Pepper Bonsai

homefry319(5b NE)July 14, 2012

So I saw Edymnion's thread, and bonsai has been something Ive been wanting to do for a while now, I was thinking I'll give it a try, what type do you guys think would look good, Im looking at purple flash, Chilly Chili Hybrid, and Explosive Ember (all at tomato growers) anyone else have any cool ornamentals?

I may possibly try it to one of my super hots at the end of season

also was looking at the attached link

Here is a link that might be useful: click

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I like the Explosive Ember and Purple Flash peppers best out of those. In my experience with my Masquerade ornamental (same long finger-like pods as the Chilly Chili) those long upright pointing pods tend to make the bonchi unusually top-heavy, makes it hard to keep them standing upright in shallow bonsai pots without resorting to stakes.

I like the ember because of the obviously fire themed pods, you could end up sculpting something really cool out of those. I can already see getting a small birdhouse and cutting out the roof and making a burning building scene out of it, with the flame colored peppers coming up out of the roof. I may have to get some of those for myself next year.

The Purple Flash you could make some really interesting stuff out of due to the very unique colored leaves it has.

Another really interesting ornamental you could look into is the Black Pearl. I'm growing one now, and the leaves turn absolute jet black in the sun, and it has small round pods that go from black to bright blood red when ripe. I call it my Goth pepper. One I have now I'm keeping cut low in an attempt to get it to spread out in a nice wide disk or carpet style just so it can show off all that black foliage.

I would also recommend you try growing some large breed peppers as well, as they make the best trunks. Ornamentals look great, but they'll never give you that really thick craggy trunk. For those, I just recommend whatever relatively small podded pepper you like and run with it. Just stay away from things like Big Bertha Bells or those huge sweet banana peppers. Stuff more the size of jalepenos or pretty much any of the nuclears work very well. Try to pick something with pods that have an interesting color or shape that will look neat on your miniature tree.

First ones to come to mind for those for me would be Scorpions (Butch T or plain) for their awesome shaped pods, and Sweet Red Cherry because they already have fairly small nicely shaped and colored round sweet pods that taste great. I'm rather dissappointed with my current red cherry though, as it hasn't really grown big enough to cut back into a bonchi yet. I blame that more on me letting it bear fruit while still small and stunting it just because I had never grown one before and wanted to taste it asap. Still plenty of season left for the plant to bulk up though, so it may come through for me yet.

I'm also looking forwards to my Uba Tuba pepper, a sweet to mild pepper with a very unusual shaped pod (looks like a UFO to me, its also called the Christmas Bell because it looks like an old fashioned caroling bell to some). I wasn't intending to make a bonchi out of it, but its grown such a unique stem and good roots that I can't pass it up.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 10:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
homefry319(5b NE)

So Ive got a year old bhut that I almost killed(long story) but I was thinking about possibly using that its got a decent trunk

I just don't know because it looks like a fork haha

I was also thinking of digging up some of my black jalape´┐Żos at the end of season, I have 50ish in the ground

I do have a scorpion plant(don't know what it is was spouse to be a bhut) I may use that as well

one question I have is how do you get the stock that thick or am I just imagining there that thick?

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 10:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


The "best" way, IMO, is to just let the pepper grow as big as it wants, enjoy what it produces, and then hope it has a big thick trunk by the end.

If you want to force it to grow a thicker trunk, you're going to sacrifice this year's pepper production to get it.

See, the reason a pepper gets a thick trunk is to make sure it is strong enough to hold up all the limbs and leaves above it. The bushier it is, the thicker the trunk will grow to support it all. The easiest way to promote a thick bushy plant is to chop the top off of it. This forces it to grow more limbs from the sides, and those side limbs will thicken up the main trunk.

If you know you want to grow something for the express purpose of cutting back into a bonchi later, and you don't care about the fruit, let it grow up fairly tall (maybe two feet) then chop it in half. Let it bush back out, and cut out the bottom limbs to expose the trunk. Then every time it grows up tall again, just hack it back down. Keep doing that and you won't get any peppers, but it will keep bushing out sideways and making a thicker and thicker trunk.

It also has a lot to do with making the trunks LOOK thicker than they really are. Creative pruning and the fact the leaves will naturally grow back in smaller when you are constantly trimming them and putting the plant in a small container can all add up to make even a relatively thin trunk look thick by comparison.

Either way, one other thing that makes bonchi look really good is to have those big thick roots right at the top where you can pull the dirt back and expose them so it looks like a gnarly old tree with it's roots spreading out. Plants get those roots near the top of the soil when you shallow water them (give them frequent but brief waterings where only the top couple of inches get wet, while the bottoms stay dry). That forces the plant to grow all of it's roots at the top to suck up the water. If you deep water, the plant will send all of it's roots straight down and you'll never see them.

This is my uba tuba pepper plant a few weeks ago. We had a brutally hot drought that forced me to water with the hose, and it had a habit of washing away the soil at the top and spreading across the garden to really soak in (hey, it was 105+, I didn't want to stand out there for half an hour, I just wanted to water and get back in the AC), and you can see where it developed some cool shallow roots that got exposed by the hose washing the dirt away from the base of the plant.

That should look really good if I can find a nice round pot and stick the pepper right in the middle so the roots radiate out like a sunburst.

But really, its just about growing your peppers to get good fruit off them, enjoying them like normal, then looking through them at the end of the season and see what mother nature gives you to work with. Some peppers will just have awesome trunks or roots or what have you that will just immediately go "Oh I gotta use this!". Others you may need to guide (I'm doing that with my banana peppers now that they're done fruiting for the season). Others you just accept that they're not going to be worth doing anything with and just tossing them like normal at the end of the season.

