When you buy jalapeno peppers, you may wonder if you can grow the seeds inside the chillies. Jalapeno seeds are easy enough to purchase, but it can seem wasteful not to use the supply that’s right there inside those pods.
Plus, the idea of having your own homegrown supply becomes even more appealing if you eat a lot of chillies.
So can you grow jalapenos from store bought peppers?
The issue isn’t whether you can use those seeds, but more of what to expect if you try to use them.
Below, are some tips to give you the best chance at growing jalapenos from your store bought peppers.
Get Jalapeno Seeds From Mature Peppers
When harvesting jalapeno seeds, make sure you choose mature chillies. The seeds from ripe pods have a better chance of germinating (sprouting).
Ripe peppers are the color of their maturity. In the case of conventional jalapenos, this color is red.
Likewise, some jalapenos have “corking” on the skin. These light, beige stretch marks can be another sign of maturity.
Planting Seeds From Grocery Store Produce
Jalapenos and other grocery produce are typically F1 hybrids. Harvesting seeds from these plants isn’t ideal.
Essentially, when you grow out seeds from hybrid peppers, you won’t get jalapenos like the ones you bought in the store.
That is to say hybrids won’t produce an exact duplicate of the original plant. What you’ll get, instead, are variations. For example, your jalapenos might be smaller, taste differently or hardly produce at all.
Hybrids are specifically developed to have desirable traits for commercial retailers. Their seeds, however, are genetically unstable.
The Best Store Bought Peppers For Seeds
If you have an organic or natural health foods store nearby, check out their supply of jalapeno peppers. You might find “heirloom” varieties. These types of seeds are the best for growing.
Likewise, your local farmer’s market (if your area has one) would be another great option. Ask the vendor about their jalapenos. Heirloom or open pollinated varieties work really well for planting.
How To Plant Jalapeno Seeds From The Pepper
Once you have your jalapeno peppers, you’ll need to harvest the seeds and then plant them so they germinate. Below, is a brief overview of each process.
Harvesting Jalapeno Pepper Seeds
Note: Put gloves on before starting this process so you don’t burn yourself.
Cut the jalapeno open and scrape the seeds out on a napkin or plate. Let the seeds dry for a couple of weeks before planting them.
(If you’re harvesting a bunch of peppers, here are some other ways to harvest your chillies so this process goes quicker.)
Saving Jalapeno Seeds After Harvesting
If you don’t plant your seeds right after they’re dry, be sure to store them in a cool, dry place. You can use envelopes or small, sealable baggies.
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Germinating Jalapeno Seeds
Make sure you’re planting at the right time before you attempt to grow out your seeds.
An effective way to germinate your seeds is to do a seed viability test. (This is also known as the “baggie method.”)
This simple test uses a paper towel, sealable baggie and plant heat mat (Amazon link). Seeds are germinated in a napkin and then transferred to seed-starting mix or other growing media.
You have more options for sprouting your seeds. In the case of sowing seeds from store bought jalapenos, I would definitely do this test because it lets you know if your seeds can even grow so you don’t waste a lot of time.
If you’d like more help growing your own jalapenos and other peppers, be sure to check out The Pepper Seed Starting Guide. This step-by-step ebook teaches you how to start pepper seeds indoors and grow them into healthy, outdoor-ready plants.
Jalapeno Seeds Not Germinating?
Even if you pick the best store bought peppers, they still might not grow.
Here are a couple of things you can do to give seeds the best chance at germinating:
- Keep the napkin moist during the seed viability test. Seeds won’t germinate if they dry out.
- Use a plant heat mat (Amazon link) to keep the seeds warm so they can sprout. Pepper seeds need the right temperature to germinate.
Seeds from store bought jalapenos can be a fun experiment. Use these types of seeds in the spirit of adventure.
If you prefer to know exactly what you’ll get, it’s best to purchase jalapeno seeds.
Peppers take a long time to mature and produce fruit. I hope this article helps you set expectations and, more importantly, that it helps you grow lots of delicious jalapenos!
More Posts On Growing Jalapeno Peppers:
- Growing Jalapenos 101: How to Grow Jalapenos from Seeds to Potted Plants
- Jalapeno Pepper Varieties: Which One Will You Grow?
- Growing Peppers In Containers
And for those of you looking for complete, how-to steps on all indoor growing phases, from germinating your seeds to getting your seedlings to the point where they can safely go outside… Make sure to check out the updated and expanded Pepper Seed Starting Guide. I personally use this resource to start my abundant pepper garden each season, and I’m always here to answer questions!