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Growing Jalapenos 101: How to Grow Jalapenos from Seeds to Potted Plants

Growing jalapenos can be done by starting them from seed or by purchasing plants from a nursery.

And, I think you’ll agree with me that having your own homegrown supply of jalapeno peppers sounds pretty great. (You did find your way to this post after all. 😉 )

Now, store-bought jalapeno transplants are quicker and easier to grow in pots.

growing jalapenos


Starting seeds gives you the distinct advantage of selecting the exact jalapeno variety you want. So if you’re wondering what the best jalapeno peppers to grow are, you’re best bet is picking something that matches the flavor, heat level and even color of your choice.

Whether you’re new to growing peppers in containers or just really love jalapeno peppers, I hope you get a lot of value from the information in this post.

Before we get into the details of how to grow jalapenos in pots, here’s some background information on the jalapeno plant itself.

About Jalapeno Peppers

Jalapenos are part of the Capsicum annuum species of peppers. Their seeds are named after their place of origin in Mexico. Of all the hot pepper varieties, jalapenos are definitely one of the most popular.

The hotness of these peppers is considered to be in the medium range. And, the jalapeno Scoville — the measurement of a chili pepper’s heat — lies anywhere between 2,500 to 8,000 Scoville units (SHU).

(For comparison, the heat index of common sweet green peppers is zero, while the current hottest pepper, the Carolina Reaper, measures over two million SHU​!)

You can use jalapenos in salsas, sauces, as toppings, pickle them, grill them or even stuff them if you grow a larger variety like the Mucho Nacho Jalapeno. They are a truly versatile pepper.

jalapeno peppers in container

Jalapeno Plant Stages

When growing jalapenos from seed, there’s an indoor and outdoor process.

The sections below explain how to grow jalapenos indoors, how to prepare them for the outdoors and then how to care for your jalapeno plants in pots.

Quick Growing Reference

jalapeno plant grow chart

Growing Jalapenos Indoors

I recommend starting jalapenos inside because you can keep them safe from outdoor elements. Likewise, you can also make sure they have enough time to grow from seed.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are Amazon affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase using my links, I earn a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you. I’m only providing this information to make this growing guide more helpful.

Growing Jalapenos From Seeds

Jalapeno seeds are sown indoors about three months before the last expected frost. Here’s an article that helps you determine your gardening zone and last frost date.

Seeds can be planted in germination trays (Amazon link) or small containers with holes in the bottom.

You can also use the baggie method to start seeds. This technique tests a seed’s viability so you know whether they can grow or not. (In my experience, it also speeds up sprouting times too.)

growing jalapenos from seeds using the baggie method
Starting Pepper Seeds Using Baggie Method

Moisten a sterile seed-starting mix and fill the containers about 3/4 full. Drop one to three seeds in each container, then cover them with a light layer of mix.

If you sprouted seeds in a baggie, ​​carefully cut the piece of towel with the pepper seedling. Then, plant the seedling under a light layer of mix. (The towel will decompose.)

Place your containers on top of a plant heat mat (Amazon link). I highly recommend using the mat because peppers are tropical plants that need warmth to start growing.

Keep the mix moistened by watering from the bottom. Watch for germination. (​Jalapenos generally take about 2 weeks to sprout.)

Lastly, you can start fertilizing after their first set of true leaves appear. (These are the leaves that come after the embryonic cotyledons.)

If you’d like these steps (and a lot more) in a digital ebook, be sure to check out The Pepper Seed-Starting Guide. This complete guide walks you through all the processes of turning your pepper seeds into healthy, outdoor-ready plants.

Jalapeno Pepper Light Requirements

The plants should be exposed to light for up to 16 hours a day. It’s really hard to meet this requirement with a windowsill (especially in the winter). You can always give it a shot if you still want to try it.

I recommend hanging artificial lights for plants above your seedlings, making sure to position them at the right height.

To clarify, the exact distance between your light and the tops of your seedlings depends on the type of grow light you’re using. (Check the manufacturer’s website for help.)

A common distance for a T5 light, as an example, is between 4 to 6 inches above the plants.

T5 indoor grow light starting pepper seeds
Using A T5 Grow Light

Grow Light Tips

  • If your seedlings begin to lean, try moving the light closer to the tops of the plants to see if they straighten up.
  • If your plants starting wilting, your light might be too close. (Keep a close eye so you can make adjustments as needed!)

​Potting Up Jalapeno Plants

pepper seedlings in peat pots

​Replant your seedlings in larger pots after they have at least four leaves or are at least 2 inches tall. This helps to make sure they have enough room to keep growing.

Your jalapeno pepper plants will probably need to move to larger containers a couple of times during their indoor growth process.

When To Plant Jalapenos Outside

Your plants need to be hardened off before they go outside. (This is one of the most sensitive jalapeno plant stages!) The hardening-off process safely stresses your plants out so they get tougher and can handle the new outdoor environment.

