Peppers are a warm season plant that grows best in a temperature range of 26.6 to 35.0 degrees C. Choose to start the plants from seed indoors in late winter. Monitor the indoor and transplanting temperatures to keep the plants in the optimal temperature range for growth.
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North Carolina State University recommends starting pepper plants by sowing the seeds indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the estimated last frost in the spring season. Place the seeds on germination heating pads to keep the soil temperature approximately 26.7 degrees C, because pepper seeds will not germinate when the temperature drops below 10 degrees C.
Transplant pepper seedlings outdoors in spring once there is no longer a risk of frost and the nighttime temperatures stay above 10 degrees C. According to the University of Illinois Extension, temperatures below 10 degrees C reduce plant growth, and may cause leaf drop.
According to the University of Illinois Extension, cold night temperatures below 10 degrees C may stunt pepper plants during the summer months and keep them from producing fruit. Extreme heat above 35 degrees C may also have the same effect.
End of Season
Protect peppers from the risk of early fall frosts by covering plants that are still producing fruit late in the season with a light sheet during the nighttime hours. Watch weather reports; cold weather warnings of temperatures under 7.22 degrees C at night may mean conditions are right for frost to form.
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