So you want to grow poblano peppers. You’ve come to the right place! We know the ins and outs and are excited to help you grow thriving plants of your own.
To ensure your poblano peppers thrive, you should carefully monitor the germination conditions or thoroughly inspect seedlings if purchased from a nursery. Transplant carefully so as not to damage the developing root system. Ensure the plant receives 1-2 inches of water per week, and prune regularly to get the most out of your plant.
Keep reading to learn more about how to grow poblano peppers and some great tips for getting the most out of your plants!
How do you take care of a poblano pepper plant?
What’s the point of gardening if you’re not going to take good care of your plants?
To take care of a poblano pepper plant:
- Prepare your growing area
- Germinate or buy a young plant
Keep reading for an extensive how-to for each step!
Prepare your growing area
Let’s talk about each one in a little more depth.
In the ground
In-ground gardens are the stereotypical image that comes to mind when you think of a garden.
When growing poblano peppers in the ground, the first step is to amend the soil with organic material. Place your garden in full sun if possible. Use natural products for pest management.
Amend your yard soil with organic material such as mature compost.
Consider using natural products to handle pest management, because in-ground gardens have the highest chance of pests and diseases. Natural products avoid harmful chemical runoff that can get in our waterways and damage ecosystems, even encouraging red tide in coastal areas!
As always, place your garden in full sun- or the next best thing that you have available.
In raised beds
Raised beds are great when you don’t have good soil in your backyard or if you need a more accessible form of gardening.
When growing poblano peppers in raised beds, invest in high-quality, well-draining soil that’s pH 6.5. You should situate your raised beds so that they perfectly utilize the available space and sun. Don’t forget to make the plan aesthetically pleasing too! Mulch around your peppers since raised beds drain quickly.
Perhaps the most important part of growing in raised beds is to invest in well-draining soil with a pH of about 6.5.
While you may have to do a lot of work to get the perfect pH when growing in the ground, all you need to do for raised beds is look at the bag!
Carefully plan the layout of your raised beds to utilize space, sun, and aesthetics.
Since soil drains quickly in raised beds, it’s not a bad idea to mulch around your peppers to retain moisture.
If you’re low on space, pots are your best friend!
When growing poblano pepper plants in pots, get a pot that’s at least 5 gallons large. Poblano peppers can grow to be up to 5 feet tall and that warrants a large root system! Pots drain quickly, so consider either mulching or watering a bit extra to make up for it. Pots are great if you’re low on space.
Before anything else, your pots need to be at least 5 gallons large. Otherwise, all of your efforts will be fruitless (perhaps literally!).
Pots are great if you’re short on space. They’re also perfect for quick drainage and pest and soil control.
Place your pots in the sunniest place in your yard.
Remember that pots drain quickly, so use mulch or water more frequently to offset this.
Lastly, avoid a rootbound poblano by periodically checking in on your root system. If your poblano pepper plant is growing to be incredibly large, it’s probably worth transplanting to a larger pot!
Germinate or buy a young plant
Whether you choose to germinate your own seeds or buy a young plant, there are important things to know.
To germinate poblano peppers, use a heat mat to keep temperatures consistently between 70 and 80°F. Start germinating indoors 2-3 months before your last average frost date. You can also buy a plant from the nursery. Be sure to inspect thoroughly for diseases or pests.
Start germination indoors 2-3 months before the last average frost date.
All of that being said, many people have a lot more luck buying a plant from the nursery. Pick out transplants that have at least six leaves. Inspect carefully for pests and diseases.
While it may feel counterintuitive, pinch off any flowers that your transplant may have. This will encourage your plant to put energy into its root system!
Almost nothing is more disappointing than an unsuccessful transplant!
To transplant young poblano peppers, be very careful when lifting the plant so as not to damage the delicate roots. If your transplant is rootbound, gently shake off the extra dirt and stroke the outer roots to loosen them. Dig a hole that’s larger than your root system. Gently hold your poblano in place while you fill the dirt in around the roots.
Transplanting is a very delicate process! You can permanently damage or stunt your poblano pepper plant if you’re not careful during this step.
