Popular in Mexican cuisines, jalapenos are a staple pepper for spicing up recipes.
It grows well in both warm and winter regions but will be ideal in hotter zones with temperate conditions all year round.
Did you know that you can regrow them from peppers sold in stores?
Don’t waste your money any further. Grow your own at home. Maybe even organically?
A single pepper can produce a whole garden bed full of jalapenos. It really doesn’t take much.
With their ease of care, beginner-friendly needs, and spice these guys can put into any recipes, these peppers are versatile enough for everyday cooking.
Ready to turn up the heat? Let’s do it.
Quick care guide: Jalapeno peppers
|Plant type||Annual vegetable|
|Origin||Central America, Mexico|
|Scientific name||Capsicum annuum
|Other names||Huachinago, Jalapa|
|Soil type||Fertile, loamy, well-draining|
|Soil pH||6.0-6.8 (acidic)|
|Sunlight requirement||Full sun|
|Bloom season||Summer, Fall|
|Colors||Green, white, yellow, red|
|Max height||3 feet|
|Max width||2 feet|
|Low temperature tolerance||55F|
|High temperature tolerance||85F|
|Ideal temperature range||70-80F|
|Humidity||Moderate (60% or higher)|
|Watering requirements||1" per week|
|Fertilizer requirements||Light feeding during spring, summer|
|Plant food NPK||5-5-10|
|Days until germination||2-3 weeks from seed|
|Days until bloom||2-4 weeks|
|Speed of growth||Moderate|
|Hardiness zones||7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14|
|Plant depth||0.25" from seed, 1" from transplant|
|Plant spacing||12 inches|
|Plant with||Dill, carrots, tomatoes, eggplants, swiss chard, turnips, lettuce, spinach, lemongrass.|
|Don't plant with||Plants in the same family, beans, peas, cauliflower, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, or cabbage.|
|Propagation method||Seeds, transplants|
|Common pests||Cutworms, flea beetles, aphids, caterpillars, and worms.|
|Common diseases||Root rot, verticillium wilt, leaf spot, mosaic virus, blossom end rot, yellowing or browning, and damping-off are also common.|
|Grown in container||Yes|
|Care level||Low (easy)|
|Best uses||Culinary, sauces, dips, flavorings, seasonings, recipes|
Can you grow jalapeno peppers from store-bought peppers?
Yes, you sure can.
For those pepper lovers, jalapeno is the work.
It’s versatile, simple, cheap, plus adds a nice kick to any dish. Some people can even eat them raw, like this person:
Growing jalapeno at home yourself offers plenty of benefits compared to buying them.
For instance, you can control exactly what goes into the.
The soil, plant food, water, etc. it’s all under your control. If you wanna grow organic jalapenos, you can do it for cheap!
Plus you never have to spend money again on buying these hot peppers so you can eat them until your tongue burns.
However, jalapeno peppers do require some specific TLC in order to grow hot ones and produce a good yield.
That’s what we’ll go over in this guide. Sounds good? Let’s plant!
When you get jalapenos from the store, those are suitable for planting on your own.
However, you should watch out for two things:
- Patented jalapenos
- Sterilized jalapenos
Both of these are no-nos. Patented peppers can’t be regrown legally in your own kitchen.
Sterilized jalapenos can’t be regrown because well…they’re sterile.
However, most peppers can be regrown that are purchased from the grocery store. You may even be able to grow spicier jalapenos at home compared to the store-bought ones.
How do you grow peppers from scraps?
The key is to harvest the seeds. That’s the magical piece that’ll let you grow them at home.
Sadly, jalapenos aren’t a “cut and come again” pepper nor do they grow from cuttings.
You can’t just plop a half piece of jalapeno in the soil then expect it to grow into anything- you’ll need the seeds to regrow it.
Thankfully, every single pepper has at least a dozen seeds or so, which makes it easy to quickly start your own jalapeno garden.
Buy a few virulent-looking jalapenos from your local grocery. Opt for organic peppers if available. You can also get it from a friend or neighbor.
Or just go to a Mexican restaurant and ask for a few pieces. If the jalapeno isn’t cooked, it should be good to go. Also, make it hasn’t been cut open yet.
