Growing Hydroponic Peppers

Peppers, whether hot or sweet, are an incredibly fun and rewarding fruit to grow indoors.  Both the fruits and the flowers have wonderful colors across the spectrum, and a wide range of flavors to suit any palette.  They also happen to grow prolifically in hydroponics, and in the iHarvest® in particular.  When you grow peppers indoors, you will never run out of the flavor, color or flowers that make growing indoors so rewarding.

Germination:

Peppers are not difficult to grow from seed.   Simply consider using our Seedling Starter Kit, or using the paper towel method for best results. You can also consider sowing your pepper seeds directly in the iHarvest, although propagation may be slightly slower and less successful.

Light:

Give your peppers plenty of light for them to grow successfully.  When growing peppers with your iHarvest®, they will perform best when receiving 16 hours of artificial light.  The iHarvest’s full-spectrum lights are terrific at mimicking natural sunlight.  They also produce a light that is pleasing to the eyes.  And because LED lights are high efficiency, they will not have a significant impact on your electric bills.

EC Range:

Your iHarvest® comes with a EC tester.  EC stands for ‘Electrical Conductivity’ and it is a measure of the nutrients in your water solution.  When growing peppers, you will want to keep your EC range above 2.0 for optimal growth.  For peppers that are not spicy, like Bell peppers, it is best to keep your EC range between 2.0 and 2.5.  For hot or spicy peppers, you can increase your EC as high as 3.5.  Peppers grow great with other plants that grow well in these PPM ranges, such as cucumbers, eggplants and tomatoes.  Your pepper plants are likely to remain healthy at EC ranges below 2.0, but will not produce fruit as quickly.

pH Range:

Your iHarvest® comes with a pH tester.  Adjusting your pH allows your plants to absorb the nutrients they need, as efficiently as possible.  Keep your pH between 5.5-6.8 for optimal growth.

Nutrients:

Peppers are a flowering/fruiting plant.  When they are young, before they begin flowering, your pepper plants will thrive with a general nutrient mix for vegetation, like those that have an N-P-K ratio of approximately 10-5-14 like IGWorks provides.  When your peppers begin to flower and fruit, they will do better with a nutrient solution that has more Phosphorus (P).  When your peppers begin to flower, you may want to add a flowering nutrient mix, which is likely to have an NPK ratio of approximately 5-15-14.  IGWorks also provides these nutrients on our website.  By adding the flowering mix to your reservoir, you will get more peppers to fruit, and they will ripen faster.

Pruning and Harvesting:

Peppers can take up a lot of space, and that’s not always easy when growing indoors.  Growing dwarf varieties of pepper plants, like our Cupid Mini Bell Peppers or Eros Mini Bell Peppers can help to save big on space.  But many regular peppers, like habaneros, jalapeno’s and banana peppers don’t take up too much space as long as you prune them back every now and then.  As your pepper plants begin to outgrow the space you have for them, you can prune them by following our guide here. 

Pollinating:

Peppers are self-fertile and need very little help to fruit.  Simply giving the flowers (or even the branches) a little shake or tap when you are walking by will do the trick.  Placing a fan in front of your garden will also help to shake the flowers just enough to help with pollination.

Harvesting:

Peppers with unique colors are easiest to harvest on time.  They will start of green, and change color when they mature.  However, keep in mind that sometimes the side of the fruit pointing away form the lights will not change color completely.  That’s ok, and they are ready to eat when the side facing the light has changed color.  For green peppers, a little trial and error may be needed, but you can generally determine when they’re ready to harvest by their size. 

Time to Harvest:

Plan on harvesting your peppers ~3 months after you’ve planted seeds, and you won’t be disappointed.  It will often take less time, especially when managing your nutrients, pH and EC as described above.

Temperature (Important for Hot Peppers):

We don't often consider temperatures when we are thinking about indoor gardening, but hot peppers are particularly sensitive to temperature.  Unsurprisingly, hot peppers like it hot!  If your temperatures are below 65 degrees, you may experience issues producing good hot peppers.  And you will have best success between 75 - 85 degrees.

By the way, if you'd like to turn your hot peppers into a delicious hot sauce, check out this article by Chone Hot Sauce.

Conclusion:

Remember, you don’t require a green thumb to grow in the iHarvest®.  In fact, it’s easier than growing in soil.  The more closely you follow the directions, the more peppers you will have.  But even without following the directions well, you’ll end up growing peppers in your iHarvest® indoor garden.  And don’t forget, IGWorks® and the Indoor Garden Works Group on Facebook are always here to help.

Let's grow together!

 

There's more great growing information in the links below: