Love spicy foods? We know the feeling! So why not spice things up and start growing your own? After all, nothing compares to the flavor and texture of homegrown plants! Plus, you’ll never have to worry about lockdown-induced food shortages ever again!
In this article, we’ll show you how to grow jalapenos from seeds in great detail. From seed picking to harvesting, we’ll walk you through the entire process and provide useful tips along the way.
So, buckle up and get ready for some Netflix and chili!
Why You Should Start Growing Jalapenos at Home
There’s nothing like eating fresh produce straight off the plant. The smell, the texture — all of it — tastes way better than anything you can purchase from your local grocery store; no matter how fresh they say it is.
In addition to the superior taste, home-grown jalapenos are also more cost-effective. Getting jalapeno seeds is far cheaper than purchasing a few peppers from the store; for one, the yield will be far greater. Plus, you can pick them as needed and not forget about them at the back of your fridge.
Hot peppers, in general, are popular among home growers. According to the latest gardening stats, 28% of households that grow veggies pick hot peppers.
So, now that we’ve got your ear, let’s go more in-depth on what to do with your jalapeno seeds:
Things to Do Before You Grow Jalapenos From Fresh Seeds
There are a few things to consider when choosing jalapeno seeds for planting. We’ve listed the most important ones below:
Choose Between Indoor or Outdoor Varieties
Most plants have an indoor and outdoor variety, and jalapenos are no exception. Make sure you pick the right one for your specific needs. Otherwise, your indoor plant might struggle to reach its full potential.
For instance, there are faster-growing varieties for impatient gardeners, such as the early jalapeno plant. These hot mammas take merely 60 days to fully mature, whereas other sorts take about 70 to 85 days.
Some great indoor varieties include yellow spice jalapeno, jalapeno M, and orange jalapeno peppers. To learn more about indoor growing jalapenos in pots, check our guide below.
Choose the Level of Hotness
If you’ve never had the pleasure of eating these spicy delicacies, we recommend you start with the milder options. Once you get a taste for them, you can easily move up the hotness scale. And if you’re one of those people who like to spit fire after they’ve had a spicy meal, know that jalapenos fall into the 2,000 to 8,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU) range, which isn’t all that hot.
This is why jalapenos make perfect ingredients for most cooking recipes; sauces in particular. Just put these hot peppers in your quality portable blender with some other veggies and you’ve got yourself a delicious, homemade salsa without much fuss!
Best of all, you won’t accidentally kill any of your guests due to extreme hotness.
Trace the Seed Origin
If you want to grow jalapenos from fresh seeds found in store-bought peppers, think again! Most of these contain hybrid seeds, which may be genetically unstable and harder to grow. Plus, some of the peppers you buy may not be mature enough to have viable seeds.
Hence, if you want to grow healthy and vigorous jalapeno plants, it’s better to buy them from your local farmer’s market or a well-equipped health foods store. Once there, look for open-pollinated or heirloom jalapeno varieties for the best results.
How Do You Prepare Jalapeño Seeds for Planting?
Store-bought seeds don’t require any special preparation pre-planting. For fresh seeds, however, here’s what you need to do:
- Once you’ve selected the variety of jalapenos you want to grow, cut the fully ripened peppers and remove their seeds. Put these in a container or a bowl and add lukewarm water.
- Remove any leftover pulp and get rid of the jalapeno seeds that are floating. Most of these are non-viable — in other words, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll succeed in growing jalapenos from a seed that floats.
- Dry the remaining seeds for 5–7 days in a place with good airflow. After that, place the seeds on a ceramic plate or similar smooth, non-porous surface. Turn the seeds around when needed and keep drying them until they harden.
How to Store Jalapeno Seeds for Later
To store seeds for next year, you must first remove them from fully matured peppers. Otherwise, they won’t grow. Once done, place them in a dry and cool spot. A sealed glass jar in a refrigerator will do just fine; remember to keep the temperature between 41℉ and 45℉.
