Why Does the Pepper Seed Take So Long to Germinate?

I started my peppers at the same as the tomatoes. Some of the peppers did not come up until 2 weeks later than the tomatoes. Why is this happening?

Pepper seedlings



Peppers are related to tomatoes, but have different requirements for germination. Sweet pepper requires a germination temperature of 75° – 80° (F). The seed trays benefit from being covered with plastic domes or plastic wrap to retain humidity until germination. A minimum of 6 hours of sunlight will allow your seedlings to have shorter, stockier stems.

To meet these requirements you will have to supply:

  • Heat source
    • On top of the refrigerator, where the defrosting coils are located.
    • On top of an electric water heater.
    • A wire shelf with an incandescent light fixture placed underneath.
    • A thermostatically controlled electric heat mat placed under the flat.
  • Light source
    • Natural sunlight – 6 hours minimum
    • Artificial light
      • Fluorescent fixture – seed trays 1 inch from the bulbs for 16 hours a day
      • LED fixture – seed trays 1 inch from the bulbs for 14 – 16 hours a day
  • Humidity retention source
    • Clear plastic wrap stretched over seed flat
    • Clear plastic dome placed over flat
  • Soil
    • Soil vs. soilless mix
    • Jiffy planter pellets – peat moss or coconut coir
    • Soil blocks made from compost and other natural amendments (blood meal, bone meal, green sand, rock phosphate, etc.)
  • Water
    • Tap water
    • Well water
    • Filtered water
    • Rain water



Hot peppers require a germination temperature of 80° – 85° (F). The hotter germination temperature is necessary for tropical pepper types. Some varieties such as Ghost Pepper, Habanero and Trinidad Scorpion (all 3 are Capsicum chinense) require a longer germination time. You need patience to grow these types of hot pepper. You may be able to speed up the germination process by soaking the seed overnight. By re-hydrating the seed, the plants may emerge more quickly!!

The basic requirements for hot pepper are the same as the sweet pepper mentioned above.


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