Bell Pepper Plant Growth Stages

Understanding the life cycle of your bell pepper plant will help you be a better gardener. What are the growth stages it goes through?

Bell pepper plants belong to the Solanaceae, or nightshade, family and are part of the genus Capsicum. These plants grow like annuals in most gardens but can grow more like perennials in hotter climates.

Like other Capsicum plants, the bell pepper’s life stages include germination, vegetative development, flowering, pollination, fruiting, and ripening. Understanding the life cycle of the pepper plant will help you promote its growth in your vegetable garden. Let’s look at each stage a little closer below.


The first stage of the pepper plant’s life cycle is seed germination. Peppers are tropical plants, so they thrive in soil temperatures between 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Seeds should be covered with a quarter-inch layer of moist soil. You’ll need to practice patience because it can take up to four weeks for pepper seeds to germinate and sprout. Once the plant produces a second set of leaves called third true leaves, it will be time to prepare it for its life outside. If it’s not already located near a window, move it so the increased sunlight can further stimulate root growth.

Bell pepper seedling germination in a plastic container

Vegetative Growth

Six weeks after germination, the root system will be large enough to plant the pepper seedlings in a container that’s at least four inches in diameter. After eight weeks, the plant will have grown more leaves and can then be transported to the garden.

Peppers require warm weather to thrive. Be careful not to plant pepper seedlings outside until at least two weeks after your area’s last freeze. Keep them indoors until daytime temperatures reach at least 60 Fahrenheit.

Prepare the garden’s soil by adding a fertilizer and ensuring the soil has a pH between 6 and 6.5 for best results. It’s also a good idea to space the plants 18 to 24 inches apart to allow them to grow.

growing bell pepper plant in a greenhouse


When exposed to direct sunlight after the growing stage, bell pepper plants will produce white or yellow blooms. Blossoms will be star or bell-shaped and will bloom in groups of two or three. The plant will keep growing until the temperature reaches over 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

a flowering bell pepper plant exposed to the sunlight


Bell pepper plants must be pollinated for the plant’s lifecycle to continue.

Bell peppers can self-pollinate, which means that they do not rely on other plants (or even flowers) to complete the pollination process.

Some of the flowers will pollinate themselves by dropping pollen directly from their anthers to the stigma. Other flowers will rely on the help of insects to spread its pollen.


Once its blossoms are pollinated, the flower’s ovary will be fertilized. This means the bell pepper plant is ready to harvest. The ovary develops into a fleshy pericarp that encloses two or more locular chambers. The pepper’s pericarp develops the ovary walls. The pericarp thickens and swells to become the bell pepper. The locular cavities are the hollow regions within the bell pepper where the seeds form.

ripe bell pepper fruits


Immature bell peppers are usually green and turn yellow as they mature. The chlorophyll in the pepper breaks down, causing it to change from green to its mature color, which can range in color from yellow, red, orange, purple, or variegated. 

ripe bell pepper fruits ready for harvest
Leila Haynes
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