How to grow Poblano Peppers

Poblano peppers can be grown by starting the seeds indoors, transplanting the seedlings to a sunny location with well-draining soil, and providing consistent watering and fertilization throughout the growing season.

Poblano Peppers

Poblano peppers are chili pepper commonly used in Mexican cuisine, known for their mild to medium heat and rich, earthy flavor. If you’re interested in growing your poblano peppers, there are a few key things to remember. Poblano peppers are typically grown from seeds and require a warm and sunny growing environment, with well-draining soil and regular watering. You can harvest fresh and flavorful poblano peppers for your favorite recipes with proper care and attention.

What are Poblano Peppers

Poblano peppers are a type of chili pepper that is commonly used in Mexican cuisine. They are dark green, with a wide, flat shape, and usually about 4-5 inches long. Poblano peppers have a mild to medium level of spiciness, ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 on the Scoville scale, which measures the heat in chili peppers.

Poblano peppers have a rich and earthy flavor that is often described as slightly sweet and smoky. They are commonly used in chiles rellenos, a traditional Mexican dish where the pepper is stuffed with cheese or meat and then fried, or in soups, stews, and sauces. Poblano peppers can also be roasted, peeled, and used as a topping for tacos, salads, or sandwiches.

Botanical nameCapsicum annuum
Name (Common)Poblano Peppers
Native toMexico
Sun levels6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day
USDA zones9 through 11
SoilSoil should have a pH between 6.0 and 7.0, which is slightly acidic to neutral.
Plant sizePoblano pepper plants can grow up to 2-3 feet tall and wide. If you’re growing Poblano peppers in containers, make sure to use a container that is at least 18 inches in diameter and 18 inches deep to provide enough room for the plants to grow.


Poblano peppers can be propagated from seeds, which can be obtained from the fruit of mature poblano pepper plants. Here are the steps to propagate poblano peppers from seeds:

  1. First, remove the seeds from a ripe poblano pepper and rinse them in cool water.
  2. Spread the seeds on a paper towel and let them dry for a day or two.
  3. Fill a small container or seed tray with potting soil, and moisten the soil with water.
  4. Plant the seeds about 1/4 inch deep in the soil, and cover them lightly with soil.
  5. Place the container or tray in a warm and sunny location, such as a windowsill or greenhouse.
  6. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged, and ensure good air circulation.
  7. After 1-2 weeks, the seeds should germinate and sprout.
  8. Once the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted into larger containers or planted directly in the garden if the weather is warm enough.

The poblano pepper plants should grow and produce peppers within a few months with proper care and attention.

Types of Poblano Peppers

Poblano peppers. Source: Asado Argentina

The most commonly grown type of poblano pepper is the standard dark green variety, which is mild in heat and has a rich, earthy flavor. Other types of poblano peppers that are also commonly grown include:

  • Ancho Poblano: This is a dried and smoked version of the poblano pepper often used in Mexican cuisine to make sauces, marinades, and rubs. It has a smoky, slightly sweet flavor and is relatively mild in heat.
  • Mulato Poblano: This is a dark brown variety of poblano pepper that is also dried and used in Mexican cuisine. It has a sweet, chocolatey flavor and is medium in heat.
  • Pasilla Poblano: This is another dried version of the poblano pepper that is often used in Mexican cuisine. It has a complex flavor with notes of raisin, plum, and licorice and is medium to hot in the heat.
  • Poblano Ancho 101: This is a hybrid variety of the poblano pepper known for its large size and thick walls. It has a mild to medium heat level and is often used for stuffing or roasting.
  • Tlahuica Poblano: This is a variety of poblano pepper native to the Tlahuica region of Mexico. It has a slightly sweeter flavor than the standard poblano pepper and is mild to medium in heat.

How to grow Poblano Peppers

If you want to add a little spice to your garden and your cooking, planting poblano peppers is a great choice. These peppers are relatively easy to grow and thrive in various climates and soil types.

However, when choosing to grow poblano peppers, it is crucial to consider your USDA hardiness zone and the temperature and soil conditions required for optimal growth.

Considering these factors, you can ensure that your poblano pepper plants will thrive and provide you with a bountiful harvest of flavorful, mild to medium-heat peppers.

Poblano peppers can be grown in various USDA hardiness zones, but they typically do best in zones 9 through 11. However, with proper care, they can also be grown in zones 7 and 8.

It’s important to note that poblano pepper plants are sensitive to frost, so they should only be planted outside after the last expected frost date in your area.

If you live in a cooler climate, you may need to grow poblano peppers in containers and bring them indoors during the colder months to protect them from frost.


