HOW TO OVERWINTER CHILLI PEPPER PLANTS


In northern Europe, most chilli pepper plants are grown outside in a sunny position, although a few well-tended plants may have the advantage of the protection of a greenhouse or polytunnel. Either way, they are usually grown in the ground as this ensures the best crop. All Chilli plants originate from the subtropical or tropical regions of South America, and while they are quite happy growing outside during the warm summer season but they will begin to suffer when light levels and temperatures begin to drop. Leave them to their own devices and they will be cut back by the frost and eventually die.

However, in their native habitat chilli peppers are actually perennial plants and while they may well be treated as an annual crop in cooler European climates, it is quite possible be overwinter them under protection and plant them out the following year.

If you want to overwinter field grow plants then be aware that chilli peppers only really have a shallow, delicate and fibrous root system and care will be needed when lifting to keep the root-ball intact. When potting on you will need to cut back the foliage to at least half to prevent the plant from drying out while the root systems re-establishes itself. Remove any brown stems or leaves as well as any fruits or flowers so that the plant can direct its energy into root production.

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It is advisable to main humid conditions during this time but be aware that this can also increase the incidence of fungal infection. This will always put the plant at risk and so it is really only recommended to overwinter pot grown chillies. Pot grown chillies will not need to be pruned for over wintering.

Unfortunately when it comes to chilli peppers a frost-free greenhouse or cold frame isn't really going to be good enough so unless the greenhouse is heated to above 10 degrees Celsius you will need to move them to more comfortable conditions. They need as much light and warmth as possible and for most gardeners this will mean bringing chilli pepper plants into the home or at the very least a heated conservatory.

If it is not practical t bring your chilli plants in then consider constructing a secondary inner tent within your greenhouse made from heavy duty bubble-wrap or fleece. The plants will need to be raised of the ground and preferably kept on benching with heated mats.

Water and feed as you would do your other foliage houseplants. Once the threat of late frosts have passed in the spring you can being to harden off your chilli pepper plants for a week or so before leaving them outside in a sunny position for the forthcoming growing season.

For related articles click onto the following links
BUY BLACK SWEET PEPPER SEEDS
HOW TO COLLECT AND PREPARE SWEET AND CHILLI PEPPER SEEDS FOR PROPAGATION
HOW TO GROW HOT CHILLI PEPPERS FROM SEED
HOW TO GROW JALAPENO PEPPERS FROM SEED
HOW TO OVERWINTER CHILLI PLANTS
HOW TO PROPAGATE AND GROW THE BELL PEPPER FROM SEED

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