Indoor bell pepper - grow paprika on the windowsill!
Charming decorative peppers from rarity in our homes have become an almost indispensable seasonal plant. Having added to the list of indoor plants, pepper in a mini-format offers to admire the scattering of not always edible, but uniquely bright fruits. Following the fashion for growing hot pepper, they began to look at many compact varieties of paprika, or sweet pepper. Small sizes, beautiful greens and a guaranteed tasty crop of large peppers are worth the effort that you will have to spend to replenish your collection with this fruit plant.
- Sweet pepper
- Paprika growing conditions
- Homemade Sweet Pepper Care
- Sowing, transplanting and substrate for paprika
- Diseases, pests and growing problems
Admiring the always elegant and neat sweet peppers in the beds, many thought about how to transfer this plant to containers. After all, thick, round, medium-sized, properly shaped sweet peppers look "like in the picture." All of their “southern” relatives and competitors — tomatoes, eggplant, and Co. — do not seem as neat as peppers. And to grow paprika or bell pepper in the room is not only quite possible. Choosing the right variety, peppers can decorate not only terraces or balconies, but also window sills, without limiting the harvest time only in summer.
Paprika, sweet peppers, sweet peppers, or, as we like to call this vegetable, bell peppers - plants belonging to the same species as the varieties of trendy house plants of hot peppers - paprika (Capsicum annuum) The confusion in the classification of peppers was added by a change in the status of hot pepper, which recently changed its botanical name from the usual one Capsicum frutescens to the usual name for paprika. Despite the large differences in size, appearance and fruit, sweet and hot peppers, indeed, are varieties of the same species of plants.
All peppers belong to the Solanaceae family. Their Mexican origin is hardly traced today, because sweet peppers are adored and grown all over the globe. It is included in the lists of the most common and favorite vegetable crops. We associate sweet pepper, first of all, with garden crops, with its cultivation in the open ground. The fashion for growing sweet paprika in a potted format came to us from Central America, where plants are so loved that they even adorn terraces and window sills.
In room culture, theoretically, any sweet pepper can be used. But to get the really expected result, you should carefully choose the varieties. The first guideline - compact size - is not as important as the timing of flowering. For cultivation on the window sills, early varieties of paprika are selected that can yield 95-115 days after sowing.
The choice of new varieties is huge: almost every producer, except for varieties intended for open ground, has several special varieties with the prefix “indoor” (for example, hybrids Room Red, "Yarik room", dense multi-colored variety "Watercolor", "Study is room", "Carat room", "The oddity is room"), but you can use the classic, time-tested varieties - "Swallow", "Winnie the Pooh", Victoria, "Mysterious Island", "Treasure Island", “Gift of Moldova” and so forth
Despite the fact that paprika is grown as annual plants, discarding at the end of fruiting, in fact, the plants are perennials. These are compact, quite variable shrubs with large leaves and huge fruits.
Herbaceous, very strong and stable shoots of the plant beautifully branch, they are straight and light green. The lower part of the stem gradually woods, which only emphasizes the beauty of the crown, but even at a young age the peppers surprise with the power and hardness of the twigs.
On average, the height of sweet peppers ranges from 45 to 65 cm, today there are more compact varieties, limited by a height of 25-35 cm. Formation at a young age helps paprika to maintain not only compactness, but also the given sizes and contours.
Short-leaved, simple, whole oval-shaped leaves with an elongated tip flaunt "rib" veins emerging on the surface. The color of the leaves in sweet varieties of pepper is usually dark green, with a cold tint. But there are varieties with more original, almost black colors, and with an olive, emerald, bluish-blue hue.
Flowering paprika is very interesting. The flowers bloom not at the tops of the shoots, but at the branching points of the stem, as if hiding in a mass of leaves. Single or collected in just a few pieces in small bunches, elegant flowers of pepper surprise with the beauty of the structure. Depending on the variety, the color of the corolla can be either white or greenish or almost purple, often with an original transition between shades.
After flowering, multi-seeded fruits develop very quickly. According to the classification, they are considered to be false berries, although this does not prevent sweet peppers from remaining a full-fledged vegetable. Appearance of fruits in paprika can be very diverse: the size, shape, and color of ripe fruits.
