When to Plant Bell Peppers? (EXPLAINED)

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When to Plant Bell Peppers

Are you wondering when to plant bell peppers in your state or USDA Hardiness Zone? We are here to help.

This article will look at when to plant bell peppers to give you the greatest opportunity for a successful harvest.

When to Plant Bell Peppers?

bell pepper seedling

Bell peppers are not challenging to grow, but they are temperature sensitive. This makes it essential not to plant seeds or move your seedlings outdoors too early in the spring. It is best to start your seeds indoors eight to ten weeks before you expect your last frost in cooler regions.

Seeds will germinate the fastest when they have a constant temperature between 77- and 90-degrees Fahrenheit. Below this range, sprouting can be sporadic, and the growth of your plants will be slow.

If you are planting seeds outdoors or transplanting seedlings, you will want to wait until the soil has had a chance to warm sufficiently. In most of the U.S., two to three weeks after the last frost should be sufficient. Most varieties of bell peppers will begin to sprout approximately two weeks after being planted, but some types can take up to five weeks to appear.

If you are attempting to grow capsicum in Hardiness Zone 3 or 4, you will need a heated greenhouse. The growing season in these northern climates is too short to make a good harvest. In the upper areas of the zones, you may also need to employee grow lights. Bell peppers require 14-18 hours of sunlight a day to be healthy.

In Zone 5, growing bell peppers outdoors can be problematic but is possible. Most years, you will need to wait until late April or early May before moving plants outside. This places harvest time for ripe peppers in August. Depending on the weather in any given year, you could only end up with green bell peppers. 

Zone 6 is really where capsicum becomes a viable crop. Especially 6b. You should still have time to pick ripe bell peppers before the frost arrives in the fall by planting in May.

Hardiness Zone 7 is the beginning of prime capsicum country. By planting in early April, you should have a chance to harvest mature peppers and then collect a round of green bells as a bonus crop.

In Zone 8a, April is still your month for planting capsicum, but in 8b late March is suitable many years. This could make it possible to get two complete harvests of mature capsicum or three green bell peppers pickings.

March is your prime time for planting bell peppers throughout Zone 9. Frost in this area disappears early and doesn’t arrive again until late fall. Zone 9b is known for growing some of the country’s sweetest capsicum.

If you love bell peppers, then Zone 10, especially its southern portion, might be heaven for you. In these semi-tropical regions, bell peppers will produce almost year-round and won’t need to be moved indoors for the winter.

When to Plant Bell Peppers by State

You can keep this part brief, give people a general idea – a range based on what zone they live in their respective state and thus a range of when to plant the bell peppers.

