Jalapeño Plant Life Cycle – Seedling to Harvest

If you enjoy home growing your own fruit and vegetables, then you may decide that you want to give growing your own Jalapeño peppers a go. Peppers are a fun and fairly easy plant to grow, and nothing beats the joy you get when your first pepper sprouts out from your plant. 

So, today we will go through the growing stages of Jalapeño plants, every stage will require a different type of care. While they are easy to grow, they are not quite as easy as growing beans, strawberries, peas, or tomatoes.

They require a little extra, and knowledge of their stages to help them on their way. However, once you have this knowledge, you will be well on your way to having an array of Jalapeño plants flowering in your garden.

Before we get going though, we want to inform you that it is very important that you be aware of the timing, as timing will vary based on the growing conditions of your plants. By this, we mean that if you grow your Jalapeño plants in soil, they will grow a bit more slowly than if you grow them in hydroponics. Similarly, any nutrient deficiency, inadequate sunlight, or badly draining soil can make the growth of your plant slow down. 

Now let's get into all the information you will need about the growth of your Jalapeño plant.

1st Stage- Seedlings (0-3 weeks)

The first stage of growth for Jalapeños, and many other plants, is the seedling stage. This will last from the day of the first seed sprouting, and it will continue for about 3 weeks. Then the true leaves will begin forming. 

Seedlings are very vulnerable to everything, they require close attention and a lot of care to ensure that they turn into a healthy plant in the long term. This will include 16 hours of light per day, watering and quality airflow. 

Do remember that a majority of pepper varieties will look very similar at this stage, this is why it is recommended that you keep them organized if you are growing multiple types of pepper. It never hurts to do some labelling.

Fertilization will often begin around weeks 1-2 at a reduced strength. It is also recommended that you sprout your seeds in an organic seed starter mix rather than a potting mix. This is a nutrient-deficient material that is ideal for allowing your plant to form roots. 

What do I need to care for seedling Jalapeños?

Fertilizer
¼-½ recommended strength fertilizer. Ensure it is high in nitrogen.
Water
Bottom water, keep the soil moist, but not soaked.
Light
Use indoor grow lights at about 12-24 inches above the leaves, however this does depend on the power of the light. Keep it on for 16 hours per day. 

2nd Stage- Adolescents (3-4 weeks)

Once the seedlings have been alive and well for a few weeks, they will begin to have developed several sets of what we call, ‘true leaves’. These are the leaves that will follow the initial two leaves of the seedling, and they are considered to be in their ‘true’ form. 

Once your Jalapeño plant has reached this stage, they can be transferred out of the seed cell trays and into larger pots with a standard potting mix. These plants will now be able to handle stronger feeding, either through soil-based nutrition, or through water based fertilizer. 

You can keep the lighting the same for now, at 16 hours per day. Remember that as your plants grow taller and stronger, they will slowly get closer to the lights and will absorb more energy. 

What is needed to care for Jalapeño adolescents?

Fertilizer
Use full-strength, high-nitrogen fertilizer, or use nutrient rich soils.
Water
Water at the base of the plant, keeping it moist but not soaked.
Light
Use indoor grow lights at about 12-24 inches above the plant, for 16 hours per day.

3rd Stage- Growth (4-8 weeks) 

As the root system of your Jalapeño plant grows, the plant above the soil will speed up its growth as well. This stage of extremely rapid growth will require constant watering, fertilizing, and transplanting into different, larger pots. 

As young Jalapeño plants grow they need a lot of nitrogen to stay healthy, and maintain a healthy foliage development. If there is not enough nitrogen available to them, then this could lead to either a poor growth rate, or yellowing leaves that may fall off. 

During this time, you may start to see some flowering forming on the plant. This is a sign that you will need to transplant your plant into a larger pot. You can, at this stage, prune the flower buds if you wish, to encourage a more leafy growth. 

What do I need to care for growing Jalapeño plants?

Fertilizer
Use full strength, high-nitrogen fertilizer.
Water
Water at the base of the plant, allowing for adequate drainage in the soil. 
Light
Use indoor grow lights for 14 hours per day. 

4th Stage - Maturing (2-4 months) 

Once your Jalapeño plants have been moved into their final pot or container, they will continue to grow into a matured size. This stage will often involve the transitioning, or the hardening off, of the plants to the outdoor environment. Turning our backs on grow lights and taking them out to meet the sun. 

This stage of the Jalapeño plant is very important for setting the stage for a healthy yield. We want them to have plenty of light and nutrients in order to allow the plant to grow as efficiently as possible. 

The size of a Jalapeño plant can vary drastically based on what size container it is grown in. We recommend pots of at least 3 gallons for the best yield. The bigger, the better, really. 

What do I need to care for maturing Jalapeño plants?

Fertilizer
Use a full-strength, high-nitrogen fertilizer.
Water
Water at the base of the plant, ensuring adequate drainage.
Light
Harden off your plants to the outdoors for full sun.

5th Stage- Flowering. 

The stage of flowering will typically overlap with the previous maturation stage. Jalapeño plants will typically start to produce flowers after being in the outdoors for 2-4 weeks. We would recommend plucking the flowers until this point to encourage the plant to produce leaves. However, do not pluck after this point. 

Once the Jalapeño plant has begun to produce flowers, the plants will not need nearly as much nitrogen. Instead of using a nitrogen high fertilizer, we switch it out for a more phosphorus rich blend. 

If you are growing your plants indoors, however, you may wish to provide a breeze with a fan, or gently shake the plants to encourage pollination. Jalapeño plants will readily self-pollinate outdoors. However, indoors, they might need a little helping hand. 

Are the Jalapeño flowers dropping off?

If you find that your Jalapeño plant flowers are dropping off, you may have questions. If it is just a few, then this is natural. However, it should never be all of them. If your plant is dropping all its flowers, there may be an issue in the environment. This could be due to temperatures too high, poor pollination, or overwatering. If your plant is not producing any peppers or flowers, adjust one of these factors to improve productivity. 

What do I need to care for a flowering Jalapeño plant?

Fertilizer.
Reduced-nitrogen fertilizer.
Water.
Water the plant evenly with good drainage. If the weather is hot, then you will need to water more frequently.
Light.
Full sunlight, or 12 hours of strong indoor light per day. 

6th Stage- Bearing fruits

As it is with any plant, the flowers from your Jalapeño plant will turn into peppers. If a flower is fertilized successfully, then it will drop the petals, and a fruit and seeds will form.  At this stage, it is important that you do not provide too much nitrogen. Phosphorus is much more important for healthy blooms and fruits. 

Your peppers will ripen from a light to dark green, to almost black and then finally to red. There are other jalapeño varieties that will ripen into other colors too. 

To get the best results, you want to keep the soil evenly moist, and avoid overwatering. If your plants are under watered, then they will start to wilt. It is not ideal, however, it is more salvageable in comparison to over watering. 

What do I need to care for fruiting Jalapeños?

Fertilizer. 
Full-strength, low-in-nitrogen fertilizer.
Water.
Provide even watering with good drainage.
Light.
Full sunlight, or 12 hours of strong indoor light per day.