Caring For Banana Pepper Plants: Tips On How To Grow A Banana Pepper
By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
Growing banana peppers requires plenty of sun, warm soil and a long growing season. Starting them from transplants is how to grow a banana pepper in all but the warmest zones. There are many types of banana pepper. These fruits are found in either sweet or hot pepper varieties and are harvested when yellow, orange or even red. Choose the heat level you like and harvest the fruit early for the most pungent flavor or later for a mellow, sweeter flavor.
Types of Banana Pepper
Banana peppers are long, slender fruits with waxy skin and minimal seeds. Use them as an appetizer or sliced on a sandwich. While there are different types of banana peppers that can be grown in the home garden, the Sweet Banana is the most common of the banana peppers. Banana peppers are ready for harvest in about 70 days after transplant, but the hot variety of banana pepper needs a longer growing season. Pick a variety that reflects your taste when growing banana peppers.
How to Grow a Banana Pepper
Start the seeds indoors at least 40 days before you wish to plant the peppers outdoors. Sow them under a light dusting of soil in peat pots and transplant seedlings outdoors after all danger of frost has passed and when soil temperatures warm to 60 F. (16 C.).
Place the plants in well-drained soil where the plants receive at least eight hours of sunlight per day.
Caring for Banana Pepper Plants
Caring for banana pepper plants is not difficult but a little TLC will increase your yield and the size of the fruits.
Fertilize banana pepper plants after fruit begins to set with a 12-12-12 food.
Pull competitive weeds and keep the soil evenly damp. Use mulch around the plants to help conserve moisture and keep weed populations down.
Watch for signs of disease or insect injury. The most common insects are aphids, flea beetles, thrips, cutworms and whitefly. The flying insects are controlled with a horticultural soap spray. Repel cutworms by using a collar from a toilet paper roll around tender young plants. Most diseases are prevented by reducing overhead watering, proper soil preparation prior to planting and disease resistant seeds from reputable growers.
Best Time to Harvest Banana Peppers
The best time to harvest banana peppers is when they are full sized and have firm skins. You can take them off the plant when they are yellow or wait until they mature to a deep orange or even red.
Growing banana peppers begin to slow their production when temperatures at night cool. Cut off individual fruits as you need them. When the season comes to an end, pull the entire plant and hang it to dry. Keep fresh fruits in the crisper or a cool, dark location for up to a week.
Banana Pepper Uses
Banana peppers pickle or can well if you can’t use the fruits within a week. You can also roast them and freeze for later use. Banana peppers are delicious used in sauces, relishes or raw on salads and sandwiches. String the peppers up and let them dry in a cool location or slice them lengthwise, remove the seeds and dry them in a dehydrator or a low oven. Banana peppers are a versatile and fun to grow fruit that provide a flavor punch and plenty of Vitamins A and C.
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What Type of Pot Does a Banana Pepper Need?
Banana peppers are one of the milder forms of peppers. Available in sweet or hot varieties, they can easily be grown in pots. Sweet banana pepper plants (Capsicum annuum) thrive in any growing zone, but they do best in areas where warm weather lasts longer. When planning the type of pot you need for your banana peppers, you need to look at what these plants require to grow. Providing each plant with enough space, soil and moisture in a pot will help to ensure your success.
For the best results, opt for a pot that is 18 inches in diameter for transplanted banana peppers. To provide enough room for the root to grow, your container should be at least 12 inches deep and have holes in the bottom for drainage.
Table of Contents
- Types of Sweet Peppers
- 1. Bell Pepper
- 2. Mini Sweet Pepper
- 3. Banana Pepper
- 4. Cherry Pepper
- 5. Sweet Italian Pepper
- Types of Chili Peppers
- Peppers With Mild to Medium Heat
- 1. Piquillo
- 2. Shishito
- 3. Cuban pepper
- 4. Anaheim
- 5. Padrón Peppers
- 6. Poblano
- 7. Chilaca
- 8. Yellow Chile
- 9. Mirasol Chili
- 10. Guajillo
- 11. Jalapeño
- 12. Fresno
- 13. Hungarian Wax Pepper
- 14. Aleppo Pepper
- 15. Serrano
- 16. Cayenne
- 17. Tabasco Pepper
- 18. Bird’s Eye
- 19. Peri-peri
- 20. Rocoto
- 21. Habaneros
- 22. Scotch Bonnet
- Super-hot Peppers
- 1. Carolina Reaper
- 2. Naga Viper Pepper
- 3. Ghost Pepper
- Peppers With Mild to Medium Heat
Table Of Content
How To Grow Banana Peppers
In all but the warmest climate zones, it is usual to start peppers indoors, to be transplanted into the garden once the weather warms. When you start them indoors, it is possible to grow these right down to zone five or even below with some protection, with row covers, a greenhouse or polytunnel.
Start the seeds indoors around 40 days before you wish to transplant them outdoors. (You should wait to transplant seedlings until the soil temperature has warmed to at least 60 F in your area.)
When choosing where to grow your banana pepper plants, remember that they will need a rich, free-draining soil, and should receive at least 8 hours of sunshine each day.
Make sure you use an organic mulch around your plants. This will help in conserving moisture and keeping weeds at bay. Water plants at the base and try to avoid overhead watering. This can help reduce the incidence of disease.
You can harvest banana peppers as soon as they are full-sized and have firm skins. You can harvest them, as mentioned above, when they are yellow. Or you can wait for their color to change to orange or red if there is a long enough season where you live.
Banana peppers will slow fruit production when the temperatures cool at night. When the season comes to an end, the entire plant can be pulled and hung to dry.
Fresh fruits will keep in the fridge or a cool, dark location for a week or so. If you cannot use them up within this time, don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to preserve them. You’ll find a few suggestions below. (You can also roast and freeze them for winter use, or dry them for later rehydration.)
The container you choose for your banana plant needs to have enough room for stakes or a tomato cage. This will help to support your pepper plant as it grows, allowing it to get enough sunlight and support, recommends Balcony Garden Web. Tie branches with peppers on them to the nearest stake for maximum support as the growing peppers begin to weigh down the plant.
Remember to water your banana pepper plants regularly throughout the growing season. Plants grown in pots lose water more quickly than those growing in the ground.
Banana peppers also work well in a wide range of curry recipes. One example can be found below. But you can experiment and add sweet or spicy banana peppers to a wide range of vegetable curries and other rich and flavorsome dishes of this type.
I have added sweet peppers to a range of different curries, from Indian lentil daals, to light, gingery Thai curries, and a range of other curry recipes. Sweet banana peppers can be used wherever you might use bell peppers in a recipe. And spicy ones can be added instead of other chilli peppers.
Peppers are used in everything from sauces and condiments to spices and powders. You’ll use these ingredients in dips, jellies, soups, chili, stews, stir-fries, salsa, and so much more. Some peppers are stuffed or charred and served as appetizers, while others are minced up so fine you might never know they’re there.
Dried peppers are ground up into powder form and turned into spices. You can buy whole, dried peppers as well which can add more heat and flavor to sauces, purees, and marinades than pre-ground spices offer.
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I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.