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Growing Capsicum, also Bell pepper, Sweet pepper

(Capsicum anuum)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
P             P P P P P

(Best months for planting Capsicum in New Zealand - sub-tropical regions)


  • Harvest in 70-90 days
  • Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed.
  • Best planted at soil temperatures between 18°C and 35°C.
  • Space plants: 100-150cm

Small bushy plant about 40cm high The seeds are reluctant to start germinating if temperatures drop at night. These are best sown in small trays in a warm, sheltered place: a small greenhouse if possible. Then plant out when about 10 -12cm (4-5in) tall.

They are from the same family as chilli but are not hot and spicy. The seeds are bitter.

Capsicums are frost tender and need warmth to ripen the fruit to the brilliant reds and yellows of commercial ones. They can be used green but are not as sweet.

There are a number of colours available, chocolate, black, yellow, orange as well as red. They all start off green and change as they ripen.

In cool, wet weather cover with a cloche or frost fleece.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Capsicum

Can be sliced and seeded and used raw in salads.
Will freeze successfully without blanching if seeded and sliced.

Or brush with olive oil, roast at a high temperature until the skin changes colour
then put in a covered dish until cool and rub off the skin and remove seeds.

Your comments and tips

13 May 10 David (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Debbie, your plants will die off a bit over winter. It is best to start with new ones in the spring
08 Nov 10 Rayner (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Has anyone grown capsicums outdoors in Taupo? I have grown them in other parts of NZ but new to this region. I have just purchased x 3 plants but now note instructions are - not to be planted until nighttime temp is above 13. Thanks.
06 Jan 11 Sara (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I am growing my capsicum under an insect net, it is starting to flower but I was wondering if it needed to be pollinated by bees for fruit to grow?
07 Jan 11 Tania (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I planted Capsicum seeds from an actual capsicum that I cut the seeds out of and dried. I had almost given up hope of them germinating as It has been about a month with no sprouting then a bought a little mini grow house and have had them in there for 2 weeks and the first ones sprouted yesteday!! I'm so very excited.
07 Jan 11 Liz (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Sara, They will need some sort of insect pollination so it would probably be better to remove your netting.
23 Jan 11 Renee (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I have 3 capsicum planted, 2 target and 1 purple. Do I leave the capsicums on the target plants to turn them yellow and red or do I need to harvest them? I have tried 3 seasons in a row to grow capsicums and this is my first successful season, my plants are loaded!!
26 Jan 11 Tom (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
I would like to grow some Capsicum sweeties from from my own seeds do I need to do anything special with the selected seeds to insure that they survive till next year
26 Jan 11 (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
I have 4 plants doing well.But 2 of them have got fruit that start going black.The other two have healthy green fruit.Do the other 2 plants have a disease.
26 Jan 11 Liz (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
The capsicums that start black will probably be the variety that turns red later.
26 Jan 11 Liz (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Tom, If you keep the seed cool and dry they should last till next year. A paper kitchen towel is good for drying seeds on.

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See planting calendar for these climate zones

New Zealand - sub-tropical,   New Zealand - temperate  

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