overwintering peppers

liznbeatleSeptember 19, 2007

hey again,

This is my second year of seriously growing peppers, and I have some really nice plants this year that I want to bring inside and try to winter over. They are in 15 to 20 gallons planters, and yes they will take up my whole office:) but I transplanted them last week after they outgrew their five gallon pots. They are putting out new leaves and doing well, is there any special fertalizers or treatment they may need over the winter, and do I have to harden them off all over in the spring? I am saving over, paprika leutschauer, Malagueta,tabasco, cherry, and chinese giant red bell. Is it worth all the trouble, or should I just replace with new plants in the spring? How long have you kept pepper plants alive?

Thanks Lisa

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I don't have an answer to your question, but I'm now wondering what i should do with mine...

I have two scotch bonnet plants and five cherry pepper plants and I have a bunch of bell pepper plants. They're all planted in the ground in my garden. These are perennials? I always thought peppers were annuals since I grew up going pepper plant (among others) shopping with my mother every spring. Should I leave them in the ground over the winter or should I pot them and bring them indoors? The New England winters can sometimes get cold, so... :)

    Bookmark   September 19, 2007 at 9:52AM
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The pepper plants will do fine if you bring them in for the winter and give them plenty of light. Yes, they will have to be hardened off again next spring. They won't survive in the ground as perenniels. Last winter I fed mine orchid fertilizer at about half strength about once a month. That seemed about right. I've been told that they become unproductive after 2 years.
John A.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2007 at 10:17AM
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Read here

Here is a link that might be useful: Overwintering

    Bookmark   September 19, 2007 at 11:11AM
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I overwintered my hot pepper plant last year.I kept it by a east facing window and away from drafts,it stayed alive all winter,though it didn't grow much.I fed it miracle grow once a month.Yes they have to be hardened off,which I did by opening window during daytime hours.I was rewarded this year with a bumper crop of holey moley peppers.My plant is still growing well right now and I plan on bringing it in again soon.It was quite a conversation piece in my living room last winter.I don't know if they will keep on producing after two years,but i am going to try.It is large and beautiful compared to last years shabby little plant.I am going to experiment with some other pepper plants that i have growing.Remember to bring them indoors if you are going to try to overwinter them before the changing season causes them to drop leaves and turn brown.Bring it in while plant is still healthy and green.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2007 at 12:31PM
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shelbyguy(z5 IL)

be prepared for insect infestations. lack of natural predators indoors, means things like aphid or spider mite populations will grow unchecked.

i had awful aphid problems last year. they killed my 3 year old rocoto. it was too big for me to put in the shower and hose it off (rinsing off the offenders goes a long way towards controlling them, without dumping chemicals on the plant. )

    Bookmark   September 24, 2007 at 8:22AM
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Hey all,
I know I took forever getting back to my messages, but thanks very much for the answers. I have been told that pepper plants will live five or six years! Thanks for the tip on bringing them in early, I was thinking I woudl let them stay out but some of my ones in the ground are losing their leaves so I guess now would be a good time while they are still healthy. I had a good chuckle at the thought of me lugging my planters in and out of the shower, but I guess that shows my degree of addiction that I am considering it:) I think I will set them up in the corner of my office with a full spectrum light to augment the window light. Thanks for the feedback everyone and the link, I appreciate it. Lisa

    Bookmark   October 2, 2007 at 11:49PM
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Yes there's problems with over wintering but it's worth it.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2007 at 8:02AM
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Dear georgie,
Nice pics, thanks for posting them. Wow thats a small pot in comparison to what I'm using. Maybe I am overdoing it, when you cut back the roots and keep it in a small pot, you are basically making it dormant for the winter right? I guess my goal is to not only save my plant but to not give up having at least a few fresh peppers during the winter. Ive gotten spoiled now and dont want to give up my fresh peppers:) Lisa

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 7:01PM
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Sorry I didn't make it clear Lisa but those are the pods the peppers grow in. I just bring them inside for the winter and back out in the Spring. And no they don't go dormant. As for fresh peppers I gained a taste for the Bhot Jolokia. That's another one I'll be overwintering.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2007 at 6:41AM
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bobcat(z5 OH)

I have a great fish pepper plant. It grew nearly 4 feet straight up in one year! My other ones were more bushy, and this one is kinda 'tree like'. Its rather like a table top in form, with a wide xpanding top. It didn't come true to seed, cause the fruits are tiny and sweet. Maybe a hybrid of some sort???

