Worms and Flowers

Overwintered Peppers–The Results

Posted in Peppers by Lzyjo on June 9, 2009

Last autumn I posted about my experiment overwintering peppers. This spring the results are in. The good news is it works! But the bad news is, it only works about 40% of the time. Two out of five. Below is a photo of one of the hot pepper plants I removed from the garden. I removed all the peppers I could find and then lopped off the truck, leaving a few inches for new growth to grow from.

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This is how the trunks look after the foliage has been cut off. All of the plants that did overwinter grew new growth almost immediately.

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For whatever reason one of the plants that had overwintered died after being planted out. The others are growing very nicely.

It was almost impossible to get the peppers to sustain growth through the winter. I just didn’t have enough light. It would most likely require grow lights to fruit indoors. I have some to the conclusion that it is just not worth the effort to trick the plant into growing.

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Above is the same hot pepper plant shown against the fence. It is already flowering and a lot bigger than this year’s transplants, only time will tell if the harvest is consistent with last year’s.

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Above is Sheepnose pimento, this plant was started late in the season last year and had not yet fruited when everything was starting to go dormant. It kept its leaves through the winter and it already had three large pimentos on it!

In consulsion I  rate this experiment as a moderate success. I recommend to anyone interested in trying this, to use a good number of plants to increase the probibility of a successful overwinter. Keep in mind that the peppers I used are Capsicum Annum, not the hardier South American C. pubescens, which has been recommended for overwintering.

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10 Responses

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  1. ourfriendben said, on June 9, 2009 at 7:17 AM

    Wow, Lzyjo! What did you do? Did you cut the tops off the plants and bring them indoors for the winter, then plant them back outside in spring? It is kind of odd that the botanical name for pepper is Capsicum annuum, but it’s actually a perennial! (As are tomatoes. Wonder if potatoes are perennial in mild climates?! Hmmmm.) Cool experiment!

  2. Lzyjo said, on June 9, 2009 at 7:29 AM

    Yes, that is exactly what I did. I didn’t water them much while they were inside because they weren’t actively growing. I have other pictures of them after the operation in the old post. Yes, your absolutely right, Annum is a total misnomer. I too was wondering if tomato stock couldn’t be started from cuttings! interesting! Thanks for stopping by.

  3. David in Kansas said, on June 9, 2009 at 10:39 AM

    Wow! This gives me the idea to try to overwinter a pepper outside! I never thought of it. I’ve brought pepper plants indoors before for the winter but never thought of chopping of the tops like you did.
    Here in Kansas, I’ve read reports of people leaving their tomato plants under cold boxes and having them survive the winter.
    Great pictures.
    What USDA hardiness zone do you live in?

  4. Faith said, on June 9, 2009 at 11:29 AM

    I am so grateful for you experimenting and sharing this. I knew that peppers were supposed to be per. in tropical zones. I can’t wait to see how the harvest is from them. I’d like to lop all mine off and replaint them next year if I can get away with it!

    ~Faith

  5. Gururaj said, on June 9, 2009 at 4:11 PM

    Thanks for sharing with us the results of the experiment. I’m tempted to try out similar experiments for other plants too. The winter here in Kisarazu City, Japan, is not as cold as yours, I think (we are in zone 9b, I guess); so the chances of success are greater? Are you planning to experiment with others this year?

  6. Lzyjo said, on June 10, 2009 at 7:26 AM

    Hi David, I didn’t know about overwintering tomatoes, interesting! Yes, it is possibly to winter them in the ground with mulch, I’m not sure if it works in the cooler zones. Laura Hudson from Mas Du Diable in the South of France overwintered peppers in the ground for at least two, maybe three consecutive years, here is a link to her post http://www.masdudiable.com/A55C37/mdd.nsf/dx/perennial-peppers.htm. I am in Zone 7, some consider it 6b, usual winter lows are 20 degrees. Never 0 or below. Hope this helps to answer question. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Lzyjo said, on June 10, 2009 at 7:27 AM

    It definitely gave me a head start! It might even be worth a try with mulch!

  8. Lzyjo said, on June 10, 2009 at 7:40 AM

    Hi Gururaj,
    Hope you had a nice vacation! Zone 9 sounds like it would be great to try overwintering! Here is a post from a blogger in the south of France who overwintered her peppers in the ground for several consecutive years! http://www.masdudiable.com/A55C37/mdd.nsf/dx/perennial-peppers.htm I will definitely be trying more overwintering, perhaps tomatoes!

  9. Jen said, on June 10, 2009 at 9:39 AM

    Looks like you are going to have an awesome pepper harvest this year. Break out the salsa and gaspacho recipes! I have about 5 peppers growing this year. I may have to try it.

  10. Lzyjo said, on June 11, 2009 at 8:22 AM

    MMM!!! Gaspacho and Salsa! Jen, I counted 19 pepper plant in my garden! I think I’ve gone a little overboard!!


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