Pruning Hot Peppers

qasrevengeApril 1, 2011

I currently have 25 Ghost Peppers that are in the process of developing their third set of leaves. Last year I pruned the first two leaves at this point because I read that it would help the plants develop a stronger trunk. Waste of time or should I do it again? Thanks.

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Never done any experiments, but, I just let them fall off when they're ready.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 11:51AM
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If you have a chance of the plants being attacked by whiteflies, I would suggest leaving them on. The bottom leaves are the first ones to be attacked, you can always cut them off later. Are you planning on growing them as annuals or perennials? If the answer is annuals, I don't think it will make a difference. I've only been growing hot peppers for about a year but every time I've tried to prune one, it hasn't gone well... Now I only do it if I have no other choice.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 7:34PM
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andrewofthelemon(7b Central Arkansas)

i want a ghost pepper SO BAD

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 10:33PM
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Andrew, you can get them cheap and reliably from, its where I got mine. Just look for "world's hottest pepper". Its a little soda can looking thing full of vermiculite and 5 bhut seeds each. Just pop the tops, fill with water, and put someplace warm. I ordered two cans of the stuff last year and left them sitting on a shelf. Planted them last month and had 9 sprouts in 2 weeks.

Runs about $10 for a can, but you get discounts for buying more at once, and you have 0 risk of getting hybrids or totally different seeds altogether.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 11:01AM
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I have read, and am testing on a couple of my own plants this year, that if you pinch the top off of the main steam when the seedlings are under 8-12 inches they will revert energy to "suckers." Growing bushier with more foliage, which can be especially helpful in hot climates where the peppers need shade.

We will see! Anyone tried this? It does seem logical.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 12:51PM
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Most Peppers I grow only grow to a certain height then branch out into two top branches.
I've never trimmed my peppers except to bring them inside.

If a sprout gets proper lighting it developes tight little plants that once put outside get nice and bushy by themselves.

I've actually regetted trimming a plant before it was a season old.

Tree types don't bush out after trimming.

In general I'd never prune a plant in it's first year unless I had it in a small pot,it was getting too big or whatever.
To me most,maybe not all,plants shouldn't be trimmed in general.

Trimming just stunted them and cut down on pod production in general.
I think trimmed plants are forced to use energy growing new branches etc. and don't put out as many or as big pods.

But if something works for you it doesn't need fixing.

My results could be from my growing conditions and I'm sure things change between pepper varieties too.
I also only grow in pots so it might be different with growing in the ground.I don't know.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 9:41PM
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I would think that pruning adult peppers is a bad idea, but it does seem intuitive to prune seedlings to grow more shoots. Especially for bushy-types. I would think that the plant obtains similar amounts of energy regardless of whether you trim the top or not, and that energy would be reverted to other areas when the growing portion is snipped, or eaten from the plants point of view, away.

The idea is that the plant wants to survive and will avoid growing in the same direction as damage for a short period after. Putting energy into other growth.

I do wonder about the energy required to "heal" pruning wounds.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 10:15PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I prune any tall seedlings to encourage back-budding.

I've had the deer prune my established plants, as well, and those plants came back strong.

I prune my plants regularly to maintain a sturdy structure that can support pod-weight.


    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 1:02AM
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I can see new suckers sprouting since I clipped the tips of my seedlings a week or so ago. They do seem to be forming as a result, and will contribute a huge amount to the foliage.

I don't know if I would do this in all climates. But the intense dry heat of my area can really cause some issues. I have read that the extra foliage caused by this method of pruning will help considerably in shading blossoms and fruit in hot climates.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 3:06PM
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