Anyway, its absolutely beautiful so I have to save this plant. Would it fair better if all flowers are plucked through the winter? Would this allow me to keep it in a standard low light kitchen, near a glass patio door- without pruning? I do not want to prune it, other than a few straggles here and there.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 9:05PM
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I have my peppers that I intend to try to overwinter in pots outside.

I had a non killing frost last night. no warning. I looked at 3 am at Weatherbug and the temperature was too low about 34. It was only suppose to go down to 38. so I put some in the garage.

In the morning there was frost on some leaves and not frost on others. the frost was light on most. however, just a little down the hill lower there was some heavy ice. This all was not forcast.

I will probably put them into the garage on all nights with forecast of 40 or lower. especially if the sky is clear or clearing. I would normally have had a killing freeze by now so it is late in the season for me.

I came close to losing my peppers that I want to overwinter before I even bring them indoors. I am posting so everyone will be careful now.

Good Luck

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 10:03AM
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Overwintering experiment:

theses are the first six-I want to do about four more. As you can see from the pictures they have been radically pruned ( I've done this before) and then potted up in fresh potting mix. Put in the garage in a small east window they will get minimal light and since the garage isn't heated, minimal heat ( if it gets to freezing in the garage I will bring them inside temporarily). I want to see if I can keep them alive with minimal growth this way. It would save a lot of space and allow me to overwinter more plants.

The plants so far are:
CGN 22208-C. galapagoense
Cobincho-BR-C. chacoense/exile
Rocoto,Riesen-C. pubescens
Trinidad Scorpion-FG-C. chinense
CGN 19198-C. praetermissum
C. lanceolatum

First five so far

C. lanceolatum-I thought it was interesting that this plant spread beneath the soil and put up new shoots. The two smaller plants were broken off from the main mass

All potted up

Their new home

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 2:48PM
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Dear feidlermeister,
Thanks for the great pictures, it is much more reasonable for me space wise to try this method with some of my plants rather than hauling in the 30 gallon planters for all of them:) I am going to give this a try, I will let you know how it goes. I have an orange hab and an ancho I really want to save as well as a couple that I will keep in the big planter and hopefully get to keep some peppers coming. I am on my fourth crop of peppers, at least this drought is good for something. They are saying if it doesnt rain in 80 days some of our cities will be OUT of water! Come on Rain!!! How often will you be watering your dormant plants? Do you wait until srping and then give them a feeding before hardening off? Do you actually eat the trinidad scorpion? I cant imagine eating a pepper that hot!! Makes me sweat just thinking about it:) Thanks Lisa

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 8:34PM
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Hi Lisa

I don't think pepper type plants can be made dormant. I think they either grow or die ( but I'm not a biologist)and my goal is just minimal growth. I have done the radical prune before and then treated the plants normally, which might be a safer proposition for you ( I may kill all of these). I will water them enough so that they don't completely dry out. I didn't feed them when I potted up and am not sure how to proceed-perhaps a very dilute feeding next time I water as the potting mix has no nutrients.

I don't eat Trinidad Scorpion or even the other really hot C. chinense but grow them mostly out of curiosity and for the fun of it.

Hope you get some rain. I'd like to hear how your plants do,


    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 8:18AM
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Fiedlermeister - After a drastic pruning like that, do they have new growth and bear fruit over the winter?
John A

    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 9:39AM
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dear jon,
typing onehanded as i hold an injured chick, dont have the heart to put it down, it keeps crying. thanks for the reply, i will let you know how they turn out. if i ever get downloading pictures figured out i will try to post some pictures. thanks for your help and have a good night. lisa

    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 5:17PM
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Not over the winter but the next summer. In maine the days in winter are quite short with little light.Here is one done a few years ago. C. galapgoense



    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 5:30PM
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Incredible pics! You should write a book. Seriously!


    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 5:56PM
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Thanks, jt. I do have fun with this stuff.


