Hydroponics! The growing craze that’s taken the world by storm, whether you’re a home gardener or looking to solve the world’s hunger crisis.
Poblano pepper lovers, it’s time to rejoice. You can, in fact, grow happy and healthy poblano plants hydroponically!
To grow poblano peppers hydroponically, use deep water culture or ebb and flow systems. Utilize a hydroponic fertilizer with an NPK value of 5-10-10. Artificial lights should run between 10-12 hours each day. Keep a pH of about 6.5. Regularly monitor the pH and EC of your unit.
Keep reading for an extensive guide detailing how to grow poblano peppers hydroponically!
Are poblano peppers suitable for hydroponics?
When you think of hydroponics, you probably imagine lettuce or other leafy greens. But what about poblano peppers?
Poblano peppers are suitable for hydroponics. The great thing about hydroponics is that you can completely personalize the grow setup to the needs of the specific plants you’re growing. It’s important to have the correct hydroponic setup because poblano peppers grow to be tall with extensive root systems.
Poblano peppers are definitely suitable for hydroponics! In truth, nearly every plant will thrive with the right hydroponic setup.
Poblano peppers do so well when grown hydroponically because you’re able to dial in absolutely every aspect of the growing process, from lighting to temperature and down to the very micronutrients that your peppers are receiving.
Because poblano peppers can grow to be so large, you will need to have the correct hydroponic setup that can accommodate the root system, height, and overall heft of your peppers. More on that later!
Do poblano peppers do well in hydroponics?
The first thing we need to discuss is whether or not poblano peppers will do well in hydroponics to begin with!
Poblano peppers do well in hydroponics. They have higher yields and faster growth than soil-grown poblanos. They can even be healthier nutritionally since you can provide them with the exact nutrients that they require as opposed to hoping that the soil has what they need.
Poblano peppers do well in hydroponics because you can completely personalize every aspect of the growing experience to suit your peppers’ needs.
Hydroponic peppers have higher yields and grow more quickly than soil-grown peppers.
Likewise, they can even be healthier than peppers from your garden! The amount of vitamins and minerals that end up in your peppers directly relate to how “well fed” they are while they’re growing.
And with hydroponic growing, there’s no guesswork as to what minerals may or may not be in the soil- you’re in charge of all of it!
What are the perks of growing poblano peppers hydroponically?
So why grow hydroponically anyway?
The perks of growing poblano peppers hydroponically include being able to grow year-round no matter where you live and regardless of how much space you have outdoors. Other perks include the efficiency of hydroponics which leads to larger yields, more quickly, in fewer square feet.
Hydroponic growing has many perks, and may even play a large role in the world’s ever-growing food crisis.
One of the most obvious upsides of growing poblano peppers hydroponically is that you can grow year-round no matter where you live and how much space you have outdoors.
Hydroponic growing is also incredibly efficient, leading to larger yields in less time while utilizing fewer square feet.
Likewise, hydroponics uses resources wisely. The closed systems recycle water and nutrients so that not even a drop is wasted. Environmentally, this means there is no potentially-harmful fertilizer runoff.
Which hydroponic system is best for poblano peppers?
With such an abundance of hydroponic systems to choose from, how do you know where to start?
The best hydroponic systems for poblano peppers are deep water culture and ebb and flow. Both of these hydroponic systems have the ability to accommodate the heft of poblano peppers and have enough room for their large root systems.
There are many different kinds of hydroponic systems, each with their pros and cons.
For example, the nutrient film technique (NFT) is largely employed in commercial grows because it is easy to maintain due to its lack of growing medium. That being said, it’s best reserved for leafy greens, as its channels don’t have room for the deep roots of poblano peppers.
Aeroponics is an awesome hydroponic method that would certainly make our list of best systems for poblano peppers- if not for its complexity and difficulty. Aeroponics involves suspending plants in the air and spraying their root systems with a pressurized nutrient solution, which then drips back down into a reservoir to be recycled.
There are plenty of other systems too, like the wick system, Krakty method, drip system, and more.
But the two systems that we trust the most for growing poblano peppers are deep water culture and ebb and flow.
Deep water culture for poblano peppers
What is deep water culture, and why is it good for poblano peppers?
Deep water culture (DWC) for poblano peppers is a great option because you can get a large enough reservoir for your poblano peppers’ roots. DWC involves suspending the root system of your poblanos in a nutrient solution indefinitely and aerating them using an air pump and airstone.
Deep water culture (DWC) is often the gateway gardening into hydroponic growing. If you’ve ever propagated a cutting in a jar of water, you’ve technically already engaged in DWC!
DWC is the process of growing your poblano peppers in a growing medium in a tray-such as coco coir- with the roots hanging below into the reservoir.
DWC is unique because the roots stay in the water forever. How don’t they drown? Good question!
