Will Bell Peppers Grow in Partial Shade?


Watching bell peppers grow is an amazing experience. Though every plant is fun to harvest and eat, something about growing a big and hollow fruit like a bell pepper makes for a great gardening experience. However, some decide against growing bell peppers because there’s little room for full sun in their yard.

Bell peppers will grow in partial shade. However, bell pepper plants prefer to have full sun when they are growing. They also need sunshine to ripen fully, so consider leaving them out in the sun after harvest for a little bit if they were growing in partial shade. 

Below, I’ll go over the ideal conditions for bell peppers. Additionally, I’ll give you some creative ideas to get your bell peppers the full sun they need.

Ideal Conditions For Bell Peppers

We all want to grow our vegetables in the ideal conditions, but that’s not always possible. Sometimes our lawns or gardening areas are blocked by a neighbor’s tree, leaving them in the shade. Or, other times, we may not have a lawn (shout out to all the porch gardeners!). Regardless, we should still talk about the ideal conditions for your bell peppers. This way, we can be proactive about the resources we use.

Bell peppers will grow best in:

  • Full sun. This means your bell peppers should be getting from twelve to fourteen hours of sun a day. If the sun is out, your bell peppers should absorb its rays.
  • Direct sunlight. The sunlight your bell peppers receive should be direct sunlight, meaning they receive it without any obstruction (such as shade).
  • Moderate temperatures. Bell peppers don’t do well in the cold, but they don’t do well in high-heat either. If you have a heatwave, you might consider giving them shade until the heat dies down. 
  • Average pH. Bell peppers don’t need anything fancy for their pH levels. They do well in 6.5-7 pH soil.
  • One to two inches (2.54-5.08 cm) of water per week. The soil should drain well, and you should look for signs of needing more water or less via a moisture meter or the toothpick test. 
  • Nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium-rich soil. They need all of the nutrients, but they are especially known to do well for vegetable plants. 

Of course, if you have the option to give your bell peppers everything they need, you should. Giving them ideal conditions to thrive will make them taste every bit as good as they should.

So, if you’re working with bell pepper in a partial shade situation, does that mean your crop is doomed? Of course not! They may grow in partial shade, just not as fruitfully. Let’s talk about a few ways to get creative without depriving your plants of what they need. 

How To Give Your Bell Peppers More Sun

There are quite a few creative ways to give your bell peppers more sunshine. Each of these will cater to a different budget and a different amount of time or energy. Not all of these will be a good fit for each gardener, but hopefully, there’s something on the list that works for you:

  • Create a container garden so you can move your bell peppers into the sun.
  • Use a raised bed in a spot you might not have previously used as a part of your garden.
  • Use hydroponics.

Let’s dive into what each of these looks like. 

Container Gardens 

Container gardens are at the top of this list because I think they are the easiest, least expensive, and most beneficial way to get your bell pepper plants all the sunshine they need. Container gardens are also inclusive of all types of gardeners–whether you’ve got a farm, a porch, or a garden bed, a container garden will work for you!

Container gardens are pretty straightforward. To grow your plant, you will utilize a pot, a bucket, or another kind of container (most famously, laundry baskets have been used with potatoes!). For bell peppers, a pot or bucket will work best. Watch this YouTube video to see how a container garden can be built for your bell peppers:

The beautiful thing about container gardens is that they’re portable. If you only have a certain amount of space in your garden that gets even partial sun, you can take your container and (gently) move it to the next spot with the sun. It’ll take some work on your end to move it back and forth, but it’ll be worth it. 

Raised Beds

Raised beds will work well if you have a dedicated garden area that hasn’t been getting much sun. It might be strange to put a patch of soil in the middle of your lawn (it’s been done before, though!) to get your plants the full sun they need. However, raised garden beds are usually much more aesthetically pleasing in the middle of a lawn. 

Use Hydroponics

If you have the resources available, why not attempt a hydroponic garden? 

