Finding the best fertilizer for peppers isn’t always easy. Peppers have their own unique needs. To get the biggest, most delicious peppers, you have to make sure your plants are not only getting what they need but that they’re also getting it at the right time.
Here are the things you need to think about when choosing the right fertilizer for your pepper plants and some of the best products available.
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What is the Best Fertilizer For Pepper Plants?
The best fertilizer for pepper plants depends on where your plants are in the growing cycle. Once a certain size is reached, you have to make sure your plants get what they need to produce peppers.
Early on, pepper plants need more nitrogen (N). This helps them grow plentiful leaves and establish strong growth. Why is this important? Because the larger the canopy of leaves, the more energy the plant takes in from the sun. This is really important for later when the plant begins to produce pods.
Once your plants begin to flower, it’s time to move to the next phase. Pepper plants don’t need as much nitrogen at this point but they do need more phosphate and potassium so they have what they need to begin to produce pepper pods.
If the plants continue to get the same amount of nitrogen and not enough phosphate (P) and potassium (K), the leaves keep growing. The plant would appear healthy but it would have a hard time producing peppers. Getting the right nutrients to the plant at the right time is important.
Luckily, there are several ways to do this. You can choose a balanced, extended-release formula that covers your plants’ different needs throughout the growing season. Or, switch up the fertilizer depending on what your plants need for where they are in their growth.
The 10 Best Fertilizers For Growing Your Pepper Plants
No matter how you choose to approach giving your peppers what they need, there are a lot of fertilizers out there to choose from. Here are ten of the best options out there.
Pepper Fertilizer Reviewed
1. Miracle-Gro Shake ‘N Feed Plant Food
Miracle-Gro is one of the most popular brands around when it comes to gardening and this shake ‘N feed plant food is a great example of why. It’s formulated with the micronutrients your peppers and other veggies love and includes earthworm castings, bone meal, and feather meal.
To help your plants produce more peppers, this fertilizer uses natural ingredients that feed the microbes in the soil. These microbes break down nutrients, making them more available for your plants.
This formula also contains calcium which helps plants grow strong and produce longer-lasting fruits and veggies. You can use this fertilizer in a planted garden or container plants and a single application lasts up to three months.
All you have to do is apply about a half cup of fertilizer for every 10 square feet. Then, lightly mix it into the soil and water. This product is available in one, 4.5, and eight-pound jugs, too, so you can order just what you need for your garden.
2. General Hydroponics Flora Combo Fertilizer
If you’re growing peppers along with other plants or if you just like having a lot of control over your fertilizer, check out this set of products from General Hydroponics. It comes with three types of fertilizer so you can adjust to meet the needs of your plants.
First, you get Floragro, formulated to promote strong roots and structural growth. Next is Florobloom which stimulates fruit and flower development with potassium, phosphorus, sulfur, and magnesium.
Finally, you get a bottle of Floramicro which provides calcium, potassium, nitrogen, and trace elements. Each product contains a concentrated liquid made of highly purified ingredients. All are pH balanced and so reliable, they’ve been used by NASA scientists.
This series was developed in 1976 and delivers amazing results. Each bottle contains a quart of concentrated fertilizer. How long each lasts depends on how much you use and how many plants you have but it could potentially last a long time.
3. Jobe’s Organics 9026 Fertilizer
This Jobe’s Organics fertilizer is a good choice for your peppers or any vegetable in your garden. It’s certified for organic gardening and works to improve soil quality for long-term benefits. The best part? There are no harsh chemicals to worry about.
This fertilizer contains Biozome which contains healthy bacteria to improve the soil as well as archaea and Mycorrhizal fungi. Archaea is a microorganism found in extreme environments that helps clean the soil and return it to its natural state.
Mycorrhizal fungi work at the root, promoting extensive growth so plants have access to more water and nutrients. Jobe’s Organics fertilizer benefits your peppers in a lot of ways, including increasing resistance to insects, drought, and disease.
The most common way to apply is to mix it into the soil before planting. It’s safe to apply to new seedlings and established plants, too. This product is available in 1.5, four, and 16-pound bags so you can get what you need and order in bulk if you prefer.
4. Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food
A good choice if you like an extended-release formula is this flower and vegetable fertilizer from Osmocote. This is an ideal choice for perennials and perfect for peppers and other plants in your vegetable garden.
