In Western Australia, the name capsicum is used for fruit which is bell or cone-shaped with a sweet flavour. The same fruit is called bell pepper or sweet pepper in the USA and Britain. Growing capsicums in Perth has become a staple for many Perth gardeners, as they can be quiet expensive in the supermarket depending on the season. This is why many people are starting to investigate just how easy it is to grow your own capsicums at home. They are succulent, sweet, colourful and delicious.
In the Perth climate, capsicums are best grown in part sun with protection from the hot afternoon sun and winds. Morning sun or a light dappled shady area is ideal for growing capsicums.
Planting capsicum seedlings:
The best time to sow capsicum seedlings in Perth is August-December.
Simply place the seeds on top of your soil and sprinkle with a very thin layer of compost.
Capsicum need quite high temperatures to germinate. Which makes Perth the ideal climate.
Place your seeds on top of your soil and sprinkle with a very thin layer of compost. Place them in a warm place (like in top of the fridge) or on a growing mat until the plants are up and germinated. Seeds can be started outdoors easily once the weather and the soil have warmed enough in the summer months.
Capsicums can be difficult to germinate if the soil isn’t warm enough, so it can be easier to start them from seedlings if you are not much of a green thumb.
When to plant Capsicums in Perth, Western Australia:
The best time to plant capsicum seedlings is in October-December once all danger of frost has passed and its consistently warm.
Bought seedlings should be planted as soon as possible after you get them home. It is important to remember to give them a good, deep watering to help them settle in once planted. When you plant your capsicum seedlings out, add a small amount of bone-meal to each hole. Bone-meal gives seedlings a great start and helps them to develop strong root systems which support a healthy capsicum plant.
Perth capsicum varieties:
There are many hybrid capsicum varieties available in Western Australia. Varieties have a primary mature colour that is usually green, but may be yellow or purple. They also have a secondary mature colour that is usually red, but may be orange or yellow or other colours. Fruit picked at this stage is much sweeter than green fruit and has more pro-vitamin A. There are also black, cream, brown and lime coloured varieties.
New varieties are always being introduced all the time, so check with your local seed supplier or nursery. New hybrid varieties may be more resistant to disease, produce higher yields of fruit, produce more uniform fruit or be more suited to Perth conditions. It can be a good idea to plant a few different varieties and compare them under the same growing conditions.
Padron: A ridiculously heavy bearer of small, wrinkly capsicums traditionally used in tapas. Generally picked and cooked green, but ripens to bright red.
Quadrato d’Asti Giallo: The largest fruit of all, this old Italian variety from Piedmont changes from green to yellow when fully ripe. Ideal for stuffing.
Mini Sweet: Produces heavy crops of cute little capsicums in various shapes and colours. Stocky plants are ideal for growing in containers.
Golden Calwonder: A yellow version of the widely grown ‘Californian Wonder’. Heavy bearer of big, bell-shaped fruit.
Marconi Red: A stunning Italian variety producing tapered, glossy, bright-red fruit.
Purple Beauty: Has fleshy, sweet, deep-purple fruit.
Antohi Romanian: An heirloom variety from Romania that ripens early, making it perfect for cooler, frost-prone areas such as Tasmania.
Care and common problems with capsicums;
Caterpillars and aphids are the major pest problems in Perth. Pending on your planting location you may also need to keep the snails away also.
Harvesting will take place approximately 10 to 12 weeks after planting.
Some varieties twist of easily by hand, but scissors or secateurs will help for some varieties. Keep picking your capsicums throughout the summer to encourage production.
Capsicums can be harvested as soon as they are a decent size. Size might vary based on water and conditions. Most varieties start out green and then change to their particular colour as they mature, but they can really be eaten at any stage. The flavours change and develop quite dramatically as the fruits mature, so pick them at the at any stage based on your needs.
Check out our other how to grow in Perth guides: