Bell peppers were one of the vegetables I wanted to learn to grow when I got into hydroponics. After learning to grow lettuce and tomatoes I thought it was time to give it shot. While not the easiest plant to grow using hydroponics one you get the hang of growing hydroponic bell peppers it becomes well worth the time.
Getting Hydroponic Bell Peppers Started
Germinating seeds- I prefer to germinate my seeds in rapid rooter; some prefer rockwool. Pepper seeds need warm temperatures for germination. I try to keep mine around 80 degrees, I would recommend using a heat mat. Depending on the variety, you should see seedlings in about 7-14 days.
Cloning Bell Peppers- Cloning plants using hydroponics is an easy process that guarantees you to get a plant with the same traits as the one being cloned. I’ve had great success cloning plants using only oxygenated water and rapid rooter cubes, but there are other methods as well.
Transplant plant from dirt- Another way to get your hydroponic bell pepper garden going is to transplant them from dirt. Though buying plants is the more costly option, it does save you the time of having to mess with seeds and seedlings. To find out more you can check out this article on how to transplant a plant from dirt to a hydroponics system.
What Hydroponic Systems Works Best For Bell Peppers?
There are a variety of different hydroponic methods that work well to grow bell peppers. The main concern is the weight of the plant, especially when it’s producing many good size peppers. Make sure to provide support for the plant to prevent breaking and tipping. You should research the size of the fruit produced by the variety your growing to make sure your system is set up to hold the weight.
I’ve found it harder to support hydroponic bell peppers in rail systems unless they are kept small. I also prefer California Wonders which are large, so that’s part of my issue. I instead opt for ebb and flow, drip, or dwc systems. Dutch bucket systems also work well.
What Is The Best Temperature For Hydroponic Bell Peppers?
Bell peppers thrive in warm temperatures. Plants should be kept in the mid 65-75 degree range during the day or lights on period. At night its beneficial to drop the temperature about 10 degrees.
If bell peppers get too hot they may drop their flowers instead of fruiting.
Spacing Requirements For Hydroponic Bell Peppers
Hydroponic bell peppers need plenty of room to grow. I recommend spacing your bell pepper plants about 24 inches apart.
Pruning and pinching your bell peppers once they reach a certain size will keep them from growing too large. It will also promote new shoots, making your plant more full.
How Much Light Do Hydroponic Bell Peppers need?
Bell peppers should receive 14-18 hours of light each day. If your garden is indoors, keep the light 6-8 inches above the plant. They are day neutral so the length of light they receive doesn’t have an effect on flowering and fruiting.
Recommended pH For Hydroponic Bell Peppers
The recommended pH level for hydroponic bell pepper plants is 5.5–6.5.
Recommended Bell Peppers Varieties for Hydroponics
I prefer California Wonders with a mix of green and red, but you can grow whatever variety of bell pepper suits your taste.
Hydroponic Bell Peppers Nutrient Requirements
Bell Pepper plants should start off being grown with a nutrient regimen geared towards vegetative growth. A simple one part nutrient solution like Dyna Gro Grow works well up until you’re bell peppers are ready for flowering.
For the flowering stage, you should switch to a nutrient regimen with less nitrogen and more phosphorus and potassium for flower and fruit production. A 1 part nutrient like Dyna-Gro Liquid Bloom is easy to use for the flower and fruiting stage of growth. I also use Dyna-Gro’s Pro Tekt throughout the growth cycle.
One part nutrient regimens are easy to use but don’t allow you the flexibility to tailor your nutrients to the specific crop.
When you start to understand the nutrient needs of the plant your growing, you may look to a more advanced nutrient regimen like General Hydroponics Flora Series. Plants can also benefit from various supplements that go by different names depending on the nutrient regimen you’re using.
Pollinating Bell Peppers Grown Indoors
Bell peppers grown outdoors have help from nature when it comes to pollinating their flowers. When grown indoors they are going to need some assistance.
Bell peppers are hermaphrodite plants. The plants have flowers with both male and female parts. This means that you can pollinate the flowers pretty easily. For pollinating indoor bell pepper plants, use a q tip or small paint brush and gently rub the flower to assist with pollen transfer. For more information on hand pollination, check out this article detailing 3 methods of hand pollination.
I recommend coming back and repeating the process a couple of times over a few days to makes sure the flowers are well pollinated.
Harvesting Hydroponic Bell Peppers
Bell peppers should be ready for harvest 50 to 80 days after sprouting, depending on the variety. Though you can really harvest the bell peppers at any time, typically the longer they are left on the plant the sweeter they are. Many bell peppers go through stages where they are initially green but eventually change colors to red, orange and yellow, some even turning purple.
Do you have any tips on growing hydroponic bell peppers? Let us know in the comments!