Cayenne peppers add a spicy kick to your vegetable garden, but you don't need a large garden bed to grow them. Like most peppers, cayenne grows well in smaller pots, so you can grow them in a small space or on the patio. These peppers are no wider than a finger and they grow up to 6 inches long. The longer the pepper, the spicier the flavor. Cayenne peppers add flavor to recipes in Cajun, Mexican and Tex-Mex cooking, but you can use them whenever you need to add a kick to your favorite dish. Plant cayenne peppers outdoors after all frost danger has passed.
1 Set a 16-inch-deep, 2-gallon pot in a location that receives six or more hours of direct daily sun. Use a container with at least one bottom drainage hole so excess moisture can freely drain from the soil.
2 Fill the pot to within 3 inches of the rim with a soilless potting medium. Add 1 tablespoon of slow-release 10-10-10 fertilizer to the soil and mix it in thoroughly. Water the soil until it's evenly moistened and water just begins to drip from the bottom drainage hole.
3 Plant the cayenne seedling in the container at the same depth as it was growing in its nursery pot. Firm the soil gently around the base of the stem and over the roots so the seedling stands upright.
4 Water the cayenne pepper after planting to settle the soil around its roots. Feel the soil daily, and water when the top 1 inch dries out. Container-grown peppers often require daily watering, especially in hot weather.
5 Dissolve 1 tablespoon of 15-30-15 fertilizer in one gallon of water. Water the cayenne peppers with the fertilizer solution every two weeks after the plant begins to flower until the end of the growing season.
6 Harvest the cayenne peppers when they grow to a 5- to 6-inch length and develop a bright red, slightly wrinkled stem. Cayenne peppers usually mature within 70 to 75 days of planting. Cut each pepper from the stem with shears to minimize damage so the plant can continue to produce new flowers and peppers.
Items you will need
- 2-gallon pot
- Soilless potting medium
- 10-10-10 slow-release fertilizer
- 15-30-15 soluble fertilizer
- Container-grown peppers are protected from soil-borne pests and diseases, although they may still fall prey to aphids and other small insects that can damage the plant or spread disease. Rinse these pests off the foliage with a sharp spray of water as soon as you notice them.
- Always wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly afterward when handling hot peppers. The capsicum oil on and inside the fruits can cause eye, mouth and skin irritation.
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