In this article, you will find the answer to the question, “How much water do pepper plants need?” You will also find out the answers to other questions people frequently ask about watering pepper plants.
How Much Water Do Pepper Plants Need?
Most pepper plants grown in the West do not need plenty of water to survive. The reason why is that they are native to regions of Central and South America that are warm and dry and, therefore, they are adapted to living and thriving without plenty of water. So if you are growing pepper plants, you do not need to water them frequently.
If you are wondering how peppers from Central and South America got to Europe and the rest of the world, wonder no more. It is the Spanish that transported them during the colonial era.
Now you know that peppers do not need a lot of water. You may think that there is no harm in giving your peppers more water. Many people usually think this way and overwater their peppers. While accidentally overwatering your peppers once or twice in a while will not do them any harm, doing it frequently will harm your pepper plants. This is because overwatering causes 4 major negative effects.
First, it creates wet and humid conditions, which do not match the dry climates than standard pepper varieties thrive in. Second, it washes away nutrients and prevents plants from absorbing them and using them for growth and survival. Third, it inhibits roots from taking in oxygen which they need to do to transport important nutrients. Finally, it creates the ideal conditions for various pests and plant diseases to infect plants.
So overwatering is very harmful to plants. Give your plants only enough water to make their soil around their roots moist but not waterlogged.
When Should You Water Your Pepper Plants?
You should only water your pepper plants when they need water. This might sound sarcastic but it is actually the right answer to the question. Pepper plants obviously do need watering but in moderation. They do not like wet feet or sitting in soil that is soaked for hours.
How do you know when your plants need water? By observing them in the morning. If your pepper plants look as if they are wilting in the morning, you should water them. This is because wilting is usually a sign of dehydration in plants. If your pepper plants look wilted midday or late in the day during summer, you should not be worried. Because if there is water in the soil around their roots, they will recover in the morning. If they do not recover, simply water them and they will be okay.
If you are not a morning person or you do not know what a wilted pepper plant looks like, you should buy a water meter from Amazon. Water meters are not very expensive and they are the most accurate way to tell how much water is in the ground around the roots of your plant. If you purchase a water meter, you will be able to use it any time you want to water your plants to find out if they really need water and to prevent yourself from overwatering them. I strongly recommend buying a quality water meter if you are interested in serious home gardening.
What Is The Best Way To Water Pepper Plants?
The best way to water pepper plants is to pour water directly where their stems emerge from the soil. You should avoid watering pepper plants on their leaves and stems as this can encourage pests and fungi to develop.
If you can afford a drip irrigation system, you should get one. It is the ‘bestest’ way to water your pepper plants. This is because it waters plants directly where their stems meet the ground and when set right it cannot overwater your plants.
What Is The Best Time To Water Pepper Plants?
The best time to water pepper plants is in the morning. This is because it is the morning that you can easily tell if your pepper plants actually need to be watered. Furthermore, it is also in the morning that you can water your plants with a little bit of excess water to allow the hot noon sun to evaporate it later in the day.
Watering your plants in the evening is not advisable. This is because any excess water will not be evaporated. And this will be problematic because it will keep the roots of your plants waterlogged overnight and it could lead to the development of fungi and diseases. It could also kill your plants if you do it frequently especially if your plants are potted.
How Frequently Should You Water Your Garden Pepper Plants?
Different experts advise different things. Some say you should only water your garden pepper plants when they start showing signs of wilting. Some say you should only water them once a week. There are also experts who advise watering your plants based on weather.
In my opinion, I think the best advice is to watch your plants in the morning for signs of wilting every three days and then to water them if they look like they are wilting. If you do this you will probably not water your plants more than once a week. And if it rains every few days in your area, you will probably not even need to water your pepper plants.
How Frequently Should You Water Your Container/ Potted Pepper Plants?
Watering container peppers/ potted peppers is a bit tricky compared to watering in-ground pepper plants. If you are growing your pepper plants in containers or pots indoors, you should make sure you water them daily. This is because they will have no other water but the water they are receiving from you.
However, you should also make sure that your containers or pots have good drainages. Because if they do not have good drainages and you water them daily, you will end up soaking the roots of your plants and they will start rotting in no time. So for potted plants, water them daily but do so only after assessing the moisture content in the containers.
Please note that if your containers or pots are outdoors, you do not need to water them daily. You need to water them maybe after three to four days. This is because they will get water from rain and dew.
Can You Underwater Your Pepper Plants?
Yes, you can. Underwatering is just as likely as overwatering is. However, it is easy to tell if you are underwatering your plants because they will wilt very quickly. Underwatering is also something that most gardeners are always on the lookout for so it is less likely to occur.
What most people do not know can happen is overwatering. Most people usually think plants love water. They do but they do not like too much water. So when watering your plants try to neither overdo nor underdo it.
Can Underwatering Your Pepper Plants Make Your Hot Peppers hotter?
Yes, it can. This is, in fact, one of the ways expert gardeners make their hot peppers spicier. How does underwatering make hot pepper plants produce hotter peppers? Well, the amount of water a pepper plant receives determines the quantity of capsaicin – the chemical that makes hot peppers hot – it makes. More water means low capsaicin production and less water means high capsaicin production.
Therefore, if you underwater your hot pepper plants, deliberately or accidentally, you will end up with spicier hot peppers. Your hot peppers will also be more flavorful. However, while you will love the heat and the flavor from your hot peppers, you will have to do with lower productivity because underwatering reduces productivity.
The Final Word
Pepper plants generally do not need a lot of water. This is because they are adapted to living in warm and dry climates. However, they do need enough water to survive. So observe your pepper plants and give them enough water when they show signs of wilting. Alternatively, you should get a water meter to immediately ascertain if your plants need water and to prevent yourself from overwatering them.