Is it possible to grow your own peppers indoors?
Definitely! But you’ll probably need to grow lights to do that.
As a matter of fact, peppers are the best place to start for those who are growing plants under lights for the first time.
In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about growing peppers indoors with grow lights.
Spoiler alert: My top pick is the HLG 65 QB120 grow light because it’s affordable and has the best light spectrum for growing peppers.
With no further delay, let’s get started!
Peppers and Light
Peppers are high-light, full sun plants.
That means they need at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day.
But the question is, how many hours of artificial light do they need?
In general, your pepper plants will need between 14 to 16 hours of artificial light per day.
But a more specific answer to that question depends on the grow light you’re using.
Choosing a Grow Light for Your Pepper Plants
Many terrible mistakes are made at this step due to lack of information.
There are hundreds of grow lights out there and identifying the best ones can be challenging.
There are several factors that you should take into consideration when choosing a grow light for your pepper plants.
Those factors are spectrum, intensity, and efficiency.
Peppers are fruiting plants.
Heavy-flowering and fruiting plants need a lot of red light during their flowering phase.
Red light drives flower formation in plants. (Learn more about growing plants with lights).
One study showed that pepper plants produce the highest quantity of flowers when they receive light that is 95% red.
So, you need a grow light with a spectrum that is very rich in red light.
The light spectrum should also be somewhat rich in blue light to encourage strong vegetative growth.
Peppers need grow lights with relatively high intensities.
To find how bright a grow light is, you need to look at its PPFD measurements.
PPFD is the quantity of useful light that your plants receive each second.
It’s measured over an area and at a certain distance from the light source.
The minimum PPFD requirement for your pepper plants is around 400 μmol/m²/s.
You need to find a grow light with PPFD measurements above that threshold.
Most high-quality brands of LED grow lights provide the PPFD measurements of their devices.
Here’s an example of how PPFD measurements are usually presented:
Is the grow light with the above PPFD measurements suitable for pepper plants?
Yes, since all of its PPFD measurements are around 400 μmol/m²/s and above.
By the way, the higher the intensity of a grow light, the larger its coverage area.
So, the intensity of a light also determines the number of pepper plants you can grow under it.
To grow your peppers sustainably, you also need an efficient grow light and not just a bright one.
Nowadays, LEDs are the most efficient grow lights.
But not all LEDs are equally efficient.
You can assess the efficiency of an LED grow light using a unit of measurement called PPF efficacy.
For sustainable growth, you need to choose a grow light with a PPF efficacy rate above 2 μmol/J.
Our Top Two Grow Light Recommendations for Pepper Plants
1. HLG Quantum Boards
HLG Quantum Boards (QBs) are the perfect choice not just for peppers, but for all heavy-flowering and fruiting high-light plants.
Quantum Boards have very optimized light spectrums.
Also, they’re very intense and efficient. Their PPF efficacy rate is around 2.5 μmol/J.
HLG QBs come in DIY kits, which means you need to assemble the light yourself.
HLG 65 QB120 is one of the brand’s most affordable grow lights and it’s recommended for beginners.
It can cover a 2’ x 1’ (0.6m x 0.3m) growing area.
If you don’t like assembling stuff, you can look at the other grow light recommendation below.
2. Mars Hydro TS 1000
Mars Hydro TS 1000 LED is one of the best grow lights for amateur gardeners.
It’s very affordable compared to other grow lights.
Mars Hydro TS 1000 has a spectrum that’s perfect for flower and fruit formation.
The light is also very bright and has a 2’ x 2’ (0.6m x 0.6m) coverage area
Mars Hydro TS 1000 has a PPF efficacy rate of 2.3 μmol/J, which is very high.
The device is relatively very inexpensive.
Where to Grow Pepper Plants Indoors?
You can grow your pepper plants anywhere indoors, but if you want the best results, you need to create a closed environment.
Isolated grow rooms can sometimes be expensive or even impossible to set up.
The best alternative to a grow room is a grow tent.
Grow tents are becoming increasingly popular among indoor gardeners for several reasons.
First, they give you full control over the growing environment.
Second, they’re portable and can fit anywhere around the house.
And above all, grow tents are very affordable.
If you’re not interested in grow tents, you can still grow your pepper plants without them.
Setting Up the Grow Light
You can install grow lights by hanging them from the ceiling of your grow room or tent.
When you hang a grow light, you can easily adjust the distance between it and your pepper plants.
As your pepper plants enter their flowering phase, you need to bring the lamp closer to them, so they receive more intense light.
And as they grow tall, you need to move it away from the plants to avoid the burning the top leaves.
Grow light manufacturers almost always provide the recommended hanging heights of their devices for every growth phase.
Stick to those recommendations to get the best results.
Pepper Plants Indoor Growing Conditions
All pepper plants thrive in soil that’s well-drained and rich in nutrients.
Avoid using heavy soils that trap a lot of water.
One of the best soil for pepper plants is Foxfarm Potting Mix (Ocean Forest).
It’s loose enough and rich in nutrients.
Most peppers can tolerate some drought.
But if you want to obtain the highest yield from your pepper plants, you need to water them regularly.
Keep in mind, however, that peppers don’t like soggy soil, so avoid over-watering them.
Temperature & Humidity
Pepper plants, especially hot peppers, love warm temperatures.
For that reason, hot peppers are considered some of the easiest plants to grow indoors.
Even if your grow lights put out significant amounts of heat, your hot peppers will still grow amazingly well under them.
On the other hand, bell peppers prefer moderately warm temperatures (up to 77°F or 25°C).
Keep the humidity levels around your pepper plants at around 50%.
Although some pepper plant varieties can grow in small containers, most peppers will grow best in 3-gallon containers that are at least 10 inches wide.
You need to use fertilizers for your pepper plants after they flower.
Make sure not to overfeed your pepper plants, because too much nitrogen can actually limit their productivity.
Some of the most important nutrients for your pepper plants are phosphorus, calcium and potassium.
If the fertilizer you’re using doesn’t contain enough calcium, you can use calcium supplements.
Enjoy growing your pepper plants indoors and if you have more questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.