How to save pepper seeds for planting
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How to Save Pepper Seeds for Planting Next Year (Easy)

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One of the most fulfilling aspects of gardening is the transformation of tiny seeds into mature plants that yield fruits or vegetables. A particularly gratifying part of this process is cultivating your own plants from seeds harvested from the previous year’s produce. This post is all about how to save pepper seeds for planting next year.  Whether you’re a fan of green peppers, jalapeno peppers, chili peppers, or any other pepper variety, the method of saving and storing seeds remains the same. 

If you’re interested in saving seeds from your pepper plants to use in your home garden next year, this post is for you!  

Jump to Instructions

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Harvesting Pepper Seeds

When you slice open a pepper, the abundance of seeds around the central stem is hard to miss.  The seeds might scatter or even seem a bit bothersome during food preparation. However, I like to think of the seeds inside as future plants waiting to sprout. A single pepper could easily contain all the seeds you need for growing peppers next year! Best of all, collecting pepper seeds is very easy. Simply follow a few easy steps to effectively save and store them for planting in next year’s garden.  

The process detailed in this post is based off of my experience harvesting and saving seeds from bell peppers.  If you are using different variety of peppers, your specific process may look slightly different.  If using hot peppers, I strongly advise that you wear gloves during the seed collection process. 

How to Select Pepper Seeds for pLANTING

The first step in saving pepper seeds for planting next year is actually getting to the seeds.  Carefully slice the pepper open.  Be sure to allow plenty of space around the central stem to protect the seeds from damage. Once you’ve removed the central stem from the pepper, gently brush the pepper seeds on to the paper towels. 

The best way to grow your own pepper plants from seed is to start out with healthy seeds!  To ensure the best chances of growing viable pepper plants from the seeds you save, discard any seeds that look unhealthy.

How to save pepper seeds for Planting: Four Easy Steps

1 – Prepare Tools and Workspace: First, ensure you have a sharp knife, a clean work surface, and paper towels at hand. Placing paper towels on a cutting board or plate will help you manage the pepper seeds more easily.

2 – Select the Right Peppers: To maximize your chances of harvesting viable seeds, choose healthy, mature peppers as your seed source. Harvesting seeds from ripe peppers increases the seeds’ likelihood of being fully developed and capable of germinating next season.  When possible, choose peppers from a vibrant and healthy-looking parent plant.

3 – Extract and Dry the Seeds: Next, carefully remove the new seeds from the pepper. Then, spread them out in a single layer on a paper towel. Allow the seeds to dry completely. This is crucial as any excess moisture can cause mold growth during storage.  

A Few Tips for Drying Pepper Seeds

You can let your seeds naturally dehydrate in a warm, dry location, but I’ve found that this natural drying process takes longer and is more uneven and unpredictable, which reduces seed viability. In my experience, using a food dehydrator or an air fryer with a dehydrate setting works best to dry seeds. The amount of drying time can range from several hours to a couple of days. Drying times depend on what drying method you use.  

You may need to weigh down the paper towel to prevent it from blowing around during the dehydration process.

4 – Store Pepper Seeds: Finally, once the seeds have been thoroughly dehydrated, store them in a cool, dry place. When possible, store your seeds in airtight containers out of direct sunlight.  Labeling the containers with the pepper type and the date of storage will help you keep track of your seed inventory.  I like to place my pepper seeds in a paper envelope or in a small glass vial with a screw top for long-term storage.

How to save pepper seeds for planting next year.

How to Grow Your Own Peppers from Your Own Pepper Seeds

Seed Selection: As mentioned above, the best way to successfully grow peppers from seed is to start with healthy seeds!  For the best chance of germination, inspect your saved pepper seeds to ensure they are not damaged or diseased.

Seed Starting Indoors: Direct sewing – planting your seeds outdoors – is not recommended for peppers. It’s best to begin your pepper plants indoors.  The best time to start your seeds is in early spring – about 8 weeks before the last expected frost in your area.  Be sure to check your USDA Planting Zone or global planting zone prior to starting your seeds. Peppers need a warm soil temperatures to start.  I recommend using a seedling heat mat to maintain an adequately warm, constant temperature for optimal germination.

