Best Soil Mix For Hot Peppers

What is the best soil mix for hot peppers? This was a question recently submitted by one of our readers.


Thank you for sending me your question. You asked me, “What is the best potting mix to grow hot pepper plants” I am going to give you a two part answer since I do not want to assume that you are starting seeds or if you are transplanting.

If you are starting peppers from seeds your best bet is to go with an organic seed starting mix. I personally use a product from Ferry Morse, sold under the name of Jiffy. It is called Organic Seed Starting Jiffy-Mix and is listed with OMRI (Organic Material Research Institute)
You can find this at most any retail store that has a gardening section, including Wal-Mart. The 12 quart bag is enough for about two and a half large seed trays and runs about $6 a bag.

Starter mixes are different than potting soils

Starter mixes do not contain any fertilizers and are typically sterilized to help prevent the transfer of any fungal or bacterial disease.
Starter mixes are simply a very loose medium that typically contain shredded sphagnum peat moss, perlite or vermiculite products which resist compaction during watering and make it easier for root development.

Peppers Prefer Acidic Soil

When it is time to transplant your seedlings, this is when your soil quality becomes very important. Peppers prefer a soil that is a bit lower in organic matter and a higher pH level in comparison to other garden plants. Most soil mixes and composted soil products have a neutral pH. Your peppers may grow but they may not flourish and your harvest could be limited unless you adjust your soil pH.

Soil pH is important because it regulates the absorption of nutrients in your plants root system.

Most of the sources that I have consulted recommend a pH level around 6.0 - 6.8 acidity for growing hot peppers while some growers swear they have success at even lower levels down to 5.8.

To lower the pH level of your soil you will need to add a granular sulfur product made specifically for agriculture or use a potting mix that contains sulfur. You can usually find these products at most reputable independent garden centers and nurseries. Follow the directions precisely and resist the temptation to add more than recommended.

If you only have a few plants or cannot find a suitable product,you can also use 2 tablespoons of Bragg’s Organic Vinegar per gallon of water and apply that to the soil on a weekly basis.

I hope this helps you out and if you have any additional questions, simply drop me a line and I will be happy to respond.

Happy Gardening!

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