Growing Peppers as Perennials

I’ve tried to grow peppers twice before – big beautiful bell peppers. I dreamed of eating fajitas, fresh salads, maybe even some stuffed peppers, but it was not to be…both attempts resulted in failure. The plants themselves do okay – they get tall and grow leaves. Sometimes they even bloom and the flowers appear to get pollinated. Then, disaster inevitably strikes. The peppers that do grow are small and spindly. Or they fall off the plant before maturity. Or they get devoured by bugs/birds/squirrels/insert critter. Either way – it leads to disappointment all around. All those fajitas that could have been enjoyed… I usually have to console myself with margaritas.

Earlier this spring as we were discussing our garden plans, my husband pointed out that while our pepper plants had survived winter, they weren’t looking great and he mentioned that he wanted to pull them up. My response was a very whiny and resounding “Nooooooooooooo!”. I wanted to give them one more chance. You see – winters here in Austin are notoriously mild. And my theory was that pepper plants that make it through the few cold spells we have exhibit stronger stems & deeper roots and are much more likely to thrive in the harsh Austin summer than a newly planted young pepper.

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California Wonder Bell Pepper – a little over a year old and almost 3 feet tall.

I’m half afraid that writing this post will doom my pepper plants to failure, but so far so good! I’m holding my breath as I write this, but it seems for once that our pepper plants are producing like crazy. We have 3 bell pepper plants and one Serrano pepper plant. I use the Serranos in my salsa recipes – I just need some ripe tomatoes and a few onions. Delicious!

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Purple Beauty Peppers – gorgeous color right?
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California Wonder Bell Peppers
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Serrano Peppers are fairly spicy and turn red when they ripen.

Crazy Texas weather is finally good for something! Any other pepper tips out there?

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6 thoughts on “Growing Peppers as Perennials

  1. I have found peppers like a lot of warm weather and sun. When I start them to early I don’t have a ton of luck. I am probably going to get my peppers planted this week because our weather is going to get real hot soon.

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  2. Conditions have to be perfect here in Olympia to grow peppers. Next year we’ll have our greenhouse up and running and then I suspect peppers will do fine here.

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  3. My sister lives in Austin. I went to UT but now live in MO. Gardening in my zone (6b) is tricky. It seems like the weather is different every year. My tomatoes and peppers seem slow to get going this year. Hopefully I’ll get something before the season is over. I like to start with seeds. It just seems more fun or rewarding to me than buying a plant.

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  4. Glad to see your perennial peppers doing so well here in Austin. I just tried growing peppers for the first time this year and the plants were lacking, so I was thinking of trying out the perennial route also. Unfortunately, I planted them in a really inconvenient place this year and had to take them out. Next year!

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