  1. Alabama– Over most of Alabama, it is best to plant bell peppers from late March to early April.
  2. Alaska– In Alaska, you can grow capsicum whenever you like but will need a heated greenhouse with grow lights.
  3. Arizona– Southern Arizona has weather suitable for planting bell peppers as early as the beginning of March, but people in Northern areas should probably wait till the end of the month.
  4. Arkansas– For people in Arkansas, the end of March and the beginning of April are the best times to plant capsicum.
  5. California– California is a big state with interesting topography. It contains different areas encompassing four different climate zones. In Southern Coastal areas, you can plant bell peppers as early as late February. In the Northern Mountains Regions of the state, it could be late May before the weather is warm enough.
  6. Colorado– The mountains of Colorado aren’t really suitable for bell peppers except in specific areas. The weather stays cold too long, and summers are too short. However, the regions fitting for agriculture are temperate, and bell peppers can be planted from mid-March to April.
  7. Connecticut– Like most people in the Northeastern United States, the residence of Connecticut should wait till late March or early April to plant bell peppers.
  8. Delaware– You can plant bell peppers outdoors in Delaware around early April.
  9. Florida- Florida has ideal weather for growing bell peppers. Most years, anytime in March is fine for planting Bell peppers.
  10. Georgia– Bell peppers can be planted across most of Georgia anytime in March.
  11. Hawaii– Hawaii presents interesting conditions for growing bell peppers. Capsicum doesn’t fruit well in temperatures above 90 degrees. This makes the best growing seasons for them very early spring or late fall.
  12. Idaho– If you live in eastern Idaho, you should wait till mid-April to plant bell peppers. Late March or early April should be your target in the rest of the state.
  13. Illinois– In the Great Lakes regions of Illinois, you will want to wait till May to plant bell peppers outside. In Southern areas of the state, early April is ideal.
  14. Indiana– Sothern Indiana should have weather ideal for bell peppers by April, but Northern areas will need to wait an extra month.
  15. Iowa– The best time to grow bell peppers in Iowa is in May.
  16. Kansas– If you live in Kansas, it is best to plant bell peppers in May.
  17. Kentucky– Late April to early May is the best time to plant capsicum in Kentucky.
  18. Louisiana– If you live in Sportsman’s Paradise, you can plant bell peppers outdoors anytime from March to May.
  19. Maine– Most of Maine is not very hospitable to growing capsicum. Late April or early May are your best bets.
  20. Maryland– late April to early May will be the best time to move bell pepper plants outdoors in Maryland
  21. Massachusetts– Massachusetts isn’t the best state for gardening. Plant your sweet peppers in late April to May.
  22. Michigan– To grow capsicum in Michigan, you will want to plant them in late April or early May.
  23. Minnesota– It is challenging to grow bell peppers in Minnesota with access to a greenhouse at least part of the season. Chose fast ripening varieties and plant them in May.
  24. Mississippi– Mississippi, with its rich loamy soil and warm climate, is ideal for growing sweet peppers. You can set plants out as early as March.
  25. Missouri– Early May is the best time to plant capsicum in Missouri.
  26. Montana– Big Sky Country isn’t known as a farmer’s paradise. Winters are long and summers short. In Montana, plant bell peppers in May and hope they ripen before the first frost.
  27. Nebraska– Nebraska has ideal weather for raising grain but not sweet peppers. Late May and early April are the best times to plant.
  28. Nevada– Geography gives Nevada an interesting mix of environments. Some areas can plant capsicum in March, and others will need to wait until early May.
  29. New Hampshire– If you live in New Hampshire, it will be best to plant early-ripening types of bell peppers in May.
  30. New Jersey– New Jersey is called the Garden State for a reason. Despite its northern local sweet peppers can be planted there from late March to early May
  31. New Mexico– Soil, not temperatures, are key to growing capsicum in New Mexico. Depending on your location in the state, sometime in March is best for planting.
  32. New York– Over most of New York, the end of April to early May will be the best time to plant sweet peppers.
  33. North Carolina– For North Carolina residence, late March is ideal for planting capsicum in the piedmont to coastal regions. Other areas will need to wait a few more weeks.
  34. North Dakota– In North Dakota, you will need to wait till May to plant sweet peppers and look for fast-growing varieties.
  35. Ohio– The best time to plant bell peppers in Ohio is in April.
  36. Oklahoma– Other than the extreme northern portion of the state, Oklahomans can plant capsicum at the end of March, first of April.
  37. Oregon– In Oregon, it is best to plant sweet peppers at the end of April to take advantage of the sunniest time of the year for fruiting.
  38. Pennsylvania– Mountain areas of Pennsylvania will need to wait till May to plant capsicum outdoors. Other zones can plant in March or April.
  39. Rhode Island– The best time to plant capsicum in Rhode Island is in May.
  40. South Carolina– In South Carolina, you can plant sweet peppers outdoors in March or early April.
  41. South Dakota– If you want to grow bell peppers in South Dakota, it is best to wait till May to set them out and use early maturing varieties.
  42. Tennessee– Early April is the ideal time to plant capsicum over most of Tennessee.
  43. Texas– In the Panhandle Region of Texas, you will want to wait till early May to plant bell peppers. In extreme southern areas, you can set your plants out in March.
  44. Utah– Utah has a highly complex geography with five different USDA Zones mixed across the state. Your best bet is to gauge your local weather and plant your peppers 2-3 weeks after the last frost.
  45. Vermont– Vermont weather can make growing mature bell peppers difficult. It is best to wait until May before bringing plants outside.
  46. Virginia– The growing season for bell peppers in Virginia begins in late May or early April.
  47. Washington– In coastal areas of Washington, you can plant capsicum in March. As you move westward, you want to wait a few more weeks.
  48. West Virginia– If you live in West Virginia, you will want to wait until May to set out your bell peppers.
  49. Wisconsin– Northern Wisconsin isn’t really suitable for growing sweet peppers unless you have a greenhouse. Mid-state down, you can plant capsicum in May with some success.
  50. Wyoming– Growing mature bell peppers in Wyoming without a greenhouse is tricky. May is the earliest you can expect the soil to be warm enough for planting.

How Long Does It Take for Bell Peppers to Grow?

Depending on growing conditions and specific variety, you can expect pickable green bell peppers 55-70 days after sprouting. Mature peppers; red, yellow, purple, and brown take a bit longer. Again, depending on the strain of capsicum, fully ripened peppers are normally harvestable 75-90 days after your plants first appear.