Best Peppers to Grow in Containers – 9 Impeccable Choices

Growing green peppers in pots eliminates common pain points of gardening. For example, there’s no weeding and fewer backaches when harvesting. And you prevent damage from the weather, insects, and wildlife when you grow peppers in containers indoors. Plus, you’ll have fresh peppers for cooking without a trip to the store. 

I prefer growing small pepper plants like Cayenne and Devil’s Tongue in 3-gallon containers. And I put medium peppers like Jalapeños, Poblanos, and Habaneros in medium containers.

Every year, I grow one species of bell pepper – this year, I chose Yolo Wonder. And a few spicy small and medium sized peppers. Jalapenos and poblanos are my favorite staple pepper plants I always keep on hand. And for extra heat, I’m container growing habaneros, cayenne, and serranos to make into salsa.

red peppers growing on plant

9 Best Peppers to Grow in Containers

Planting peppers in containers works for small to large specimens and peppers with different heat levels, flavors, and uses. 

There are several varieties of peppers to know of when deciding to grow peppers in containers. Peppers fall into the following categories:

  • Bell – peppers with a sweet flavor with low to no heat that are less suitable for growing in containers. They come in several colors, with the yellow, red, and orange types growing to maturity faster than the green varieties due to a more compact size 
  • Chile – a spicier variety of peppers with a faster growth rate and varying colors. These types can rate from 0 to 3,000,000 SHU (Scoville heat units) (the hottest chile in the world – Pepper X) as scored by the Scoville scale – sometimes written as SU (Scoville units) or SH (Scoville heat)

These are our nine favorite choices for growing pepper plants in pots.

Best Sweet Pepper – Yolo Wonder Bell Peppers


The Yolo Wonder is a larger-sized sweet bell pepper that’s popular to use as a fresh crunch in summer salads. You can also make a delicious meal of meatloaf-stuffed bell peppers or baked peppers wrapped in bacon and filled with cheese.

Although the plant grows rather compact, the peppers are medium to large. Some people enjoy eating these as a snack due to the mild, sweet flavor. 

Key Features

  • Pepper type: Bell 
  • Pot size: 5 gallons
  • Plant dimensions: 2 to 3 feet tall
  • Pepper size: 4 inches by 4 inches
  • Color: Red
  • Germination to harvest: 70 to 80 days
  • Flavor: Sweet with zero SHU

Who Are These Best for?

Yolo Wonder bell peppers are mild, compact peppers that you can use in many dishes for color, crunch, and a refreshing sweet taste with little to no heat. 

Best Fast Growing – Jalapeño 

artistic jalapenos next to a pot of salsa

Credit: Botanical Interests


Jalapeños are medium-sized peppers with a slight spicy heat that are popularly used for various culinary purposes, like spicy toppings for salsas, sandwiches, and tacos. 

Most Jalapeño peppers are green when picked, but they will become red if you leave them on the vine to continue ripening and growing. You can tell when they’re ready for harvest when you spot cracks in the skin. 

Key Features

  • Pepper type: Chili
  • Pot size: Medium 4 to 5-gallon pot
  • Plant dimensions: 2 to 3 feet tall 
  • Pepper size: 2 inches to 3.5 inches
  • Color: usually green when harvested but will turn red
  • Germination to harvest: 70 to 85 days
  • Flavor: mild heat with 2,500 to 10,000 SHU 

Who Are These Best for?

Jalapenos are among the most popular peppers for people who like a slight kick of heat without too much spice. 

Best Large Size – Keystone Resistant Giant


Although Keystone Giants start as green, they become bright red when ready for harvest. These bell peppers are also sweet in flavor and grow larger vegetable harvests of 4 to 5 inches. 

The thick skin allows for a crunch when they’re raw and fresh. Or it’s large enough to stuff as a meal. It also tastes delicious when added to a stir fry or pasta.

Key Features

  • Pepper type: Bell 
  • Pot size: 5 gallons
  • Plant dimensions: 2 to 2.5 feet tall and less than 1-foot width
  • Pepper size: 4 inches by 4 inches
  • Color: green and matures to red
  • Germination to harvest: 75 to 80 days
  • Flavor: Sweet with zero SHU (Scoville heat units)

Who Are These Best for?

Keystone Giants are another large-species bell pepper with a sweet, non spicy flavor. The best use of these giant peppers is for stuffing or salads.

Best Nutritional Profile – Cayenne Peppers

yellow and red cayenne peppers on plant

Credit: Botanical Interests


Cayenne peppers can be fresh or dried and crushed into a powder or flake. They are a moderate heat level with rippled skin and a skinny elongated shape tapering to a curved tip. 

These peppers dangle down from the plants rather than grow upright for a more interesting visual. And interestingly, Cayennes have several health benefits, including pain relief and antioxidants.