Hardening Off Jalapeno Plants

Start this process when plants are around 8 weeks old, at least 4 inches high and when it has a few sets of true leaves. This is crucial to your jalapeno plants outdoor survival so please don’t skip it!

Part One: The Indoor Process

  1. Point a small fan in the direction of your plants. Allow it to run for 15 minutes the first day. (Make sure the fan isn’t whipping the seedlings around wildly.)
  2. Run the fan again on the second day, but this time leave it on for 30 minutes.
  3. Continue running the fan each day, all the while increasing the amount of time. For example, the first day is 15 minutes, the second day is 30 minutes and the third day is 45 minutes.
  4. Perform this indoor process for about a week.
young jalapeno plants

Part Two: The Outdoor Process

  1. Place your seedlings in a shady spot outdoors. Again, do this for about 15 minutes the first day. Bring them back inside.
  2. Repeat step one on the second day, but this time leave them outside for 30 minutes.
  3. Continue bringing your plants outdoors each day, all the while increasing the amount of direct sunshine and time. You can use the same indoors schedule (e.g., 15 minutes the first day, 30 minutes the second and so on.)
  4. Perform this outdoor process for about a week. On the last day, leave your seedlings out for a whole day and night.

Note: Don’t do the outdoor process if the weather is bad (e.g., high winds or rain). If your seedlings show any signs of stress, more them to a more sheltered spot, or bring them back inside.

Growing Jalapenos In Pots

After hardening off your plants and the last potential frost has passed, you can move your jalapeno plants outside. It also helps when temperatures are consistently above 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius).

How To Grow Jalapenos In A Bucket

A popular option for growing jalapenos in pots is to use a bucket. These pails are inexpensive and generally found in garden centers and hardware stores.

Here are some key things to note:

  • The bucket should be a 5-Gallon size
  • You will need to drill a few holes on the bottom and around the lower circumference of the container. (This allows water to drain and promotes better airflow for roots.)
  • Add only one jalapeno pepper plant per bucket
peppers growing in 5-gallon buckets
Pepper Plants Growing In 5-Gallon Buckets

Planting Jalapenos

  1. Fill your pot with a high-quality potting mix (Amazon link) and leave a couple inches empty on top. (Only use a mix labeled for containers because other products won’t provide the airflow and moisture retention your potted plants need.)
  2. Water the mix as you fill the container so that it’s damp and not drenched. (You should be able to make a soil ball and it keeps its shape.)
  3. Make a hole in the center of the bucket that’s deep enough to support the jalapeno plant up to the lowest leaves. Insert the jalapeno, level the soil and lightly water the root zone.
  4. Apply a fertilizer by following the instructions on the bottle for feeding potted plants. I get great results with fish and seaweed fertilizer (Amazon link).
  5. Position your pot in a spot where it will get at least 8 hours of direct sun a day.

(Side note… If you only have a little bit of space to grow, consider an EarthBox Original. The EarthBox is a container gardening kit that can hold up to six Jalapeno plants. It’s only 29 inches long by 13.5 inches wide.)

Jalapeno Plant Care

Here’s what you need to do to support your jalapenos during the growing season.

Watering Your Plants

Wait until the sun starts going down (or go out early in the morning) before watering. The main concern is that that the sunlight can act as a magnifying glass if the plant is wet, which burns the leaves.

Water the top layer of the mix until you see it coming out of the bottom of the bucket. I suggest picking one day a week to water, and watch to see how your plant does with this schedule. Adjust the frequency as necessary.

jalapeno pepper, purple jalapenos
Purple Jalapenos

Feeding Jalapenos

Follow the instructions on your chosen fertilizer to develop a regular feeding schedule. Here’s a page where I describe my complete fertilizing regimen in case that helps too.

Likewise, you can add a couple inches of organic matter, such as mulch or compost, to the top layer of soil. This also feeds your jalapeno plants and helps retain moisture.

More Jalapeno Tips

Here are some last bits of info that you may want to know as you grow out your pepper plants.

  • Jalapenos (for me) seem to grow best when the temperature is somewhere between 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 29 degrees Celsius). If it gets much hotter, my plants drop flowers and stop growing until the heat wave passes.
  • It usually takes about 3 months for jalapenos plants to start producing chillies after they go outside. This may differ from early varieties. (I usually grow Mucho Nacho and Purple jalapenos as a reference.)
  • Depending on the variety, the size of the peppers varies from 2 to 3.5 inches and the color of the fruit is typically red or green during ripening. You might get about 30 to 40 jalapeno peppers per plant.
  • Deciding when to pick jalapenos is a matter of personal preference. You can harvest them in the green or red stage. Further, some jalapeno pepper varieties “cork,” which looks like light cracks on the skin, which is a sign of maturity.
  • Jalapeno plants can live a few years or more when you overwinter them during the colder months.

