Home Vegetable Gardening Grow Jalapeño Peppers: A Beginner’s Guide to Planting, Care, and Harvest

Grow Jalapeño Peppers: A Beginner’s Guide to Planting, Care, and Harvest

by Gregory
4 minutes read

Jalapeño Peppers: A Spicy Addition to Your Garden


Jalapeño peppers are a popular type of chili pepper known for their moderate heat and versatility in cooking. They belong to the Capsicum annuum species, which also includes bell peppers, habaneros, and cayenne peppers.

Jalapeño Pepper Characteristics

Jalapeño peppers typically grow to a height of 2-3 feet and have a spread of 15-18 inches. They require full sun and well-draining soil to thrive. Jalapeños are known for their heat, which is measured in Scoville Heat Units (SHU). They typically range from 2,000 to 8,000 SHU, making them milder than cayenne peppers but hotter than bell peppers.

Cultivation and Care

Growing jalapeño peppers is relatively easy, provided you have a warm and sunny environment. They can be started from seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before the last frost date in your area. Seedlings should be transplanted into the garden when night temperatures are consistently above 60°F.

Jalapeño plants require regular watering and fertilization. They should be watered deeply when the soil feels dry to the touch. Fertilize plants every few weeks with a balanced fertilizer.

Harvesting and Storage

Jalapeño peppers are ready to harvest when they reach their desired size and color. They can be harvested green, but will ripen to red, orange, or yellow if left on the plant. To harvest, simply cut the peppers from the stem with a sharp knife.

Jalapeño peppers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. They can also be dried or frozen for longer storage.

Culinary Uses

Jalapeño peppers are a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. They add a spicy kick to salsas, sauces, and marinades. Jalapeños can also be stuffed, roasted, or pickled.

Varieties of Jalapeño Peppers

There are many different varieties of jalapeño peppers available, each with its own unique characteristics. Some popular varieties include:

  • Billy Biker: A compact variety with a high yield of medium-sized peppers.
  • Early: As the name suggests, this variety matures early and produces peppers with a mild heat level.
  • El Jefe: A large, thick-walled variety with a moderate heat level.
  • Goliath: A giant variety that produces peppers up to 6 inches in length.
  • Jalafuego: A hot variety with a SHU rating of up to 10,000.
  • Jaloro: A yellow variety with a mild to moderate heat level.
  • Jedi: A red variety with a slightly spicy flavor.
  • Lemon Spice: A unique variety with a citrusy flavor.
  • Mattapeno: A small, round variety with a high heat level.
  • Mammoth: A large, blocky variety with a mild to moderate heat level.
  • Mucho Nacho: A large, thick-walled variety with a moderate heat level.
  • Orange Spice: An orange variety with a mild to moderate heat level.
  • Pumpkin Spice: A large, orange variety with a mild heat level.
  • Purple: A purple variety with a mild to moderate heat level.
  • TAM: A high-yielding variety with a moderate heat level.


Jalapeño plants are relatively low-maintenance, but there are a few common problems that you may encounter:

  • Aphids: These small insects can suck the sap from jalapeño plants, causing stunted growth and yellowing leaves. They can be controlled with insecticidal soap or neem oil.
  • Cucumber beetle larvae: These larvae can damage the roots of jalapeño plants, leading to wilting and stunted growth. Keep the area around the plants weed-free to prevent beetle breeding.
  • Pepper hornworms: These large caterpillars can chew large holes in the foliage of jalapeño plants. They can be picked off by hand and disposed of.
  • Fusarium wilt: This fungal disease can cause yellowing and wilting of jalapeño plants. It can be prevented by keeping plants healthy and unstressed.
  • Anthracnose: This fungal disease causes sunken spots on the fruit of jalapeño plants. Infected plants should be destroyed.


Jalapeño peppers are a delicious and versatile addition to any garden. With proper care, they can be grown successfully by gardeners of all levels. Whether you enjoy them fresh, dried, or frozen, jalapeños are sure to add a spicy kick to your culinary creations.

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