Which Peppers Grow Best in Washington State: 7 Varieties


The climate and environmental conditions where you live can have a great impact on whether or not pepper plants grown in that region will thrive. Experienced pepper growers who reside in Washington state will surely be aware of its climatic diversity and how this affects their plants. Beginners, however, may require a little bit of background information to ensure a successful yield. So, which peppers grow best in Washington?

Which peppers grow best in Washington depends on the two climatic regions of the state: east and west of the Cascade Mountain range. Bell, Banana, and Manzano peppers thrive in the west; while Jalapeño, Cayenne, and Cherry peppers produce the best results in the east.

This article will discuss Washington’s different regions and climates, and how they influence your approach to growing peppers in the state. We will also go over the types of peppers that grow best in Washington and why. Lastly, we will provide a few techniques to help your peppers grow to their full potential in Washington’s varied climates, so keep reading!

Photo of the Washington state map with a red thumb tack pinned to Seattle at angle
Photo by Bobby17

Peppers That Grow Best in Washington

To properly identify the types of peppers that grow well in Washington, we must first explore the climatic preferences of each type of pepper and cross-reference this information with the type of environments common to the various regions of Washington state, primarily the regions to the east and west of the Cascade Mountain range.

As mentioned above, Washington state consists of two main climate regions. There is a much higher presence of moisture and humidity in the air to the west of the Cascade Mountains, making for a wetter climate. Moreover, the western region is generally more overcast and does not get as hot during the summer months.

The areas to the east of the Cascades is much more hot and intense during the summer months, averaging between 85 – 95 degrees Fahrenheit (29.4 – 35 degrees Celsius), and sometimes even breaking into the triple digits. The air is dry, there is less rain, and it’s generally less overcast.

No matter where you plan to grow pepper plants, it’s best to first get an understanding of the ideal temperatures and climates best suited for them. To help you get started, here is a table that lists the most common types pf peppers and the ideal temperatures to grow them in.

Pepper TypeIdeal Growing Temperature
Bell Pepper62 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit (16.7 – 23.9 degrees Celsius)
Habanero Pepper65 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 – 26.7 degrees Celsius)
Cayenne Pepper75 – 85 degrees Fahrenheit (23.9 – 29.4 degrees Celsius)
Jalapeño Pepper65 – 85 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 – 29.4 degrees Celsius)
Banana Pepper60 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6 – 23.9 degrees Celsius)
Cherry Pepper55 – 90 degrees Fahrenheit (12.8 – 32.2 degrees Celsius)
Manzano Pepper45 – 60 degrees Fahrenheit (7.2 – 15.6 degrees Celsius)

The good news is that almost all peppers can be grown and can thrive in Washington state with the right know-how.

Peppers that grow particularly well in Washington include:

  • Bell peppers
  • Jalapeños
  • Manzano peppers
  • Habaneros
  • Cayenne peppers
  • Cherry peppers

Choosing the right pepper to plant in the right area will be the key determinant of success.

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

Peppers that Grow in Washington State’s Different Climate Zones

Washington’s great weather distinction, separated into east and west by way of the Cascade Mountains, allows for a diversity of crops seldom seen anywhere in the world. Because of this, Washington state manages to produce an astonishing 300+ different types of crops.

Peppers are a diverse species in their own right, and as such, they require a certain level of specialized knowledge, as well as a familiarity with the land and region.

We will now take a detailed look at which pepper plants will experience the best growth cycle in Washington’s two distinct regions.

Jalape_o_Pepper_Lines (4)
Jalape_o_Pepper_Lines (4)

West of the Cascade Mountain Range

As mentioned earlier, the Cascade Mountains’ western side is famous for its humid but mild temperatures during the summer months. The west also experiences much more rain and cloud coverage. These factors will play a great role in the types of peppers that will grow best in the region.

Those living in the west will be happy to learn that Bell peppers grow very well in the shade. The west’s temperature rarely climbs above 78°F (25.6°C), which is at the top end of the ideal temperature range for Bell peppers.

Another pepper that grows remarkably well in the west is the Manzano pepper.

The Manzano pepper, originating from South America, prefers to be grown in shady and cooler regions. Attempting to grow Manzano peppers in the east will not turn out well unless very strict provisions are made to accommodate it.

Banana peppers will also appreciate the relatively cooler temperatures that the west side has to offer it.

East of the Cascade Mountain Range

The eastern side of the Cascade Mountain is dry, sunny, and can get quite hot in the summer months.

While this may be detrimental to certain pepper plant family strains, others will thrive under these conditions, such as Jalapeño peppers. These peppers grow best in full sun and very hot temperatures.

Overall, any pepper that thrives in full sun and doesn’t mind the heat will grow exceptionally well on the eastern side. This includes Cayenne, Cherry peppers, and Habanero peppers, just to name a few.

Techniques to Help Peppers Grow Well in Washington State’s Climates

While every experienced pepper grower will have their own techniques and philosophies which they use to produce the best result, and while these things do come about solely through years of consistency, trial, and error; there are some general tips we can provide to help you grow your peppers in Washington state’s unique climates.

Concerning the west, pepper growers must be careful not to overwater. With the humid climates typical of the western regions, your pepper plants will not always need as much water as you think, and overwatering can stunt or kill their growth.

Because there is not as much sunlight to go around in the western region, you will have to position your pepper plant strategically to expose it to as much direct sunlight as possible throughout the day.

When growing in the eastern region, never become complacent with watering your peppers. The hot temperatures and direct sun exposure in the summer will lead you to water your pepper plants much more frequently.

For both regions, it’s best to use the finger test to check to see if the soil is dry and if your pepper plant is in need of water. If at any time the soil feels dry, you should provide your plants some water.

Take advantage of shade cloths if the sun becomes excessive, or the temperature begins rising beyond 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32.2 degrees Celsius). Although peppers do bask in the sunlight, there is a limit to what they can tolerate.

Another tip is not to trim the leaves off your pepper plant if growing in the east. The leaves on a pepper plant can provide shade and protection to the plant and peppers, and when constantly in direct sunlight, this is an indispensable feature. Only trim the leaves if they are discolored and dying.

Spreading mulch around your pepper plant will help it contain a lot of moisture in the soil and prevent it from becoming dehydrated.

Our post on common pepper problems and solutions for them might also be helpful to check out, if you’re trying to cope with any specific pepper plant issues.

Closing Thoughts

If you’re in Washington state and thinking of growing peppers, then the good news is that you can grow pretty much any type of pepper, without too many issues.

Since the western side of the state is more humid, cloudy, and not as hot, it has the perfect climate for growing Banana, Bell, and Manzano peppers.

The east, on the other hand, is sunny, dry, and very hot. Peppers suited to this type of environment are Jalapeño, Cayenne, and Cherry peppers.

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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