The pepper pruning experiment continues. We take over a few weeks after the first pruning and complete the second, third, and fourth round. The plant continues to react well to the pruning and has started to try to flower all of the time. The pruning will help keep the compact plant bushy and help it produce huge yields! After the plant hit maturity it has started to fork at the nodes we would have pruned back to. This is a common reaction as the flowers are produced in the same area.
The Super Hungarian Hot pepper is an ideal candidate for this pruning as the fruit is plentiful but not large. The plant has been responding well to pruning! Even though the plant has started to fork itself we will continue to prune it until it goes outside in the summer. This will continue to focus the plants energy on root development and strengthening the stalk structure. I will continue to remove the flowers ever day or so to prevent the plant from expending a lot of energy in the house on fruit production. Once the plant goes outside in the summer all bets are off. No more pruning or flower removal.
The pruning is not nearly as easy as the first round. The plant is forking itself out changing the focus of the pruning. My goal now it to continue to work on essential framework of the plant to keep it low and bushy. This is predominantly done by focusing on two things.
1. Targeting branches that are going towards the center of the plant. those branches will shade and crowd the plant increasing the risk of disease and reducing production
2. Keeping an uniform canopy. Some branches spur new growth faster then others. If you remove them the central core of the plant will get stronger. You want to make sure when you cut back the node you cut to is pointing away from the center of the plant so you don’t create a cross branch that will need to be removed.
I highly recommend this approach for all of your sweet and hot peppers. Most of the plants should react extremely well to this! Make sure to start your peppers nice and early and then prune away with the tips I give here!