Key Features

  • Pepper type: Chili
  • Pot size: Small 3-gallon pot
  • Plant dimensions: 4 feet tall 
  • Pepper size: 2 inches to 3.5 inches
  • Color: green, then turning bright red when ready for harvest
  • Germination to harvest: 90 to 100 days
  • Flavor: Medium-hot spice with Level 25,000 to 50,000 SHU 

Who Are These Best for?

Cayenne peppers are a great way to add flavorful heat to a dish without making it too spicy. The growing pattern and bold colors make this plant as attractive to grow as it is delicious.

Best for Beginners – Serrano Peppers

red and green serrano peppers

Credit: Botanical Interests


Serrano peppers are small and fleshy, with tapered ends and long stems. They’re commonly used in Thai and Mexican cooking to add heat to dishes. 

The rumor that big things come in small packages is certainly true for these peppers. The smaller they are, the hotter their flavor. Serranos can be cooked in their unripe green state or when they turn yellowish-orange to red with maturity. 

Key Features

  • Pepper type: Chili
  • Pot size: large 5-gallon pot
  • Plant dimensions: two to three feet tall and 18 inches wide 
  • Pepper size: up to 2 inches
  • Color: green, yellow-orange, or red when mature
  • Germination to harvest: 85 days
  • Flavor: intense heat with 6,000 to 23,000 SHU 

Who Are These Best for?

Serrano peppers are a great addition to dishes where you want a bit more heat than you get from jalapenos but not as much heat as habaneros. The thin skin makes them great for salsas.

Best Pest Resistant – Poblanos 

different types of poblanos peppers

Credit: Botanical Interests


Poblanos have a heart shape and are larger. The most famous use of Poblanos is to dry them and label them as Ancho Chilis, a base ingredient in traditional Mexican Mole sauce. They are also used in dishes like chiles Rellenos, another Mexican dish.

They appear a rich deep purple color as they ripen but are not ready for harvest until the peppers turn deep red to brown. Once they dry out, they’re called anchos or mulatos, with a raisiny sweet flavor. 

Key Features

  • Pepper type: Chili
  • Pot size: medium 3 to 4 gallon
  • Plant dimensions: 2 feet tall
  • Pepper size: 4 inches long
  • Color: dark green to brown or deep red
  • Germination to harvest: 65 days
  • Flavor: Mild with 1,500 SHU

Who Are These Best for?

Poblanos are mildly spicy flavored pepper with a rich flavor that’s intensified when dried into anchos. There are many uses for poblanos, including many traditional Mexican dishes.

Check Availability

Best Spicy Option – Devil’s Tongue Pepper


Devil’s Tongue is a small cheerful-looking wrinkly small pepper in yellow-orange to a bright yellow that hides the pepper’s intense heat, similar to a Habanero. 

You often see Devil’s Tongue used for making salsa or dried and crushed into chili powder. Due to the pepper’s heat, the oils can cause skin burns, so it’s best to use gloves when handling. 

Key Features

  • Pepper type: Chili
  • Pot size: small 3 ft
  • Plant dimensions: 2 to 2.5 feet tall
  • Pepper size: 3 inches long
  • Color: yellow-orange to bright yellow
  • Germination to harvest: 90 days
  • Flavor: intense heat -125,000 SHU 

Who Are These Best for?

Devil’s Tongue is not for the faint of heart. However, the intense heat hidden by the delicate appearance makes this sleeper pepper an excellent spice for drying into powder or sliced into thin pieces.

Best Pepper With a Kick – Habaneros

various colors habaneros peppers

Credit: Botanical Interests


Habanero chiles have a small, bulbous shape with an intense heat followed by a sweet fruity, smoky taste often used in Mexican sauces. 

The flavor is so hot it’s 140 times stronger than Jalapeno. Wear protective gear when handling this spicy pepper to prevent skin burns. 

Key Features

  • Pepper type: Medium 
  • Pot size: Medium 5-gallon pot
  • Plant dimensions: 5 to 6 feet tall 
  • Pepper size: 1 to 3 inches long
  • Color: starts as green but turns bright orange when ready for harvest
  • Germination to harvest: 75 to 90 days
  • Flavor: Hot spice with fruity taste 150,000 to 350,000 SHU

Who Are These Best for?

Despite the intense heat, Habaneros can be a great pepper to add to authentic dishes where you want a kick of heat and smoky sweetness.

Check Availability

Best Spice Range – Red Cherry Peppers


Red cherry peppers are small but potent, with a mixed flavor of sweet, spice, and tart. Turn these into stuffed pepper bites or cut them into small pieces to use as a raw flavoring for snacks or salads.

You can also get red cherry peppers in a spicy version, so it’s important to know which type you are growing. The small size and red color make them resemble small cherry tomatoes.

Key Features

  • Pepper type: Bell 
  • Pot size: 4 to 5 gallons
  • Plant dimensions: 2 to 2.5 feet tall and less than 1-foot width
  • Pepper size: 1 to 1.5-inch diameter
  • Color: green and matures to red
  • Germination to harvest: up to 100 days
  • Flavor: Sweet and tart with 5,000 to 15,000 SHU

Who Are These Best for?

