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Feeding Your Pepper Plants

Feeding your peppers plants is much easier than many people make it out to be. Avoid the common pitfalls and misconceptions that many pepper growers fall into with these simple tips below. Very few people and fertilizer producers understand what peppers actually require and this will be addressed in detail.

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Short Answer:

Peppers prefer an even NPK liquid fertilizer every 2-3 weeks for optimal results. You can also amend your soil with powdered amendments at the start of the season to reduce the amount of liquid nutrients you'll need. When plants are seedlings, feed at 1/4 the recommended dose. Veg and Bloom Fertilizers will limit a plants potential. N-P-K are the 3 numbers you will find on any bottled nutrient and stands for Nitrogen - Phosphorous - Potassium.

Long Answer:

Capsicum (peppers) are known as "Day-Neutral" plants, meaning they will flower under any amount of light hours and are not triggered by the length of the day. The other end of this spectrum would be "Photoperiodic" plants, which flower based on the amount of hours of light they receive. Cannabis would fall into this category.  A common myth that is perpetuated is that peppers are photoperiodic plants and that you should use "Veg" and "Bloom" fertilizers.

 

Capsicum is not Cannabis. They do not have the same needs. Using a Veg fertilizer can inhibit your plants from putting out flowers or cause flower drop. This is a very common problem I see when people only use Alaskan Fish Fertilizer (5 -1 - 1). Peppers do not stop producing foliage once the plant starts flowering. Reducing nitrogen by using bloom fertilizers will reduce the plants maximum potential by limiting foliage, causing stunting or causing leaves to yellow and fall off. 

Cannabis spends the first part of its life putting all of its energy into vegetative growth (producing leaves and bushing out). This is powered by Nitrogen. Flowering is triggered when the days become short enough. Once triggered, the plant stops putting energy into bushing out and stops producing leaves and instead starts putting its energy into producing flowers (buds). This is powered by Phosphorous and Potassium.

Ok you're probably asking, "why is this dude going on about weed?" The reason being  because if you google "how to fertilize/feed pepper plants?", then you will get hit with multiple google pages worth of blog posts and retail websites recommending a wide variety of different fertilizers with no common thread between the NPK's listed on any of the pages. You will see recommendations like:

23 - 8 - 16

11 - 11 - 40

9 -2 - 7

2 - 1 - 4

5 - 0 - 1

18 - 18 - 21

11 - 3 - 8

I assume you get the point. Some of these wildly different ratios are even produced by the same company for the same purpose. It's all just marketing gimmicks. Peppers perform their best when they receive an even NPK fertilizer. I tried the veg/bloom route for years, being as I have a background growing cannabis myself years back, along with working for commercial cannabis farms. Once I finally switched over to using an even NPK like all the best hobbyist growers and research farms I came across, I had major improvements in terms of plant size and yields.

I recommend checking out your local garden center or farm supply shop to find an organic, even NPK liquid fertilizer. It does not have to be absolutely perfect (like the 18 - 18 - 21 listed above would work fine), but try to find some thing as close to even as you can. If nothing is available, mixing two different bottles to achieve the same results would work just fine. I can also list some recommendations at the end of this page for you to check out. 

Feeding every 2-3 weeks will result in optimal yields.

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