    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 8:27PM
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I hope my Jalabanero F1 survives another winter. And I hope my Tabasco/? F1 survives as well. John dang man you seem like you have the magic touch

    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 9:12PM
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Very interesting all - thought I'd throw in my 2c:

I have 4 habs that I've become very attached to -- last night I finally brought them in to start their *third* year of overwintering. They are amazing. I do some occasional pruning as branches die off, but never to the extent John has. Don't know if that's good or bad.

For those that haven't, but are considering, overwintering: go for it, it is a rewarding journey. Some things I've learned here, and from experience:

- don't stress over details - just give them decent temps and enough light and they will make it.
- they will look like sh** when you get them back outside in the spring, and you'll second-guess having gone through the effort to sustain them, but they will bounce back and surprise you bigtime.
- you will have aphid/whitefly problems...there has been a lot of discussion / hand-wringing on this topic. Last fall I put my pots in a closed room with 2000 ladybugs. The ladybugs all died or wandered off after a few weeks, but I did not see a single pest for the next 5 months. I will never do soap/pepper spray, NEEM oil, or hauling plants into the shower again!


    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 8:49PM
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Dear John,
Pictures are so helpful, I am truly a visual learner. I picked the last (fourth) harvest of peppers this week and will be pruning and replanting my plants in the next few days. I made omelletes with fresh roasted peppers and extra sharp cheddar for breakfast(yum)! My fingers are so burning, but I cant work with the gloves, just got to remember not to rub my eyes:)It goes away in a few days. My cat decided to bite my finger and boy was she sorry(poor baby). Guess she wont get wild with me anytime soon:) Thanks for all the excellent help!!!! Night Lisa

    Bookmark   October 25, 2007 at 12:45AM
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Maybe we can see pictures of your plants when they are prepared or at least get updates on how they do. I got a quesadilla maker for my birthday and we have been using it to make a breakfast treat of eggs, cheese, mushrooms, and peppers,onions, and tomatoes from the garden between flour tortillas. Yum.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2007 at 8:36PM
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Out of 16 plants, 3 are showing no signs of regrowth. Here are a few pictures:

Rocoto Giant Red 12-12-07

Rocoto Giant Red 1-2-08

Rocoto Giant Red 2-17-08

Trinidad Scorpion 2-16-08

Chicanna Purple 2-17-08

And a few are starting to bloom

Tree of Paital


C. lanceolatum

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 1:40PM
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naturegirl_2007 5B SW Michigan(5B SW Michigan)

Wow!! The non-white flowers are fantastic! I'm going to make sure I grow some varieties with colorful flowers.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 8:08PM
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Pretty!! Just love that last one...NICE!

I only wintered over 4 plants this year. 2 Golden Hab, 2 Pueblo. The Pueblo just really started new growth in January...I didn't cut them back or pot down; just changed out the soil before bringing them in Mid Sept. After about 2 months they pretty much dropped all leaves and then I cut them back.
The Hab's were cut back to 6" in mid September and potted down after root pruning. After about 3 weeks new growth and this is how they looked on December 5th....

Here they are March 5th and starting to get buds now. They haven't had any more than natural light....

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 12:32PM
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Very nice. And when they finally get outside in the sun they will really take off.


    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 12:58PM
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Thanks! I took your advice on the pruning stuff! I tell ya though.. it was kinda scary cutting those beautiful plants back so drastically LOL!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 2:30PM
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cmpman1974(Zone 6 MI)

All these success pictures of people overwintering makes me realize how little natural sunshine my home must get. They struggle just to survive (most don't) and yours and John's fluorish. Interesting.


    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 3:29PM
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dancinglemons(7B VA)

I started a thread about peppers being annual or perineal because I could not find anything when I did a search on GW. This thread was started 9/2007 but the info and photos are so fantastic I thought I would comment so the thread would get back. Hope you guys do not mind.

I will be overwintering some peppers this year using these drastic pruning techniques.

Thanks to everyone who answered my query.


    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 2:18AM
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I had overwintered one pepper plant from 2007 gardening season with installing plastic cups along with the stem for air rooting.Plant was kept in the sun room at average temp. above 75 deg. F.Experiment worked out successifully.Plant remained in good shape and I got three more air rooted plants.I had posted some results earlier in this thread.Now I am posting the pics. of all 4 plants to share with you.

