Topping Plants? + Seedlings Update(Photos)

plant_newbie_2010(6b)April 25, 2012

So... I`ve heard about topping pepper plants to make them bushier... Around what stage do you guys do it?=D Do you wait until they are at the height you want them to be, then just nip off the apical meristem? Or do you let the plant grow lots then do something drastic like halve it?=P Also, would it be better to snip just before or just after a node?

Thanks a bunch! Mine are nowhere near big enough with the cool temps they've been experiencing, but I feel like I should find out way ahead of time!=P


Armageddon(if you do happen to read this): I still haven't gotten the seeds you mailed out to me, so I don't know if it usually takes this length of time, or that it got lost or confiscated by customs(which would really suck...)...=( I don't know if they will come at this point in time, but I still really want too thank you again for your generosity anyway!=D

By the way, after some of you guys on here helped clear up the bhut/naga confusion, I realized the seeds I had bought were naga seeds!=P And after informing the seller of my 0% germination(even with full germination with my other seeds) and how they molded and rotted so quickly, the seller's going to send me replacement seeds from another source(as he had been having the same problem with his seeds from that source)!=D Really late in the season, but better late than never! And if it's too slow, I could always get a head-start for next year!XD

Anyways, couldn't resist doing a photo update at the same time! Even with mine being WAY behind most of you guys!=P My oldest are 36 days old, and my youngest are 14 days old(from seed starting)!=P And as a first-timer, I'm not sure how they're doing for their age, or if I've been treating them okay...=X Btw, all my pictures were taken at night!=)

My Sweet Pickles: My largest plant on the right!=D The left one was the one who started out with the cotyledons shriveling up to nothing and then puffing out a TINY bit again(the stick), so it's been doing awesome actually(to me)! I love the way it just didn't quit!=D Makes me so proud...T_T (You can actually see the cotyledon size difference if you look closely enough!=P)

My Explosive Embers:

My lone slow-growing white habanero:

The rest are my late starts, thus they're super small still... Yes! Even smaller than those above!=P Going to cull down to one at a later date... Sad, but don't wanna risk messing up the root system!=/

My mini chocolate bells: Just growing their first true leaves!=D

My Birds Eye Chilis: Seeds from a saucer of cut chili that I was about to dig into!=P

My Fushimis:

Anyways, this is all I have right now!=D Small collection, but it's all I could afford, plus I only have 1 window!=P

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plant_newbie_2010 they may have confiscated them at the post office the lady caught me off guard and asked me to fill out a customs form when i slipped n said seeds was in the envelope .... i will get another batch sent to you friend .

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 1:03AM
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they should have arrived by now thanks for letting me know they have not ottawapepper seeds took i think near 5 days only to reach me i am gonna use a new method this time around (smile)

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 1:09AM
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tell them guys at customs if they want in on are seed action here at the GardenWeb make there own account btw i how they enjoy the burn of the dried Bhut ... LOL

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 1:16AM
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Oh wow! Thank you so much Armageddon!=D Its seriously so sweet of you to do that!=) Awesome! I can't wait to grow bhuts!=P I just hope they don't confiscate it again and destroy perfectly good seeds!! Cause it's such a waste when they do...=/

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 1:26AM
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Oops! Didn't see your last message when I posted!=P But, lol, boy do I hope they were lucky enough to get to touch it at least!XP

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 1:57AM
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not sure why they would really mess with vegetables seeds to begin with but ....what ever floats there boat i guess.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 2:30AM
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On the lookout for potentially invasive species, most likely. Both in terms of what the seeds grow into and what sort of micro-organisms could be on the seeds. Same reason you have to declare fruits and veggies on international flights.

For example, there is a type of fruit fly we don't have in the states that could wreck havoc on the citrus groves in Florida if it managed to sneak in and get itself established, so they take it pretty seriously.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 8:45AM
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Oh, and as for topping to increase bushiness, do it when its a little shorter than the height you want it to be as what grows out as side branches will start growing upwards again as well, so it'll start getting slowly taller again.

As for above/below the node, that'll depend on what results you want. Cutting above the node means new growth will appear from that node. You'll get more instant bush right there, but if left untended it will likely just grow straight up. If you cut below the node, it will take longer to regain the full lush appearance, but will spread out more horizontally.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 8:51AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I don't pinch, prune, or re-pot my peppers until they have at least 3 - 5 sets of true leaves.
I pinch the tallest seedlings so that the shorter seedlings can catch up (under the lights).


    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 11:03AM
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Edymnion is correct, however peppers are naturally bushy and the leader splits to several branches on their own with each flush. Unless you really have need to keep the plant especially short and wide, I wouldn't bother.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 11:46AM
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Edymnion: I don't think peppers are likely to become invasive in my area, with the cold and all!XP But anyways, thanks a lot!=) The stuff about the node and topping shorter than desired was exactly what I was looking for!=D

greenman28: I don't grow under lights, so it's okay that mine are at such different heights. Though I'll keep your tip in mind!=) It's helpful, thanks!=D

Capoman: Thanks for the tip about the leader splitting further!=D Now I know what to expect!=) I will have to trim mine, cause my mom does not want any plants growing crazy in her garden, plus there's no space to let them go tall(they're going to go under a ledge)!=P

Anyways, thanks a bunch guys! Now I feel way more prepared than before!=D

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 12:11PM
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Yeah, but customs doesn't still wants to track what is crossing the boarder when the potential for invasive species is there.

Odds are they'll just go "Oh, pepper seeds. NEXT!" and send 'em on through. They might pop the package open just to make sure they aren't obviously pot seeds or anything like that, but you shouldn't have any problems.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 2:17PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I didn't mean to imply that height is the only consideration ;-)

When you remove the main growth tip of most plants, the growth hormone Auxin is redirected
to lateral branches and lower nodes, which causes a flush of growth and resulting bushiness.
It is a great technique to help develop a sturdy canopy that can support lots of peppers.


    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 2:37PM
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Yup, you *CANNOT* kill an established pepper by pruning it in one go (obviously you could if you chopped off every leaf it puts out over a couple of weeks/months, but that would be fairly extreme).

I make bonchi out of my peppers at the end of the year. Trust me, they recover just fine from being chopped back to glorified sticks a couple of inches tall.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 3:23PM
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Okay! Awesome! Thanks guys!=D Hope I can execute all your advice properly, and make mine bushy and steady too!=P

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 11:01PM
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