As the heat of summer descends upon our faithfully tended plants and vegetables, you may notice that several of them may appear wilted or droopy in the afternoons. Bell peppers are one of the most susceptible to the heat and drought-like conditions of the summer. These plants get tall and full, but their stems and leaves remain thin and have to support large vegetables once the peppers form. When growing bell peppers, it is important to address all the needs of the plant in order to prevent wilting and weak plants.
For ideal soil conditions in planting bell peppers, simply mix in a vegetable fertiliser, compost and potting soil to achieve a good growing medium to help the tiny roots get started. Plant the pepper with the roots completely covered by the soil. As the pepper grows you will need to add nutrients to the soil at the base of the plant. Coffee grounds, crushed egg shells and mulch will all help to support the nutritional needs of the plant.
When a bell pepper plant is new it needs plenty of water to help establish the root system. Daily watering will help your bell pepper plant get a good start. As the plant grows taller and fuller it will need more water to help disperse the nutrients through the soil and into the root system. The best time to water is in the evening or early morning to allow the plant to get the full benefit of the water without it all evaporating in the hot sun.
Your bell pepper plants will do best when planted in full sun, meaning they are in a position to get direct sunlight for several hours during the day. If your plants aren't getting enough sun they may wilt and become flimsy. The peppers produced by plants that don't get enough sunlight will be small and usually less flavourful.
Because bell pepper plants grow to about 2 feet tall and have to support such large vegetables, it is important to stake and tie the plants to give them a little more "backbone." This helps support the peppers and allow them to remain on the vine as long as needed to grow full and ripe. If bell pepper plants are tied too tightly, or the string is cutting into a stem, it can cause a lack of water and nutrients to get to the ends of the stem. This can cause wilting and even death for parts of the plant. Always stake and tie very carefully to prevent damage to your pepper plant.
Once planted and established, if you make sure that your bell pepper plant gets plenty of water and sunlight, is staked up properly and checked daily for harmful insects like aphids, spiders and mites, your plant should not be weak or wilted. If this does happen, you should be able to run through the list of needs and fix the problem easily. Soil, water, sunlight and support are what a bell pepper plant needs to grow healthy and strong.
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