Whether you’re growing from fresh seeds or stored seeds, it’s simple.
Like most pepper veggies, peppers come in hybrid or open pollinated variants.
Deciding which one to grow makes a huge difference. Open pollinated jalapeno seeds produce plants that are true jalapenos, while hybrids may produce sterile seeds.
Heirloom jalapenos are usually true jalapenos, which you can buy from seed.
Grocery store-bought jalapenos are typically hybrids, which have seeds that are sterilized.
So you need to make sure they’re heirloom before you buy or else you’ll just waste time. Hybrid jalapenos don’t come from true strains.
Choose jalapenos that are:
- True heirloom varieties
- Dark red in color
- No signs of bugs or holes
- Corking of the skin (these look like beige stretch marks on the outside of it)
The glossy green peppers you commonly see in the store aren’t peppers you want to plant.
They’re not ripe for seed harvesting, so avoid them. Try to pick peppers that are almost dry and have a few fine wrinkles. This is a sign that the seeds are ready to harvest.
If you happen to get green jalapenos or you just know it’s not ready yet, you can put them in a warm area. Warmer temperatures help jalapenos become harvest-ready.
Put them on your kitchen counter in the sun.
Or put tomato or apple next to it to utilize the benefits of ethylene gas, which is known to help decrease ripening time.
F1 hybrids are the ones you usually see in the supermarket. Growing from these is hard compared to just starting from heirloom seeds.
Hybrid peppers will produce a mix of fruit from both parents, compared to true varieties, which will produce the exact duplicate offspring
Jalapenos may end up tasting differently or produce very little yield since you don’t know what you’re getting with hybrid jalapenos.
Commercial growers often sell hybrids to grocers because they’re harder for people to regrow at home. This way, they sustain their business model!
Opt for organic peppers which are labeled as an heirloom. You’ll find the optimal seeds from these.
You can check out health stores or farmer’s markets, both of which tend to produce heirloom jalapenos.
Collecting the seeds
Once you find your perfect starter peppers, you’ll want to grab the seeds.
Put on some protective gloves, goggles, and wear long sleeves. Jalapeno will burn you.
Get a sterile knife and carefully cut the jalapenos open. Scrape the seeds out onto a dark napkin or plate.
Wash them under room temperature water. Place the seeds in a non-bright area.
Let them sit for a few days to dry out completely. If you want to store them for next season, you can put them into a mason jar or envelope.
Store in a dry, cool pantry.
You can also use a wet method, which takes more time, but it has the benefit of removing the sterile seeds that won’t germinate.
Put the freshly gathered seeds in a shallow bowl then fill it up with water. The bad seeds will float, while the good seeds will sink.
Remove the good seeds and let them dry on a paper towel for a few days.
The floating bad seeds should be disposed of. Jalapeno seeds will last up to 24 months when stored properly.
Store between 32-40 degrees for maximum shelf life. Putting them inside the refrigerator is a good idea.
How do I know when to collect the seeds?
Let the peppers fully ripen on the vine before you collect the seeds. They should be slightly wrinkly before you pick them off.
Small cracks or fissures around the stem with brilliant red hues are good signs that the pepper is ready to pick off.
Saving the seeds from store-bought peppers is exactly the same as saving the seeds from your own harvest.
Slice it open, scrape them out, then dry them in a folded paper towel. Store them or plant them. That’s it.
How do you plant store-bought peppers?
Plant 6-8 weeks before your last frost date. If you don’t know your dates, check out this handy site.
While jalapeno isn’t stubborn to germinate, it can require a bit of patience to germinate.
To increase your success rate, use a wet paper towel. Place the seeds in a 3% hydrogen peroxide dip. This kills spores which can ruin your harvest.
Wet the paper towel then wring it out. Put a layer of seeds on it.
No seeds should be touching. Fold the towel over once sandwich style. Place it in a plastic sandwich bag.
Seal it to trap the moisture inside it. Place it in a warm, dark place with temps in the 70-80s. Check daily for germination. It should germinate within 2-3 days.
You should see a small root coming out of the seed. When you see this, you can move it to a potter.
The nice thing about this technique is that it lets you know beforehand if your seeds will germinate without wasting your time.
Here’s how to do it in video format:
Don’t soak the seeds in water before planting.