To grow poblano peppers from seed, follow these steps:

  • First, obtain poblano pepper seeds from a reputable seed supplier.
  • Fill a seedling tray or small pots with good-quality potting soil.
  • Sow the seeds about 1/4 inch deep into the soil, spacing them about 2 inches apart.
  • Water the soil until it is evenly moist but not waterlogged.
  • Place the tray or pots in a warm location with plenty of light, such as a sunny windowsill or under a grow light.
  • Keep the soil evenly moist by watering as needed.
  • After the seeds germinate, thin the seedlings so that there is only one plant per pot or cell.
  • Once the seedlings have grown a few sets of true leaves, they can be transplanted into larger pots or the garden.
  • Over a week, guard off the seedlings by gradually exposing them to outdoor conditions.
  • Plant the seedlings in the garden when the soil has warmed up, and all danger of frost has passed.
  • Space the plants about 18 to 24 inches apart in rows about 3 feet apart.
  • Water the plants regularly and fertilize them with a balanced fertilizer every 2 to 3 weeks.
  • Harvest the peppers when they fully mature and have turned deep green or reddish-brown.


Poblano peppers require full sun to grow and produce fruit. This means they need at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight daily.

If you are growing poblano peppers indoors, place them in a south-facing window or use grow lights to provide enough light. Choose a planting location that receives full sun throughout the day in outdoor settings.

Lack of sunlight can result in weak plants and poor fruit production, so it’s essential to ensure that your poblano pepper plants get enough sun to thrive.


Poblano Peppers on table
Poblano Peppers picked: Source: Sarah

Poblano peppers thrive in warm temperatures and require a long, hot growing season to produce fruit. They prefer temperatures between 70°F and 80°F during the day and 60°F to 70°F at night. 

If temperatures drop below 60°F, poblano pepper plants may stop growing, and their fruit development may slow or stop altogether. 

On the other hand, high temperatures above 90°F can cause the flowers to drop before they can produce fruit. Therefore, monitoring the temperature and providing appropriate shade or ventilation to protect the plants from extreme heat is crucial. 

In cooler climates, growing poblano peppers in containers and placing them in a warm, sunny location can help provide the ideal growing conditions for these plants.


Poblano peppers grow best in well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. They prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. If your soil is heavy clay, you may need to amend it with organic matter, such as compost or aged manure, to improve its texture and drainage. 

Poblano pepper plants also require good air circulation around their roots, so ensure the soil is loose and well-drained. Adding a layer of mulch around the base of the plants can help retain moisture in the soil while also suppressing weeds. 

If you are planting poblano peppers in containers, use a high-quality potting mix that is well-draining and nutrient-rich. Additionally, you may need to water the plants more frequently since container soil can dry quickly.


Poblano pepper plants require consistent and adequate moisture to grow and produce fruit. They prefer evenly moist soil, but it’s important not to overwater them, as this can cause root rot and other problems. 

Instead, water the plants deeply once a week or more frequently during hot, dry weather. The soil should be kept moist but not waterlogged, and it’s essential to allow the soil to dry out slightly between watering. 

You can use a moisture meter or insert your finger into the soil to check the moisture level. Watering the plants at the base is essential, as wetting the foliage can increase the risk of disease. 

In addition, it’s a good idea to water early in the morning to allow the plants to dry out during the day and reduce the risk of fungal diseases.


Poblano pepper plants benefit from regular fertilization throughout the growing season to promote healthy growth and fruit production. Before planting, you can incorporate a slow-release fertilizer into the soil to provide a steady supply of nutrients. 

During the growing season, you can apply a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, every four to six weeks. Alternatively, you can use a liquid fertilizer or apply compost or aged manure around the base of the plants. 

However, be careful not to over-fertilize, leading to excessive vegetative growth and poor fruit production. 

Monitoring the plant’s growth and adjusting your fertilization schedule as needed is also a good idea. Additionally, if your soil is deficient in nutrients, you may need to supplement it with a specific fertilizer to address the deficiency.


Cut Poblano peppers: Source: Drew Benz

Poblano peppers can be harvested when they reach 3 to 6 inches long and are dark green and shiny. You can use a sharp knife or scissors to cut the peppers off the plant, being careful not to damage the stem or other fruits. 

If you prefer ripe red peppers, you can allow them to mature on the plant until they turn red. However, remember that ripe red poblanos are spicier and have a different flavor profile than green ones. 

Harvesting the peppers regularly is important to encourage the plant to produce more fruit. However, leaving the peppers on the plant for a short time can reduce the overall yield and quality of the fruit. 

Additionally, it would be best to carefully handle the peppers, as they can be fragile and easily damaged. Store the harvested peppers in a cool, dry place or the refrigerator for up to two weeks.


