppers do love direct sun exposure to flower properly and successfully. And if there is no sunlight, grow lights will be necessary for the growth and flowering of pepper plants.

These plants thrive when exposed to direct sunlight in humid conditions. When grown in areas that receive too much direct sunlight but with little humidity, pepper plants tend to lose water faster than normal rates, which more often than not leads to dehydration.

If you can’t provide the needed direct sunlight for pepper plants to thrive, then using reflective material like mirrors, marble chips or aluminum is highly recommended. These reflective materials help ensure the plants receive enough sunlight.

Alternatively, if you live in areas that don’t receive enough sunlight, you might need to provide your pepper plants with supplemental lights. Grow lights come in handy as they provide your pepper plants with the required full-spectrum light to promote photosynthesis. However, when using supplemental lighting, be sure to turn off the lights for some period of time since peppers require darkness to complete their photosynthetic patterns.

Can Peppers Get Too Much Sun?

Although pepper plants love the sun, they can become dehydrated if exposed to too much sun, especially in non-humid environments. You’ll know that your pepper plant is overexposed to the sun if it starts to wilt or scald.

Pepper seedlings grown outside tend to respond well to direct sunlight. However, seedlings that were initially grown inside usually need to be hardened off before being transplanted outdoors. Hardening off is a transitional period that allows an indoor plant to gradually acclimate to external conditions like changing temperatures, direct sunlight, and wind.

If a pepper plant is abruptly transitioned to full sun, chances are it will experience droopiness, and even scalding if not provided shade. The trick is to shade pepper plants that show signs of scalding or sun-wilt.

It is common for pepper plant leaves to curl upwards during extra hot, sunny afternoons. And while exposure to excess sunlight might not do too much damage to pepper plants, it’s important to come up with relevant cooling remedies to prevent dehydration or sun scalding.

How Many Hours of Sunlight do Pepper Plants Need?

As day-neutral plants, peppers can flower regardless of whether they receive natural or artificial light. The bottom line, however, is that pepper plants thrive in environments with access to direct sunlight. 

Your pepper plant requires a minimum of six to eight hours of direct sunlight daily. However, for proper growth, flowering, and fruit development, pepper plants need at least eight or more hours of direct sunlight.

Try to aim for at least 12 hours of exposure to full spectrum grow lights during winter. The grow lights will promote photosynthesis while ensuring the plant grows healthily. However, be sure to set the timer to turn off the lights (if using grow lights with timers) for certain periods of time as your pepper plant requires darkness to complete photosynthesis.

Best Grow Lights for Pepper Plants

As mentioned above, pepper plants thrive when they receive direct sunlight for six to eight hours a day. Therefore, depending on your location and/or climate, you might need to improvise by getting high-quality grow lights to provide the required full-spectrum light for the best growth.

How to Know if a Pepper Plant is Getting Too Much Sun

Despite their love for the sun, pepper plants also tend to struggle when exposed to too much sun.

The first and most common sign of too much sun exposure is curled leaves. When the sun is too hot, and the surrounding air is not humid, your pepper plant will start to curl its leaves. This, more often than not, is an indication the plant is dehydrated.

Another indication of sun overexposure is scalding (formation of white, wilting leaves). Sun scalding is especially common for indoor pepper plants that are abruptly introduced to the external environment without a gradual transition. It’s important to prevent sunscald as it can stunt your pepper plant’s growth and eventually lead to death.

What to Do if a Pepper Plant Gets Too Much Sun

You’ll know that your pepper plant is receiving too much sun when it starts to droop. When exposed to too much sun, the water levels tend to reduce due to dehydration, which affects the pepper plant’s structure. Pepper plants tend to react quickly to water loss and start to wilt when exposed to too much sun.

Luckily, there are several remedies you can take to prevent dehydration from affecting your pepper plant. First, you should always water your pepper plant when you notice wilting. And although pepper plants don’t like to be overwatered, watering them when it’s excessively hot will help prevent dehydration.

If you feel like your plant is getting too much sunlight during the day, you can also add a mesh cloth to provide shade or move your plants to a more shaded location in your garden.

You should also consider mulching as a way to conserve soil moisture and keep your pepper plants well-hydrated, even during extra-hot afternoons. Leaves, straw, hay, and grass clippings make for great mulch for peppers.

Closing Thoughts

Although pepper plants like full sun exposure, they usually tend to lose water fast if they receive too much sunlight. Therefore, you should check on soil moisture levels regularly to prevent your plants from becoming dehydrated.

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.