If you’re buying random peppers from the grocery store, I suggest you use this method because it’ll be efficient.
No point in starting a germination setup only to see that nothing grows because the seeds are sterile.
Can you plant pepper seeds right out of the pepper?
The seeds should be dried before you plant them.
This only takes a few days. Wrap them in a napkin, then plant them when they’re fully dried.
What is the fastest way to germinate pepper seeds?
During the cooler months, they’ll grow slower compared to the summer months.
I mean, it’s a “hot” pepper after all things considered.
Jalapenos are fruitier when they’re fully ripe.
You can gauge when they’re ready to go by looking at their color. Green jalapenos are still growing, but red ones are done.
The actual process for growing jalapeno peppers is simple. The most critical thing to note is that they love long warm growing seasons.
Sow indoors up to 10 weeks before the last spring frost.
If you’re in a cooler zone, the head start they get indoors will help get you the most yield before the fall comes.
Sow in peat pots with seed starting soil. Some people use other containers like buckets.
It really doesn’t matter as long as it drains. Use organic soil with moisture-retaining properties. Opt for nutrient-dense, well-draining soil.
Scatter the pepper seeds (you can put 5-7 seeds per hole) over the surface of the soil. Cover with 0.25” of soil. Gently water.
Seeds will germinate when temperatures are at least 80F.
If your ambient temperature is lower than this, you’ll need a heat mat to keep them warm. Or you can use a grow lamp or health lamp. Do NOT let the temps drop below 70F for extended periods.
Covering the seeds with plastic wrap and then occasionally misting them is a good practice to keep them warm and humid.
Seedlings will sprout within 7-14 days. If temperatures drop below 55F, the seeds will not germinate.
After they sprout, continue misting and watching for signs of mold or fungus. Young seedlings will need warmth, light, and water.
Seedlings should be thinned to the few strongest plants per pot. Place them near a south-facing window in the same pot you used for germination. Do not transplant yet.
If you planted them in a seed starter or flat, you can move them into their own pots.
Keep them indoors with stable temperatures above 60F. Since they’ve sprouted now, they need stable temperatures. Aim for 70F or higher during the daytime.
Water when the soil gets barely dry 1” below the soil surface. Continue to water and watch for temperature spikes.
Direct, bright light from the window should be sufficient if you’re in the right hardiness zone.
Transplanting to the garden
Your seedlings should be quite taller now with a few pairs of true leaves.
Wait until 3 weeks after the last frost date, then move them outside to their permanent home in your garden.
The bed should be well-draining with dedicated garden soil, NOT potting mix. They are not the same. Use high-quality soil with organic nutrients made for veggies.
Gently remove each seedling from its pot and place the roots into the soil. Firmly pack around the roots.
Do not cover the leaves. Space each plant 12 inches apart. The location should be bright with full sun.
If your plants are leggy, this could be due to poor lighting conditions, poor soil nutrients, or not enough light.
My seeds aren’t germinating!
If your jalapeno seeds are being stubborn, that’s OK. Even high-quality heirloom seeds may not always germinate successfully.
But there are some things you can do to help increase the chance of successful germination.
- Do the napkin test- this saves you time and tells you upfront whether or not the seeds will germinate.
- Keep the seeds in the appropriate temperature range when germinating
- Keep the seeds moist, but never wet
- Use high-quality seeds
- Pick peppers that are bright or dark red when choosing from the store
- Use a plant heat mat to help keep the temperatures stable, especially at night when it gets cold
If you’re using seeds from a previous generation, note that they can cross-pollinate if you’re planting between different strains. This can result in sterile seeds in future generations.
Starting with pure jalapeno strains (heirloom) is important. Jalapeno plants usually will self-fertilize, so it’s not a glaring issue.
Here are some quick tips on caring for your jalapeno pepper plant.
Note that depending on where you live, your cultivar, and your local conditions, care needs will vary.
But these should serve well as a general checklist so you know what to expect with these hot peppers.
Jalapeno peppers grow in zones 7-17. Traditionally, they’re grown outdoors in the spring and indoors in the winter.
They’re good for beginners since they require little work other than providing the right temperatures.