This fertilizer works both above and below the ground. You’ll see a lot of vegetation above the soil while strong roots grow and spread underneath. A single application feeds for up to four months so it’s a great choice if you want something a little low-maintenance.
Each granule has a semi-permeable resin shell full of essential nutrients. As water gets in, it dissolves the nutrients inside. Then, when the weather warms and the plants enter a period of active growth, the nutrients are released into the soil.
Use one scoop for four square feet or two gallons of water. There are a few different size bags available, too. Choose from a one, two, 4.5, or eight-pound bag to get the amount you need for your garden.
5. Miracle-Gro Performance Organics All Purpose Plant Nutrition Granules
With this product, you get the proven results of Miracle-Gro in a chemical-free, organic formula. This all-natural fertilizer works well with peppers and other vegetables in your garden. Try it with herbs and flowers, too.
Application is really easy. Use the shaker jug to add the granules to the soil then mix it into the top few inches of soil and water regularly. One application lasts for between four to six weeks. You should start to see results in as little as seven days.
You have a few options when it comes to sizes. Choose from a one-pound box or if you prefer something watertight and easy to store, go for the one-pound bottle. There’s also a 1.75-pound bag or a 2.5-pound bottle.
Each package has detailed application instructions on the side for both in-ground and container planting. Use between ¾ and one cup of granules for 25 square feet.
6. Wiggle Worm Soil Builder Pure Earthworm Castings Organic Fertilizer
Wiggle Worm Soil Builder one of the most natural fertilizers available. It’s made of pure earthworm castings. This organic formula is non-toxic, odor-free, and suitable for indoor and outdoor use.
Earthworm castings are in a lot of fertilizers, and for good reason. They get results. That’s why using pure earthworm castings is so effective. They deliver two forms of nutrients. One is immediately used by your plants. The other provides nutrition over a longer period of time.
In addition to nutrients, earthworm castings also provide a high amount of beneficial bacteria and microbes. This improves soil structure over time. The unique football-shaped structure also helps to aerate the soil, allowing the roots to grow faster and the soil to drain adequately.
You only need to use a little bit with every application which means that this large 15-pound bag should last a long time.
7. FoxFarm 752289790201 FX14006 Grow Big Liquid Concentrate
If you prefer an organic liquid concentrate, take a look at this fertilizer from FoxFarm. Not only is it a good choice for peppers but also for fruits, flowers, herbs, and most of the other vegetables in your garden.
This formula contains the macro and micronutrients your plants need for strong roots and vegetation and to produce more abundant crops. It also has a low pH so it remains stable in storage. That means it’s equally as effective every time you use it.
Another great thing about this fertilizer is how versatile it is. Not only can you use it on just about any plant but you can apply it in a variety of ways. Add two to three teaspoons with every other watering with either a watering can or hose sprayer. You can also use it for foliar feeding if you prefer.
8. JR Peters Jacks Classic All Purpose Fertilizer
J.R. Peters has been in business since 1947 so you know it’s a brand you can trust. This all-purpose fertilizer is considered the industry standard. It’s a good choice for your peppers or any other plant in your garden.
One of the nice things about this fertilizer is that you can use it to feed through the roots or leaves. You can use it indoors and outdoors and in raised beds or containers.
This fertilizer comes in a large waterproof container that’s easy to reseal for safe storage and it comes with a measuring scoop. The micronutrients promote strong roots and deep green foliage and, with proper application, you don’t need to worry about burning the roots.
One application lasts or up to four months so a four-pound container should last a while. You can also order in bulk if you prefer and get a two, three, or four-pack.
9. Dr. Earth Organic Fertilizer
This fertilizer from Dr. Earth contains all the nutrients that your peppers need. It’s great for both summer and winter crops and can be used in backyard soil or container plantings. You can also use it at any point in planting, including seeding, transplanting, and as a regular fertilizer on established plants. Detailed instructions are listed on the back of the bag.
Not only is this fertilizer organic but it’s also made of feed grade ingredients. These include nutrients found in fish, fish bones, and land and ocean plants with no GMOs, sludge, or chicken manure.
One application lasts for several months and improves plant growth from roots to leaves. It comes in a four-pound bag that’s also available in packs of two, three, or four so you can order in bulk if you prefer.