Pic 1.Plant taken in for overwintering at the end of 2007 summer.

pic. 2.Air rooted cuttings.

Recent pic. of all 4 plants along with mother plant.Pic. was photographed on Sept.-08-08.

Mother plant is sitting on the inverted pot.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 11:43AM
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dancinglemons(7B VA)

Thanks for the new pictures. I am using your technique for 2 peppers except I will use sphagum (sp?) moss wrapped in plastic wrap. I will also use the other drastic technique.

Should folks retire :-)) We just get into trouble or get addicted to wonderful new hobbies!! If I had known this retirement stuff was this good I would have done it sooner..........

    Bookmark   September 12, 2008 at 12:28AM
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I wonder how coir would work. I have been using it for seed starting but it's really for hydroponics

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 9:53AM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

I failed at my first attempt to over-winter my peppers. They lasted until about March, but then they just lost their will. Since my peppers were already in pots I did not trim the roots-I think this was my fatal flaw. I must say that in Colorado one cannot put peppers out until just about June, and the first frost comes in September. Is this too long to hold them dormant? I'm determined to try again this fall.

Once I trim the roots what do I do with them? Shall I put them back in the pot or do I put them in a soil-less medium? Also, are they to be kept in the dark, and would cool be better? I kept them in my basement, but it is warm there. Any suggestions that will help me succeed will be greatly appreciated!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 8:06PM
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I have about the same season you do. This year I did not prune the roots but just cut the plants back. They were grown in pots with Pro Mix so they were just brought inside and placed in a south facing window and treated normally. Almost all survived needing some pruning as they get scraggly with the lower light. I have just put them into larger pots and pruned some more. Some, including the large C. ciliatum in the foreground, are going into their third season.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2009 at 6:07AM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)


What gorgeous plants! I'm jealous. It seems then that you did just what I did. I'm trying to figure out how you succeeded when I didn't. Do you provide any artificial light when they start to reemerge? Mine started to come back but didn't seem to have enough energy to continue on.

I'd sure like to figure this out!

Thanks for all your advice!!!!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2009 at 9:25AM
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No supplemental light and though winters here have short days and dim light the windows provide as much as possible under the circumstances. Here is a picture from 12/06 showing plants cut back and the window area. Note the snow outside.

Here is also a link to the pictures from this past winter.


Here is a link that might be useful: over winter pictures

    Bookmark   June 5, 2009 at 6:15PM
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Here is my just over two year old jalapeno. I started it indoors and last year and saw huge amounts of peppers. This year is looking like it will be even better. In the winter I just dig it up and pot it, placing it under a two bulb, shop style fluorescent light. I put a fan near by to keep the air going it and make sure it doesn't dry out. That's it and the plant just keeps getting stronger.




    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 9:03PM
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it seams like if you cut them back that far it would be like starting over. How do they come back from that better than if you would just plant a seed. i thought overwintering meant to keep a big plant going through the winter not just a stem. i was planing on keeping a few peppers through the winter now i dont know if i want to keep the hole plant or cut it back in this way.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 11:49PM
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Here's my version of "over wintering". It's growin' This was early tis year Mar 19th. This plant was almost 2 ft.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 9:46AM
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A strong advantage to overwintering is that you are sure what the plant will produce next season.

With seed, even commercial seed, one is never sure.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 9:48AM
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I did a quick search and didn't see any time frame to start overwintering. I guess if someone kept it pruned back to minimize the space it takes up, it could be kept for a long time? I have a habanero plant I would like to keep, but it's gettin eaten alive outside. The ones in containers are all doing well, but still have green fruit. I hope if I can keep it over winter it will allow more time to let the peppers ripen next year. So long story short. Is it too early to trim it back and keep it inside till next year?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 2:07PM
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Hi. I am new to this so I hope i'm doing it right.
I live in Corfu Greece. I accidentally overwintered a Jalapino plant last year and was surprised to see it bear fruit this year. I got the seeds from Canada(from there originally) we do not have a variety of hot pepper seeds here. So i was pleased that I got a few more peppers for seeding. After reading this forum I am going to try overwintering my Habaneros as well. I just left it in the garden in its pot. We do not have harsh winters but we get a lot of rain. So do I need to repot before winter and do i cut them back now or in spring??? I could use any advice you can give me. thanks

    Bookmark   August 17, 2010 at 6:05AM
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Hello everyone, I am thinking about over-wintering my fish pepper. I had some questions:

1) Should I leave the plant outside until there's almost a chance it could be killed by frost? Would it be better to take it inside earlier (first frost around here in mid Nov. and last frost is April 20)?