Hydroponics have become more popular as those who live in apartments or yardless houses have begun gardening. A hydroponic system works like a robot outdoors. There’s the soil you’ll put into a tray, water that goes into a different section, and typically a light that will replicate the effects of the sun. There are tons of different systems available, all at different price points. 

If your bell peppers won’t get full sun outside or you’re a gardener from a region that doesn’t typically produce bell peppers–whether that’s because of temperature or sunlight–then a hydroponic garden might be a good option for you. 

You can read my other article on the pros and cons of hydroponics here: The Pros and Cons of Hydroponics Explained

Can Bell Peppers Grow in Indirect Sunlight?

So, partial shade is okay, but it’s better to do full sun. Is there a difference between that sunlight being direct or indirect? What if there’s a place where your bell peppers will get full sun, but the sunshine will be indirect?

Bell peppers can grow in indirect sunlight, but they won’t produce as many peppers and grow as big as they’re supposed to. For bell peppers, you should aim for twelve to fourteen hours a day of direct sunlight exposure for the plants to grow and ripen properly.

Again, we’d all do what’s best for our bell peppers or other vegetables if we could. If this isn’t an option, you can still grow your bell peppers, they just won’t get as big or grow as many fruits. 

Indirect vs. Direct Sunlight

Some may be confused about the difference between indirect and direct sunlight. Additionally, the connection between direct/indirect sunlight and full/partial shade can be confusing. Let me explain the difference. 

Full sun means that your plants need to be in a spot where they receive sunshine all day or for at least six hours. Direct sunlight means that there should be no obstruction to the sun. So a plant can technically be receiving full sun and indirect sunlight simultaneously. Think about a plant in a full-sun area but right underneath a tree branch that gives it a shade or behind a large plant that casts a shadow over it. 

How To Detect the Amount of Sunlight Your Plants Are Getting

If you are unsure whether your plant is getting full, partial, indirect, or direct sunlight, you can utilize a few tools to know for sure. I recommend grabbing a moisture meter. Most moisture meters also have settings that will tell you the temperature, humidity, sunlight, and pH of any given area and tell you about the moisture.

However, there are a few other tools that measure only sunshine if this is your only concern. I’ve listed some recommendations below. 

WANFEI Plant Monitor 

WANFEI Soil Test Kit (available on Amazon.com) will read your plant’s light, temperature, humidity, and even nutrient availability. Then it takes this information and sends it to an app on your phone, so you can always stay on top of how your plants are doing. This is a little more expensive than the other options, but you could easily pull it out of one plant and put it in another to get a full garden insight.  

Luster Leaf Suncalc

If you aren’t interested in other bells and whistles, Luster Leaf Rapitest Suncalc (available on Amazon.com) is made for checking out your garden’s Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) light, or sunlight, and nothing more. You put it in your garden and wait for the lights to indicate whether the area is full shade, partial shade, partial sun, or full sun. 

I love Luster Leaf products because I know they were made with gardeners in mind, as I always recommend their pH test kits. 

MIOGREEN Moisture Meter

I’m a big fan of moisture meters and think every gardener should have one. The MIOGREEN 4-in-1 Soil Moisture Meter (available on Amazon.com) will do more than just tell you about sunlight. It’ll also tell you about your garden soil’s moisture, pH, and temperature. Moisture meters are versatile and can be picked up and put in another spot instantly after reading another.  

Final Thoughts

Your bell pepper plants can grow in most conditions, but you’ll want to follow the guidelines to get the best bell peppers and biggest plants. Bell peppers prefer lots of sunshine and direct exposure. This means that your bell peppers should be highlighted by the sun for nearly half the day. 

Get creative if you don’t have a spot in your garden that gets full sun. Bell peppers do great in containers and can also do well in raised beds. Add a raised bed or grow a container bell pepper to move it around as the sun moves. 

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of TheGrowingLeaf.com, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

Recent Posts