Jalapenos are a very popular type of pepper that is used worldwide in many dishes. These peppers are known for the delicious spice that they deliver to our taste buds. Knowing the jalapeno plant stages can be very beneficial if you are growing your own because it allows you to understand if the plant is growing properly and what to expect.
Table of Contents
What are the Jalapeno Plant Stages?
The jalapeno plant stages are germination, seedling, vegetative growth, flowering, fruiting, and harvest stages. Each stage is marked by unique development that is essential to the successful harvest of jalapenos. Lets go in depth into each stage in the pepper’s lifecycle.
Germination Plant Stage
Germination is the first of the jalapeno plant stages and marks the beginning of the plant’s life. This stage takes place under the soil, so you will often not get to see it. If you start your peppers seeds in paper towel, you will be able to see this process take place. To start germination, plant the seed in 1/4 of an inch into the soil, cover it with dirt, and moisten. The process of germination will begin within 1 to 2 weeks.
The seed will begin to absorb moisture from the surrounding soil softening the outer shell. A small first root will begin to emerge from the seed, as well as a stem with two small leaves called cotyledons. The root will continue to grow and spread, while the stem and leaves will work their way up toward the surface of the soil to get sunlight.
Jalapeno plants are often started indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost date to give them an extended growing season. When these seeds are started indoors they will require indoor grow lights. A heating mat is also recommended to increase germination success. Jalapeno seeds germinate best in temperatures of at least 70°F and prefer a well draining soil.
Seedling Jalapeno Plant Stage
The seedling stage begins when the stem and two leaves break through the soil. You will begin to see the stem grow taller and thicker, as the true leaves begin to grow. The true leaves are the sets of leaves that grow after the first two baby leaves. These new leaves will have a more distinct pepper plant look to them and will play a significant role in photosynthesis, allowing the plant to utilize more sunlight to produce energy. This is a very delicate time during a pepper plant’s growth stages, so be sure to handle the seedlings with care.
If the seedlings are being grown indoors, you will want to transplant them outdoors after the risk of the the last frost in your location has passed. Optimally, jalapeno plants will do best outdoors when the night time temperatures remain about 60°F and the day time temperatures are 70°F to 85°F. You will need to go through a process called hardening off with your plants to acclimate them to the outdoor environment slowly.
Tip: Plant your jalapeno plants in a different location than where you have previously grown other nightshade vegetables (peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes) to avoid any disease transfer.
Jalapeno Vegetative Growth Stage
The vegetative growth stage is a period of time during the jalapeno plant’s lifecycle that consists of significant growth and development. The stem will continue to lengthen and thicken, while many leaves will begin to grow. The ultimate goal of the plant during this stage is to maximize its size to aid the plant in photosynthesis. On average, a healthy and mature jalapeno plant will grow to be 2 or 3 feet tall. The root system will continue to strengthen in order to anchor itself into the soil and absorb vital nutrients.
During this stage, a jalapeno plant needs regular watering, as well as a fertilization schedule, especially if the soil does not already contain organic fertilizer. These plants will need the appropriate amount of light during this high growth period, optimally getting at least 8 hours of sunlight per day. Staking or caging the pepper plants may be helpful to avoid any broken branches or the plant falling over during windy periods.
Tip: A high nitrogen fertilizer is optimal for the vegetative growth stage. Nitrogen helps with photosynthesis, foliage growth, and leaf production.
Flowering Plant Stage
Flowering is an important part of the jalapeno plant stages, as this marks the point of maturity. During this phase, you will see your plant begin to grow many small buds that will eventually open. These flowers are where pollination will occur. Jalapeno plants have both male and female parts within their flowers, which means that they can typically self pollinate. However, you will still probably see pollinating insects visiting your flowers and aiding the process.
Tip: As jalapeno plants begin to flower, you should switch from a high nitrogen fertilizer to one that is high in phosphorous. The high phosphorous will aid the plant in flower and fruit production.
Fruiting Jalapeno Plant Stage
The fruiting stage begins after the jalapeno plant achieves successful pollination of its flowers. Once fertilization has occurred, the flower will dry out and a pepper will begin to grow in its place. You will begin to see a small pepper slowly grow larger over the passing days. Jalapenos will also undergo a color change from green to red or yellow. The color change depends on the variety that you choose and how long they are left on the plant.
Providing the plant with an adequate amount of water during this time is very important. However, be sure not to overwater the plants, as jalapeno plants do not like too much water. Overwatering can lead to root rot in pepper plants or may wash away some needed nutrients from the soil. Additionally, jalapeno plants may produce less peppers when they are experiencing hot or cold temperature extremes.
Jalapeno Harvest Stage
Harvesting is the last part of the jalapeno plant stages. This is the most rewarding stage because you will finally get to pick your peppers and eat them. Once the jalapenos on your plant have reached the appropriate size and color for your specific variety, it is now time to harvest! You should harvest jalapenos when they are green or when they have ripened to a red or yellow color. Riper jalapenos tend to produce a hotter pepper. You can harvest the peppers by simply cutting through the stem that connects the pepper to the plant. Both scissors or shears work best for this job. Harvested jalapenos will continue to ripen once they are picked, however they will not grow any larger.
Tip: A jalapeno plant will continue to produce additional peppers through the season. We recommend regularly harvesting your peppers to encourage new ones to grow.
Peppers in the Garden. Utah State University Extension