Wintering Peppers

Capsicum are long lived plants and if the right conditions are met plants can live indefinitely. Plants will only get stronger and yield more and more as the years go by. A plant that has being wintered has a very good head start on the year. If you think about starting your plants in early March to get a good crop, then having plants that already have a big root mass are way ahead. They will start to bear fruit way ahead. If using bigger pots, fertilizer and compost high in nitrogen, then your yields will be two to three times higher.

It can sometimes be difficult to keep plants alive when you first bring them in. Plants need the right conditions. Some varieties winter very well others do not. All varieties can be wintered under the right conditions.

First. the plant needs to be cut back. See pictures below

Second. the soil needs to be almost dry...because the plants water intake will be almost zero. And if plants are too wet the roots will rot.

Third. plants need the right amount of light. If you plan to just winter your plants a sunny window or florescent light will be fine. If you plan to try and get fruit off your plants you will need high light source. If you are interested in trying to get fruit off over the winter please see our pages on Harvesting peppers year round

Forth. plants need the right temperature. To just over winter your plants all you need is temps around 14c to 20c or 65f to 70f and if your are going to try and get fruit off you will needed temps from 22c to 27c or 75f to 85f.

As you can see this plant was cut back about 2-3 weeks ago and is coming back nicely. 

Now if you want to harvest peppers over the winter you can use a good LED grow light. And you will start to see plants starting to grow good again and in a month or two you will see plants flower again and start to produce what they can. It’s best to not let plants get over loaded with pods unless you have enough light or if they are small pods varieties like bird varieties of small C.Baccatum. 

Once you have done this a couple of times you will see how easy it is to keep plants alive over winter. Now if you want to take it to the next level you can try making your winter plants into Bonchili. There is not much to making Bonchili out of your plants plaese see our new Growing Bonchili  

Here a look at some plants that are really starting  to regrow it’s early March in the picture and led lights were used at 10 hours a day from November until now we got some peppers off must of them. But we cut them back again to make some room. We did this about two weeks ago. As you can see plants are starting to grow very good and will likely need to be trimmed again or just let them grow and get a harvest in two months and right through summer. I you cut them back and keep them trimmed until you can put them outside or there growing place you can expect a very large plants that will give you a  amazing harvest. If you just play it by ear and you will learn that you can really control you pepper plants and they can live a very long and productive life.

so you have wintered your plants now what ?

Now that your plants have made it to through wintering them how do you get them to start growing good again? This can be done many ways we like to start by giving plants more light. We do this by giving our plants a longer day with the light on 18hours a day from 14hours or less and we also move plants into sun light this has the best results, but we only have so much room for plants in the sun. If you can move your plants from grow light to the sun that’s the thing to do. If you don’t have anywhere to get your plants into the sun then you need to give your plants more light or longer lights on time.

Now that light is out of the way fertilizer is the next step there are a couple of ways to fertilize you plants. First are you growing organically or do you use none organic fertilizers? If you are using none organic fertilizers you need to give your plants fertilizer with high Nitrogen 30 10 10 is the best but it’s hard to find now a days so your next best option is 20 20 20 or 24 18 12 if I remember it right, if not you can find this one at most hardware stores or Canadian tire etc. they all should have the newer tomato fertilizer with this 24 % Nitrogen this will get your plants to start growing vegetation again. For those using organic fertilizers you have less types of options but you can find a couple of organic fertilizers online these days. We recommend you add bonemeal to the top of your plants pots and cover it up with some new soil. If you don’t have room for new soil you can dig into the top 1-2 inches of soil around the outside ring of your pots and add and cover the bonemeal this should be done even with regular water soluble fertilizer. Peppers need all the Calcium they can get. Your plants should start to grow and you just need to care for them the same as you would a new plant. You need to keep any and all flowers picked off until your plants have grown new branches and are big enough again to have good yields. We have added some pictures here that show our plants that are just starting to come around after their wintering and as you can see plants that are not much more then some stocks are now starting to grow new leaf at the plants nodes. These will be your new branch’s so you can let the ones you like grow and you can cut or pinch off the ones you don’t want to grow. These are new branch’s that are to high in the plant. You want your new growth to be as low on the plants as you can get them to. This will help to keep branches from braking off later on when the plants start loading up with pods because if they are high on the plants they will brake off under pods. We hope this info helps with you wintered plants if you have any questions feel free to email and ask. We are here to help from seed to harvest if we can. We also wish you happy growing