Overwintering My First Pepper Plants

October 4, 2016 | Article Topics: , ,

I knew going into the 2016 season that I was going to attempt to overwinter any plants that looked to be good candidates once the warmer months had passed. The two favorites right away (and ultimately the two that I selected) were the Bhut Jolokia and Carolina Reaper. Both were quite healthy and produced a number of peppers through the season. So, now the the nights are dipping into the low 50s, I grabbed the shears and got to work.

Bhut Jolokia ready for overwintering

First Up Was the Bhut Jolokia

This plant produced the most peppers by far amongst the eight that I had at any one time. Many of its fiery pods went into the dehydrator for the colder months to come, but a few kicked my butt fresh, as well. I did a bit of research first and found that keeping it simple was probably the best method, so I trimmed back the branches and carefully transferred the plant into a smaller pot with fresh soil for its long Winter nap.

I started slowly at first, afraid I’d inflict too much damage.

Bhut Jolokia getting trimmed

By the time everything was trimmed back, I couldn’t help but feel bad for the little guy.

Bhut Jolokia awkward middle school photo

And finally, I carefully dug out the stalk and as much of the root ball as possible and transplanted to a freshly purchased pot filled with organic potting soil

Bhut Jolokia in its new home

Carolina Reaper

Feeling more confident after taking a crack at the Bhut Jolokia, I wasted no time getting down to business with the Reaper. Just about all of the fruit on this one weren’t the correct (or most recognized) phenotype, but I figured I’d give it a second chance next Spring.

Carolina Reaper ready for overwintering

The poor plant didn’t even know what hit it by the time I was preparing the new pot for transferring.

Carolina Reaper trimmed down to nothing
Carolina Reaper in its new home

Luckily, there was still a good number of fruit still sitting on the plants waiting to ripen. I collected as many as possible and thanked the plants for all of the intestinal trauma they helped inflict upon me this gardening season. The plan now is to keep them warm and watered just enough to remain in hibernation for the long, cold Winter.