But generally you won't be able to force anything. Mother Nature either provides or she doesn't, and you just have to go with the flow. =)

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 10:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree with EDY
I am into bonsai and also into peppers and this year I plan on making a few bonchis. I have about 30 pepper plants growing in the garden. I am going to let them grow and choose which ones have the thickest trunks and most resemble a tree. I am thinking a naga, habanero or bhut.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 12:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
homefry319(5b NE)

Ive got quite a few plants in the ground, some would be suitable for bonsai, I do have about 140 mini bells I haven't looked close enough at the stock, maybe at the end of season Ill just dig bunch of stuff up and roll with it, most the peppers we have are large sweet type though

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 12:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Good example of what topping the plant early on does to it:

(And don't worry, peppers will bounce back from even more severe pruning than that with little to no difficulties.)

This one I bought from the store as an experimental plant (was labled as a ghost chili, it wasn't), and I chopped it's head off as soon as I got it. As in only an inch or two tall, below the first split. I wanted to test how well it would bush sideways from such a short cut. As you can see, it radiated outwards nicely. Just harvested the last of the peppers I wanted off of it and cut it back today.

I obviously can't turn this into a tree at this point, but I'm planning on trying to make it into something different. I'm actually going to attempt to sculpt this one into a recognizable shape like you would a hedge. Since its splayed out in a nice circle already, I figure I'll make the base shape a sphere. Maybe I'll try and shape it into a skull, that would be neat.

Would just be a matter of pruning and carefully wiring the branches to get them to go where I want.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 4:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
DMForcier(8 DFW)

Here's a book about bonsai. It's about trees and shrubs - normal people don't do peppers - but the principles are the same. Check it out.

eBay item # 281014848851

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 2:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Who wants to be normal?

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 11:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Who wants to be normal?

Says the guy trying to crystallize pure cap...


    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 9:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
chilliwin(EU DK 7)

Looks nice, I am also planning to do when my chillies fruits are ripe.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 10:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Apologies if its already been posted but here is an excellent link showing how bonsai chillis plants can be made.

I've got two plants chopped down and in bonsai pots that are starting to have shoots etc. I'll post pics when I can get my camera working


Here is a link that might be useful: Fataliis growing guide

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 12:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

First post had the same link! lol

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 12:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
chilliwin(EU DK 7)

I pruned my Habanero. This is my first time pruned.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 12:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
chilliwin(EU DK 7)

Habanero step 2

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 12:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
chilliwin(EU DK 7)

Step 3. It grows in the flower pot soil now I changed the pot soil to chilli and other vegetables. I do not know can it survive.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 12:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
chilliwin(EU DK 7)

Final step.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 1:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would take that pod off, if I were you. At this stage you don't want to plant stressing over making fruit, you just want it to stabilize and sort of sit there.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 3:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

As promised here are my bonsai pepper plants (sorry for the poor lighting they were taken indoors at night):

Numex bailey Piquin Bonsai

Curry Pepper (Cayenne) Bonsai

They aren't ready for wiring yet but they seemed to survive having all the leaves removed and being chopped to a stump! The Numex was about 1 meter tall and the Cayenne was close to 2 meters with loads of peppers. I wish I had thought to take pictures before pruning.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 5:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
DMForcier(8 DFW)

Geez. Big trunks. How old are they?

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 8:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Both planted this year. The cayenne plant was huge when I cut it back.


    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 8:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Nice, how did you get the moss to grow?

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 8:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I just scraped it of my drive and put it on top. it seems to be surviving but has gone a little brown. I'll probably just replace it if/when it dies.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 9:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

anyone know where to get cheap bonsai pots? since I used to do bonsai, my partner talked me into making a few of these for the herb festivals. she thinks they'd be a hot item, problem is, bonsai pots can be a bit pricey. I found a few places to buy 30+ for a reasonable price, but for the first year I just want to buy around 10-15. Any sources you guys know of?

Oh, Edy, you can buy moss from many of the bonsai places. and biggestdav, have you tried misting the moss daily? that should keep it alive. even when it goes brown I've found it will green up if misted regularly.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 10:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Looking great, biggestdav!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 7:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Black Pearl Bonsai

This is my first Bonsai project. Has anybody else tried it with a black pearl?

    Bookmark   January 11, 2015 at 3:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here's what my plant looked like before I cut it down

    Bookmark   January 11, 2015 at 3:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Looks like a good start to me.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2015 at 9:12AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
have 3rd generation hot bell (jalepeno bell cross)-- seed swap
need bhut jolokia/ghost pepper immediately- it's getting...
Aleppo Pepper?
I've heard of this variety and it's big in the Middle...
Ornamentals continued
Here are Bolivian Rainbow and Numex Twilight.
Pepper Received in Trade - Yellow Beddin???
Does anyone know of a pepper named Yellow Beddin or...
Why did my Habaneros and Scotch Bonnets grow like this?
Good evening, I planted and have been growing for habanero,...
Sponsored Products
Courtly Check Salt & Pepper Mill Set
$210.00 | Horchow
Accents Borders & Trims: U.S. Ceramic Tile Flooring Bright Red Pepper 4-1/4
$2.46 | Home Depot
Safavieh Medley Textured Shag Grey Rug (5' Round)
Salt, Pepper & Sugar Flasks - set of 3 - Tse & Tse
$68.00 | HORNE
Loll Deck Chair - Loll Designs
$756.00 | HORNE
Jalape├▒o, Chili Pepper & Tabasco Loofah Kitchen Scrubber Set
$10.99 | zulily
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™