When buying Jalapeno peppers, do you ever wonder if you can start growing Jalapeño plants from the fresh seeds inside those chilies? Jalapeno seeds aren’t hard to come by, but it can seem wasteful not to start harvesting Jalapeno seeds that are readily available.
So back to the original question: Can you grow Jalapenos from store bought peppers?
The simple answer is yes. Having said that, this leads to more questions about what you can expect from these types of seeds. For example, are these seeds harvested from mature peppers, and are you collecting seeds from hybrid chillies?
Below, are some tips to help you pick out the best Jalapenos from the store and the steps you’ll need to grow them out.
Get Jalapeno Seeds From Mature Peppers
When harvesting jalapeno seeds, make sure you choose mature chillies. The seeds from ripe pepper pods — no matter whether they’re hot or sweet peppers — increase the success rate of germination.
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. It’s harder to try growing Jalapeno peppers from fresh seeds that are hybrids.
When you grow out seeds from hybrid peppers, you won’t get Jalapenos like the ones you bought in the store. In other words, hybrids won’t produce an exact duplicate of the original plant and 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.
Best Store Bought Peppers For Seeds
If you have an organic or natural health foods store nearby, check out their supply of Jalapeño peppers. You might find “heirloom” varieties. These types of seeds are the best for growing.
Likewise, your local farmer’s market is another great option. Ask the vendor about their jalapenos. Heirloom or open pollinated varieties work really well for planting.
Finally, a plant store that has fruiting Jalapeno plants works too! Look at the tag to know what Jalapeno pepper variety it is.
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 Seeds
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.
Note: Put on protective gloves before starting this process so you don’t burn yourself.
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 start growing Jalapeños from seeds. The pepper growing season generally starts about six to eight weeks before your last frost date.
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, plastic sandwich bag, and plant heat mat. Seeds are germinated in a napkin and then transferred to seed-starting mix or other growing media.
You have more options to plant peppers. In the case of sowing seeds from store bought Jalapenos, testing lets you know if you have viable seeds so you don’t waste a lot of time.
Be sure to use a mix that’s labeled for “seed starting” and not a “potting soil” or “potting mix.” Here are all the pepper seed starting supplies that I personally use and recommend for starting chilies and taking care of your pepper plants.
Jalapeno Seeds Not Germinating?
Even if you pick the best store-bought peppers, they still might not grow.
Here are some things you can do to get the best chance for seed germination:
- Keep the napkin moist during the seed viability test. Seeds won’t germinate if they dry out.
- Use a plant heat mat to keep the seeds warm so they can sprout. Pepper seeds need the right temperature to germinate.
- Hang a grow light after seeds sprout to keep your new seedlings growing.
First time growing peppers from seed?
Learn to start seeds indoors with my step-by-step, illustrated ebook. It’ll help you skip a lot of beginner mistakes so that you can enjoy harvesting your own chilies!
Keep in mind: 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.
» Related: Where to Buy Pepper Seeds Online
Pepper Plant FAQs
I hope this article gives you a better understanding of growing jalapeños from store bought peppers. After your jalapeno seeds sprout, be sure to check out this guide to caring for your pepper seedlings.
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