Growing firepods in the Coastal Plains of North Carolina...
As is detailed in That Old Tabasco Plant, last season, for the first time, I kept a pepper plant indoors over the winter. The very positive results, and in particular the enormous yield of peppers I got
from the plant during its second season, convinced me that overwintering, at least in the case of the Tabasco plant, is not only feasible, but is more than worth the time and trouble involved.
When we were forecasted to get our first frost in early October, I brought in the four plants that I planned to overwinter this year: the Tabasco from last season, a Tepin (B3), a Bolivian Rainbow (G4), and a Scotch Bonnet (J2). They were all
placed under either normal incandescent grow light bulbs or normal incandescent light bulbs held in reflector-equipped outlets, on a 12 hour light cycle.
In early November, I was still harvesting periodically from all of these plants, and the Bolivian Rainbow was still flowering. The Tabasco plant had lost 80 - 90% of its leaves and was looking pretty rough, and the Scotch Bonnet got so over-run
with aphids that I dropped it from the Overwinter program. Both the Bolivian Rainbow and the Tepin had lost few leaves and looked very healthy.
By January 2001, the Tabasco had generated an appreciable amount of new growth, notwithstanding the heavy leaf loss. In mid-January I pruned the plant back, removing all of the branches that did not have
any leaves, which was about 2/3 to 3/4 of them. By this point, both the Bolivian Rainbow and the Tepin had gradually lost a significant amount of leaves, but nowhere near the extent of the Tabasco's shedding.
By springtime, the aphids had killed the Bolivian Rainbow, and the Tepin was in poor shape; it had just a few leaves left, although about 90% of the stems were still alive. The Bolivian Rainbow was a loss, but the Tepin survived; you can read more about it in
That Old Tepin Plant in the 2001 Section.
Unfortunately, the Tabasco did not survive the winter; it was completely dead by springtime. Seemingly, it lost too many leaves, too early, to keep the stems alive until spring, even after the dead stems were pruned off.
I did not repot this plant at the end of 2000 like I did the first time; I am wondering if having done so would have made a difference.
Last updated 31 January 2015.
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