Pepper plants can thrive for several years if you overwinter them properly. In addition, older plants bear fruit faster and produce more abundantly!
Here’s the method.
Many hobby gardeners view peppers as annuals. However, with a little care, you can successfully overwinter them indoors. Overwintering peppers requires some skill, but if you already have a favorite variety, such as chili peppers, overwintering can give you a big advantage at the beginning of the next season and significantly extend the plant’s growing season. Below are some useful tips on how to successfully overwinter peppers!
How to Overwinter Peppers?
Let’s start with a note: if you plan to overwinter your pepper plant, you should know that although the practice will keep the plant alive, it will not bear fruit during this period. In order for peppers to become productive, they need a certain temperature and amount of light that the average home cannot provide during the winter months. Therefore, if you want to harvest peppers from the plant in winter, you will need a greenhouse as well as artificial lighting.
As the first step of overwintering, bring the plant indoors. Clean it thoroughly with water spray. With this, you can get rid of pests that may be hiding on the leaves. Pick all the fruits from the plant, regardless of whether they are ripe or not.
The next step is to find a cool, dry place to store the plants for the winter. The ideal temperature is around 13 °C, and the most suitable room is a garage or shed belonging to the house. Peppers don’t need a lot of light to overwinter, so a spot near a window or a fluorescent lamp provides enough light for the plant.
After you have chosen the place for the pepper to overwinter, reduce the amount of watering. You will find that during the winter months the plants they require much less water than in the summer months. They will only need watering every 3-4 weeks. It is important not to let the plants stand in stagnant water, but also not to let them dry out completely.
Shortly after bringing the pepper plant into the cold room and reducing its water supply, you will notice that its leaves begin to die. The most important thing is not to panic: this is completely normal. It just indicates that the pepper has gone dormant. It is similar to when the trees fall into their winter sleep outdoors.
After the leaves start to dry out, prune back the branches of the pepper. Leave some larger, Y-shaped shoots; the upper two legs of the Y should be 3-5 cm long. With this procedure, the dead leaves are removed, and the plant will also be less exposed to pest attacks. It naturally produces new shoots in the spring.
To complete overwintering, about a month before the last frost date (around mid-April), move the pepper from the cold room to a brighter, warmer place. If necessary, you can also put a heating pad under the pot. Return to more frequent watering, but be careful not to overwater the plant. After about a week, new shoots will appear.
Even if you follow the above steps, your pepper plants may not survive the winter. You cannot ignore the fact that the procedure is less successful in the case of some varieties. But if you are successful, it is guaranteed that your favorite pepper will reward your efforts with a record harvest!