How to Grow the Shishito Pepper Seedling (In 3 Easy Steps)

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Are you looking for an easy pepper plant to grow that will produce a ton of not-too-spicy peppers? Shishito Peppers are perfect for you! They are delicious and a MUST-GROW.

The three steps to grow Shishito Peppers Seedlings are 1. Prepare the soil, 2. Move and carefully transplant the seedlings, 3. Give the proper care regarding water, light, temperature, fertilizer, weed control, and pest control.

How to Grow the Shishito Pepper Seedlings

Foremost, you may be wondering and looking at your Shishito seedlings, then you’ve probably seen their first set of true leaves. You have reached this stage.

How do you know if your Shishito seedlings are ready for transfer or transplant?

Signs to look for in your Shishito seedlings, telling you they are now ready for transfer to the next stage:

1.      First, true leaves have developed. Four leaves have been seen. after the first emergent leaves.

2.     A canopy of leaves is forming over the soil.

3.     Bright green and healthy-looking leaves.

4.     The roots begin to emerge from the bottom of the pots.

5.     The thickening of stems.

6.     The leaves have turned yellow. It means that your Shishito plant is receiving fewer nutrients from the soil.

7.     The soil needs to be watered daily due to drying out. Your Shishito plant is growing and requires more water.

8.     Hardening of Shishito Pepper Seedlings.  

Before moving or planting your Shishito seedlings into the garden, they must be hardened off first to prepare them for life outdoors. This is when you plant the seeds indoors. 

Since they are used to living in a warm indoor environment. No rain, no wind, nor direct sunlight, you need to strengthen them up for life outside.

Therefore, when your Shishito peppers start to show their first pair of leaves either you grew your own from seed or bought transplants and have reached this stage.

It is now the right time to move Shishito peppers to the garden. This is about a week after the last expected spring frost.

Shishito peppers are fantastic new plants to grow in the garden that require minimal care that seedlings are simply eager to grow. They have few pests and diseases so you can raise them well without much work.

Learning and watching them grow is an exciting and rewarding experience for foodies.

Just like other pepper plants, your Shishito peppers have specific requirements that must be met to thrive.

How to Grow Shishito Seedlings 

Step 1. Prepare the Soil. 

When your Shishito peppers start to show their first pair of leaves. They are ready to be moved into individual pots or direct to the garden soil.

However, if you are planning on growing Shishito peppers in pots throughout the entire growing season, then give them plenty of room to grow and mature.

It is essential to use a rich loamy, well-draining soil with beneficial bacteria and with plenty of nutrients for their roots. Use soil that works well effectively in pots or containers as well.

To prevent the Shishito Pepper plant with the issue of getting rot, well-draining soil is perfect for them. There are available potting mixes you can buy online and in markets.

It also needs the pH level to be within the appropriate range of 5.9 – 6.5. Hence, you would not be able to have a test for this.

It’s good to note that peppers love slightly acidic soil. Having the right soil is the foundation for growing healthy for the Shishitos.

Keep the soil to maintain the warmth which is the soil temperature. The warmer temperatures speed up the growth of your seedlings.

Step 2. Move and Carefully Transfer the Seedlings into A Bigger Container Or Pot. 

Transfer the Shishito seedlings out of a flat into larger pots after they have at least four leaves and are around 2 inches tall.

Carefully dig up a bit of the seedling along with their soil and replant them in the bigger pot. Allowing the plant to get bigger containers in order to accommodate for its size.

You may choose containers at least 12 inches across with several good drainage holes for the excess water to drain easily.

If possible, the water can drain out at the bottom of the container.

If the container is like a bucket you must add drainage holes before filling it with the growing medium.

Thus, you are ready to transplant. Fill the pots or containers with a high-quality potting mix and compost. The recommended rough ratio is 2/3 potting mix and 1/3 compost.

Blend and mix them well.

