Did you know that chilli plants can produce fruit for many years?

Filed Under (Chilli Growing) by Chilli Willy on 11-12-2011

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Chillies plants can produce harvests for many seasons. Find out how you enjoy earlier and greater harvests.

It is a common misconception that chilli plants are annuals and only produce 1 harvest, after which you will have to grow your chillies from seed the following year. This is untrue as chillies are in fact perrenials and can provide you with many seasons of fruit if you look after them right. Find out how to do this by following the simple steps below:

First let’s take a look at the benefits of overwintering your chillies vs. growing from seed next season:

– Your chillies will have a head start over growing from seed
– You will get an earlier harvest as your plants are already mature and have good roots
– Chilli harvests increases year after year

Imagine doubling or even tripling your harvests of chillies next growing season (by the way you can also freeze your chillies if you don’t use them fast enough). This can easily be achieved by “overwintering” your plant. It’s a fancy word, but basically it means preparing your plant for the cold months ahead.

You see, chillies are like roses in a way, you need to prune them, to allow them to conserve their energy for next year’s growth. After all they are doing a lot of work for you!

However, roses are outdoor plants and chillies do not like the cold, so you will need to bring your chilli plants in when the temperature falls below about 10 degrees C. or at the first signs of frost. Normally November is the month to do this.

The first bit of advice is to make sure you feed your plant well throughout the year with a good chilli fertiliser like Chilli Focus. This will make sure your plant is strong enough and that it has all the nutrition it needs for the cold months ahead.

Next, you will want to bring your plants indoors before the first signs of frost, of when the weather is turning a little bit chilly (pun intended!).

After you have brought your chilli plants in, now it’s time to pick all the remaining chillies from the plant if you haven’t already as this tells your plant to grow more next season!

When all the chillies have been picked, then you need to prune your chilli plant back to about 1/3 of it’s original height or by leaving a stalk of about 15-30 cm. This may sound harsh, but all that extra foliage consumes important energy that your plant will need throughout the winter maintaining it’s root system.

Now your plant is ready for overwintering, bear in mind that you will need to water your plant a lot less over the coming months. Only water when the surface of the soil is dry to the touch. You can also reduce feeding to every 2 weeks.

Don’t worry if your plant does not grow much over the coming months, it will go into a dormant state while it hibernates. Make sure you keep your plant warm throughout winter and away from any draughts.

That’s it! Now all you need to do is wait until spring and you should notice some new shoots emerge within a few weeks of spring arriving as your plant wakes up. You can then move your plant outdoors (after the danger of last frost) or keep it on a sunny window sill.

And because your plant already has established roots and a strong stem, you should see rapid growth and benefit from a much larger and earlier harvest than the previous growing season.

Good luck overwintering your plants and be sure to see our guide on how to overwinter your chilli plants (includes pictures).

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

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