Jalapenos are one of the best spices ever existed because they are just great at spicing things up. If you plan to grow your jalapenos at home, you are better off knowing their growing stages.
Things will be easier once you know how jalapenos evolve from seed to harvest.
There are six stages that jalapenos undergo before they become available in the market and eventually to individual homes for cooking. These stages are seedling, adolescence, growth, maturation, flowering, and fruiting.
Jalapeno – From Seed to Harvest in Six Stages
It is essential to familiarize every stage, requiring extra care and attention. This article will discuss every detail regarding the growing steps of jalapenos and the care they need.
Stage 1: Jalapeno Seedlings
The first stage of most plants, including jalapenos, starts from a tiny seedling. Different plants have their own growing requirements to germinate and develop true leaves in this stage.
In the case of Jalapenos, they require 16 hours of sunlight every day, proper watering, and sufficient airflow.
Note that this stage is when jalapenos are very sensitive; hence, keep close attention to them daily until they develop true leaves. Usually, the germination process can take up to 3 weeks for the true leaves to slowly appear.
Moreover, in 2 weeks, you can begin to fertilize the seedlings at reduced strength. The recommended fertilizer strength is around ¼ to ½ and should be rich in nitrogen to boost seedling growth.
As for the growing medium, it would be best to plant the seedlings using an organic seed starter mix rather than potting mix.
This is the ideal growing medium for seedlings to develop roots because of its nutrient-deficient quality.
For maintenance at this stage, keep the soil moist but not soaked. Always check the earth first before applying water and adjust the water depending on the soil’s moisture upon checking.
Also, place the seed cell trays in an indoor setting. Do not expose them to direct sunlight. Use indoor grow lights for 16 hours until the seedlings develop true leaves.
Pro tip: If you grow different kinds of peppers aside from jalapenos, put a label on them to avoid mixing the seedlings. It is difficult to know the kind of peppers during the seedling stage because they all look similar.
Stage 2: Jalapeno Adolescent Stage
After three weeks, when the seedlings have successfully germinated, they will turn to the adolescent stage, where they develop sets of true leaves.
In this stage, true leaves will sprout in addition to the initial two leaves during the seedling stage. This stage takes time when the seedlings are 3 to 4 weeks old.
However, the 3 to 4 weeks’ timeline is not a fixed indication that the seedlings have reached adolescence. For example, seedlings grown in hydroponics may reach the adolescent stage earlier than grown in soil.
Lack of sufficient nutrients, watering, and lighting can also delay the growth of the seedlings.
Moreover, the jalapenos can now be transplanted from seed cell trays to individual pots using a standard potting mix during this stage.
During this stage, jalapenos can now handle potent fertilizer. You can either mix the nitrogen-rich fertilizer through the soil or water.
As for the maintenance, the soil must be kept moist but not soaked. Always check the moisture content of the soil before putting water. Keep the lighting they receive for 16 hours a day.
Remember, this stage is sensitive because they are susceptible to pest attacks. The true leaves at this stage are very attractive to pests.
Thus, keep close attention until they reach the next stage. Just be persistent at this stage because all your efforts will be rewarded in the end.
Stage 3: Jalapeno Growth Stage
Next to the adolescent stage is the growth stage, which takes time when the jalapenos are 4 to 8 weeks old.
The jalapenos begin to establish as the roots grow downward during this stage. This will boost the growth of jalapenos, and you will notice it.
However, since this stage is when jalapenos are rapidly growing, they need to have a regular supply of water and nutrients to supplement their growth.
You can also transplant the jalapenos at this stage to a bigger pot using a standard growing mix.
Moreover, fertilizer is crucial because they need a considerable amount of nitrogen to develop healthy foliage. Just add a full-strength nitrogen-rich fertilizer to the soil or water.
Inadequate nitrogen at this stage will delay the growth of jalapenos and can be the cause of the yellowing of leaves that will fall off eventually.
More importantly, flowers may begin to form during this stage. It is advisable to prune the flowers to encourage more leaf growth.
