In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about how often to water pepper plants including how much water pepper plants need, how to water them, and when to water them.
How Much Water Do Pepper Plants Need?
This may be a surprise to many people but pepper plants actually do not need a lot of water. This is because the most common pepper plant varieties are native to regions of Central America that are very dry e.g. Mexico, Peru, and Bolivia.
Therefore, they are adapted to surviving with very little water in warm and dry conditions. Therefore, if you are growing pepper plants in your garden, you should not water them too often.
You may be tempted to water your pepper plants too often but shouldn’t do it. This is because watering your pepper plants too often will lead to excess watering aka overwatering.
Overwatering can be a problem whether you are growing your peppers in the ground, in raised beds or in pots. And although you may be doing it to keep your peppers growing and healthy, you will end up achieving the opposite. You will stunt the growth of your pepper plants and probably even kill them. This is because overwatering has four main negative effects.
First, it creates wet and humid conditions around the plants that do not mimic the warm and dry climates that most pepper varieties are adapted to.
Second, it washes away the nutrients near the roots of the plants preventing them from absorbing them and using them.
Third, it prevents plant roots from absorbing oxygen which they need to do to transport nutrients needed for different important processes. Lastly, it creates the perfect conditions for certain pests and diseases to attack plants.
Therefore, to avoid stunting the growth of your pepper plants, you should never overwater them.
How to Know If You Are Overwatering Your Pepper Plants
It is easy to know if you are overwatering your plants. You just need to look for the signs. The two major signs of overwatering are discolored leaves and rotting roots.
- Discolored Leaves. If you are overwatering your pepper plants, their leaves will look yellow. However, keep in mind that pepper plant leaves turning yellow is also a sign of under-watering. Luckily, overwatered pepper plants look yellow and limp, while under-watered plants look yellow, brittle, and dry; so it is easy to tell whether yellow leaves are a sign of overwatering or under-watering. In short, what I am trying to say is that if you are overwatering your pepper plants, they will look yellow and limp.
- Rotting Roots. If you are overwatering your pepper plants, their roots will start rotting. This is because they will be constantly drowned in water and, therefore, deprived of air/ oxygen. And since the roots will not be absorbing oxygen or nutrients, their rot will spread to the stems and branches. Unfortunately, by the time you notice rotting roots or stems, it will probably be too late for you to save your plant or plants.
Increased incidence of pests and diseases is also a sign of overwatering but not a major one.
How to Water Pepper Plants
The best way to water pepper plants is to only water them when they show early signs of wilting. This is because overwatering has many negative effects and it is, therefore, something you want to avoid. So you should only water your pepper plants occasionally when they look like they are about to wilt.
And when you see early signs of wilting you should not worry. Just a bit of water will resurrect them and make them look healthy and strong again.
As I mentioned earlier in this article, pepper plants are adapted to living in warm and dry climates. So watering them only when they look like they are about to wilt will not negatively affect their health or growth.
How to Water Pepper Plant Seedlings
Pepper plant seedlings that are germinated indoors require a lot of care to germinate successfully. If you are germinating your pepper plant seeds indoors, you should add just a spritz of water to prevent the soil from drying out. This is your goal and you should constantly check/ monitor the soil to make sure it does not dry out. Because if it dries out, it will prevent your pepper plant seeds from germinating or becoming healthy seedlings.
Apart from making sure the soil does not dry out, you should not overwater it. If you overwater your seeds/ seedlings, you should refrain from watering them again until the soil dries out.
How to Water Young Pepper Plants
Pepper plants are adapted to living in warm and dry conditions. So they can go for a while without a lot of water. As mentioned moments ago, the right way to water pepper plants is to wait for them to show signs of wilting.
However, if you are growing them in the ground outside and the sun in your region is often too strong, they will wilt during the day. This should not trigger you to water them more because sun-related wilting is not a sign of lack of water. To be sure if the wilting or signs of wilting you are seeing are because of lack of water, you should inspect the soil around the roots to be sure it is dry. If it is, you should water them.
How to Tell If the Soil around Your Pepper Plants Is Dry
If you are growing pepper plants in pots, you can tell if the soil in the pots is dry by weighing them when you water them and when they are dry.
You can also tell if your pepper plants are dry by using your fingers to dig the soil around your plants about 10 centimeters deep and examining the soil.
You can use this second method to visually assess the moisture level of the soil around your pepper plants whether you planted them in pots, in raised beds, or in the ground. If the soil is dry you should soak it but don’t make it too wet and sticky.
If you can get a drip irrigation system for your garden, you should do so. This is because, with such a system, you will not need to frequently check if the soil around the roots of your plants is wet or dry.
The reason why is that such systems are set to give just the right amount of water and rarely do they overwater plants. So get one if you can to avoid the hassle of watering your pepper plants and monitoring the moisture level in the soil around their roots.
The only problem with drip irrigation systems is the fact that they are usually quite expensive particularly if they are well-automated.
When to Water Pepper Plants
The best time to water pepper plants is in the morning. When you do this, the sun will dry out the excess water during the day and prevent overwatering and its negative effects.
You should avoid watering your pepper plants at night or in the evening. This is because doing so will make them waterlogged and will lead to the development of fungi and diseases. Remember, pepper plants do not need a lot of water. Their roots just need to be kept moist and not waterlogged.
However, when you are adding liquid nutrients, you should not shy away from pouring a lot of nutrients to the roots (but only to the recommended level). This is because most of the nutrients will seep through the soil and away from the roots. So adding excess is recommended to ensure the roots of your plants get to absorb enough to thrive.
You also should not shy away from adding the liquid nutrients at night or in the evening. This, in fact, is the recommended time to add liquid nutrients. Because adding liquid nutrients during the day will result in the evaporation of the water making it quite difficult for your plants to absorb the salty nutrients remaining.
The Best Water for Watering Pepper Plants
The vest water for watering pepper plants is tap water. However, tap water has chlorine which reduces photosynthesis and lowers yield. To eliminate chlorine from your tap water, you should fetch your tap water in a bucket and let the bucket sit overnight before adding the water to your plants the next day. Letting tap water sit eliminates chlorine.