10. Plant Magic Plant Food Organic Fertilizer
Plant Magic’s organic fertilizer dissolves instantly in water which makes application quick and easy. It works great in any type of soil, whether you’re working with clay, loam, or sand. Plus, it’s made by a family-owned business and is safe to use around pets and children.
This blend contains beneficial nutrients that instantly start to improve the condition of your soil to give your pepper plants what they need. You can use it at any stage of growth to deliver nutrients and trace minerals to the roots without worrying about burning.
A single half-pound bag makes 32 gallons of fertilizer and it’s available in a two or four-pack bundle. If you really want to order in bulk, go for the five-pound bucket. Best of all, this product comes with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee. If you don’t love it, they’ll give you your money back.
When to Fertilize Pepper Plants?
A lot of people new to gardening may apply the right fertilizer but do it at the wrong time. This often results in over or underfeeding your plants. If they’re not getting what they need, when they need it, you won’t get the results you’re looking for.
Peppers should be planted in the spring when temperatures stay above 55 degrees F. Fertilizer with adequate nitrogen should be used when seedlings are transplanted into the ground. Wait until they reach about four or five inches to transplant them.
Mix fertilizer into the top two or three inches of soil then plant. Be careful not to over-fertilize at this point but give the plants what they need to establish strong roots, stems, and leaves. These are all necessary to support pepper growth down the line.
If you’re using a slow-release fertilizer, it may last several months and you might not need to add anything else. That said, the only way to be sure is to have your soil checked throughout the season.
How Often to Fertilize Pepper Plants?
How often you need to fertilize your plants depends on a lot of factors, including the type of soil you’re using, what type of peppers you’re growing, and the type of fertilizer you choose.
Generally speaking, it’s best to follow the directions included with your fertilizer. Extended-release fertilizers last for several months so you may not need to reapply them. There are a few options on our list, though, that need to be reapplied every few weeks or so.
The only way to know for sure that your plants are getting all the nutrients they need is to have your soil tested. This tells you what, if anything, you need to add.
Generally, if your plants are thriving and producing a lot of peppers, it’s a safe bet that what you’re doing is working. If your plant seems to be thriving but isn’t producing any peppers or if it was doing well and seems to have taken a downhill turn, it’s a good idea to test the soil, just to be on the safe side.
How to Fertilize Pepper Plants?
The type of fertilizer you choose determines how it’s applied.
Granular fertilizer is typically extended-release. Each granule has a water-permeable coating. Over time, as water penetrates the outside and blends with the nutrients inside and as the temperature of the soil changes, the fertilizer is slowly released into the soil.
Follow the directions that come with your granular fertilizer as how much you apply depends on a lot of different factors. Measure out the right amount of granules then mix then into the top few inches of the soil. Then, water normally.
Liquid fertilizers and dissolvable powders basically work the same way. You mix a predetermined amount of powder or concentrated liquid with water and apply it to your plants. These can usually be applied with a watering can or sprayer.
Generally, fertilizer should be applied to the soil at the roots, particularly synthetic fertilizer because there’s a good chance it could burn the stems or leaves.
That said, some fertilizers include instructions so you can apply them to the leaves if you prefer. In this case, the mixture is not quite as strong and can be applied using a simple spray bottle.
Note that if you choose this method, apply the fertilizer during the early morning or evening. If you put it on the leaves in the middle of the day when the sun is hot and bright, it could burn the leaves, even though it’s a weaker concentration.
Again, it’s always best to follow the package directions carefully as each brand is different. They all include detailed instructions and some even come with measuring scoops so you can be sure you’re using the right amount with every application.
If you’re looking for the best fertilizer for peppers, we know it can be a little overwhelming. There are a lot of great options out there to choose from and a lot to think about when picking the right one for your garden.
Remember, the big thing to keep in mind when it comes to peppers is that they have different needs when they’re sprouting versus when they’re producing pepper pods. That doesn’t mean fertilizing them has to be complicated, though. There are a lot of great fertilizers available that make it really easy.
Whether you choose a short-acting synthetic liquid or an extended-release formula made of all-natural earthworm castings, we found a lot of great products for you. For best results, follow the instructions carefully. Each brand is a little bit different.
If you’re still not getting the results you want, the best thing to do is have your soil tested. It’s the only way to know for sure what your plants need and when they need it.
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