siren1024
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Should I prune pepper plants?

I have a tabasco and a hot banana that I just transfered from container to yard. They were drying out way to fast in the container because of the heat, and they would wilt every afternoon. They've been doing better since I put them in the ground, but some of the leaves are turning yellow and drooping. Should I cut them away? Should I prune a pepper plant at all? I 've seen conflicting information all over the internet. Oh, and if I do need to trim, then how should I do it?

Also, the tabasco is starting to get tiny little fruits on top in a cluster. The banana peppers have nothing. (Or they might be Cubanelles. I can't remember what I decided on! LOL) Is this normal? If not, what is wrong? They are and have been next to each other getting the same level of care. I know the larger ones could conceivably take longer to mature, but I'm not even getting the first hint of a bloom. Are they one of the plants that wait until next year?

Haesuse
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i prune my pepper plants to a certain degree. at least remove any low hanging leaves that are touching the soil, or touch the soil when wet and drooping, or are even susceptible to splash up. i also remove any leaf showing any seriously troubling signs of decay or disease or rot or yellowing.


but that's about all.
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jal_ut
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They've been doing better since I put them in the ground, but some of the leaves are turning yellow and drooping.
That's pretty common after transplanting. You can prune those yellow leaves or not. I never prune. The plant will tend to itself and do just fine.

The only time I prune is if the plant looks diseased. Then the whole plant gets pruned and tossed straight into the garbage can.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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somegeek
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jal_ut wrote:The only time I prune is if the plant looks diseased. Then the whole plant gets pruned and tossed straight into the garbage can.
Ah - the 'shovel prune' method. :)

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Drumopelli
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A few leaves turning yellow (especially after transplanting) is normal. The lower leaves on many pepper plants turn yellow and fall off by design. This is because they aren't needed any more and serve no purpose to the plant. Hence, they are self-pruning. But, if yellowed leaves bothers you, go ahead and pluck them off. If you don't, the plant will :P

If the top leaves are yellowing, there may be a problem.

You can prune the top if you like. It will cause the plant to branch out more, but also hinder production. I wouldn't do it on a normal basis, but admit that I have before to get the plant to be more bushy.

I would suggest giving the plants a dose of miracle grow or fish emulsion (because of the transplant) just to help them out. Then don't fertilize. Just water and be patient.

Just my thoughts...
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Drumopelli
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Tabasco plant:

My tabasco plant is still growing but hasn't produced yet. It's about to I think (or hope). I'm sure your climate is better suited.

I do believe that the tabasco plant is a "fruit cluster" type of pepper plant. So that is normal.

Cubanelles or Banana:

I have both producing fruit since May (but I live in a hotter, dryer climate). If they are bananas, they are an early season and should be producing already unless the plant is very young. Cubanelles will take longer to mature, but should be going soon in your climate.
My short term memory isn't what it used to be. Also, my short term memory isn't what it used to be.

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Drumopelli
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Pruning methods:

I like the shovel-pruining method :wink:

But I usually use the five-fingered grab and pull pruning method.

If I'm angry, I use the kick it into the ground and jump on it method.

:twisted:
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rainbowgardener
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peppers

Different varieties mature at different rates. But no, peppers are annuals; they don't "wait until next year." When the first frost hits (assuming you are in an area with frost) they will be dead and done. Start over with new plants next spring. Even if you don't have frost, they are still annuals that are done at the end of a season. Agree with what's been said re not much pruning needed. The only addition would be if your pepper plant is getting covered with blossoms. Then you might delete a few, to avoid stressing the plant and to allow the remaining ones to produce larger fruit.

siren1024
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Thanks everybody. Perhaps it's a climate issue for the cubanelles. I was way late getting started this year (everyone was) because it was a long, unusually cool spring (it snowed in late March for crying out loud. Unheard of here.) We even had another frost in April. So who knows how it was affected. Tabasco peppers, along with other small chili's, seem to really thrive on the heat and humidity around here. I have heard other gardeners told me that bells are difficult here (highly suceptible to heat and humidity related disease), but my Grandfather grew hot banana peppers and serranos for years and had enough to put up three or four pickled cans per year.

I think he gardened 100% organically. Not because of any environmental convictions, but because he was cheap. LOL.....I don't ever remember him even spraying any of his plants, and his garden was 1/4 acre.

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Drumopelli
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Some clarification (at least from my POV):

I agree with "Rainbow Gardener's" comments. Peppers are classified as annuals; meaning they grow, produce seed pods, and then die once the weather gets too cold... most of the time.

Yes, if you plant a pepper plant outdoors in a climate that has cold temps (frosts), yes, your plants will most likely die. That is what they are inclined to do. And yes, even the places where they grow naturally can "frost". So in TN, with pepper plants in the ground, they are prolly going to die in the next 4 months. So be it.

However, I disagree with the MOD's comments as well. They don't have to die, or at least one can help them live if one is so inclined to do so. A potted pepper plant can make it through the year if brought inside (out of the cold). Human intervention can get anything to grow anywhere. If this wasn't true, why can I find almost any kind of pepper (as food) at my grocery store year round? Green houses, controlled environments, can keep "annuals" alive if not thriving. The plant doesn't know what month it is or where it is located. If the conditions are right, it grows and produces fruit. If what I say is wrong, why can one find a massive variety of produce year round... or flowers, or whathaveyou?

My point: Say you bought a young habanero plant at a store recently and you live not in the southwest. That pepper plant will prolly not mature enough to produce fruit in the next 3 days (before winter starts in the northeast). That doesn't mean that one can't nurture said plant indoors and, if the plant survives, have a better season the following year.