Also, don’t forget to label each variety you store, and in different containers. That way you can store jalapeno seeds for months, even years.
How Do You Germinate Jalapeño Seeds?
When it comes to germinating jalapenos, the temperature is key. Place the seeds in warm soil (between 65℉ and 80℉) or sprout them indoors in a draft-free room with plenty of warmth.
To speed up the entire process, place the seedling tray on top of a heated pad. There’s also a viability test (aka the baggie method) that you can do to check whether growing jalapenos from certain seeds is possible or not. Here’s how:
- Wrap a few seeds in a dampened cloth or napkin.
- Put these in a sealable plastic bag.
- Place the bag on a heated pad and wait about 10 to 15 days.
- Keep an eye on them to see whether any new seedlings are popping; you can assume the plantability of the seeds when most of them sprout.
Nevertheless, be patient. It can take anywhere between 10 to 21 days to get your seeds to germinate; heat and moisture should help speed things up.
How to Plant Jalapeno Seeds Outside
No matter the quality of jalapeno seeds, you need to set up the right growing conditions. Otherwise, they won’t fully develop nor bear you any fruits.
Here’s what you need to look out for when planting jalapeno seeds outside:
Wait for the Ideal Temperature
Timing is of the essence when learning how to plant jalapeno seeds in your garden.
These hot peppers simply love the heat — hence why you need to make certain that the daily soil temperatures are at least 65℉ (ideally below 80℉), before planting. Also, factor in the low nighttime temperatures; the soil has to be over 50℉ at night for your peppers to germinate and grow.
Choose the Right Season
Given their needy nature, planting jalapeno seeds in spring is probably your best bet; preferably early to mid-March when the temperature is just about right and there’s plenty of light.
There’s also a neat life hack when growing jalapenos in milder climates. Namely, you can plant them indoors and use grow lights about 8 to 10 weeks before your last spring frost date. After the weather has warmed (a daily average of 70℉), you can move them to your garden.
That way, you won’t have to worry about the climate too much; especially if you’re further up north.
Make Your Seedlings More Resistant
In case you germinated your jalapeno seeds indoors, you need to prepare them for the treacherous outside world.
To do so, place your jalapeno seedlings in the shade outside for 10 days to toughen them up before planting. Also, make sure they develop roots and are at least six inches in size before planting them.
Plant by Measure
Jalapenos need at least 14 inches of in-between space to give their roots enough room to spread; you don’t want them to gang up on each other. Moreover, cover the seeds with ¼ of an inch of potting mix.
Once done, water them generously to provide plenty of essential nutrients from the get-go.
What to Watch Out for When Growing Jalapenos
Like all plants, jalapenos have specific requirements you need to meet in order for them to fully grow. We’ve listed some of the most important ones below:
For jalapeno seeds to sprout and grow, the temperature has to be between 65℉ and 80℉ (18℃ to 26℃). Any lower than that and the plant won’t bear any fruit. Likewise, if the temperature is too high, your plant won’t get enough nutrients from the soil, resulting in smaller fruits.
For those wondering “do jalapeños need full Sun,” the answer is a resounding — “Yes!”
Jalapeño plants thrive in the sun, requiring at least six hours of direct sunlight per day to grow; the more, the better! The longer they sit idly in the shade, the fewer fruits they’ll bear (if any).
So, if you live in a state that doesn’t meet these light requirements, make sure you get some LED grow lights for your hot peppers and grow them indoors.
Jalapenos are thirsty for love, so water them generously. That said, give the soil some time to dry up before watering them again. You don’t want to drown them in love (quite literally); twice a week should do just fine.
If you have particularly hot and dry weather, feel free to do it more often. You can also use organic mulch to keep the soil moist and provide your plants with plenty of yummy nutrients.
Last but not least, if you plan to grow your jalapenos from seeds indoors make sure the water doesn’t accumulate at the bottom of the pot. In other words, poke a few holes to improve drainage to prevent roots from rotting.