An air pump and airstone are employed to aerate and oxygenate the system. Air stones are porous “stones” that percolate the air and turn it into tiny bubbles that rise up and oxygenate the root zone.
Okay, enough with the encyclopedia explanation. Why is DWC good for poblano peppers?
Simple! DWC reservoirs can be as deep as you’d like. As you’re probably aware by now after pursuing our blog, poblano peppers can reach towering heights of up to five feet tall.
That requires an extensive root system to compensate for the extra nutrients and stability that the plant needs! And that extensive root system requires room to grow.
Choosing a large reservoir for your DWC system allows you to grow poblano peppers without worrying about the root system outgrowing your hydroponic setup.
Ebb and flow/ flood and drain for poblano peppers
Okay, now that you’ve got the rundown on DWC, let’s talk about ebb and flow.
Ebb and flow for poblano peppers is highly efficient and effective. A grow tray holds your poblano peppers in place with a reservoir below. A water pump periodically floods the grow tray with a nutrient solution. After about 15 minutes, the water pump stops and the water drains back down into the reservoir to be recycled again.
The ebb and flow hydroponic system is truly an impressive innovation.
A grow tray filled with growing medium, which holds your poblano peppers in place, is situated above a reservoir. The roots aren’t submerged in the reservoir- rather, they dangle in the air.
A water pump periodically “floods” the grow tray with nutrient solution from the reservoir. This is based on a timer.
The water is pumped for about 15 minutes at a time, flowing into a “drain” to avoid flooding the plants and to ensure that only the grow medium is being watered.
Finally, the nutrient solution drips back down into the reservoir where it can be recycled again throughout the day. Some ebb and flow systems even have siphons to dry out the growing medium more quickly after watering.
How to grow poblano peppers hydroponically
Great! You have a good foundational understanding of what hydroponics is and what makes it so great. Let’s dive in!
Some tips to growing poblano peppers hydroponically include:
- Set up your hydroponic system
- Germinate your poblano pepper seeds
- Transplant your baby poblanos into your hydroponic system
- Provide the correct kind of hydroponic fertilizer
- Routinely maintain your hydroponic system
- Prune and harvest your poblano peppers to encourage higher yields
Keep reading to get a thorough explanation of each step!
Set up your hydroponic system
Setting up your hydroponic system incorrectly can spell disaster!
The first step to growing poblano peppers hydroponically is to set up your hydroponic system. Follow the instruction manual to a T. Connect the reservoir, water pumps, air pumps, air stones, siphons, and more. Be sure to do a lot of research if you’re going to DIY your system!
The first step to growing hydroponically is, of course, to get your system all set up!
Follow the instruction manual to connect the reservoir, water pumps, air pumps, air stones, siphons, and more depending on which system you’re using.
If you’re DIY’ing your system, read as many guides as possible before starting to build!
Germinate your poblano pepper seeds
While you can technically use transplants, most hydroponic growers enjoy germinating their own seeds.
Germinate your hydroponic poblano pepper seeds with starter plugs. Plant the seeds ¼ inch into the starter plugs. Keep temperatures between 80 and 85 degrees by using a heat mat. Expect your seeds to germinate in about a week.
Germinate your poblano pepper seeds using starter plugs. Plant your seeds ¼ inch into the starter plugs and use a heat mat to keep temperatures between 80 and 85 degrees.
Seeds should take about a week to germinate.
Transplant your baby poblanos into your hydroponic system
Time to get those pups into your system!
Once your hydroponic poblano peppers germinate and develop a few sets of true leaves, it’s time to transplant them into your system! Be very gentle with the delicate roots.
Once your poblanos have a couple sets of true leaves and you’ve thinned out the weakest ones, it’s time to transplant!
VERY carefully remove your poblanos from the starter plugs, being sure not to damage the delicate root system.
Plant the peppers into the growing medium of your hydroponic setup as gently as possible.
Provide the correct kind of hydroponic fertilizer
Since hydroponic poblano peppers aren’t getting any nutrients from the soil, choosing the correct kind of hydroponic fertilizer is beyond vital.
It’s of the utmost importance to use hydroponic fertilizer when growing hydroponic poblano peppers. Traditional fertilizer relies on the micronutrients of the soil, but hydroponic fertilizer provides those much-needed micronutrients because your peppers aren’t growing in soil. Choose a hydroponic fertilizer with an NPK value of 5-10-10.
The key word here is “hydroponic” fertilizer, and I’ll tell you why.
Traditional fertilizers rely on soil to provide the micronutrients that your plants need. Meanwhile, in a hydroponic system, your peppers aren’t getting any micronutrients from the soil- because there is none!
That means your fertilizer needs to contain the micronutrients, and only hydroponic fertilizer has an adequate amount of micronutrients for your peppers to thrive.
Peppers enjoy fertilizers with an NPK value of 5-10-10.
