How Much Sun Do Jalapenos Need to Grow?

Jalapenos are far and away the most popular of the spicy peppers in common consumption. These slender, emerald peppers are used in countless dishes and various cuisines throughout North, Central, and South America.

jalapeno pepper plants in the garden
These jalapeno plants are in open field (well, backyard), so they’ll get all the sun they need.

They’re also an extremely popular addition to gardens large and small. But how much sun do jalapenos need to grow?

Jalapeno peppers need 6 hours of direct sunlight a day at the minimum. Additional sun is always beneficial. It should be noted that the peppers themselves need shade from intense sunlight or else they can suffer from sunscald.

If you grow Jalapenos, you need to know they have sunlight requirements that are similar to other peppers, including bell peppers, and tomatoes.

If you have success growing any of those you should be well on your way to establishing a bumper jalapeno crop.

However, in some ways they are fussier than these other veggies, so keep reading to learn what pitfalls you need to watch out for.

Do Jalapenos Need Full Sun?

Yes, and more sunlight will increase the yield of the plant. Seeds and seedlings in particular need lots of full, direct light.

How Many Hours of Sun Do Jalapenos Need?

At least six hours, and again, more light is almost always better. The more light your plants get the more peppers they will produce at a given size. In short, bring on the light!

Can Jalapenos Grow in Shade?

No, though they can tolerate some shade, and the peppers themselves benefit from self-shading as the plant grows and matures.

One of the biggest problems associated with shading jalapenos is actually a reduction in soil temperature.

Jalapenos need warm soil in order to grow and thrive, and many a gardener has been shocked to find their plants falling over for seemingly no reason at all. Seemingly! But chances are it had something to do with the soil temperature.

If you live in an area with a truly hot climate then you may be able to get away with some shading.

But if you’re in a more temperate region then your plants will need all the sun they can get, including on the soil.

Even something like a raised berm or low, neighboring plants might be enough to shade the soil and allow it to cool too much.

To counter this, try raised beds that will allow the soil to stay warm longer, or place stone slabs around your plants to help warm and insulate the nearby soil.

Can Jalapenos Get Too Much Sun?

Not really, though overheating is a problem when temperatures clear 90 degrees Fahrenheit. At this point, the peppers will stop growing and focus on ripening existing fruit.

Additionally, the peppers themselves are pretty vulnerable to sunscald. Sunscald is a condition where the peppers get a discolored, almost leathery white patch formed on the fruit.

It’s not fatal to the plant, but it can make the peppers less attractive and even spoil their taste.

To avoid this, simply ensure that the peppers have some protection from the harshest rays of the sun in the afternoon.

This can be as simple as providing some light shade with a piece of cheesecloth or similar fabric.

Taking care to keep the leaves of the plant full and whole will also help to protect the peppers from sunscald.

Damaged leaves are more susceptible to withering or dropping, so avoid letting pests or plant diseases have their way with your jalapeno plants. Without the leaves the peppers won’t make it!

In summary, jalapeno peppers need full sun to grow well, but they benefit from some protection from the very hottest rays of the day.

You should provide them with tons of direct sunlight and some afternoon shade, and then you’ll have no trouble growing a bumper crop of these delicious peppers.

Do Different Varieties of Jalapenos Need More or Less Sun?

As any pepper aficionado knows, jalapenos come in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and colors.

Some varieties are mild, while others pack a serious punch. But do different types of jalapenos have different sun requirements?

Generally speaking, all jalapenos need at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. However, some varieties may need a bit more sun than others.

For example, the well-known green jalapeno tends to thrive in sunny conditions, while the red jalapeno is more tolerant of partial shade.

The Bolivian Rainbow jalapeno is a relatively new variety that is known for its colorful skins. These peppers need full sun in order to produce their vibrant fruits.

In contrast, the NuMex Easter pepper is a type of jalapeno that was specifically bred to be resistant to frost.

As a result, this pepper can actually tolerate partial shade and still produce a good crop of peppers.

Peppers that are grown in cooler climates may also need a bit more sun than the prescribed minimum in order to properly ripen.

If you’re wondering how much sun your jalapenos need, it’s best to start with the general rule of six hours per day.

But if you find that your peppers aren’t performing as well as you’d like, you may want to give them a bit more sun or move them to a sunnier spot in your garden.

What Happens if Jalapenos Don’t Get Enough Sun?

Jalapenos that don’t get enough sun will often fail to develop their full color and flavor. In addition, these peppers will be smaller and less spicy than their sun-kissed counterparts.

Plants that are severely deprived may not fruit at all. So if you’re looking for the perfect jalapeno pepper, make sure to give it plenty of sunshine.

Can Jalapenos Grow in Indirect Sun?

Yes, so long as they get tons of light one way or another and all of their other needs are accounted for.

If growing jalapenos indoors, place them near a sunny window where they’ll get at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. If you don’t have a sunny window, you can supplement with grow lights.

Just be sure to give the plants extra light if using them: at least 14-16 hours per day, particularly when seedlings or very young.

Transitioning Jalapenos from Indoors to Sunlight

You might desire to keep your jalapenos indoors permanently; that’s one way to ensure they survive the ever-lethal first frost.

But then again you might just be getting a head start on the growing season by growing them indoors before moving them out.

If that is the case, you will want to slowly transition your plants from the relative comforts and certainty of your home to the great outdoors.

Doing this slowly is important as it allows the plant to adjust to the change in temperature and environment without shocking it. This is what is called “hardening off”.

The process is typically started about two weeks before you plan on actually planting the plant outside.

Start by placing them outside in a shady spot for a few hours the first day, gradually adding more sun each day. After a week or so, they should be able to handle being in direct sunlight for the entirety of the day.

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