As part of growing your own vegetables, like other vegetables, tomatoes and peppers are among the best for any gardener to grow.
However, it’s tricky to successfully grow pepper seedlings. Because of this and other reasons, many gardeners have tried unsuccessfully to grow peppers for quite a few years before discovering the best ways to prevent the biggest pepper growing issue.
Getting peppers out of the garden and growing in containers can be among the best tips you can receive. However, even then, some gardeners ask about the ideal container size for peppers.
In our guide, you can find the perfect pepper container size is a five-gallon bucket. By the end, you can quickly see why these are so beneficial and, along the way, answer the other question often asked. How many pepper plants in each five-gallon bucket? (Learn How To Tell If Zucchini Is Bad)
Can You Plant Hot Peppers in Buckets?
Buckets are the ideal pots for pepper plants that have shallow roots.
Peppers fit well in a standard 5-gallon plastic or metal bucket since they are already compact plants, making them one of the best vegetables to grow in buckets.
Here are a few types that adapt well to the best container size of a 5-gallon bucket:
Sweet peppers like Bell Boy, Gypsy, Sweet Chocolate, or you then have hot pepper varieties such as Red Cherry, Jalapeno, Banana peppers, and Cubanelle.
Here you can find a bit more about how to plant peppers using buckets.
Remove any dirt or debris from your bucket using a wire brush and warm, soapy water.
After rain or watering, drainage holes prevent excess moisture from rotting pepper plant roots. You can make these holes with a hammer, nail, or drill bit.
Use any old mesh such as window screen or landscape fabric to fit the bucket bottom and stop soil from falling out.
Adding Soil To Your Buckets
Besides harboring plant diseases and insects, garden soil won’t drain effectively from containers.
Instead, fill your pepper buckets using pre-mixed potting soil, perlite, compost, and possibly peat moss.
Adding slow-release fertilizer to your potting soil combination helps start peppers’ early growth.
You can find the amount of plant food required for your bucket size in the packaging directions, although weakening this to half strength never hurts. (Read Will Frost Kill Grass Seed)
Planting Peppers in Buckets
Your buckets must be set out in the open because peppers are a warm-weather vegetable, so you must wait until all threat of the last frost date has passed and the temperature doesn’t fall below 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is best to fill your bucket with potting soil until it is about three-quarters of the way from the rim for growing peppers in 5-gallon buckets.
One pepper seedling should be planted in the middle of the bucket at a depth similar to its nursery pot.
One hot or sweet pepper plant per bucket is advised unless your bucket is especially wide. It’s crucial to water your plants regularly, even right after planting.
Watering, Feeding, and Harvesting Peppers
Your buckets planted with peppers will likely need watering most days unless it has recently rained because the soil in containers dries out more quickly than in garden beds.
Expert gardeners advise daily moisture checks in container plantings. Using plastic or wood chips as a mulch around the plant’s base help retain moisture and control weeds.
After about six weeks, you can start a weekly feeding program using a balanced liquid fertilizer. Pay attention as too much nitrogen results in an abundance of green foliage but few peppers.
Depending on the variety, hot or sweet peppers can be picked at full size when green or later red, orange, yellow, purple, or brown ready to be used in your best recipes.
How Big of a Bucket Do You Need to Grow Peppers?
The necessity for more regular watering is the biggest problem with smaller containers. Additionally, it will be challenging to obtain a standard bucket that is much bigger than a 6-gallon.
Some pepper varieties are renowned for their size to grow heights of more than 5 feet.
Growing hot peppers in 5-gallon buckets do have some restrictions on the larger varieties.
However, many people live in a region with a short growing season. Therefore, even though some pepper plants might never reach adult size, they produce an abundant harvest.
Peppers are a fantastic choice for growing in buckets because they have very short plants, and a lot of them grow compactly.
Look for varieties that are “container friendly” when buying pepper seeds or starter plants.
Most frequently, it is advised to use one pepper plant per 5-gallon bucket.
This is due to the bucket’s diameter, which is the cause. Most 5-gallon buckets only have a 12′′ diameter.
If you plant over one pepper plant per bucket, they will become crowded and fight for light and space.
As a result, you’ll probably collect the same yield from multiple plants as you would from one plant alone.
Even in a wider and shallower 5-gallon pot, you may grow two pepper plants; although you’ll still find by the end of the growing season, they will still be crowded. (Read Killing Mushrooms With Baking Soda Guide)
Make DIY Potting Soil In Bulk
There should be a good amount of organic matter in a potting soil mixture and something to help keep moisture and promote drainage and aeration.
- 3 gallons of sphagnum moss: Will help to retain moisture (Swap for coconut coir as an alternative)
- 3 gallons of compost: Will help to deliver needed nutrients for strong stems and better yields.
- 2 gallons of perlite: Helps to provide adequate drainage
Sphagnum moss can cause the soil to become overly acidic, so you should add 1/8 cup of garden lime to the mixture above to balance it out.
Add Slow-Release Nutrients
Adding some slow-release nutrients to the soil while mixing everything would be nice. For example, add the mix above to each of the following.
- Bonemeal, 1/4 cup
- Bloodmeal, 1/4 cup
- Greensand, 1/2 cup
The slow-release nutrients will be released as they break down in the soil. Therefore, throughout the growing season, you will also need to grow a water-soluble fertilizer periodically.
Drainage Holes for Planting in Buckets
Good soil drainage is necessary for every plant cultivated in a container. You’ll need to make drainage holes before planting because a bucket lacks any. There are several ways to add drainage.
Bottom Drainage or Use Self-Watering Buckets?
Most frequently, the bottom of the bucket has holes bored into it. Except for what the soil retains, this would enable complete drainage of the bucket.
- Drill your holes with a 1/2′′ drill bit.
- Alternatively, you can drill drain holes 2 inches from the bottom of your 5-gallon buckets’ sides.
- Your 5-gallon bucket could become a straightforward self-watering bucket.
- Fill the bottom two inches with river stone to achieve this. Put some weed barrier on top of the stone, and then add this.
- The weed barrier keeps soil from getting between the stones, while the stone provides a larger water reserve.
- These techniques work for most plants in container gardens besides growing peppers.
5-Gallon Bucket Alternatives
There are ways you can grow your hot peppers besides using buckets; although not necessarily as effective, yet can offer better results than when grown in the ground.
One of the first is grow bags for your pepper plants. With these, your fruit plant roots will air prune.
Peppers grow well in these grow bags, although these will dry out faster and require almost daily watering. (Read What Do Plants Need To Survive)
Container Size for Peppers
As per our advice, it is best to plant peppers in at least 3-5 gallons in size containers.
Use a larger pot with 5 gallons or more for larger varieties such as several Hatch Chile varieties, bell peppers, and poblanos.
For significantly much better yields, go for larger pots between 12 and 14 inches.
If you have space in the garden or on a sunny patio, some larger, longer-growing peppers may survive in larger containers and planters with 10-15+ gallons of soil.
The next-best thing if you don’t have space for a garden bed or raised bed is to grow peppers in containers.
Because of the sensitivity of pepper plants to cold, having them in containers is also a fantastic idea because you can move them indoors for a longer growing season.
Compared to smaller pots, which can dry out quickly, larger pots help maintain consistent moisture.
Larger containers are heavier in windy conditions because they are heavier and won’t topple over when filled with larger-growing peppers.
What size grow bag for peppers?
Fabric grow bags are popular for a portable garden, where you can get 5-gallon bags for peppers growing around the house.
How many Pepper Plants per Container?
Starting peppers will end up with one pepper plant in each 5-gallon pot, but depending on the size of the pot, you could plant up to three sweet or hot peppers.
In addition, the size of the hot peppers for your recipes will vary based on plants or seeds variety.