No matter where you plant your jalapenos (indoors or outdoors), the soil has to contain all the essential nutrients for your plant to grow.
Enrich the soil with homemade compost or fertilizer every so often (about 4 to 6 weeks). You can even use a standard potting mix; your jalapeno plants certainly won’t mind.
Insects and Pests
Aphids, pepper hornworms, and cucumber beetles will make quick work of your jalapeno plants. And who can blame them!
Still, you’re not just going to let some stupid bugs destroy all your hard work. After all, planting jalapeno seeds takes quite a bit of time. Applying a natural insecticide like neem oil or spraying pests with your garden hose should provide sufficient protection for your plants.
You can also pull weeds more often or release a predatory insect, like a ladybug, to take care of them for good. And if you’re wondering how to get rid of skunks and raccoons praying on your vegetable patch, don’t worry! Neither of these annoying critters will dare raid your jalapenos since their scent glands are highly sensitive to peppers.
Growing Jalapenos in Pots
Indoor growing follows the exact same principles as the ones we’ve outlined above. That said, we have a few pointers for you to help speed up the process.
First of all, be sure to use a seed-starting potting mix. This will do wonders for your plants and keep them strong and healthy until harvest season. Next, you want to keep your plants near a sunny windowsill or use artificial light. Either way, you want to provide them with roughly 12 to 16 hours of sunlight each day.
Last but not least, keep the room temperature at a constant 60℉ to 80℉ to allow your precious jalapeno seeds to germinate and grow. And remember to water your plants regularly (about twice a week).
How long do jalapenos take to grow?
It takes anywhere between 70–80 days for jalapenos to reach full maturity; the plants should be about 2 to 3 feet tall around this time. And depending on the variety, jalapenos may even bear up to 35 peppers. Therefore, you need to plan a proper support system for their stems; something like bamboo sticks.
Moreover, you’ll know that your jalapenos are ready for harvest when the peppers are 3 to 4 inches long. Note that the color and size of the peppers will vary depending on their type.
To harvest jalapenos, you don’t need an expensive gardener’s tool kit. Just grab a blade from your quality knife set and remove the fruit from the stem; simple as that!
As you can see growing jalapenos from seeds is super easy!
Follow the tips we’ve outlined for you and you’ll be enjoying a spicy homemade taco in no time. And whether you opt for the indoor or outdoor method, rest assured amigo, your plant babies will grow to their full glory.
How tall do jalapeno plants grow?
Jalapeno plants grow 2 to 3 feet tall on average (depending on the variety). Not only that, but they also bear around 25 to 35 fruits, which are 2 to 3 inches big, as well. Hence, make sure you provide adequate vertical support so your plants don’t just topple over.
How long does it take to grow jalapenos from seed?
It depends on the variety of jalapeno seeds. For instance, early jalapeno seeds take just about 60 days to reach full maturity, whereas other sorts like yellow spice jalapeno, jalapeno M, and orange jalapeno peppers take between 70–85 days.
Growing conditions can also impact growth speed and yield. So be sure to take good care of your plants!
How deep to plant jalapeno seeds?
Jalapeno seeds should be planted about a ¼ of an inch deep to ensure they don’t just get blown away by the very first wind but continue to prosper and grow. Likewise, this provides them with more essential nutrients during the germination process to feast upon; though, you can add a seed-starting mix on top of them to speed things up.
Are jalapeños easy to grow?
Jalapeno plants are one of the easiest vegetables to grow. Provide them with the bare essentials — at least 12 hours of sunlight, optimal temperatures (65℉–80℉), plenty of water, rich soil, etc. — and you’ll be eating chili con carne in no time!
Best of all, you don’t have to be an experienced gardener to grow and harvest all the different types of jalapeno plants; it only takes a few minutes to learn how to grow jalapenos from seeds from an in-depth guide, such as this one, and you’re all set!