3 Ways to Overwinter Chili Plants

How To Overwinter Chili or Pepper Plants

Chili plants can’t handle frost. Many chilies, especially super-hots, are bred to make your mouth burn, and not so much to get you those deliciously spicy pods quickly. My Devil’s Tongue plants all take about 120 days to ripen and that means I need to get a jump on the season. However, If you overwinter chili plants, you start the season with a plant that enjoys a large root ball, allowing it to grow and fruit quickly.

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Method 1: Overwinter chili plants by cutting them down

If you have container plants, it’s easy enough to over winter them:

  • Remove any pods that you can eat
  • Remove all the smaller stems, leaving only the major stems, and only to about a foot tall or shorter
  • Get rid of any leaves
  • Check for bugs, mold, or anything else you don’t want to bring inside
  • Put the plant in a place that won’t freeze, and maybe gets a little light
  • Water the plants every couple of weeks so they don’t dry out
  • After the last frost, you can start putting them outside for a few hours a day, and they will start regrowing. Fertilize with a good all-purpose fertilizer, like Down To Earth’s All Purpose fertilizer. This may take a while to break down and provide the plant with the nutrients, so a small hit of an inorganic fertilizer or good compost would also be useful at this point.

Method 2: Take a cutting to propagate the plant

Some plants, especially ones sewn into the ground, can’t effectively be moved indoors. So let’s clone it, and get a tiny plant going!

  • Find a branch that’s about 5-8 inches long and has growth nodes on it
  • Cut it
  • Strip off the lower leaves
  • Optionally, add some rooting gel
  • Put the stem in water and a few drops of an optional root growth agent
  • Wait 1-2 weeks for roots to form
  • Pot it in a cup of soil, put that in some light (like a window sill), and water regularly

Method 3: Grow it indoors

If you have an indoor grow room, or want to start one, you can use your outdoor plants to kick it off:

  • Trim your plant to be better sized to bring indoors
  • Check for bugs under the leaves and on the soil’s surface
  • Bring it inside and point a grow light at it
  • Water and fertilize regularly and harvest as fruits become available

If you want more info, our article on Indoor Chili Growing is a great resource on how to grow your peppers indoors

I hope this helped you and if you have any comments, suggestions, or want to ask any questions, please comment below, or contact us. Thanks for visiting!

6 years ago