Pepper Pruning Question

luisito8m(9)March 9, 2012

Pepper Lovers,

I pruned my entire Cayanne pepper plant, to the fullest of its extend. I removed ALL leaves, ALL peppers keeping only the pepper structure (stem).

I would like for my pepper plant to grow a thicker and longer stem, I was wondering if I need to chop down (prune) the steam entirely or what should I do?

If u need a pic let me know, I can upload it when I get home.

Cheers!

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tsheets(5)

When I prune back (to pot down and bring in for the Winter), I leave at least a few leaves/branches. I have never gone all the way to a bare stem. At this point, I'd wait for some new growth before cutting back any more. As far as thicker stem, that comes with time. If you trim the top, it will cause it to bush out more, not grow taller. Trimming the lower branches would effectively lengthen the stem.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 11:03AM
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esox07 (4b)

Yep, what tsheets says. It would be tough to make it grow taller although it probably will grow taller a very slight amount each year just part of regular growth. But the problem with peppers is that they normally make a "V" branch and half the plant grows one direction and half the other. The trunk doesn't normally continue straight up from that point and the breaks into another V at some point. You dont get long trunks that grow basically straight up with branches coming out from it along the way.. If it did, then you could prune lower branches making the trunk taller and forcing growth upward.

Here is a photo of my two Hot Hungarian Wax Peppers that I cut back last fall. See how they grow to "V" in succession. Each branch of the V itself ends in a "V". If you try to prune for height, you will get a zig zag trunk. As far as I know, most varieties grow this way.


Bruce

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 1:02PM
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willardb3

You can prune whatever you want........it's hard to kill a chile

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 8:06AM
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tsheets(5)

Yes, you can prune a chili to the extreme, and it might grow back stronger than ever. But, when you prune so drastically, there is also an increased risk of it not making it. So, while you *can* prune it that much, I wouldn't *recommend* it.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 9:45AM
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esox07 (4b)

Yes, I would always leave a few leaves and probably not crop the root ball quite that much. Between the stress of pruning and transplanting, you do run a fair risk of killing it. You can always continue trimming it throughout the winter.
Bruce

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 11:59AM
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willardb3

Pruned lots of chiles, never killed one. It's hard to kill a chile plant.

Tepin:

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 8:18AM
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tsheets(5)

Those Tepin pics are what got me over the fear of pruning and over-wintering a few years back.

But, I have killed plants before. Pruned them way back, and some grew back, others never came back. So, I am a little more careful now and leave a few leafy branches.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 10:33AM
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capoman(5a)

One way to create a thicker stalk is to bend it slightly until you get a kink with out snapping it open, then stake it back up so the branch is straight again. The stalk will thicken up as it repairs itself. A strong fan can also help with a sturdier stalk. Neither of which I would do after a severe pruning. Not sure you can force a plant taller then it's genetics except by starving it of light and having it stretch, but I don't think that would do much for yield. Also cutting ALL leaves off is excessive. I've never done that, but I would think a few leaves are needed to get the plant up and running. Peppers may be natively a perennial, but they don't have storage organs such as tubers or bulbs. They are perennial by keeping foliage all year.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 10:37AM
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Edymnion(7a)

There should still be a supply of nutrients in the stem. Long as they left a fair bit of that it should be able to start producing new leaves again. Peppers are really hard to kill after they get going, after all.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 11:50AM
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esox07 (4b)

Yes, Greenman28 tells his story of a pepper plant left in a container in his dark garage all winter where the temps got below freezing several times. There were no leaves on it and the above ground part was basically dead. But after getting it back out in the warms spring sun, it fired back up. It was just dormant and like Capoman said was just living off it's root system all winter. Josh had said that as long as the root system doesn't freeze, they it should come back.
Bruce

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 12:27PM
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capoman(5a)

Interesting how tough they can be. I still don't think it's the best method of overwintering a pepper though. I've got one that I left a few small leaves on and it stayed healthy in a window without growing... until recently. First signs it's picking up is the leaves are getting larger.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 12:58PM
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luisito8m(9)

Thanks for all the advice guys, it has been helpful. i decided to prune it because leaf damage was pretty bad and extensive due to winter, my pepper plant look beaten up.

Wow Williard3, I love your pepper plant!! Looks amazing!!

Later, I will be posting pictures of my pruning, I think it went well..

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 4:13PM
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esox07 (4b)

Capoman, Josh also says that he never had an aphid or spider mite issue with that plant all winter long.
:)

Bruce

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 4:52PM
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luisito8m(9)

My Cayanne Pruned.

Two days later, I could see leaves coming out.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 9:06PM
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esox07 (4b)

Pruned or defoliated. Haha, I like that. I bet you will bet that thing to be pretty tall cutting him back the way you did. Keep us up to date and let us know how this thing does.

Is this a plant that you just now pruned? Must be nice to grow year round.
Bruce

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 9:48PM
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capoman(5a)

Bruce, too funny! It would be interesting to compare overwintered peppers that were defoliated against ones that had some foliage left on them. Has Josh done this? I've usually found that early growth results in seedlings and cuttings will give a good indicator of later health and vigor. I suspect that the slower start a defoliated plant would likely have against one that has healthy leaves all winter would affect the long term vigor of the plant. Sounds like an experiment for next winter. I'm always up for a good experiment.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 8:16AM
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tcleigh(6)

willard3--what do you have that pepper plant in? looks great!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 11:12PM
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willardb3

I grow in hydro.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 8:41AM
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capoman(5a)

My thoughts are this. And this is only my opinion. If you leave a few leaves on, the leaves the plant keep the plant in a positive energy state. The few leaves left can still manufacture and store food to kickstart other growth. If a plant is totally defoliated, then it will have much more reliance on stored energy in the stems and roots. One example is the vitamin B1 stored in leaves (that I think is stored nowhere else) that is sent down to the roots to accelerate their growth. Then there is also the possibility of foliar feeding to help get started. Does this sound reasonable? Also, the transpiration of the leaves is required to draw water and nutrients from the soil. Without leaves, the plant would definitely have to go backward, using up precious reserves creating a negative energy state, before it moves forward again. I can only see that as a setback in comparison.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 8:54AM
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mvr2014

I have no photographic evidence of this, but I'll share my experience anyway! :)

I had a jalapeno plant that was maybe 6 inches tall, with few healthy leaves. Then maybe three weeks ago, damn thrips took to the new leaves! The small leaves would curl up and wouldn't grow big anymore--I tried spraying them with peppermint oil+ water, then tried dishwashing soap solution. I ended up burning the leaves! I got so frustrated, I actually topped the plant off! It was maybe 2.5 months old. So anyway, I only left maybe 4" of "stem" in the pot. I was so tempted to uproot it, but left it in the pot and forgot about it. Only this week did I notice the pot again--and lo and behold, it now has new healthy branches, with healthy, green leaves! Woot!!!

    Bookmark   November 5, 2014 at 12:54AM
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TNKS(7b)

Chop it right before the first deviation(stub)
It will grow just fine from there

    Bookmark   November 5, 2014 at 7:26PM
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