By Charity Shumway |

How to Grow Peppers in a Window Box

Guess what? Peppers are the perfect plant to pop into a window box. For oh so many reasons. Let me count the ways:

First, they don’t get all that big. So unlike, say, tomato plants which start off small but then get so big they try to eat your family, peppers won’t overwhelm a small window box space.  Not only that — they don’t have particularly deep or sprawling roots either. So your window box is the right size in more ways than one.

Second, they’re pretty! They’ve got sweet, simple white flowers, but the fruit itself is the real fun. Would you like yellow peppers? Green peppers? Purple? Red? Orange? All of the above on ONE PLANT?! Peppers are happy to accommodate.

Let’s talk about what you need to do to make the “Peppers in a Window Box” project a reality.

Step 1: Pick your plant! I adore Banana Peppers (that’s what’s growing up there in the photo).  Purple Beauty Bell Peppers are another treat. They start out green, and then they turn deep, grape-y purple. I love them because that’s not a type of pepper you see in the store everyday. Then of course there are all the hot peppers. For the true pinnacle of ornamentality, however, there are a few varieties that can’t be beat. Starting with Numex Twlight. Behold:

They start out purple and make their way through yellow and orange on their way to a fiery ripe red. Plus, Numex Twilight. Just say it. The more I say it, the more I think “Numex” is the perfect name for a dog in a sci-fi novel. Whatever. The peppers are pretty! Sangria Peppers are another beauty pageant winner. Ta da:

A fiesta of elegance, no? Okay, so pick already!

Step 2: Get the right container. You need a container you can put at least twelve inches of soil into and that also has holes in the bottom for good drainage. If your window box is inside, that means you’ll also need a dish to go underneath it.

Step 3: Let’s plant! Next step, fill your container with potting soil. If you’re planting seeds, once the container is almost full, spread the seeds, then cover with a 1/4 inch of soil and water lightly. (Don’t worry about trying to get spacing perfect — just broadcast the seeds. You’ll get lots of little plants, and then in a couple of weeks you can snip off most of them at the soil line, leaving a few plants to thrive, about twelve inches apart). If you’re replanting starter plants, dig holes as large as the containers the plants come in, pop them out of their plastic pots, and pop them into your window box. Fill in around the plants with soil, and give them a watering to welcome them to their new home.

Step 4: Give them water, give them light, and watch them grow! Peppers need six to eight hours a day of sunlight, so pick a sunny spot. They like moist, well-drained soil, so you’ll want to water every 2-3 days (depending on how dry your apartment is — if the plant droops, water more. If you stick your finger in the soil and it’s still wet, it’s not time to water again yet).

And that’s it! Depends on the type of pepper, but for most, just a little over two months from planting, and you’ll be spicing up your life with some window box peppers for dinner.