2) It is in a pot with some fairly good potting soil right now. Should I just let it say there and keep it in the same pot for the year 2 growing season, or do I need to transfer it? Would it be better to transfer before I bring it inside, or before I set it outside next spring?

3) Pruning: does anyone have any opinion on whether pruning down to a stump, or leaving branches is better? My plant is pretty healthy now, but I think it is kind of leggy- all the branches are tall and thin, and it only started setting fruit near the top of the plant. If I want it to have shorter bushier growth is trimming it down probably best?


    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 4:17PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a


1) Don't wait too long. It's better to bring the plant in healthy than having to nurse it back to health.

2) Because I dig my peppers out of the ground, I must clean the roots and provide new soil. I would
do so, regardless, to help avoid pests harbored in the soil and to ensure excellent drainage.

3) Trim it down, yes! Not only will this create a stronger plant, capable of supporting more fruit
in the future, but it is also more practical over the winter (when space is limited indoors). Peppers can
be pruned dramatically - down to zero foliage - and they will back-bud prolifically.

I prune and dig right around November. I might dig earlier this year to give the plants
some time in their new containers with the last warmth of Autumn. I begin lightly fertilizing
about two weeks after re-potting.


    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 8:15PM
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I was wondering if someone can explain how root pruning works? Do you just prune the fine root hairs so the plant doesn't become rootbound in the pot? Do you think it is necessary for a plant already in the pot?

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 2:30PM
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Plantslayer, I have been wondering the same. Josh (Greenman) has given me tons of info on the matter but I'm still not sure about the roots. All I remember reading is prune the roots to fit the new, smaller container.
Its funny, I find myself anxiously awaiting the cold of November. I'm actually more excited about bonsai chile plants than growing for fruit. I'm pretty sure that's your fault too Josh. Lol.
Every hot pepper plant I have is capsicum annuum. I have read that they don't do well over winter. Is this true?

    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 10:06PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Wonderful to hear!

I prune roots for three main reasons:
1) To revitalize the roots - new roots are healthier/more efficient.
2) To remove any damaged, woody, or congested roots that might harbor pests/pathogens.
3) To fit neatly into a smaller container.

Even after root-work, the roots will occupy a greater volume of the mix in the smaller container.
Watering and fertilizing will deliver nutrients directly to the root-zone, rather than sitting in an
excessive amount of potting soil. This means that oxygen will return to the soil sooner, and it reduces
the issues associated with over-watering. Lastly, the smaller container is easier to keep warm,
which is conducive to root-growth and upper plant functions.

I've overwintered my Hungarian pepper twice, and it is a Capsicum annuum.
I think you'll have good luck.


    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 12:10PM
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Do you have any good resources on how to do the root pruning and re-planting? do you have to be sure to get the dirt/potting medium mixed in well with the roots?

    Bookmark   September 14, 2010 at 5:34PM
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Those I did awhile back

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 4:00AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

There you go.
John provides a perfect example of bare-rooting, trimming, and rinsing.
Yes, work the new mix into the roots completely, so that there are no air pockets.

Here's a before and after from a Thai chile last year:


    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 6:48AM
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Well, here goes!
I remember reading somewhere (probably this thread) to take them in while they are healthy. The temps have dropped below 45 over the past few nights so I've decided to start with the hot cherry plants. There are 3 of them. I completely pruned one of them down to an 8" stump and transfered it into a 3Q pot. I used orchid bark, plenty of perlite, a small amount of potting soil & pearl stone.
The other two have the same soil mixture but I have left a small amount
of foliage. My question is , should I prune the other two plants down to the stump or will they be ok with minimal foliage? I plan on leaving them outside for another two weeks or so. The temps reach almost 80 during
the day. Next weekend I'll be getting the Hungarians ready. I'm basically experimenting with the cherries. I know thy less foliage is best for energy conservation. They just look nicer with a little foliage. Any thoughts?

these plants by far were the biggest in my garden. It's funny to see them shrunken down to a quarter their original size

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 7:35AM
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these are from the final harvest. I had issues with undersized fruit all summer but this last month produced some perfect hot cherries!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 1:31PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

now that you've re-potted, you'll want to give your plants a few days recuperation in a protected location.
Basically, keep them out of full sun until their roots are back "online." When you see new leaflets forming,
move the plants back into the sun.

