If you are anything like me, you have probably assumed that pepper plants are annuals and leave them in the garden until the frost kills them in the fall. The truth is, pepper plants are tender perennials that will live for several years if you overwinter them inside. In fact, many report huge pepper plants reaching heights of 5 feet with a woody stem. These shrubs produce an abundance of peppers on their second or third year, but do eventually die off.
When I learned this, I knew I had to try overwintering some of my pepper plants to find out for myself just how well they would produce. This fall I dug up six pepper plants and repotted them in deep florist pots. I cut them back to a height of about 12 inches, leaving a few mature leaves. I cut them at the Y on each branch.
I am happy to report that my pepper plants are producing new leaves and appear healthy. I have them in a small greenhouse with one of my poinsettias. I am using a plant light for 12 hours a day. I noticed yesterday that the plants are developing new buds. They will need to be hand-pollinated, of course, but I can't wait to see if they produce peppers during the winter. But, that was not my main goal. I am looking forward to seeing how big the plants will get in the garden next year and how many peppers they will produce.
Believe it or not, I watched a video of a man who grows them in his greenhouse. He picked several buckets of peppers off one plant. I don't know about you, but that is difficult for me to imagine.
Have you ever overwintered your pepper plants? I'd love to see pics or hear about your success.
Until next time . . . HAPPY GARDENING!
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