Peppers can be either classic, cone-shaped, or curved-claw-shaped, cylindrical, round, disc-oblate, narrowly tubular, resembling giant hot peppers. Red, orange, yellow colors until full maturity are replaced by a whole parade of shades - green, white, cream, light yellow. Light yellow disc-shaped seeds, densely seated on the ovary and veins, are hidden inside the hollow fruits.
Regardless of the variety selected, sweet pepper fruits (as opposed to indoor pepper) are always edible. They can be used in cooking and in raw form, regardless of maturity, because even green peppers are healthy and safe.
Conditions for growing room paprika
Like sweet peppers for open ground, indoor paprika is grown as an annual through seedlings. This plant is simple and predictable. Peppers need bright, diffused lighting, stable air temperatures and air control.
Indoor bell peppers cannot be called difficult to grow, but it is only suitable for those who love fruitful plants and want to observe the entire development cycle from seed to harvest. Peppers are excellent candidates for co-growing with children and teaching a child to care for plants due to their bright appearance, safety and rapid growth.
Lighting and placement
Indoor bell peppers need the brightest lighting, but you should protect young seedlings and adult plants from direct sunlight. On the south window, pepper can be too hot in the summer, and the risk of sunburn is much higher. Oriental and western window sills are preferred for sweet pepper.
This fruiting plant can not be grown in the depths of the rooms, success can be achieved only when grown on a window. Artificial illumination does not compensate for shading and affects the quality of fruiting, but is acceptable in case of prolonged bad weather for young plants. If the pepper bears fruit not in the summer, but in the fall or in the winter, it is nevertheless surely supplemented.
Peppers are light dependent and must be rotated regularly to evenly develop the crown.
Temperature and ventilation
Paprika is a heat-loving plant, but its preference for temperatures is much like orchids: in the rooms for the plant, it is desirable to create the same conditions that sweet pepper enjoys in open soil, given the drop in night temperatures.
The minimum acceptable performance is +16 degrees. During the day, the temperature can be normal room temperature, but it is better if the peppers are in warm rooms with temperatures above 24 degrees. At night, it is advisable to lower the temperature by several degrees (but not more than 4-5). Peppers do not like sharp jumps in maximum temperatures: the more stable the indicators, the more their decorative effect will be revealed.
The access of fresh air in summer for sweet peppers is very important. If plants are grown as purely indoor, then choose rooms with constant ventilation. Paprika can be easily taken out onto balconies or terraces as a container culture.
Homemade Sweet Pepper Care
Paprika cannot be grown without careful care at room temperature. Watering for the plant should be not only plentiful, but also accurate, they need to be supplemented with several important procedures. Peppers require formation, special top dressing, constant monitoring. But you don’t have to add anything exotic to the plant care program.
Watering and humidity
Sweet peppers are very sensitive to fluctuations in soil moisture. Any deviations in the irrigation schedule are especially dangerous at the stage of budding, flowering and fruiting, when the drying of the substrate or stagnation of water can cause the dropping of flowers and ovaries. Peppers are watered so that the soil partially dries, but in the middle and lower layer it remains constantly wet. Water in pallets should not stagnate.
In summer, plants are watered with an average frequency of 1 time in 3-5 days. The program of plant care should include regular loosening of the soil. It is carried out the day after watering. Instead of loosening, you can use some garden tricks and mulch the surface of the substrate in containers using any light materials that do not interfere with the access of air to the soil.
Peppers like average air humidity (from 50 to 75%). They must be protected from too dry conditions, but high humidity can be fatal. For pepper, a simple daily spray is enough, even in summer.
Fertilizing and fertilizer composition
Without regular replenishment of nutrients, it is impossible to obtain fruiting from peppers in a limited amount of soil. Plant nutrition begins 3 weeks after planting in the “final” pot and is carried out once a week for organic fertilizers and once a month for mineral fertilizers before fruiting.