Great looking trunk on the completely defoliated plant!


    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 11:33PM
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Thank you Josh!
So should they all be pruned in a similar fashion? My wife insisted that I leave a little foliage on the other two plants. She doesn't understand why I'm keeping "sticks" (her words) in the house, lol. I will finish pruning the other plants today and keep them protected indoors as you said Josh. How about watering? I know that once they are permanently indoors, watering is cut back immensely, but what about the next few days or so? Thanx for all the help! Great thread!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 7:21AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Just wait until these "sticks" are covered in Aphids...
Then your wife *really* won't understand why you're keeping them in the house! ;)

I'd keep them outdoors, under a table or near an object that will cast shade.
Feel free to leave some of the foliage on those plants. By the end of the winter,
you'll have pruned and re-grown so many branches and leaves that it won't matter.

If the temperatures are over 80°F, water every other day - if under, every 2 - 3 days.
The best method is to lift the container, and water if it is feeling light.

In a week and a half, give your plants a half-strength dose of fertilizer.


    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 10:02AM
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Lol, wait a minute! Why will I get aphids? I pruned and hosed off the plants. I see no signs of insects now. How would I get them if the plants remain indoors from here on out? Especially considering the fact that they (plants) were born in containers, on a roof, in the concrete jungle of south Philly! Lol, I hope I don't get aphids. I don't want to have to spray my plants down with white oil.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 5:16PM
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Great thread, I too am going to dig up and pot many thriving (shishito) pepper plants for overwintering, I invested in a 600w HPS lamp and digital ballast for a swanky closet setup with lensed hood, pandafilm reflector on closet walls, and exhaust fan into duct to cool the lamp, my question is: if no sign of aphids now why would I bare-root otherwise stable root systems when potting? Isn't less disturbance to the root system better than bare rooting? Of course if I am wrong and aphids spring up once inside due to lack of spiders and other aphid predators, I will banish the pepper pots to the garage with 2,000 lady bugs for a week before bringing them in the house :)

    Bookmark   September 23, 2010 at 2:54AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hey, Robert, your set-up sounds good.
The main reason that I replace the soil is to improve drainage during the winter months.
Garden soil is fine in the garden, but it is much too fine and water-retentive for indoor containers.
Even a well-made container soil will have begun to degrade by the end of the growing season.

When you prune old roots, they are replaced by new juvenile roots. These roots are more
efficient at water and nutrient delivery, which really helps to keep your plant vital. By
pruning the roots and the foliage, you can keep the majority of your plants' tissues
in an active, youthful state.


    Bookmark   September 23, 2010 at 10:29AM
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Josh thanks for the quick and helpful reply, makes sense. With respect to indoor pepper container mix that is not too fine or too water retentive, I will use ProMix HP left over from my tomato containers which is sphagnum peat moss and perlite based, is that ok? And water just enough. btw the 600w HPS lamp and digital ballast set-up I recommend if one has the budget and the desire for a winter crop, the trickiest part is the reflector exhaust duct connected to a 170 cfm fan to keep the lamp cool and the peppers at 75-80 degrees.... helps to warm my house come winter :)

    Bookmark   September 23, 2010 at 11:02PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I'd prefer an even faster draining mix, but I've been insulted by growers at this Forum
for being too critical of peat moss mixes. So, to avoid being insulted again, I'll say that
there are some who are successful with that mix, and I wish you much luck.

I cannot in good conscience recommend it, however.


    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 9:44AM
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Here is a pic of a Serrano, Carribean Red and Hot Cherry Pepper from left to right.

