California Wonder is by far the most successful and popular bell style pepper. Introduced in the 1920s, heirloom and open-pollinated, they produce heavy crops of green to red ripening blocky fruits with thick, crisp flesh and a mild yet delicious flavour. Excellent fresh, sauteed or stuffed, a half-cup serving of California Wonder Red Peppers offer 70% of your vitamin C and 30% of your vitamin A recommended daily allowance. The pretty white flower that contrasts nicely against lush dark green pointed foliage is another reason to try these peppers today.
- Pack size: 20 seeds
- Type: Sweet
- Time to germination: 14-21 days
- When to sow inside: January - March
- When to sow outside: March - May
- Spacing: 30cm +
- Soil preference: Fertile, well-drained
- Light preference: Full sun
- When to harvest: August - October
How to grow California Wonder Red Peppers from seed
Peppers belong to the same family as aubergines and tomatoes and should be grown in much the same manner. However, they do need a long growing season and are cold-sensitive, which will halt the plant's growth, reducing its vigour, resistance to pests and disease, and its yields. As such, for a successful experience, we recommend growing peppers under glass only.
Sow your California Wonder Seeds shallowly and aim to keep the temperature high. 21-24 is ideal; however, once germinated, pepper seeds can tolerate somewhat lower temperatures. After germination, place on a sunny windowsill or as recommended under LED grow lights to grow on and develop in 8cm thin-wall pots before planting out in late spring pot and all.
Pepper plants enjoy a stake or cage's extra support, especially when fruiting; however, this isn’t completely necessary. Whilst fairly drought tolerant, peppers will thrive with even, consistent watering. They are generally very low maintenance and easy to grow.
What to feed your California Wonder Pepper Plants
Pepper plants enjoy free-draining soil loaded with plenty of organic matter. As they are heavy feeders, add a few handfuls of fish, blood and bone meal with some volcanic rock dust and some kelp powder to give them a rich, balanced and diverse diet for strong organic growth and cropping over the season. This diet will also help the plants to form strong, well-developed immunity.
By preparing the hole/soil with the above organics before planting and applying a side dressing of phosphorus-rich bone meal or wood ash just prior to fruiting, you feed the whole soil ecosystem, which feeds your pepper plants a much broader diet. Off the shelf, bought chemical fertilisers are limited in their scope and kill life in the soil web, trapping the gardener into spending time and money, to fertilise repeatedly.
Keeping pests away
California Wonder is an open-pollinated type of pepper, so we encourage you to save your own seeds. By doing so from your best plants, your peppers acclimatise to your particular microclimates and disease vectors year on year. They are, however, fairly pest and disease resistant. We start our pepper seeds under lights in February before interplanting them in greenhouse borders with our aubergines. Peppers can be harvested green or left to ripen to a deep red when at their sweetest. Should autumn catch you out, cut the plant at the stem and hang somewhere warm and sunny to finish ripening.
When ordering California Wonder Pepper seeds from Grow Sow Greener, you will receive free marigold seeds. A beautiful plant that adds interest and beauty in its own right while also a great companion for peppers. Plant marigolds close by to deter nematode attack and attract beneficial insects which prey on pests while boosting pollination.