Poblano peppers can be stored in several ways, depending on how you plan to use them. If you don’t use them immediately, you can store them in the refrigerator in a plastic bag or container for up to two weeks. Remove any moisture or condensation from the peppers before storing them to prevent mold growth. 

Alternatively, you can freeze poblano peppers by washing and drying them thoroughly and then chopping them into small pieces. Place the pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze them until they are solid, then transfer them to a freezer-safe container or bag. 

Frozen poblano peppers can be used in soups, stews, and other cooked dishes without the need to thaw them first. You can also dry poblano peppers by stringing them together and hanging them in a dry, well-ventilated area until they are completely dry and brittle. 

Dried poblano peppers can be ground into a powder or used whole in recipes that call for a smoky, mildly spicy flavor.


Like all plants, Poblano pepper plants are susceptible to various diseases, pests, and other problems affecting their growth and fruit production. Here are some common diseases that can affect Poblano peppers:

  • Phytophthora root rot: This fungal disease can cause yellowing and wilting of the leaves, as well as root rot and stem cankers. It’s often caused by poor drainage and can be prevented by planting in well-draining soil and avoiding overwatering.
  • Verticillium wilt: This fungal disease can cause wilting of the leaves and stunting of the plant. It’s spread by infected soil and can be prevented by planting in clean soil and avoiding overcrowding.
  • Bacterial spot: This bacterial disease can cause black spots on the leaves and fruit and sunken lesions on the stem. It’s often caused by wet foliage and can be prevented by avoiding overhead watering and planting in well-spaced rows.
  • Powdery mildew: This fungal disease can cause a fine white coating on the leaves and stems, leaf curling, and stunted growth. It’s often caused by high humidity and can be prevented by providing good air circulation and avoiding overcrowding.

To prevent these diseases, it’s vital to maintain good plant hygiene, including removing any diseased or dead plant material and avoiding overhead watering. You can also use fungicides and other treatments to control and prevent diseases if necessary.


Various pests can also affect poblano pepper plants, damaging the leaves, stems, and fruit. Here are some common problems that can affect Poblano peppers:

  • Aphids: These small, soft-bodied insects can suck the sap from the leaves and stems, causing stunted growth and distorted leaves. They can be controlled by spraying the plant with insecticidal soap or neem oil.
  • Spider mites: These tiny arachnids can cause yellowing and stippling of the leaves and web on the plant. They can be controlled by spraying the plant with a strong jet of water or using insecticidal soap or neem oil.
  • Whiteflies: These small, white insects can cause yellowing and wilting of the leaves and spread viral diseases. They can be controlled by using yellow sticky traps or spraying the plant with insecticidal soap or neem oil.
  • Cutworms: These caterpillars can cut the stems of young pepper plants, causing them to wilt and die. They can be controlled by placing collars around the base of the plant or using Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) insecticide.
  • Pepper weevils: These small beetles can damage the fruit and cause it to rot. They can be controlled by using yellow sticky traps or applying insecticidal dust to the plant.

To prevent pest infestations, monitor the plant regularly and take action as soon as you notice any signs of damage. You can also encourage natural predators like ladybugs and lacewings to control pest populations. Additionally, you can use organic pest control methods, such as companion planting and crop rotation, to prevent pest infestations.

Questions and answers

When should I plant Poblano pepper seeds? A: Poblano pepper seeds should be planted indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date in your area. Transplant them outdoors once the soil has warmed up and all danger of frost has passed.

How often should I water my Poblano pepper plants? A: Poblano pepper plants should be watered deeply once a week or often during hot, dry weather. Make sure to avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot.

How do I know when my Poblano peppers are ready to harvest? A: Poblano peppers are ready to harvest when they are dark green, shiny, and about 3-6 inches long. You can wait until they turn red, resulting in a slightly sweeter flavor.

Can I grow Poblano peppers in a container? A: Yes, Poblano peppers can be grown in a container if the container is at least 18 inches in diameter and 18 inches deep. Use a well-draining potting mix and make sure the container has adequate drainage.

Do Poblano peppers require a lot of sunlight? A: Poblano peppers require at least 6-8 hours of sunlight per day to thrive. Make sure to plant them in a location that receives full sun.

How can I prevent diseases and pests from affecting my Poblano pepper plants? A: To prevent diseases and pests, it’s important to maintain good plant hygiene, including removing any diseased or dead plant material and avoiding overhead watering. To prevent pest infestations, you can also use organic pest control methods, such as companion planting and crop rotation. Additionally, you can use fungicides and other treatments to control and prevent diseases if necessary.

How long do Poblano pepper plants live? A: Poblano pepper plants are annuals, which means they typically live for one growing season. However, they may continue to produce fruit for several months if the growing conditions are favorable.

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