I believe that the statement: "Peppers are annuals; they won't wait until next year... and they will all DIE! (paraphrasing)" is a blanket statement used in error. I believe that this statement, without clarification or common sense, may dissuade gardeners from ever wanting to grow peppers, not to mention that it is (under certain conditions) largely untrue.

"Start over with new plants", yes, great advice. I do it. But I do have pepper plants that have lived from season to season. And yes, they get bigger, heartier, and produce more fruit faster. I'm refering to potted plants. But to drive the point home, here in AZ, you can take a 2 year jalapeno or habanero (potted) and plant it in the ground. It can survive the winter or a frost if you take precautions (like covering them during a frost). By the 4th year, you no longer have a pepper plant. You have a pepper bush. That plant (bush) is so big, so established, with roots so deep... It has a good chance of surviving a little old frost. It will go dormant, but it will not die. At this point, the pepper production gets into the hundreds or thousands.

So yes, I'm talking about locale. The southwest: Phoenix, San diego, LA, Roswell, El Paso... I would be careful to say that peppers die. I've seen it snow in Phoenix (it can happen). But if you take your plants indoors, they can survive. If you take precautions, they can survive. If you have a green house, you can grow what ever you want whenever you want.

Rainbow Gardener is largely correct in the statements made (in the case of nature). But these statements are full of holes. They just aren't (or don't have to be) true. If you want to grow peppers, then grow peppers. But do some research as to your locale and climate and take the necessary precautions. You will be surprised.

I write this because I felt that the MOD's comments (though true in most circumstances) are not a definitive, or blanket, statement... nor should be interpreted as such. I just don't want a negative comment like this from dissuading others from growing peppers. It is possible, despite anything.

That's my dollar and a half. Take everything you read on this site with a grain of salt. All the advice is subjective. Remember that. I gave a counter argumant to what I perceived as bad advice. Take it or leave it. :)

Late...
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TZ -OH6
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Botanicaly, peppers are perennials. There are environmental and horticultural reasons to treat them as garden annuals. Some of the hot pepper gurus in northern climates will dig up their favorite plants, do a super severe root and branch pruning, and then pot them up indoors for the winter. It takes a while for the branch and root stumps to resprout and then they grow like house plants until spring when they are put back out in big containers or the ground. Not all of the plants survive the treatment, but it is better than replanting late season varieties and hoping for the best.

cynthia_h
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Drumopelli wrote: Peppers are classified as annuals; .... Human intervention can get anything to grow anywhere. If this wasn't true, why can I find almost any kind of pepper (as food) at my grocery store year round?
An amazing amount of produce is imported into the United States year-round from Southern Hemisphere countries. I see stone fruit in California in January from Chile; asparagus at Thanksgiving from Peru; apples in February and March from New Zealand. The growing season in parts of Mexico seems to run about four or five months ahead of ours; non-greenhouse tomatoes from Mexico started showing up in April.

I personally avoid imported produce, except for bananas and mangoes, which the U.S. doesn't produce in commercial quantities. I've avoided such imported produce for years and years based on uncertainty as to how much pesticide residue remained on the food *and* working conditions for laborers.

In-season produce tastes better, even if we haven't grown it ourselves. :D

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

Haesuse
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Drumopelli wrote:My tabasco plant is still growing but hasn't produced yet. It's about to I think (or hope). I'm sure your climate is better suited.

mine is covered in easily 100 small peppers, but it was a month behind all the other plants. it grew up, up, up, but didn't flower until late...
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GitarooGarden
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This is directed towards the "Should you prune yellow leaves?" question.

When you've got a plant that is stressed, it's common to see yellowing of plant leaves, usually localized at the oldest leaves (lower) or the youngest leaves (at the top, growing parts of the plant). In general these visual clues can help us identify nutrient problems in our plants.

When the oldest leaves on a plant turn yellow (usually in the pattern from outside to inside, since green chloroplast is being destroyed, it's called Chlorosis) while the growing parts of the plants (near the meristems) remain healthy, what is likely happening is potassium and nitrogen are being drained from the old, less useful leaves and fed to the new growth. As far as plant nutrients go, nitrogen and potassium are very mobile, so it is easy for the plants to move these molecules from the bottom to the top. Other plant nutrients, like Calcium, Iron, and Boron are notoriously hard to move, and when a plant has deficiencies in these nutrients, an opposite reaction can be observed. The youngest leaves, nearest to the meristem, will chlorose and wilt.

With this in mind, whenever I see yellowing leaves on the bottom of an established plant, I figure the plant is just using up its emergency supplies, let it do its thing, and will take it as a cue to fertilize the soil a bit. After a transplant, however, the plant may just be yellowing because the roots are shocked and need time to recover. Extra fertilization is unnecessary in this case because the soil is probably fine.

More reading on Plant Physiology and Essential Minerals! [url]https://4e.plantphys.net/article.php?ch=t&id=289[/url]

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Dunester
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Food Supply

cynthia_h wrote:
Drumopelli wrote: Peppers are classified as annuals; .... Human intervention can get anything to grow anywhere. If this wasn't true, why can I find almost any kind of pepper (as food) at my grocery store year round?
An amazing amount of produce is imported into the United States year-round from Southern Hemisphere countries. I see stone fruit in California in January from Chile; asparagus at Thanksgiving from Peru; apples in February and March from New Zealand. The growing season in parts of Mexico seems to run about four or five months ahead of ours; non-greenhouse tomatoes from Mexico started showing up in April.

I personally avoid imported produce, except for bananas and mangoes, which the U.S. doesn't produce in commercial quantities. I've avoided such imported produce for years and years based on uncertainty as to how much pesticide residue remained on the food *and* working conditions for laborers.

In-season produce tastes better, even if we haven't grown it ourselves. :D

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9
The US only has a few days food supply at any one time - i.e. if all food imports stopped we would run out of fresh produce within just a few days!



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