The flowers take too many nutrients that jalapenos need to reach the next stage; hence pruning the flowers is beneficial, and besides, you only need the fruit.
The soil should have a good drainage system to avoid root rot for maintenance. You can decrease the hours of light exposure from 16 hours to 14 hours daily.
Pay close attention to the plants to protect them from pest infestation.
Stage 4: Jalapeno Maturation Stage
This stage is when the jalapenos are transitioned from an indoor to an outdoor setup. They will receive light directly from the sun during the day.
This stage takes time when the jalapenos are 2 to 4 months old after being transplanted in a bigger pot.
The jalapenos at this stage have fully established, and they are ready to bear fruits anytime soon.
However, all the nutrients must be provided to ensure a greater yield. The jalapeno plant at this stage has more than 20 green and healthy true leaves.
Equally important, the size of the growing pot can also affect the size of the jalapeno plant. Using a 3-gallon size of the growing pot is recommended to get the right plant size and best yield.
Since this stage is close to bearing fruits, more nutrients and regular watering are needed. Plenty of light is also important, thus placing the plant in an area with good access to sunlight.
Full strength, nitrogen-rich fertilizer is also required at this stage.
Stage 5: Jalapeno Flowering Stage
As you can see, removing the flowers during the growth stage is not a bad thing because they will sprout again alongside the maturation stage.
This stage does not take a separate timeline because they coexist with the maturation stage. In other words, when jalapenos mature, they will also develop flowers.
Usually, you will notice flowers sprouting after 2 to 4 weeks of being outdoors. While they are good to look at, it is best to pluck them out until this stage to encourage leaf growth.
Moreover, when flowers are beginning to sprout, it is an indication to change your fertilizer into a phosphorus-rich mixture.
That is because they don’t need that much nitrogen at this stage, so it would be useless to continue giving them such.
For maintenance, moist soil remains the gold standard. However, when the temperature is high, you may need to put water than you normally would during the days with low temperatures.
Pro tip: If you are growing jalapenos indoors, you need to install a fan to provide a gentle breeze to the jalapenos to encourage pollination.
This method is not required for outdoor-grown jalapenos because they can already self-pollinate.
Reminder: Jalapeno flowers dropping is normal, but it should not be all of them. It might be due to extreme temperatures, overwatering, or poor pollination when this happens.
If the jalapeno plant is dropping all its flowers, it might hinder fruit production.
Stage 6: Jalapeno Fruiting Stage
The best part of them all—the fruiting stage. This is the stage you will begin to witness the rewards of your labor. Seeing jalapeno fruits starting to form will surely put a smile on your face.
Jalapeno fruits will form out of jalapeno flowers provided that the flowers are successfully fertilized. The flowers will drop their petals one by one until they are entirely all gone. This is the time a jalapeno fruit starts to form.
At this stage, phosphorous is the key player to promote big and healthy jalapeno fruits. Keep the soil moist but not soaked to avoid wilting.
Adequate sunlight is also important at this stage to maximize growth.
Keep a regular check-up on your jalapenos until they are ready for harvest. You know it is harvest time when the jalapeno fruits have reached their maximum size.
However, some jalapeno fruits tend to be smaller than ordinary, but they are still up for harvest.
Pro tip: When harvesting jalapeno fruits, you can either use a pruner or simply pinch them using your bare hands.
You should cut or pinch them right around the stem when they are still firm and solid. They will easily pop off right away.
If you are anxious about the heat of jalapenos transferring into your hands, you can use a pair of gloves to prevent it from happening.
Sometimes, you will get too excited harvesting plenty of jalapenos, so it is best to keep protected.
Final Thoughts on the Jalapeno Growing Stages
That is basically how jalapenos develop from a tiny seedling to a beautiful spice.
Now that you know the growth stages of jalapenos, you can already begin to grow them by yourself. Keep in mind the essential care they need at every level, and you will indeed have the best yield.
There are plenty of benefits to growing your jalapenos. You should try it out!