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ScottinAtlanta June 5, 2014 02:37 AM

Why we like to over winter peppers
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Put my over wintered peppers out and they are exploding with growth - should get ripe peppers on them a good 4-6 weeks ahead of the newly germinated plants for the not superhot peppers and 2 months ahead for the superhots. Some of my super hots - yellow fatali, yellow scorpion, red Congo, Cardi scorpion - are starting their third year and look great, full of blossoms. Even the ones that did not apparently survive the winter are putting out new growth from the roots.

As many of us have noted, superhots produce at least 5X more in their second year, as they seem to be a slow growing plant.

drew51 June 5, 2014 07:41 AM

Yeah I want to try overwintering a few myself. Some I got a good start in the first year and want to keep them going.

kath June 5, 2014 10:37 AM

Scott, can you overwinter them outdoors in your climate? Any protection given? Here, I think I'd have to grow them in containers and bring indoors for the winter because I can't imagine the roots would take kindly to being dug up and put in a pot for the winter, only to be planted out again the following spring.:?!?:

ScottinAtlanta June 5, 2014 11:01 AM

Kath, I can't overwinter outdoors, but I do overwinter in a room that is between 45-60 all winter.

And I do exactly that: I dig them up before the first hard frost, wash the roots thoroughly in a bucket of water until they are bare (basically by grabbing the stalk and dunking them up and down), sprinkle with a little myco, and then replant - in pots for over wintering or in the beds in spring. I never transfer soil between the two. That helps me see the root ball to diagnose any issues, and to ensure that any pests are not transported back and forth.

So each plant is dug up twice a year. They don't seem bothered by it.

I use Tania's recipe for container soil for the over wintering.

kath June 5, 2014 11:05 AM

Wow, that's very interesting- I might give it a try this winter. DH will probably clear a spot for me in his cactus greenhouse or I guess I could just keep them in the basement. Do you keep them by a window, provide grow lights, or just let them go dormant?

ScottinAtlanta June 5, 2014 11:09 AM

I keep them by a window, but they basically go dormant due to the temps, lose their leaves, the outer branches turn brown, some turn into bare stalks...I reduce watering to a minimum, just when the soil is really dry. And then they take off as soon as they are put in warm soil in spring. I always lose about 1 out of 10, though.

I am sure they could be healthier if I weren't so lazy in the winter.

kath June 5, 2014 11:26 AM

Thanks for all the details, Scott- it's really great to know that they can handle a bit of neglect!

ScottinAtlanta June 5, 2014 11:29 AM

See my pic above of the bare stalk - pushing new leaves and branches out of the last remaining length of surviving stalk. Even this one will out perform my new plants this year.

Every leaf you see on the pics above is new growth - there were almost no leaves left on them when I put them out in end March.

kath June 5, 2014 12:08 PM

This is definitely something I want to remember to try this fall. I've been looking through other old threads here about overwintering peppers and it seems that people have varying degrees of luck using all kinds of methods: pruning/not, light/none, small pot/large, cold/heat, etc. My biggest concern is bug infestation since that seems to be a recurring theme. Not only because it'd be messy to spray inside during the winter, but because I don't want to have them already established anywhere that I need for seed-starting in spring.

drew51 June 5, 2014 12:10 PM

I talked to others who overwinter. Even got some seed. Like I got seeds from this Orange Tree habanero

This is a 7 pot brain strain. None of these are my plants, but is what inspired me to overwinter.

kath June 5, 2014 12:20 PM

Those are huge, Drew! I'm hoping to keep things on the small side for convenience sake. Since I've already got a fig tree in the greenhouse and I want to try to save more than one in case some don't make it, it'll be important for me to limit the square footage needed for this experiment.

drew51 June 5, 2014 12:22 PM

I started an orange manzano pepper, This pepper is a rocoto
tree pepper relative and is noted for its cold hardiness, as it naturally
grows on Andean mountain slopes, this pepper will survive several
degrees below freezing. Plants grow to 2-6ft, can live for many years. this is it's first year. It's seems to be growing really well, and is known to overwinter well. So this one for sure will be overwintered. I'll plant the orange habanero next year, just got the seed.

drew51 June 5, 2014 12:26 PM

[QUOTE=kath;415199]Those are huge, Drew! I'm hoping to keep things on the small side for convenience sake. Since I've already got a fig tree in the greenhouse and I want to try to save more than one in case some don't make it, it'll be important for me to limit the square footage needed for this experiment.[/QUOTE]

The small ornamentals can just be grown all winter. So that might be something to try. I have Black Pearl, Chinese 5 color, Purple Flash, and Twilight all growing this year. I'll choose one to overwinter.
But any pepper can be overwintered, so choose one you use, like whatever, even a bell, why not?
I figure the ornamentals will look cool. Peppers are so varied in use. I could grow hundreds of them.
I'm still learning how to grow these beasts.

kath June 5, 2014 12:37 PM

Thanks for the suggestion, Drew, but except for a small garden in the front of the house, I don't tend any plants that don't produce food- and even that space contains all the herbs that the deer won't eat.:lol: Before I was able to grow veggies, I had a few houseplants but now the only plants that are ever in the house are starts.

Think my best bet is to prune some of the smaller sweet pepper plants before I bring them in since they're the only ones I'm in a hurry to eat in the summer. The hot peppers go into salsa when I can later in the year so I don't mind starting them each year from seed.

BucksCountyGirl June 5, 2014 01:08 PM

Hi Scott, you're peppers look really great! You seem to have a great jump on the season.

I too overwintered a plant last year (Lemon Drop). I grow in pots anyway so at the end of the season I just root pruned it (which it really did not seem to mind) and severely pruned down the growth and stuck it in a 1 gallon nursery pot to over winter near my patio window. I am very happy with the results after the replant.

I am definitely going to do this again after this season (albeit with a few more plants, of course :) )

My question to you is, how many years can you keep the same plant going? You said a few of your's are on year 3. Have you ever successfully kept one longer, or is it better to start from square one after year 3? Any advice would be much appreciated! :yes:

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