How to grow jalapeno peppers in pots – top tips for bumper container harvests

There are real benefits to growing your jalapenos in containers - will you be tempted to try?

Jalapeno peppers growing on a plant in a pot
(Image credit: Alamy/Pavo Real)

Jalapeno peppers are ideal crops to grow in pots and it can be really simple to get a harvest of homegrown peppers from a container in even a small space on a patio, deck or balcony. 

The fiery crop is always popular to grow and will thrive in a sunny spot. I have always grown jalapeno peppers, among other chili varieties, in pots located in greenhouses in vegetable gardens in the UK. The plants thrived growing in large containers in warm and protected environments and I always got strong harvests of fruits for the chefs I grew for. 

If you want to know more about growing jalapeno peppers in pots, we look at all you need to know to have healthy plants and a bumper yield of jalapenos for all your culinary desires.

A jalapeno pepper plant growing in a pot

Jalapeno peppers make great crops for growing in pots

(Image credit: Alamy/Panther Media GmbH)

Benefits of growing jalapeno peppers in pots 

Jalapeno peppers, and any other types of chili peppers or bell peppers, are great options for vegetables to grow in pots. It means that people without large outside spaces, or the luxury of a greenhouse or polytunnel, can enjoy homegrown jalapenos. It opens up the possibilities to have them as part of a vegetable container garden on a deck, patio, or balcony. 

Jalapeno peppers can thrive being grown in containers and cultivating them in pots can be a good way for new gardeners to get a first taste of looking after chili plants, as it gives you more control over the crop. 

‘For beginners, it's always best to plant in containers to have better control over soil quality, drainage, and other growing conditions, especially when your native soil is not ideal,’ says Charmaine Peters, farm director at Arden. ‘You can also  easily move your plant around to ensure it gets the best sunlight and stays safe during bad weather.’

Charmaine Peters
Charmaine Peters

Charmaine Peters is the Farm Director at Arden, an award-winning Agrihood community in South Florida

How to grow jalapeno peppers in pots

There are lots of different varieties of jalapeno peppers that you can grow in pots. The term jalapeno is a category of chili peppers, not a specific variety. Varieties of jalapeno can differ in terms of size, shape, color, and the level of heat. 

Jalapeno pepper plants can either be bought as young plants in spring, or raised from seed sown indoors from late winter onwards. There will be more varieties available to choose from if you decide to grow the plants from seed. 

Discover the range of jalapeno seeds available at Burpee.

Sowing jalapeno pepper seeds 

planting seeds

Sow two seeds per pot and thin to the strongest seedling

(Image credit: Aleksandr Zubkov / Moment / Getty Images)

The ideal time to sow is from January to March. Jalapeno peppers have a long growing season, so sowing early indoors in a heated greenhouse or in a heated propagator on a warm windowsill gives you a great start. You can sow seeds indoors in trays or pots filled with a quality soil for starting seeds off in, such as this organic seed starter mix available at Amazon.

‘Soak seeds in lukewarm water for up to eight hours,’ says Jen McDonald, founder of Garden Girls. ‘Place the seed on top of the compost and add a very light covering of soil. Water regularly, taking care not to let seed dry out and germination should occur within 14 days.’

A heated propagator or heat mat can help to give the jalapeno seeds their ideal temperatures of around 80°F to germinate. Seedlings will require potting up into larger pots and continuing to be grown somewhere warm until they are ready to go into their final container for the season.

Jen McDonald
Jen McDonald

Jen McDonald is a garden expert and co-founder of Garden Girls, based in Houston, Texas. With 14 raised beds and over 400 square feet of growing space, she grows everything from amaranth to peanuts, cut flowers to cucumbers.

Planting jalapeno peppers in pots 

Green jalapeno pepper growing on a plant in a pot

Jalapeno peppers want ample space to grow into

(Image credit: Alamy/Natalija Chavina)

Ultimately, you will need a relatively large pot to grow jalapeno peppers in. Charmaine Peters recommends ‘use a container of about four to five gallons in size’ as growing jalapenos in smaller pots ‘can compromise your jalapeno's growth and fruit production.’ 

