I am an avid chilli and sweet pepper grower and these are always the first seeds that I sow during the year. My chilli sowing starts in my heated propagator in February as the seeds need heat to germinate and are notoriously slow at popping their heads through the soil. I mainly grow my chillies and peppers at my greenhouse at home so that I can keep an eye on them and tend them if necessary.
The main reason for me writing this post is to let you know how brave I have been! I know that with some plants, to encourage new growth, or to give existing plants a chance to thrive, you as a gardener have to take drastic measures by chopping and cutting stems and leaves. I always found this task to be too painful to execute and as a result I have been missing out on getting the most from my plants.
Usually, I get average yields from my chilli plants but they did tend to grow really tall and not very bushy. However I recently did a bit of research on pruning chillies and peppers and decided that while mine were still relatively smallish plants, I would take the plunge and give it a go with some of my plants.
My purple cayenne chillies were the first victims of the pruning procedure and I can say with true honesty that they have come to no harm whatsoever after their encounter with my trusty secateurs. I simply snipped the top growing point off to prevent the plant from having one leading point to encourage more growth from the joint between the leaf node and stem. And it worked!!!!!! In fact they have never looked so healthy.
My initial experiment was only going to be applied to one or two plants but since the success of the two that I chopped, I thought I would repeat it for 75% of the rest of my plants. The plants have thrived and given some vigorous growth from various points on the plant that should hopefully give me more chillies in return! My plants seem to love this new haircut and are sending out new leaves everywhere! The only plants that I haven’t done this experiment with are my scotch bonnet and habaneros as the research suggests that there is no need to do this for those type of plants as they are the bushier variety anyway.
Be brave and give it a go!