You can also use rich loamy soil and compost. You may add vermiculite to the mix as well, at a rate of ⅓. It helps lighten the texture of the soil and improve drainage.

Water the Shishito seedlings a few hours before you transplant. In this way the stems and leaves are dull, and the potting soil will stick to and protect the roots.

Handle carefully when removing your tiny Shishito seedlings from their containers.

Gently dig up the seedling together with the original soil around the roots and care not to smash the roots. 

Plant deep enough that the soil comes up to the base of their first leaves. You may add vermiculite to the mix as well, at a rate of ⅓.

It prevents the appearance of “damping off”, a disease that lives in wet soil. That causes the stems of seedlings to rot and topple over. This Vermiculite is optional.

How to Transfer Your Shishito Seedlings Directly to The Garden

Choosing the right site in your garden for your Shishito seedlings may boost success.

This heirloom herb grows and produces best in full sun (8+ hours) and well-draining soil that has been enriched with compost.

Most likely, they are compact, so some Shishito lovers don’t want to overcrowd them in the garden. They are good with a space of 18 to 24 inches apart. Plant the seedlings slightly deeper rather than they were in their pots to encourage a robust root system.

Once done in planting, water well and keep an eye on the forecast for a couple of days. If the temperature dips, cover the Shishito seedlings with a row cover to protect them.

Don’t place the row cover directly on top of the seedlings, but instead float it on hoops.

If it rubs against the delicate growing tips, it might damage the Shishito seedlings and impede their growth.

Don’t forget to remove row covers once the weather has settled.

Never let your seedlings overgrow on their cell packs or containers. Always keep a close eye on the number of developed leaves. The length of seedling stems as well.

If however, the seedlings seem larger than the cells they are growing in, definitely, your seedlings are more than ready for larger accommodations.

Step 3. Shishito Pepper Seedlings Plant Care 

Keep your Shishito pepper seedlings growing and healthy by following these simple steps:

Water

Shishito Pepper plants don’t like their soil constantly moist so do not overwater the seedlings. You must water them once every 3 – 4 days and allow the soil to dry between waterings or wait until the soil is dry before watering again.

Throughout the hot summer, you may need to water every day.

A reminder: water deeply and try to water the soil, not the plant because splashing water on the foliage can spread soil-borne diseases.

Light

Shishito Pepper seedlings need lots of strong light for at least 12 hours per day. Thus, look for the sunniest part of your garden because they love a lot of sunlight.

If ever they are grown in a shaded place, try to give them a shade with the hottest portion of the day.

Your Shishito seedlings, if without enough light, will not be able to produce enough energy, and their growth will be stunted.

Temperature

Shishito Pepper seedlings prefer temperatures between 60 and 90°F. Achieving the optimum temperature for your peppers makes for healthy, vigorous seedlings and plants.

These Pepper plants die in a freeze and wilt in extreme heat (110°F). They will grow very slowly at lower temperatures.

Shishito Pepper plants are tough and can thrive or grow in high humidity levels and can also tolerate bright or indirect light.

Fertilizer

You must start providing nutrients once your Shishito peppers have developed a few sets of true leaves. You can add fertilizer every month.

The Shishito seedlings would need nitrogen for foliage growth and later will need phosphorus to flower and fruit.

It is essential to start fertilizing as soon as the plant needs it. But, don’t give them a full-strength dose.

Slowly Increase the strength of the fertilizer as they get larger. It is healthier by adding a small amount of compost with organic matter. Otherwise, incorporating slow-release organic fertilizer into the soil is a better option.

Weeds Control

Shishito pepper seedlings cannot outgrow the weeds. Weeds can deprive the peppers of valuable soil nutrients. They will compete and crowd out your Shishito pepper plant.

As early as possible, remove weeds as they sprout. A regular hand-weeding during the first weeks of growth.

Mulching does help put down weeds from taking hold. Organic mulch is one of the best ways to suppress weeds. It is made of natural materials and returns the nutrients into the soil as they break down.