I pruned these way down and then dug em out of the ground and trimmed up the roots a little. I used a mixture of some potting soils and pine mulch for the soil. I did this about two weeks ago and as you can see all the plants are showing new growth. I plan on prepping 4 more plants of other pepper varieties very soon. Ill have all of these plants in southwestern facing windows in my apt. as these windows get the best sunlight.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 5:46PM
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Peat moss sucks, it really, really sucks!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 9:27PM
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I got my pepper plants trimmed up and inside, in small pots, for the winter. I was wondering about 2 things...

1) They are in a window, but it does not get a lot of direct sunlight. Does it need a lot of sunlight right now, or will it be alright, assuming I just want it to stay alive for the winter months?

2) It is in a rather small pot right now; if I leave it here and transplant it out later on, will it be OK? Can it get rootbound or something and be permanently stunted?

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 6:52PM
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1. I'm sure it will be fine. You will probably have to harden it off a little in the Spring, but, nothing to worry about.

2. I use the pots that are roughly 1 gallon. I didn't notice any negative side affects. I guess it depends on how small 'rather small' is.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2010 at 10:04AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Tsheets covered it.
1. A window is sufficient to keep a pepper plant alive through the winter.

2. I also use pots that are approximately 1 gallon. They're labeled .7 gallons.

Smaller containers are easier to move, easier to keep warm, and easier to water (and drain).


    Bookmark   October 29, 2010 at 10:32AM
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Trimming roots is about moving them to smaller containers for easier storage inside. There is absolutely nothing about trimming roots that *helps* to overwinter a pepper plant, unless of course you have an infestation of bugs that eat roots and trimming and rinsing gets rid of them.

On the contrary, the developed root system is what makes them bounce back so well in the spring. Cutting back the roots just forces them to expend more energy regrowing roots.
To the person who was thinking it somehow overcomes plants being root bound that is backwards thinking, root bound means the plant is trying to create more roots for better water and mineral absorption but can't because of pot size limitations. Trimming back the roots makes that issue worse for the plant, not better. More roots are always better unless there is disease or pests in them.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 2:01PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Trimming older, lignified roots actually causes the roots to branch and produce juvenile root-hairs,
which are far more efficient at uptaking nutrients and moisture. There is absolutely nothing
"backward" about this practice - quite the contrary.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 2:25PM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

I overwintered a batch of potted peppers this year without special preparation. They were in a lattice shed covered with 6 mil translucent plastic sheet that sometimes got down to 40. They were against a south-facing window that let a little direct sunlight through. I did NOT trim them back.

Confession: I didn't always keep them watered. (In the shed, that is; they were pampered in the yard.)

Two Thai pepper (the ones with small, erect fruit) shrubs initially put out their best fruit of the year, then about the time of their first drought shriveled up and died. No great loss - they were largely ornamental.

A cowhorn planted with chives in a hanging sphagnum pot died, undoubtedly due to lack of water since that pot can dry out almost overnight. (The chives were dormant and are okay).

Two more cowhorns were in the ground and got dug up. They died. To be fair the plants were not doing well anyway - at autopsy they had few roots beyond the original 3" pot. I guess they really didn't like the soil mix (about half native Georgia whatever it is here, and half commercial garden soil).

Of four cowhorns crowded into one pot, one died; the others are doing well. (Again, this isn't a great loss: I got far more cowhorns than I could use.)

A yellow bell pepper died rather quickly. It had set only two peppers all year that grew no bigger than 1 1/2". It was in commercial potting soil but did not seem happy when it went into the shed and did not have as many roots as I would have expected. Hard to say what stressed / killed it. Could be a curse - no one in my family has ever had much luck with bell peppers.

Two Mammoth Jalapenos dropped some leaves (probably watering, lack of) but are doing fine this year.

A cayenne really liked what I was doing to it - it sent out a flush of leaves and set fruit. This is a plant that lost all its leaves to a pest last year and still supported fruit. Cayennes are tough!

Lesson: Overwintering peppers isn't hard, even if you're lazy. But you do have to keep up with the watering.

(I also overwintered a bunch of herbs along with the peppers, but that's another story.]

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 3:33PM
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slowrolling(9b Sunset 15)

Still have a ways to go in the season here in California, but starting to make some plans to overwinter some hot peppers and found this great thread.

Since this is my first attempt I figured I'd post up my plans to see if there is anything I should do differently. Currently have 4 hot peppers I am going to attempt to overwinter.

