planting pepper seeds

Starting Pepper Plants Indoors – Seed Starting Under the Dome

Starting pepper plants indoors is really the only way to go if you plan to grow your pepper plants from seed.  Unless you live in a topical location, your season probably isn’t long enough to start your seeds outside and still get ripe fruit from your plants.

Is seed starting difficult?  Nope, it’s easy.  You can go the route I went in the video below, or you can just use paper cups with some seed-starting mix.  Either way, I think the absolute hardest thing is choosing which pepper varieties you want to grow from seed!

Starting Pepper Plants Indoors

This year (2020) I have so far planted the following pepper varieties:

  • Buena Mulata:  A purple-fruited cayenne type of pepper (hot).  Starts as purple and ripens to red.
  • Tricked You Hybrid Jalapeno:  A very low-heat jalapeno, so you get the flavor without the spice.  Starts out dark green and ripens to red.
  • Purple Jalapeno:  This jalapeno starts out purple and ripens to red.  Since I also planned to grow the no-heat jalapenos, I wanted my hot variety to be a different color to easily tell them apart.  Medium hot.
  • NuMex Suave Orange:  A very low-heat habanero; it will let you enjoy the fruity flavor of a habanero with the blistering heat.  Starts green and ripens to orange.
  • Bill’s Striped:  An interesting striped pepper which is shaped kind of like a cone or horn.  It’s striped cream and green when young, and then cream, red and darker red when ripe.  Sweet.
  • Giuzeppi:  A Hatch chile pepper, it’s a low-heat variety.  The Scoville rating is around 1,500 so it’s good for someone who like just a tiny bit of heat.  Starts out green and ripens to red.
  • Sweet Banana:  An old favorite, sweet and no heat.  They are very prolific, and I’m using it as part of an experiment.  Starts out a light yellow-green and ripens to red.
  • Roumanian Sweet:  So far my only bell pepper of the year.  Starts out a very pale green and ripens to red.  Sweet.

I plan on some more, but the above are the seeds which I have started so far.  I have to get these farther along so I can plant my ornamentals and maybe another cayenne-type.  It’s called running out of space (yes, I planted more than just peppers, lol).

Starting Seeds Under the Dome

When starting pepper plants indoors, you’ll need your seeds, some water and your planting medium.  If you want to go the paper cup route, here’s a post on how to plant pepper seeds in a cup.  However, this year I’ve decided to use the Park’s BioDome for starting my seeds, and that is what you will see in the video.

You’ll notice that I also use a seed germination mat when planting pepper seeds.  Most peppers like bottom warmth for germination, but if you don’t have one, just make sure you find a warm spot after you plant your seeds.

So how long does it take for pepper seeds to sprout?  It depends on the variety, the warmth you can give them and the freshness of the seeds.  I got lucky and almost all f them germinated within a week.  The two hold-outs are the NuMex Suave Orange and the Roumanian Sweet.  The NuMex Suave Orange isn’t all that surprising — it’s a capsicum chinenses, and they tend to take longer to germinate.  Roumainian Sweet — well, maybe it just needs a little more coaxing to wake up from its sleep.

Starting Pepper Plants Indoors – Video

Here’s the video for planting pepper seeds in the Park’s Bio Dome.  Hope you enjoy it!


Planting Pepper Seeds Experiment – Planting Domes

I mentioned in my peppers planned for 2020 post that I was going to experiment starting seeds.  My setup is different now (lighting, counter space, etc.) so why not try something new?  The video I’ve included below helps to describe what’s new for this year, but read on for the details.

Setting the Stage for Planting Pepper Seeds

When I moved, I gave away of a lot of my old supplies — cheaper to re-buy than it was to move them.  One of the first things I re-bought was a seed germinating heat mat.  This house is cooler overall, so I know the seeds will appreciate the warmth (and will germinate faster).

Lots of them on Amazon these days, which is where I buy something like 95% of my supplies.  I looked for something inexpensive and had a decent rating (I know, real scientific).  Here are some seed germinating heating mats if you want to look them over.  But, the one I got was made by Ohuhu.

My real experiment is going to be testing an inexpensive germination dome setup against one of the more expensive seed starting Bio-Domes.  I got a set of 10 trays for starting seeds, which also came with some teeny tools and some labels; I think I paid around $15 for it.  Of course, I need to supply the seed-starting mix and a seed-starting fertilizer (regular stuff, just really diluted).