Problems Growing Jalapeno Peppers

Certain things tend to show up when your plants are outdoors. Here are some resources to help with this.

In case you haven’t seen it, The Chile Plant Hospital is a guide that helps you diagnose & treat common pepper plant problems. This way, you can fix them immediately before things get out of hand.

Growing jalapenos is a lot of fun. I sincerely hope this tutorial is helpful and that you enjoy the growing experience too. 🙂

jalapeno sauce recipe with jalapeno peppers

How to Grow Jalapenos from Seed Indoors

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 14 days
Total Time: 14 days 30 minutes
Difficulty: Moderate

Learning how to grow jalapenos from seed gives you the freedom to grow any variety you want. Here's how to start your jalapeno seeds indoors.



  1. Sow jalapeno seeds indoors about 3 months before the last expected date of frost. You can plant seeds in germination trays or use the baggie method to start them.
  2. Moisten the seed-starting mix and fill the tray inserts about 3/4 full. Drop 1 to 3 seeds in each insert, then cover with a light layer of mix.
  3. Optional: If you started seeds in a baggie, carefully cut the piece of towel with the seedling. Then, plant the seedling under a light layer of mix. (The towel will decompose.)
  4. Place your containers on top of a plant heat mat and put the lid on. (Peppers are tropical plants that need this warmth to germinate.)
  5. Keep the mix moistened by watering from the bottom. Meanwhile, watch for germination. (Jalapenos generally take about 2 weeks to sprout.)
  6. Remove the lid after your jalapenos germinate. Then, place your seedlings under a plant grow light to continue growing indoors.


  • Jalapeno Seeds: If you need help finding the seeds you want, be sure to check out this pepper seed vendor list.
  • Lid: Slide open the vents on the lid for proper airflow. Without it, mold can develop.
  • Plant Grow Light: Leave this light on for 16 hours a day. Optionally, you can use a programmable timer to automatically turn the light on and off. (And, if you'd like more help with grow lights, please see this post.)
  • Growing Jalapeno Seedlings to Maturity: Be sure to refer back to the Growing Jalapenos 101 post for information on fertilizing, potting up your seedlings, hardening off your jalapeno plants and more.

Recommended Products

Check out these related products by Grow Hot Peppers.

Did you grow this plant?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

More Posts On Jalapeno Peppers:

​And for those of you who want a step-by-step, detailed growing guide that explains how to go from pepper seeds to outdoor-ready plants… Make sure to check out the updated and expanded Pepper Seed Starting Guide. I personally use this resource to grow my chillies each season, and I’m always here to answer questions!

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Chad Banning

Saturday 27th of May 2017 I'm new to growing peppers and am wondering if these flowers should be pruned. They are not like the other blossoms that are starting.

Anjo Jereson

Friday 23rd of September 2016

My children were wanting SCAR Form 503 earlier today and were made aware of a business that hosts an online forms database . If people need to fill out SCAR Form 503 too , here's

Ken Blewett

Sunday 24th of April 2016

Hi im trying to grow jalapenos for the first time! I planted the seeds aprox 23 days ago in little beer cups and put them infront of a window with afternoon sun inside a plastic tray with a dome lid! Is it just to early to start seeing growth or maybe they dont like being in the dome...? Please help thanks

Jeremiah Thompson

Wednesday 11th of May 2016

Here it is. The jalapeños are on the left

Jeremiah Thompson

Wednesday 11th of May 2016

Hey ken,

I'll attach photos for this, but I planted jalapeño seeds two weeks ago and they're already two inches tall and growing their second set of leaves. What I used was a seed starting mix made by jiffy. I turn on the light in the morning between 4 and 8 AM. I water them with my spray bottle using the jet setting gently. At night I mist then and turn the light off at around 8 at night. I have a heat mat that I use to help maintain the warm soil for germination. These are burpee seeds I bought from Home Depot. I'll post a picture of my set up and the seed tray. (Jalapeños on the left of the tray).

Dustin Travis

Wednesday 24th of February 2016

Whenever I go pee after cutting up jalapenos my wee wee hurts real bad, what gives?


Thursday 9th of June 2016

I once diced up 3 habanaroes (sp) for chili (chili was way to hot, never again) with bare hands. After washing my hands FIVE times, I rubbed my eyes later in the night, omg it hurt, and then even later in the night, after showering, I fingered my girlfriend, holy shit she started screaming, it was hilarious to me,neveragain, NEVER AGAIN! True story is true lol


Thursday 2nd of June 2016

Obviously wear gloves when cutting them or handling. Then when u go as you say pee the capacity won't burn your skin. Also don't rub eyes the same thing will happen.

bad gardener

Saturday 6th of June 2015

Ive kept my plant alive since last year, I trimmed it all the way down last month. Now it's leafing great and living out doors. It will be interesting to see what happens this year.

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