Pests and Diseases Control

It is important to keep an eye out for potential pests to your Shishito seedlings that could hamper their growth to its fullest.

Some gardeners include a wide variety of flowers and herbs in their food garden to attract predatory and beneficial insects. In this way, it helps to discourage pests that may plague your Shishito seedlings.

Here are the common pests that may pull down the growth of your Shishito seedlings:

Aphids 

The most common insect pest in your vegetable gardens that you must eliminate immediately. Aphids are tiny, pear-shaped insects that could be green, brown, grey that reproduce quickly.

These pests can cause distortion and damage to the fresh growth at the tips of the shoots. Aphids suck the sap from plants, often from the tender plant tips, damaging the growth of your seedlings.

Don’t over-fertilize which can create excess tender growth that can promote the growth of Aphids.

When you spot Aphids, to prevent their spread, use a water jet spray on high pressure to dislodge the pests as possible. Use an insecticidal soap and make sure to spray the tops and bottoms of all leaves. 

Once sprayed, quickly move away from other Shishito pepper plants. Repeat as often.

Spider Mites

Spider Mites are tiny pests that hide on the bottom of your Shishito pepper leaves. They grow rapidly in hot temperatures and pierce the leaves to feed. It results in a stippled look on the leaf surface.

This pest may damage the leaves heavily and may drop and webbing. Thus, their feeding damage is so annoying. Another problem with Spider Mites is that they can be a vector for spreading plant diseases.

To eliminate spider mites from your growing Shishito Pepper leaves is to spray the leaves, particularly the bottom leaf surface with a spray bottle filled with water.

Regularly misting and spraying with water can discourage spider mites from attacking your Shishito peppers.

Slugs and Snails

These pests could be a big problem, especially during spring when plants are small and vulnerable. Typically, there is more moisture which allows these pests to move around the garden with ease.

Some gardeners use Diatomaceous Earth to reduce slug and snail damage. You can manually pick them if you find them. Early morning is the best time to hunt the slug and snail in your garden.

Blossom End Rot 

This is a common problem for growing peppers, and this is not a disease. It is a disorder in which tissue rot is caused by stress and a lack of calcium especially when growing in containers.

Some shredded leaves for mulching plants in other ways could help maintain soil moisture. This will help your growing seedlings in shape in preparation for its fruiting stage.

Leggy Seedlings

The lack of light will always be the cause of seedlings growing tall and leggy. Provide adequate light for your Shishito seedlings.

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They are sun lovers and grow the best indirect light. Always keeping the soil moist would be enough to keep them hydrated.

Seedlings Not Growing

Moreover, when your Shishito seedlings are not getting any bigger, then it is probably too cold for them. You must move them to a warmer location.

The overwatering can also slow their growth and be sure the soil is never saturated.

About Growing Shishito Pepper Seedling Indoors

You might be wondering if you can grow Shishito Pepper seedlings inside. Yes, it is possible to grow Shishito Peppers as a houseplant. In fact, many floral departments sell ornamental peppers to be grown as indoor ornamentals including the Shishito Pepper plants.

However, if you want indoor pepper plants for the purpose of eating, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that growing pepper seedlings indoors is a success.

Whereas fruits from a Shishito Pepper plant grown inside will never get as large as those grown outdoors. Indoor Shishito Pepper seedlings need the same requirements as those grown outside.

It needs enough space in a container for its roots to grow.

Here Are Some Guides on How to Grow Shishito Pepper Seedling Indoors:

Soil

Plant the Shishito pepper seedlings in an equal mix of peat moss, vermiculite, and sand in a pot with adequate drainage holes.

Keep the soil moist. They also need enough space in a container for their roots to grow.

Light

Whenever you want to grow Shishito pepper seedlings indoors, choose a warm room where they will get lots of light. Place them in a window facing South or West.

Thus, if you don’t have enough light available, use a grow light.