If you’re in the right hardiness zone, you’ll have it on easy street. If not, don’t fret. It’s just a matter of keeping them warm and cozy.
Use a well-draining, loamy soil made for vegetables. It should be organic, chock full of nutrients, and slightly acidic.
Amend with mulch or compost to help fight weeds and add some nutrients to the soil column.
These peppers like slightly acidic soil pH. Aim for a range between 6.0-6.8 for tastier harvests.
They thrive in soils that are acidic to produce the ideal texture/taste.
Space each plant at least 12 inches from each other for optimal growth.
Packing them too closely together will result in smaller plants due to competition in the soil.
Plant each seed 0.25” deep. Plant each seedling 1” deep. Don’t cover the leaves.
Aim for about 1” of water per week. This will help ensure that the soil is moist, but not wet.
Use a moisture meter to help gauge when to water. Indoor plants grown in pots will need less water than outdoor ones.
The temperature should be kept between 70-85F for outdoor jalapenos.
If temperatures drop below 65F, this can harm the plants. They love warmer temperatures and keeping them hot is critical to their growth.
Jalapeno plants prefer higher humidity environments.
When germinating, keep the humidity up by using a plastic cover over their pots or using a humidity dish.
These peppers typically don’t need additional fertilizer.
However, you can use a basic 5-10-10 NPK general-purpose fertilizer to help improve their growth. Add when the plants start to blossom.
Compost or manure are also good choices to give them some food.
When you harvest, be sure that you choose the dark red ones.
These are ready to go and they’re ripe for cooking. Pick the slightly wrinkled peppers gently by using both hands.
The green peppers should be left to turn red over the life of the plant cycle. Peppers can be used right away or dried for storage.
Jalapenos are usually grown as annuals and need no overwintering.
They’re also self-propagating, so if you’re in the right zone, you have nothing to worry about. They’ll produce a second generation of jalapeno plants on their own.
If you’re in a cooler region, gather the seeds from ripe fruits then replant them again next season.
Constantly using the same plants will diminish the taste of it.
Common pests that’ll gladly feast on your fruiting jalapeno are cutworms, flea beetles, aphids, caterpillars, and worms.
Simply spraying down your plant with a blast of water from your house should do some damage.
You can also use organic insecticides like neem oil to kill them. Larger pests should be manually removed then disposed of. If the damage from insects is extensive, use an organic pesticide.
Jalapeno is disease tolerant, but some fungal diseases are rampant.
Southern blight rots the stem and the plant wilts. Powdery mildew can show up on the bottom of the leaves.
Both of these are common in warmer conditions, which is exactly what jalapeno loves.
Root rot, verticillium wilt, leaf spot, mosaic virus, blossom end rot, yellowing or browning, and damping-off are also common.
If you notice signs of damage, prune the infested parts off. Increase ventilation by pruning or using small garden fans. Water at the base of the plant. Use moisture-retaining soil or mulch. Limit watering.
Jalapeno peppers have countless uses.
Have you seen the thousands of recipes that call for it?
Thick jalapeno poppers, tortilla roll-ups, stuffed chicken, slider or burgers, carnitas, buffalo wings, mac, and cheese, or guac!
Jalapeno can be grown with a variety of other edibles.
Some ideas include dill, carrots, tomatoes, eggplants, swiss chard, turnips, lettuce, spinach, lemongrass.
If you want to improve the health of your peppers, plant some chamomile or marigold next to them.
Don’t plant with
Don’t plant beans, peas, cauliflower, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, or cabbage.
Plants from the brassica group should be avoided as they don’t make good partners.
Enjoy your jalapenos!
The versatility of these peppers is off the charts. You can do so much with these peppers.
Now that you know how to grow your own army of jalapenos, the possibilities should be swimming into your head!
These hot peppers can be a cool science experience for the kids or can even be sold online in batches.
With their ease of growth, easy propagation, and the countless uses, there’s no need to ever spend money on jalapenos from the store again when you grow your own.
Do you have any questions? Post a comment and let me know!
I’ve always been interested in gardening, but I never took it seriously until I was forcefully gifted an orchid. This was what got me into the hobby and I’ve never looked back. I enjoy writing about it, but not nearly as much as getting into the dirt and sculpting the perfect decorative ornamental to enjoy for the times.