Plans are:
1) To dig them up whenever things get too wet or temps drop into the 40s overnight.
2) Trim roots and wash them (I assume this just means blast of all dirt with a hose)
3) Repot in 1 gallon pots with fresh potting soil (any soild better than others?)
4) Leave them outside in the shade for a few days then move back in sun
5) bring them inside to a windowsill when it gets to cold/wet outside
6) harden them off in the early spring
7) replant them in the ground for pepper season 2012

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 7:23PM
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You have the gist of it...just use a well draining mix such as bonsai soil or moisture control...I wouldn't recommend regular potting soil.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 8:05PM
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I think you've got it, but, just for clarity and anyone else who finds this somewhere down the line, you'll also trim the top of the plant, not just the roots (I know...stating the obvious).

Potting *mix*, possibly with some perlite mixed in (you want quick draining). If the mix is mostly peat (like miracle grow), you'll want to lighten it up or it will have a tendency to be waterlogged at the bottom.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 10:53AM
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Speaking of bonsai soil, I'm totally planning on overwintering a couple of my bhuts as bonsai.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pepper Bonsai

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 12:17PM
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Graelin(Zone 8a)

I'm getting ready to pull my single tabasco plant indoors tonight, though I'd like to put it back outside during the day, at least for awhile. This thread has been a big help in giving me an idea of what to do and what to expect. I don't have a lot of monetary resources to put towards the effort, but there's probably still a chance the little pepper could make it. I won't be able to run any HID lamps and that sort of thing, but I have some cool white fluorescents and an east-facing window.

Here's a pic of what it looks like today. As of this writing, it's on its second fruiting cycle and has 105 pods in varied stages of development. I thought about picking all the full-size pods off, even though they're green, and use them to make some hot sauce. I figure that will put less strain on the rest of the plant and help it survive the big shift indoors. What do you think?

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 4:19PM
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esox07 (4b)

Yes, definitely pick all the fruit before bringing winterizing your plant. The plant will need it's energy for the stressful move inside and long winter with less than optimum growing conditions.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 6:02PM
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Graelin(Zone 8a)


    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 7:30PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Nicely done!
If you've never eaten a fresh ripe Tabasco, you should try!
They're somethin' else ;-)


    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 11:51PM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

Did it again this winter, knowing more and being less lazy about watering. I re-potted none and trimmed only one (see below).

The two mammoth jalapenos did pretty well.

The cowhorns are down to one in the pot, as it should have been in the first place, and came back like gangbusters.

The cayenne was again almost cleaned off by huge caterpillars before the winter, but did well.

The new cubanelle did okay and is much more productive this year. I can't believe that the small cubanelle puts out such massive peppers!

My new friend the habanero (love these little jewels!) was also hit by the caterpillars (not so bad). Since a lot of the leaves were already gone I cut it back above the first growing node, about 8" above the soil line. It promptly died.

Nobody looked great coming out of the shed, but I was generous with the fertilizer this spring and now everybody is happy and fruitful (one of the jalapenos not so much, but I think it will be okay).

I have added a replacement habanero and a serrano. We'll see how they do. The hab looks like it's on steroids but hasn't bloomed yet.

Now all I need is more sun!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 9:32PM
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I have a 7 yr old jalapeno plant live near denver colo, poor baby looks pretty sad by spring but wy worth it . Had 15 buds on the 7 yr old and 20 on the 2 yr old plants. Light minthly fertilizer good light and keep em above 40. Yeah bugs r a prob but spray soapy wAter pay attention u r good to fo

    Bookmark   November 13, 2014 at 7:36PM
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nanelle_gw(9/Sunset 14)

How do folks decide when to put them back outside? I am N Cal, sort of central valley. It will be high sixties to seventy during the day, mid forties to fifty at night for the next 10 days, but it is likely to get into the thirties for a few night time hours at some point in Feb.

This post was edited by nanelle on Sat, Jan 31, 15 at 14:52

    Bookmark   January 31, 2015 at 2:46PM
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Ease them back outside. Somewhat have to harden them like seedlings. Try to expose outside little at a time then add time. Like an hour first day, see how it does, then 2-3 the next day.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2015 at 3:25PM
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nanelle_gw(9/Sunset 14)


    Bookmark   February 7, 2015 at 4:38AM
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