Routinely maintain your hydroponic system
It should seem like a no-brainer, but keeping a watchful eye on your system is the key to success.
Things will quickly go south if you don’t routinely maintain your hydroponic system. Frequently check your water levels, pH, and EC. Your poblano peppers won’t be able to uptake nutrients properly if any of these things are out of balance.
You need to check the water levels, pH, and EC of your hydroponic system as often as possible.
The pH and EC of your system determine how available nutrients are to your peppers. So even if you have the best hydroponic fertilizer out there, the wrong pH and EC can prevent your peppers from sucking it up!
Prune and harvest your poblano peppers to encourage higher yields
It may seem counterintuitive, but pruning and harvesting will actually lead to higher yields than if you left your plant to its own devices.
Pruning and harvesting hydroponic poblano peppers leads to higher yields by encouraging your plants to put more energy into fruit production. Poblano peppers can be harvested while still green and “immature”, but if you wait until they’re a deep red they will double in heat!
Poblano peppers can be harvested at different points in their life cycle. Immature poblano peppers are still green, while fully ripe poblano peppers are a deep red.
Poblano peppers range from 1,000 to 2,000 Scoville Heat Units, so a ripe pepper can be up to double as hot as an immature one!
How to solve common hydroponic poblano pepper problems
Of course, it’s impossible to garden without running into some roadblocks- whether traditional or hydroponic.
Some common hydroponic poblano pepper problems include:
- Fluctuating pH and EC
- Slow growth and low yields
Let’s talk about each of these problems and how to remedy them.
Fluctuating pH and EC
Fluctuation in pH and EC can be confusing to your plants and interfere with nutrient uptake.
One common hydroponic poblano pepper problem is a fluctuating pH and EC. This is expected when using a small reservoir, as water levels will drop more quickly and create a more concentrated amount of fertilizer. Likewise, poblano peppers suck up a lot of nutrients, which can also change the pH and EC without proper monitoring.
There are a couple reasons why your pH and EC may be fluctuating wildly.
One reason is if you’re using a small reservoir. The water levels in small reservoirs will drop more rapidly than in large reservoirs. When water levels drop, the fertilizer will become more concentrated and therefore change the pH and EC.
Another reason your pH and EC may fluctuate is if you’re not replenishing the fertilizer often enough. Poblano peppers use up a LOT of nutrients because they’re such prolific producers.
Poblano pepper plants go through fertilizer quickly and you might need to add more fertilizer than you’re used to if you typically grow other hydroponic crops such as lettuce or herbs.
No matter the reason, it’s vital to closely monitor your pH and EC if you notice that it fluctuates a lot so you can make the proper adjustments. If your pH and EC are too far out of the required range, it can really harm- or even kill- your poblanos.
Slow growth and low yields
Slow growth, low yields- oh my!
One common hydroponic poblano pepper problem is slow growth and low yields. Some causes behind these problems may include insufficient lighting, pH and EC fluctuation, and/or using the wrong fertilizer.
Sometimes your plants just won’t grow as quickly as you want them to.
If your poblanos are just a little bit behind, don’t stress too much. But if growth is very stunted and yields are low, something is definitely wrong.
The first thing that comes to mind is lighting. Traditionally-grown poblanos enjoy full sun, which translates to 10-12 hours of artificial light each day when growing hydroponically.
If your lighting is sufficient, refer to the prior section. Do your pH and EC fluctuate a lot? This can seriously affect the growth of your poblanos and you need to solve it!
If you’re using a traditional fertilizer and not a hydroponic fertilizer, I can almost guarantee that that’s your problem. As previously discussed, hydroponic fertilizers have vital micronutrients that your plants need to survive- that won’t be provided by traditional fertilizers.
In the same light, using a hydroponic fertilizer with the wrong NPK value might be your culprit. I can’t stress enough that poblano peppers need fertilizer with an NPK value of 5-10-10.
How many poblano peppers can you grow in a 5 gallon bucket?
You can grow one poblano pepper plant in a 5 gallon bucket. 5 gallons is the minimum size container needed to grow poblano peppers.
PH for hydroponic poblano peppers
Hydroponic peppers enjoy a pH of around 6.5.
How long does it take to grow poblano peppers hydroponically?
It takes a few months for hydroponic poblano peppers to reach full maturity.
What hydroponic nutrients should I use for poblano peppers?
You should use a hydroponic fertilizer with an NPK value of 5-10-10 when growing hydroponic poblano peppers.
How long do hydroponic poblano pepper plants live?
Hydroponic poblano pepper plants can live for multiple years!
How many peppers does one hydroponic poblano pepper plant produce?
Traditionally-grown poblano pepper plants produce about 8 peppers at a time, or 40 per season.
Since hydroponics increases yield, you’re likely to see yields even higher than this!
Likewise, because hydroponic poblano pepper plants can live for multiple years, you’re going to get a LOT of peppers so long as you do everything right!