overwintering chilli plants

Having had a good crop of chillies from various plants this summer, I'm now pruning them hard back, bringing them indoors & putting on window ledges to over-winter them. This worked well last year. I scraped off most of the compost from around the roots, mixed in a few fertiliser pellets with some new compost & found they cropped again in January/February, despite the lower light levels. They then went on to crop again in summer, using the same technique of replacing part of the compost. For growers of chillies it's worth trying rather than growing new plants every year.
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  • LeifLeif Forumite
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    I trim the root ball to 8" diameter, and cut the main stem to 6". I do this at the end of the year, and I get a heavy crop in May. I have one plant that is maybe 7 years old. Your method is somewhat different, and I might give it a try, but not this year. Sadly this year almost all of my chillis have either failed, or they are late. My Capsicum baccatum are starting to pod, and will be brought indoors to ripen in November.
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  • PrimrosePrimrose Forumite
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    I think it's been a bad weather for chillies & peppers outdoors. I've also suffered some cross pollination, I think between peppers & chillies, because I've picked cropped some long pointed Italian peppers which are definitely tongue tingling ! I'm wondering if they've been cross pollinated with Hungarian Wax chillies or some other variety.
  • DavesnaveDavesnave Forumite
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    Primrose wrote: »
    I've picked cropped some long pointed Italian peppers which are definitely tongue tingling ! I'm wondering if they've been cross pollinated with Hungarian Wax chillies or some other variety.

    If you've saved your own seed this is likely to have happened.
    It shouldn't have occurred with bought seeds from reputable sources.
  • LeifLeif Forumite
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    Primrose wrote: »
    I think it's been a bad weather for chillies & peppers outdoors. I've also suffered some cross pollination, I think between peppers & chillies, because I've picked cropped some long pointed Italian peppers which are definitely tongue tingling ! I'm wondering if they've been cross pollinated with Hungarian Wax chillies or some other variety.

    If you mean that the seeds are as stated, but you allowed cross pollination this year, then no, that will not affect the flavour of this years pods. It will of course mean that the seeds from those pods do not come true when planted next year.

    But, if you saved seeds from last year, and cross pollination occurred then yes, that would lead to unexpected results this year.
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  • SazboSazbo Forumite
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    My chillies really suffered with the weather this summer. I tried over-wintering some last winter but they didn't make it unfortunately, and I don' think this year's plants are healthy enough. Maybe have another go next year.
    4 May 2010 <3
  • A._BadgerA._Badger Forumite
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    Apart from the sense of achievement, is there any real advantage to keeping the plants over winter?

    I've never been very impressed with the results when I've tried (using a frost free but not aggressively heated greenhouse) and have had better results growing from seed each year.

    What do people find they gain?
  • LeifLeif Forumite
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    A._Badger wrote: »
    Apart from the sense of achievement, is there any real advantage to keeping the plants over winter?

    I've never been very impressed with the results when I've tried (using a frost free but not aggressively heated greenhouse) and have had better results growing from seed each year.

    What do people find they gain?

    I have a Rocoto, Capsicum pubescens, which is roughly 7 years old. I get the first harvest of ripe pods in May, and a second harvest in September, or thereabouts. So I get a better yield, over a longer season. But this year I only got one modest crop, although that is one more crop than from the chilli plants grown from seed this miserable year. Also, as the plant aged, the pods changed, oddly enough. They started out sort of rugby ball shaped as per the Alberto's Locoto pictures on the Real Seeds web site. But now they are apple shaped, and much larger, the size of a small apple. I suspect this is because the main stem and main roots are much stronger than a young plants, and hence it is more vigorous, but that is a guess. Another advantage is that this is a nice bushy plant, which does not sprawl as much as most Rocotos, so I want to keep it.

    I have also over wintered Orange Habanero, and again I got very early crops from a variety that is a late cropper.

    You can also keep a chilli on a window sill over winter, and if you do not trim it back, you get fresh chillis in winter. Mind you, you can freeze chillis, and get the fresh flavour which is not always as per dried pods.

    Your modest results from greenhouse chillis may be due to the temperatures. They do not need lots of sun, but they do need warmth, the more the better within reason, bearing in mind they originate in the South and Central Americas. So you might do better to bring them indoors. Be warned that an indoor plant can reduce air flow around the windowsill leading to condensation and/or mould in the vicinity.
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  • A._BadgerA._Badger Forumite
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    Hmm... interesting, thank you. They are far too big to put on a windowsill, so I'm either going to have to leave them in the greenhouse or do what I usually do, compost them and start again next year.

    I'm certainly not going to heat the greenhouse much about 40F given the cost of electricity, which is fine for overwintering ornamentals like fuchsias and pelargoniums.

    Fortunately, I've had an excellent crop of chillis and have been giving them away, so I can't complain.

    There will be a stay of execution even if I do decide to dispose of them as there are plenty still ripening - but it got to below 40 last night (no heater on) so the time for a decision is fast approaching!
  • LeifLeif Forumite
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    A._Badger wrote: »
    They are far too big to put on a windowsill,

    Are you sure? When I overwinter, I chop the main stem to 6-12", and trim the root ball to maybe 6" across, and repot in fresh compost. I do this in late December. The plant recovers slowly, and I pot up as needed. I suggest you trim lightly when you bring them in, then trim heavily in late December or early January. Keep them indoors until the greenhouse is warm enough. However, I have grown full sized Tobasco (C. frutescens), Rocoto (C. pubescens), Habanero (C. chinense), and Capsicum baccatum on a windowsill. I don't really recommend it, due to the mould that grows on the sealant nearby, and the fallen leaves, and damp.
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  • MupetteMupette Forumite
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    Leif wrote: »
    Are you sure? When I overwinter, I chop the main stem to 6-12", and trim the root ball to maybe 6" across, and repot in fresh compost. I do this in late December. The plant recovers slowly, and I pot up as needed. I suggest you trim lightly when you bring them in, then trim heavily in late December or early January. Keep them indoors until the greenhouse is warm enough. However, I have grown full sized Tobasco (C. frutescens), Rocoto (C. pubescens), Habanero (C. chinense), and Capsicum baccatum on a windowsill. I don't really recommend it, due to the mould that grows on the sealant nearby, and the fallen leaves, and damp.

    you say december to bring them in, did you have a mild winter?
    i saw my breath last night, and won't november frost harm them?
    GNU
    Terry Pratchett
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