If your transplant is rootbound, very gently shake off the excess dirt and stroke the outer roots until they loosen up a bit.
Dig a hole a bit larger than your root system. Carefully hold your pepper in place while filling in the dirt around the roots. This may be a two-person job – especially if you’re clumsy!
Fertilization can make all the difference between a surviving plant and a thriving plant!
To fertilize poblano peppers, use a ½ strength fertilizer upon transplant. Fertilize 2-3 times throughout the season or once using an extended-release fertilizer. Poblano peppers do best with fertilizers that have an NPK value of 5-10-10.
It’s important to fertilize your poblano peppers.
Fertilize at ½ strength when you first transplant your young poblano, whether from seed or from the nursery.
Then fertilize 2-3 times throughout the growing season. You can also use an extended-release fertilizer.
Make sure your fertilizer has an NPK value of 5-10-10!
Fertilization promotes healthy, happy plants. Your poblano plants use a lot of energy to grow and produce fruit. Fertilizer helps them out and gives them a boost of much-needed nutrients!
Don’t be lazy – water your plants!
Poblano peppers need 1-2 inches of water each week. You can water more or less depending on the weather and how quickly your soil drains. Water early in the day so that your leaves have time to dry off. Irrigation systems make watering easy!
Poblano peppers need 1-2 inches of water each week.
In hotter weather or soil that drains very quickly, you probably want to water your poblanos more than this.
Meanwhile, a slow-draining soil mix warrants less water.
Water early in the day so that leaves dry off by the time the sun is at full force to avoid burning the leaves. You can also consider an irrigation system to simplify the process.
Pruning isn’t always discussed with beginner gardeners, but it’s more important than you might think.
Pruning poblano pepper plants is a great way to encourage fruit growth. Pruning tells your plant to stop putting energy into foliage and start directing all of its energy into the peppers. You can also prune early in the season to help your peppers grow a stronger root system.
While pruning may be one of the harder aspects of gardening to get right, it is certainly worth the trouble.
Pruning early on in the season:
- Encourages a healthy root system
- Promotes branching
- Opens up air movement
- Helps avoid pests
- Forces your plant to put more energy into pepper production
- Encourages a large final yield
Harvesting your peppers is the most exciting part!
You can start to harvest your peppers when they’re 4 inches long and dark green. These are considered “immature” poblanos because they’re not as spicy as fully-grown peppers. At full maturity, poblano peppers will be a deep red, about 6 inches long, and twice as spicy!
You can begin to harvest your poblanos when they’re 4 inches long and dark green. At this stage, your poblanos would be considered “immature,” meaning they’re not as spicy as fully mature peppers.
Letting your poblanos ripen to full maturity, at which point they will be about 6 inches long and a deep red, will double their spice level from 1,000 to 2,000 SHU!
Do poblano peppers need a lot of water?
How often you need to water your poblano peppers will depend on how hot it is, if it’s rained lately, and your soil drainage.
On average, poblano peppers need 1-2 inches of water each week.
Watering early in the day allows the leaves to dry off before the sun peaks. Irrigation systems make watering easy!
Tips and tricks for growing healthy poblano peppers
To ensure your poblano peppers thrive, you need more than just good soil, the right amount of water, and lots of sunlight. Luckily, we’ve got some tricks up our sleeve!
- Cage your poblanos – Since poblanos can grow to such staggering heights and are heavy producers, caging or staking your poblano pepper plants is a good idea.
- Try hydroponic growing – Hydroponic growing is a unique way to grow indoors, garden year-round, get large yields in fewer square feet, and is a fun project!
- Store your harvest correctly – There’s no point in growing poblanos if you’re just going to let them go bad! Store your poblano harvest correctly in order to keep your bounty fresh and flavorful.
- Put a barrier around your garden – Putting a barrier around your garden can help keep away pests.
- Harden off your seedlings before transplanting – Hardening off your seedlings will prepare them for a more successful transplant so they don’t go through shock when you move them outdoors.
Are poblano peppers hard to grow?
Poblano peppers aren’t particularly hard to grow.
In fact, the most difficult part of growing them is probably making sure they get enough sun!