Sowing the Seeds: Use small containers filled with a seed-starting mix.  A paper egg carton or a cardboard box is a good choice in place of plastic seed trays for starting seeds. Plant the seeds about 1/4 inch deep into the soil. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged, and cover the trays or pots with plastic wrap, plastic bags, or a dome to retain moisture and warmth.

Germination: Pepper seeds typically germinate in 6-15 days, depending on the variety and conditions. Once seeds sprout, remove the cover and move the seedlings to a well-lit area or under grow lights.

Seedling Care: Keep the soil evenly moist and provide seedlings with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 4-6 weeks. After seedlings develop their second set of true leaves, you can transplant them into larger pots if needed.  A soil pH of 6.0-6.8 is recommended for optimal pepper plant health. (Source)

Planting Your Pepper Seedlings

Hardening Off: Before transplanting outdoors, it’s important to gradually acclimate your seedlings to outdoor conditions. This process, known as hardening off, involves taking the plants outside to a somewhat sheltered, partially shaded area for increasing periods each day.  I usually start hardening my plants a few weeks before planting.

Transplanting: After the risk of frost has passed and the seedlings have been hardened off, it’s time to plant! Choose a sunny spot with well-draining soil. Space the plants about 18-24 inches apart to provide adequate room for growth.

Ongoing Care: Water the plants regularly, allowing the soil to dry slightly between watering. Mulch around the plants to retain moisture and suppress weeds. Use stakes or cages to support the pepper plant as it grows. I use tall bamboo stalks as stakes.

Fertilization: Feed the pepper plants with a balanced fertilizer every 4-6 weeks, or follow the instructions for a specific vegetable fertilizer.  I’ve had good success using this fertilizer.

Monitoring: Watch for pests and diseases. It’s important to address any issues promptly to keep the plants healthy.

A Word About Hybrid Peppers

Finally, it’s important to mention hybrid peppers. Not only are there a wide variety of peppers to choose from but there are also different varieties of hybrid peppers out there.  Hybrid varieties of peppers are developed using cross pollination from one type of pepper plant to a different type of pepper plant.  (Source) When you save hybrid seeds from a hybrid pepper, the resulting plants may not be identical to the parent. It’s interesting to note that seeds from hybrid peppers can produce plants that vary from the original.  It’s just something to be aware of – that seeds from a hybrid pepper may grow a somewhat different pepper type than the original pepper. 

As the old saying goes, “Waste Not, Want not.”

Although the prospect of saving your own seeds can seem a bit daunting at first, it’s really quite easy. I love that with just a little effort, and a bit of time, you can easily save enough seeds to grow a few whole rows of pepper plants next year. The act of saving seeds for planting next year is an easy, sustainable way to continue growing your own food year after year. Saving your own seeds not only reduces waste, but also saves money! The more seeds you save now, the less you have to buy next year! If you try this, let me know what you think in the comments below!

How to Save Pepper Seeds for Planting Next Year

These easy, step by step instructions will help you save your own pepper seeds for planting next year!


  • Sharp Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Paper Towels
  • Food Dehydrator
  • Paper Seed Envelopes


  • Prepare your workspace: you'll need a clean, sharp knife, a cutting board, and paper towels. It's a good idea to place your paper towels directly on your dehydrating rack prior to collecting the pepper seeds.
  • Wash and dry the pepper you'll be using as your seed source.
  • Carefully slice off one side of the pepper, taking care not to unnecessarily disturb the area directly underneath the central stem. I typically cut off each side of the pepper one at a time to minimize disturbing the seeds.
  • Once the central stem has been removed from the pepper, use your thumb to gently brush the pepper seeds onto a paper towel.
  • Carefully spread the pepper seeds into a single layer on the paper towel. Inspect the seeds as you go and remove any that appear to be damaged or unhealthy.
  • Place your seeds in a warm, dry location. If possible, I recommend using a food dehydrator to dry your pepper seeds. If using a dehydrator, I recommend processing for 12-24h at about 115*F. Processing times may vary.
  • Once your seeds have been thoroughly dehydrated, carefully transfer to a paper seed envelope or small, airtight container for storage.
  • Date and label your seeds and store in a dark, dry place until ready to use.



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