Did you know it’s just as important to prune and stake pepper plants as it is for your tomatoes?
So much emphasis is placed on staking, pruning and pinching tomato plants. But pepper plants need that same attention as well to grow healthy, strong, and most importantly, deliver a big harvest!
Here is a look at how to stake and prune your pepper plants, and why it’s so important.
How & Why To Stake & Prune Pepper Plants
Staking Pepper Plants
As a pepper plant begins to grow, the stems and branches become top heavy as peppers form. In fact, pepper plants produce even more weight on branches than most tomato varieties.
Without proper support, branches can easily snap from the weight, ruining not only the fruit, but damaging the plant in the process. Add in a bit of wind or a summer storm, and your entire plant can be lost in an instant.
And that is exactly why it is so important to both prune and stake your pepper plants to protect your crop.
For smaller varieties such as jalapeno, banana and serrano peppers, plants should be staked to support the main stem. Tie off the main stem a few inches off the ground, and every 4 to 6″ of growth above.
These smaller plants produce their fruit in compact fashion off of the main stem, and a single support is more then enough to secure the crop.
For larger varieties such as green, red and yellow bell peppers, staking both the main stem and heavily loaded branches is a must. Without support, these large peppers snap branches quickly.
Tie back any heavy branches back to the main support to keep in check.
Why & How To Prune Pepper Plants
Just as it does for tomatoes, pruning pepper plants is crucial for growing a healthy, productive crop.
Pruning allows air and light to reach the entire plant. And not only does good circulation help keep disease at bay, it also increases pollination. But of even more importance, that open space and air allows light in to help ripen fruit quickly.
The most important area for pruning when it comes to peppers is at the bottom of the plant. Not only will it make watering easier, it lets air work up throughout the plant. When too much foliage exists at the bottom, it can snuff out need oxygen.
For smaller varieties, prune back the bottom 6″ of the plant. For larger plants, remove 8 to 12″ from the bottom to keep good air and light coming into and through the plant.
Pruning pepper plants in the middle and top regions of the plant is also important. Prune lightly in these areas to keeps the foliage from becoming too dense. Select stems and branches that have the fewest blooms and remove to allow the remaining plant to receive light and air.
As an added not, when pruning, always be sure your pruning blades are sharp and clean. Clean cuts heal quickly, and clean blades prevent disease from transferring from plant to plant. Product link : Vivosun Garden Pruners
For more on pruning in the vegetable garden, check out our Pruning Tomato Plants on the blog.
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