Your Shishito Pepper seedlings will get leggy indoors without the proper amount of sunlight. If that happens, add a grow light, and set it on a timer that it stays on for 12-14 hours a day.

Shishito Pepper seedlings can be kept alive, and healthy, inside on six or more hours of sunlight.

Temperature

They do well in a temperature of about 80 Fahrenheit during the day and 70 Fahrenheit at night. It may be hard to achieve but try to stay within 20 degrees of this.

Place the plants under light or on a heat mat to increase the temperature. This is to provide the warmth they need most.

Water

You must practice the deep watering method. By placing your Shishito Pepper seedlings in the sink and use the spray nozzle of your faucet to gently water the plant until the water is running out of the base of the container.

Then, allow the plant to sit and drain in your sink before placing it back in its area. To catch the water, you don’t have it sitting in because this is not good for the roots.

Water the Shishito Pepper seedlings when the top of the soil feels slightly dry to the touch. Avoid over-watering.

Fertilizer 

You can now start fertilizing your Shishito pepper seedlings and have them develop a few sets of true leaves. You can add fertilizer every month.

They need nitrogen for foliage growth. You could use a slow-release organic fertilizer in the soil.

Though you could keep them indoors all year, you would probably find it easier to move them outside for the summer.

Facts about Shishito Pepper

These heirloom herbs are mildly spicy of the species of Capsicum Annuum and an East Asian pepper variety.

It is also known as Kwari-Gochu: meaning ground cherry pepper because its wrinkled surface resembles ground cherries in Korea.

Although notable as a mildly spicy pepper, rather it is small and finger-long, slender, and thin walled, turns from green to red upon ripening, it is usually harvested while green. The name itself refers to the fact that its tip looks like the lion’s head.

In Japanese, it is popularly known as Shishito and it is a Japanese variety of pepper.

Has a great taste, is a good appetizer for all seasons, and is loved most for its perfect blend of sweet and spicy.

Shishito pepper plants grow about two feet tall and 15 to 18 inches across and the fruits are two to four inches long and 3/4 of an inch across.

These Japanese heirloom herbs are wrinkled and puckered and have thin skin which makes them perfect for quick frying, grilling, or tempura.

The immature peppers are seemingly green and maturing to bright red. Generally, they are harvested green and that is how rewarding and enjoyable it is to harvest the fruits of your labor.

Final Thoughts on How to Grow the Shishito Pepper Seedling  

Shishito Peppers; appeal is simple, it has great taste and it is small with a fruity sweet, and spicy flavor. It’s a standout plant because of its compact, sturdy, and easy to grow.

They would be fine grown in the ground and in containers. If you are a gardener, you should be growing SHISHITO PEPPERS!

This heirloom herb is hot on the culinary scene, and it’s making its way from suburbs into big cities.

Hopefully, you’ve learned everything you need to know on how to grow Shishito Pepper seedlings. Every pepper is a little bit different from others and it takes time to get used to.

Be sure not to forget to follow its care guidelines or else your Shishito Peppers might not produce mouth-watering fruits. It is important to keep in mind that growing these Peppers are so rewarding. So easy to grow, should be kept in dry, moderate water in well-drained soil and full sun. To ensure that they grow to their full potential and do great TLC.

We’ll learn the distinct characteristics of this pepper and why it is so popular and a why there’s such a great demand at farmers’ markets.

if you need a little help or guidance on how to grow Shishito pepper seedlings and their proper care, please refer to this article – and have fun gardening! 

Jenny Marie

Tribal Writer

Edited By

Patricia Godwin

Patricia Godwin

Patricia has many years of experience as a content writer on various subjects, but her first love is gardening. She’s never met a plant she didn’t like and, consequently, she writes about every type of plant you can think of. Once an avid gardener with a herb garden, a succulent rockery, and a rose garden – to mention a few. Nowadays, she’s constantly on the move searching for interesting plants to bring to your attention; and explain to you all the details you need to grow, care and maintain these plants.

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