How Much Sun do Pepper Plants Need?

Pepper Plants

Growing pepper plants is such a fun and fulfilling journey! Whether you are a new or experienced grower, we want your pepper plants to grow to their full potential. Many factors play into the success of your garden. A large factor is the amount of direct sunlight your plants receive. In this article, we will cover how sunlight affects seedlings planted outdoors so you can set your garden up for success this season!

Do Peppers Need Full Sun?

Peppers are warm seasoned vegetables. They are in the Solanaceae family (also known as the nightshade family). Pepper plants are capable of producing an abundant amount of stunning fruits. This is the ultimate reward! However, before you begin planting your peppers, you must have a clear idea of what location will allow your peppers to flourish. Check out our blog on Planting Zones to learn about the recent changes made to the USDA Grow Zone Map.

Seedlings can be a bit demanding when it comes to the sunlight they require. If you start growing indoors, your plants may be accustomed to indoor grow lights. Once they are mature enough to transition outdoors, we recommend you pick a location where the plants will receive at least 6-12 hours of direct sunlight throughout the growing season.

The morning sun is favorable because it is less intense than the afternoon sun. If your plant receives at least 6-12 hours of sunlight, it will have more energy to grow tall and strong. If your plant only receives 6 hours or less of sunlight, it will likely have a smaller harvest. 

Can Peppers Grow in Shade?

If you have a limited or covered gardening space, don't fret. Pepper plants can still healthily grow in partially shaded areas. However, if the location is fully shaded, avoid planting there. Growing in fully shaded areas will result in a major lack of energy to the plants for photosynthesis. Shade leads to slower growth, underwhelming harvests, and unhappy pepper plants. Additionally, without any direct sunlight, your plant will not use the water as quickly. This can lead to poor soil aeration and slower transpiration.

Sunscald on Peppers

Sunscald is like a sunburn for your plants. It can affect both leaves (leaf scorch) and fruits. Tender plants that are not adjusted to direct sunlight are the most vulnerable. Pepper plants require a gradual transition from their indoor environment to their home outdoors. The process of transitioning the plants is known as Hardening Off. It is the process of gradually exposing your plants to sunlight, uneven temperatures, and wind. If the hardening off process is not done slowly, your plants are at risk of sun damage. Seedlings are fragile and are used to a controlled indoor environment.

Before transitioning your seedlings outdoors, keep these points in mind.

  • Be aware of warming weather
  • You should be approaching your last frost date
  • Your plants have been growing inside for 4-6 weeks

Hardening Off Pepper Plants

For a smooth experience of transitioning your plants to direct sunlight, we recommend you follow the steps listed below.

  1. Leave your live plants outdoors for the first day for about 1 hour on an overcast day or an area out of direct sunlight.
  2. After 1 hour, you bring it back inside under your grow lights, and you completed day 1!
  3. On day 2, place them in an area where they can receive sunlight for 1 hour, and then move them to a shady area where they will again stay out for 1 hour before being placed inside under the grow lights.
  4. Over the next few weeks, gradually increase the number of hours in the sun until they can be outside for 24 hours. If frost, thunderstorms, or high winds are expected, bring them indoors to avoid damaging the plants. Make sure to water your plants before they go outside so there is less risk of them drying out.
  5. Once your seedlings have gone through this process, they are ready to absorb the sunlight!

Pepper Plants in Trays

Additional Growing Tips from Pepper Joe's

We know gardening can be tricky at times. At Pepper Joe's, we work to provide you with as much helpful content that helps you grow the most optimal hot peppers. Browse through our Grow With Joe video series for more information, and be sure to check out our Gardening Tips & Guides that help break down many different pepper growing topics.

Our team of growing experts are here to help you answer any questions you have on growing hot peppers. Feel free to reach out via email or call us at (888) 660-2276 today. 

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