Red cherry peppers come in mild or spicy varieties. They have a sweet flavor balanced by a moderate heat similar in taste to jalapenos that are great for stuffed poppers or as pickled peppers used for condiments and antipasto platters. 

Factors for Picking Peppers for Growing in Containers

orange peppers growing in pots

Before you jump into growing pepper plants at home in containers, check out these factors to make sure you pick the right container peppers.

Container Size to Pepper Size

The larger complex system of pepper roots means they need pots at least 14 inches deep. Regarding pot size, peppers can grow in small, medium, or large containers. 

Smaller plants that don’t grow taller than 12 inches do well in two-gallon pots. Plants that produce less than three feet tall and one foot wide can do well in medium, four to five-foot pots. And tall, large plants need big containers at least five feet in diameter to have enough room to grow.

Size of Peppers in Comparison to Free Space

Before you pick peppers to grow in containers, you’ll also want to consider the free space you have to place your pots.

Some pepper plants grow larger than others, which can take up more room height-wise and width-wise. So if you’re limited on extra space, you’ll want to choose compact plants rather than a bush that will get tall and wide. 

Harvest Time of Peppers

The longer it takes your peppers to grow, the spicier the heat level. For example, sweet peppers can be ready for harvest in 60 to 90 days from germination. But hot peppers can take up to 90 to 150 days to reach harvest maturity. 

Pepper Spice Level

A crucial factor before you decide on what peppers you want to grow is the Scoville Scale, which rates a pepper’s heat factor from 0 SHU (Scoville Heat Units) to 3.2 million. 

The higher the SHU number, the more a pepper has to be diluted with a water and sugar solution until the heat factor from the chemical – capsaicin – is no longer present. So the hotter the peppers get, the more caution you have to use when handling them. 

Experience With Growing Peppers

Several factors can make hotter peppers more difficult to grow. Most beginner gardeners would do their best experimenting with faster-growing sweet peppers. 

Hotter peppers are also more difficult to germinate and take longer to sprout seeds. And you have to provide more specialized care in the form of moisture control for the soil. You must also start growing hotter peppers earlier in the year, which can require grow lights for gardeners in non-tropical zones.  

And finally, the hotter the heat level, the more dangerous it is to handle the pepper. It’s best to wear protective eyewear and gloves to protect your skin. 


What is the easiest pepper to grow?

Bell peppers and banana peppers are the easiest to grow but take longer to ripen. If you want fast-growing peppers, you’ll need a chile type, like Jalapeno or serrano. 

How big of a container do I need for peppers?

Peppers do best in containers three to five feet wide, depending on the plant’s size. 

Do bell peppers grow well in containers?

Bell peppers can grow well in containers if you ensure adequate drainage holes. Keep these holes covered with mesh to prevent losing soil. Adding a layer of gravel over the mesh can improve drainage. Also, do not put a tray or saucer under the pot to catch water drainage. 

How deep of a container do peppers need?

Peppers do best in pots at least 14” deep to accommodate the massive root systems of these plans. 

Growing Peppers in Containers is Easy and Convenient 

We’ve started you off with the nine best peppers to grow in containers. Now it’s your turn to get to work. First, determine your pepper needs, including heat level, size of the plant and pepper, cooking purposes, gardening experience level, and how fast you want peppers ready for harvest. Then order your seeds and join the masses of pepper-growing gardeners. Bell peppers are a great place to start and then you can go from there!

We Love Talking Spices. What’s Your Preferred Heat Level?

If you’re a pepper-head like us, share the love. Drop pics of your spicy pepper plants, and let us know if you found our guide useful. Know a container-growing pepper we didn’t include? We’d love to hear about it. 

Don’t Leave Us Just Yet! We’ve Got More to Share

Now that you’ve got the hookup on the best container-grown pepper plants, mosey on over to our other plant care guides and see what we can do for you. We’re plant geniuses (at least, we like to think), so we cover everything! Got a question or a topic you’d like to see us cover? Awesome sauce. Drop us the deets.

Photo of author
Sara Trimble
Sara Trimble was the lady who could kill a cactus. Today, she’s the fun and fabulous expert plant mom who rocks at growing the coolest, trickiest plants. Her favorites to grow are orchids, roses, succulents, and luscious vines. Sara has grown – and killed – hundreds of plants and she shares her green-thumb successes and failures to help other plant murderers discover correct plant care. In her spare time, she raises four kids, two dogs, and a husband.

Make Your Leafy Dreams Come True :)

If you want to start your plant journey on the right foot, you need the best quality plants, whether you’re a beginner or a veteran. Check out the most popular and unique plants available from Léon & George, the most reputable folks in the plant world. Click below! 

Leave a Comment