The Bio-Dome is substantially more expensive, although it does come with the seed starting plugs and some fertilizer.  It’s also more solidly made.  There are several version of it, but I got the one that had 18 sections.  (I felt it was more in line with the size of the sections in my mini-domes.)  The advantage to this one is with the length of time the plant can stay in the dome, and the ease of transplanting.

Pros and Cons (I Think)

As to the inexpensive heating mat — that’s just a pro all the way — unless your seeds need cold for germination, don’t try germinating seeds without one.

For the inexpensive set of 10 trays (with small domes included), the pro is definitely the cost.  Supplying the seed starting mix and fertilizer is kind of a given, so that’s not a pro or con.  The con is the construction — as you might guess for the cost, it’s a bit on the flimsy side.  But I think I can get several uses out of one dome set.

The unknown is how difficult it will be when it comes time to get the seedling from its cell into another pot, prior to planting in its final location.  But as silly as they may seem, I think those little tools (in green in the photo) will help.  Otherwise, I am liable to crush the black cells trying to pop out the plants (like I said, they are flimsy).

As I’ve been writing this, I’ve also been looking over the inexpensive domes. and I may have to either poke another hole or two on the bottom of each cell, or make the existing one a little larger.  But that shouldn’t be too hard.

For the more expensive Bio Dome, the pro is that it’s more solidly made and comes with the plugs (what you plant your seeds into).  And it also has fertilizer included.  Oh, and the watering system ends up being self-watering — far less monitoring for drying out.

The con is the price; they aren’t really cheap, but if they live up to their reputation of being able to keep the seedlings in the tray longer before transplanting, that will help.  And if they also live up to the claims of a super-easy transplant, that will make things easier on me, seeing as I will be transplanting 30+ seedlings of various kinds (peppers, tomatoes, etc.).

The unknown is exactly how well that will work!  From the demos I’ve seen, it’s super-easy to pop out the plug and transplant to its final location; no in-between stage needed.  Hmmm.  I will probably still do an intermediate stage for at least some of them, to help harden off the plants before putting them into their final locations in the garden.

Lights, Action…Video!

Here’s the video demo I did comparing the systems — I hope it’s helpful for you, to see the differences in the two systems.  😀

Pretty Purple Pepper in the Garden

Pretty Purple Pepper is not only a variety name, but an accurate description of the plant and its fruit!  Let’s talk a little about growing this wonderful pepper variety in the garden.

How Does it Look?

Pretty Purple PepperIt’s really hard to capture with a photo how lovely both the plant and the peppers are!  The stems are a deep purple-maroon color, and the leaves have a violet sheen to them (which I can’t seem to capture).  And the peppers — they are a gorgeous, glowing purple.

This pepper has been quite hardy in my garden.  It’s faced a near-freeze with grace, and is thriving in a 3-gallon container.  I drop by it at least once a day because it’s a feast for my eyes.

(You can click on the photo for a larger image.)

Germinating the Seeds

I find that germinating seeds for this pepper to be easy.  Even in a cooler temperature than normal, the plant came up within 10 days.  I imagine that if I used a heat mat, that would shorten to 5-7 days.

I germinated this particular plant at cooler-than-normal temperatures as an experiment.  Pretty Purple Pepper sprouted well, but the other seeds had a hard time, and most didn’t germinate at all.

(Here’s more information about germinating hot pepper seeds, if you need a few tips.)

Container Growing

I mentioned that I am currently growing this plant in a 3-gallon container, and it is thriving.  While it would do better in the ground, it’s quite suitable for a lovely container plant on a patio.  Not only is the plant pleasing to look at but it also has purple-and-white flowers.  When the plant has flowers and peppers at the same time, it’s a sight to behold!

Other Hints for Pretty Purple Pepper

As I mentioned, this plant has had some tough conditions.  Not only has it faced temperatures in the 30’s, but it’s also faced extended periods of high winds.  The weather has been dry, and sometimes the soil isn’t as damp as I’m sure the plant would like.  Through all this, Pretty Purple Pepper has sailed on without a problem.

What About Eating Them?

You can certainly eat these peppers, but they are quite hot — my guess is around 40,000 Scoville Units.  I don’t eat a lot of them, because they are so lovely on the plant.  But I reccomend them  in stir-fries and also for a vinegar pepper.  And although I haven’t tried them as such, I imagine they would be good pickled.

I like Pretty Purple Pepper, and it has an ongoing spot in my garden.  I hope you like it too!
Pretty Purple Pepper


Here’s another photo just a couple weeks later of the same plant!