For sweet indoor pepper, you can use both full mineral fertilizers and biological products. In the choice of fertilizing, it is worth considering the influence of the composition and type of fertilizers not only on quality, but also on crop safety. Organic and bio-fertilizers for indoor pepper are preferred. You can use infusions from your own garden, but purchased fertilizers remain the best option due to the controlled composition, safety and microbiological parameters.
Trimming, shaping and harvesting
To thicken the bushes and keep the maximum height of sweet pepper, you can pinch the tops of the shoots. They never resort to full pruning on this plant; plucking is quite enough to achieve the desired size and shape.
In a room culture, peppers are usually quite compact and stable. If there are signs that the fruits are too heavy for the plant, then it is better to install supports for garter bushes around the perimeter of the pot.
Indoor sweet pepper removes the fruit as soon as the color typical of the selected variety is fully or almost completely manifested. It is better to harvest slightly unripe peppers than to let them ripen completely on the branches: the completion of fruiting causes the plant to stop growing and reduces yield.
Sowing, transplanting and substrate for indoor paprika
There are two strategies to growing sweet pepper in rooms. The first involves growing plants from seeds after careful selection of varieties. The second is the use of seedlings. For rooms, you can leave several copies of seedlings of pepper grown for your own garden, or you can buy ready-made seedlings. In this case, all that is needed is to plant the plants in a quality substrate. But sowing allows you to achieve not only the ability to control the development of plants, but also much more decorative greenery.
Sowing seeds of sweet pepper, which they are going to grow as a houseplant, it is better to start as soon as possible. For the most abundant fruiting, seeds are sown in the first or at least second decade of February. If it is possible to lighten the seedlings, they are sown even in January, because the sooner the pepper is sown, the sooner it will become a decoration on the windowsill, forming dense, beautiful bushes. With the possibility of additional exposure, a shift in the timing until the beginning of August allows you to get fruit-bearing peppers in atypical seasons.
Seeds before sowing are soaked for half an hour in a weak solution of potassium permanganate. They are sown to a depth of about 1 cm, in rows or 2-3 pcs in nests, in shallow common containers. Without diving, sweet room pepper is rarely grown, but if you want to get only 1-2 plants, then sowing is carried out in individual pots of 2-3 seeds, followed by rejection of weaker seedlings.
After sowing, the soil is carefully watered, and the containers are covered with glass or film. Before emergence, the lighting is not important, but you can immediately place the containers in the brightest place in the house. For germination, it is desirable to provide stably hot conditions with a temperature of about 25 degrees Celsius.
After the emergence of seedlings, the temperature is lowered to 16-17 degrees, and then maintain stable room conditions for peppers. Lowering the temperature at night and on cloudy days to 16-18 degrees allows you to avoid stretching young plants.
Young peppers are sensitive to droughts and overflows. Plants are watered gently, maintaining light soil moisture and introducing loosening into the care to prevent soil compaction. Diving into the containers in which they plan to grow pepper - into decorative pots with a height slightly greater than the diameter - is carried out 3-4 weeks after emergence, deepening the "legs" of seedlings to cotyledon leaves.
When transplanting adult seedlings, they retain the same level of penetration. When handling plants, it is important to avoid unnecessary root trauma, leaving an earthen lump around the rhizome.
For sweet pepper, simple, nutritious and loose earth mixtures are preferred. They are used both for growing plants and for sowing seeds. A universal substrate or special soil mixtures for seedlings and fruit plants are quite suitable. If you mix the soil yourself, then it is better to choose a substrate based on sod soil with sand and humus additives in a ratio of 6: 3: 1 or a mixture of humus and sod soil in equal proportions.
Peppers are grown in large pots, but not in tubs. A pot with a height greater than the width of a model with a height of about 30 cm and a volume of 4 to 4.5 liters is considered standard for room paprika.
Diseases, pests and growing problems
Indoor bell peppers are amazingly resistant plants. They are threatened only by aphids, with the defeat of which it is better to fight with insecticides (only at the stage before fruiting, and even then the use of biological products is desirable).
Ordinary indoor pests rarely settle on them, with extreme violations of care. Improper cultivation threatens plant health more than diseases or pests.