The pot needs to have holes in the bottom for drainage and be filled with a quality potting mix that is specifically designed for growing vegetables, such as this organic potting mix available at Amazon

Only plant one jalapeno pepper per pot, as it needs lots of space to grow over the season. Put the pot in a sunny spot that gets 6-8 hours of sunlight each day and place a sturdy cane in the container to tie the plant to as it grows. This prevents the plants from leaning, or toppling altogether in their pot.

Watering and feeding jalapenos in containers 

Jalapeno peppers ripening on a plant

Diligent watering of jalapenos growing in pots will reward you with lots of fruit

(Image credit: Getty Images/ElFlacodelNorte)

Watering is going to be an important task throughout the growing season. Jalapeno peppers want to be in pots that are in sunny spots, and they are hungry plants - so it will mean a lot of watering and feeding. Check every few days for when to water plants, rising to daily when you will need to water plants in hot weather as the soil can quickly dry out in pots during the summer. When watering plants in containers, use your fingers or a soil moisture meter, such as this 3-in-1 soil meter available at Walmart, to check the moisture levels a few inches down in the pot. However, take care not to overwater the plants.

‘A good rule of thumb is to provide about one inch of water per week,’ advises Crystal Provenzano, general manager at Eden Brothers. ‘Signs of an overwatered plant include wilted leaves, which may seem to indicate that the plant needs water even though it is actually getting too much of it. When considering how much water is too much, think about the fact that chili peppers originated in dry Mexican climates.’ 

As well as lots of water throughout the season, jalapeno pepper plants in pots will need a regular programme of fertilization to help ensure the plants produce and ripen fruits. The potting soil should provide all the nutrients for the first six weeks, at which point a feed with a balanced fertilizer will benefit the plant. 

Charmaine Peters says: ‘As the plants start producing flowers and fruits, switch to a fertilizer with a lower nitrogen content— an NPK ratio of 5-10-10. This shift will help focus more on producing fruits rather than more foliage growth.’ 

A good fertilizer at this stage would be a plant fertilizer designed for growing tomatoes, such as this 5-10-10 tomato and vegetable feed available at Amazon, and it should be applied every two weeks once the flowers start to appear.

Crystal Provenzano,
Crystal Provenzano

Crystal Provenzano has been at Eden Brothers for a decade. She grows everything, from veggies to wildflowers, and now holds the title of General Manager at Eden Brothers - a company that has one of the largest seed and flower bulb offerings in the US.

Harvesting jalapeno peppers in pots 

Ripe green jalapeno peppers on a wooden board

Pick jalapenos growing in pots regularly 

(Image credit: Getty Images/Image By Marc Gutierrez)

The jalapeno peppers will be ready to pick from midsummer onwards, when the fruits reach at least three inches long. 

Remove the peppers with a sharp knife or pruning shears, rather than pulling at the fruits as that would be a harvesting mistake that can damage your jalapeno peppers. Pick the fruits regularly as this encourages the plant to produce more peppers.


Do jalapeno peppers grow better in pots or in the ground? 

There are many benefits to growing peppers in pots as you can control the soil and also the environmental conditions. Jalapeno peppers will grow happily in the ground, though only those living in warmer US hardiness zones are able to grow and ripen jalapeno peppers outside in a kitchen garden. Utilizing pots means plants can be grown in small backyards, inside greenhouses or conservatories, or on decks or balconies, or even indoors on a sunny windowsill.

Can you grow jalapenos from store bought peppers? 

You can collect seeds from store-bought jalapenos to sow at home. To take advantage of these free seeds, scrape them out of mature chilies and air dry them for a few days before sowing them into pots filled with a good compost.

Do you feel inspired to try growing some spicy and flavorsome peppers in pots? Then why stop at just jalapenos? You could consider casting a wider net as you can grow chili peppers of all types, colors, sizes, and levels of heat as part of a container garden.

Drew Swainston
Content Editor

Drew’s passion for gardening started with growing vegetables and salad in raised beds in a small urban terrace garden. He has gone on to work as a professional gardener in historic gardens across the UK and also specialise as a kitchen gardener growing vegetables, fruit, herbs, and cut flowers. That passion for growing extends to being an allotmenteer, garden blogger, and producing how-to gardening guides for websites. Drew was shortlisted in the New Talent of the Year award at the 2023 Garden Media Guild Awards.