Established peppers can survive for a week without water if they are growing in good soil and are well mulched. Potted pepper plants can also survive up to a week if they are deep watered and moved to a shady spot. If you are going on vacation or heading away for work you can keep your peppers alive for 7 days without water.
This article will explore all you need to know to keep your peppers alive for at least 7 days without being watered. Here are my 5 top tips to prepare your peppers for a week without water.
How long peppers can go without water
Peppers grow over the warmer months of spring and summer which can be a challenging time to keep them alive without water. You can keep peppers alive for at least a week without water if you mulch them with 2-3 inches of straw mulch, water them deeply and have them growing in good soil.
How to keep peppers alive for longer without water
Here are my top tips for keeping peppers alive without water. Whether you are growing habaneros, bell or tiny Thai peppers, these tips will help you keep them happy without water for a week.
1. Improve the soil first
The key to keeping your peppers alive without water is to plant them in soil that is high in organic matter. Before planting peppers add some aged cow manure, compost and worm castings all of which will help the soil to stay moist for longer.
Good quality soil will hold water without it draining away rapidly. If you have sandy soil this will be particularly important as it loses water quickly without added organic matter.
2. Mulch the peppers with straw
Mulch is important for keeping peppers moist for longer if they are not going to get any additional water. Straw or sugar cane mulch works perfectly for this. You can layer it on thick, at least 3 inches to hold the water in for longer.
3. Water the peppers deeply before you go
After you have added the mulch, water the peppers deeply with your hose. You can dampen the mulch at the same time and it will absorb water and slowly release it to the ground. Take your time to add plenty of water and make sure it reaches through the mulch to the soil.
A thorough watering the morning before you leave your peppers will give them the best chance of staying most for around a week.
4. Move potted peppers to a shady spot
For potted peppers plants move them into a shaded spot for the time you are gone. Deep water them to make sure they are thoroughly wet and place them in a cool spot in your garden. Normally it would be best to keep the plant in full sun but to give them the best chance of surviving, they will do better in shade.
When you get back you can move them back out into a part shade spot and then into full sun watering them well when you return.
Pepper plants can benefit from mulch added to the top of the pot. This will hold water in for longer. You can use bark mulch, straw or sugar cane mulch to hold water in.
5. Give them time to establish
Before you head off and leave your peppers without water for a week it is best to give them time to establish. A pepper plant that has been growing in the ground or in a pot for 4 weeks at least will be able to survive longer without water.
New seedlings will struggle to survive for more than 2-3 days without water when they are first planted out. Try to get your peppers established before you head off and leave them without water.
How often peppers need to be watered
Peppers need to be watered every 3-4 days during the warm summer months. These plants are hardy but will grow better with regular watering. Use mulch to keep water in the soil for longer and replace the mulch every 2-3 months if it starts to break down.
Do peppers need water everyday?
Peppers do not need water everyday but may need water as frequently as every 2 days in the hottest parts of summer. Check the soil and add water if you feel the top 2 inches have become dry. During milder weather peppers can go 3-5 days without water.
What to do if peppers get too dry
Peppers that are allowed to dry out can be saved if you act quickly. Peppers can show signs that they are too dry if the leaves start to brown on the edges, the start to droop or the peppers themselves start to shrivel up and dry.
Pick peppers from the plant and these can be dried and still used. Water the plant deeply and add a thick layer of straw mulch to hold the water in for longer. Water again after 2 days and pinch off any brown and damaged leaves.
Your pepper will begin to grow new leaves from the center of the stem off the old wood. You will get fresh stems and new fruit within weeks if the plant is able to recover.
How long peppers can go without water | Summary
Peppers can survive a week without water if they are given a deep water to start off and surrounded by mulch. Don’t give up if your peppers look dry, just water them deeply and snip off any dead leaves and branches. Within 1-2 weeks your pepper can grow back with new leaves, stems and fruit. These are hardy plants that can survive a heat wave.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.