Bell peppers are crunchy, tangy, and colorful. They are crisp, allowing them to provide a unique texture in salads and other dishes. Because of their color, they are also recognized as ornamental plants in the vegetable world. It is a cultivar that belongs to Capsicum annuum and from the family of nightshades, the same with eggplant, tomato, and potato. They can have three or four lobes. Their flavor will depend on their color. Red and yellow are fruity. Purple and green, on the other hand, will have a slight bitterness. In case you do not know, take note that these peppers are not hot.
There are many varieties of bell peppers that you might want to include in your choices. One of the most popular is Cajun Belle, which matures within 60 days. It has a hint of spice, but there is dominant sweetness. If you want larger peppers, on the other hand, you might want to opt for Big Bertha, which has an approximate length of eight inches and width of four inches. It is also popular amongst home gardeners because it is disease-free. For something different, try planting Chocolate Beauty, which has rich chocolate brown color and full flavor.
Planting and Growing Conditions
To grow bell peppers indoors, you can either start from seed or grow from a transplant. Most people start from seeds since germination is not that challenging. Start by soaking the seeds in water, which will soften the outer shell and speed up the process of sprouting. Let it stay in the water for about eight hours.
Once the seeds are ready, it is now time to prepare your pot and your soil. You can use standard containers, but you might also want to opt for a disposable seedling tray. An ideal potting mix is a combination of coarse sand, vermiculite, and peat moss. The soil should also be well-draining and must have excellent moisture retention.
Before putting soil in the pot, place a landscaping cloth at the bottom. Cut it to fit the size and the shape of the container. See to it that water can pass through the fabric and that the pot has drainage holes. After laying the cloth, pour the soil. Make sure to not overfill the pot. In the middle, sow two seeds. Plant more around the area, but make sure that there are at least three inches of space so that they will not end up overcrowding. Make sure to push the seeds down so that the soil will cover them.
Next, choose a location that is ideal for the bell pepper. The windowsill is perhaps the best place. It needs bright sun throughout the day. It is also important to maintain a constant temperature, which should be anywhere from 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Water the soil regularly, but make sure that it will never be soggy. Wait until the soil is dry before the next watering.
Need more reasons to eat bell peppers? Below are some of the health benefits that you might find convincing:
- Prevents Cancer: Among the different antioxidants that you can find in bell peppers, carotenoids are some of the most common, which will help in preventing cellular damage. To add, it also has sulfur, which is known for being a great cancer fighter.
- Improves Digestion: This is attributed to the fact that it is rich in fiber. This makes it effective in the prevention of constipation and other digestive issues. It is also important for weight management since fiber will make you feel fuller longer.
- Helps You Sleep Quicker: If you are suffering from insomnia, incorporating more bell pepper in your daily diet will help since it can function as a natural sleep aid. It has Vitamin B6, which helps in the production of melatonin, a compound that is needed by the body to regulate your sleeping patterns.
- Keeps Skin Young Looking: If you want a radiant and beautiful skin, especially for people who are aging, bell peppers will be good. They are rich in vitamins C and E, which are both helpful in improving your skin.
- Improves Eye Health: There are more than 30 carotenoids that are present in bell pepper. It is a phytonutrient that is responsible for the prominent color in most fruits and vegetables. They transform to Vitamin A and prevents a variety of eye diseases, such as macular degeneration.
Pests and Diseases
Without giving your plant the attention that it deserves, viruses and pathogens can attack, resulting in a number of diseases, such as bacterial leaf spot, southern blight, Cercospora leaf spot, and blossom end rot. For pests, on the other hand, aphids, cutworms, root-knot nematodes, pepper weevils, tomato hornworms, cutworms, and blister beetles are some of the most common causes of infestation.
Care and Maintenance
Thinking of how to encourage better growth for your bell peppers? Here are some tips that you have to keep in mind:
- Feed the plant with fertilizer once the flowers start to develop. This will supplement the nutrients that the bell pepper needs. Use water soluble fertilizer. See to it that the fertilizer contains nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, and iron, among other nutrients that bell pepper needs. During soil preparation, you can also add fertilizer to encourage quicker germination of the seeds.
- Because they are indoors, pollination can be quite a challenge. With this, you have to hand-pollinate the plant when the flower starts to appear. Rub a cotton swab from a female flower to a male flower. This will be effective in increasing yield.
- Be sure to harvest the pepper once they are mature enough. When you harvest them, you are encouraging the growth of new peppers. To harvest, be sure to use only clean scissors to avoid the transfer of infection or pathogens. Leave about one to two inches of the stem.
- Take note as well that bell peppers are sensitive to indoor air quality. Keep it away from a place where there is cigarette smoke. See to it that the air is free from pollutants that can contaminate the plant and inhibit its growth.
Bell peppers are delicious, nutritious, and beautiful, making them the perfect choice for an indoor plant. even without a green thumb, growing this plant will be easy on your part, even as a beginner in gardening. With the right growing conditions, especially light and soil, success can be easily apparent and it won’t take long before you can pick fresh and colorful peppers in containers.