Growing Sweet Peppers in Hydroponics Systems

Like many vegetables sweet peppers can be grown easily in most home based hydroponic systems. For information about using hydroponic systems to grow anything see the file Growing Plants In Hydroponic Systems. That will lead you to the section in Tool Shed dealing with Hydroponic Products and Equipment.

Starting From Seed

Start pepper plants from seed anytime of the year if you are using your Hydroponic system under high intensity lights. If you have a system that can operate outdoors during the growing season, start pepper plants destined to be raised outdoors under fluorescent lights indoors from 6 to 8 weeks prior to the expected final frost in your area. The earlier their start, the greater their headstart for production of fruit when they are finally planted in the Hydroponic system and transported outdoors. A hydroponic system with peppers should not go outside full time until daytime temperatures approach 70 degrees and night time temperatures do not go below 55 degrees.
[see Choosing A Hydroponics System]

Starting With Seedlings

Choose seedlings from your local garden center that have sturdy stems, healthy foliage and no blossoms. Wash off all soil or potting media and place in your hydroponic system. While the seedlings are getting acclimated to the Hydroponic system, pinch off any blossoms that appear for a period of 3 weeks or more. This way the plant can spend its energy building roots and foliage. Then allow it to bloom.

Fertilizing Sweet Peppers

(give recommendations for fertilizer regimen)


While many varieties of peppers do not need any staking, it is a good idea to provide some kind of support for tall sweet pepper plants. Their many branches are fairly brittle, especially where they join the stems. Heavily weighted with large bell peppers, they are vulnerable to wind and rain from summer storms. Use sturdy 2 foot tall wire cages set over the Hydroponic system to support the entire plant. Or, set the Hydroponic system near a railing, fence or trellis on a wall which can support the stems of the pepper plants.

Pollination of Hydroponic Peppers

You do not have to individually hand pollinate pepper plants if they are growing inside under HID lights. Once it begins to blossom, just lightly shake the plant every few days to distribute the pollen.

Thinning Hydroponic Peppers(optional)

Thinning, or pinching off young buds, flowers or fruit, can increase the yield of pepper plants. Removing all of the early blossoms from a young plant will delay the arrival of the first pepper of the season, but it will increase the total yield for the plant over the season. Thinning immature peppers by pinching several off after they form to leave only a few peppers at the initial fruit-setting stage will also increase the total yield. This practice also increases the average size of the fruit remaining to grow to maturity.

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