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Overwintering unfortunate Chili plants

I had a long break from doing anything except reading this summer because I broke a leg. Among my plant casualties was a collection of various chili plants, which I couldn't tend and were consequently put outside, still in their small pots.  I finally managed to get out today, and found that they didn't die, but have stayed in a sort of dormant state, thick in stem and leaf, but with no signs of upward growth or flowering.

I particularly wanted to grow these plants, since they were unusual varieties, and I was testing them for suitability for future plantings. I've read that it is possible to overwinter peppers if they are cut back, but I need more advise. Firstly is it a viable project at all in the circumstances. Secondly, if viable, how much should I cut them back, and when, considering that they have (amazingly) survived in a semi-bonsai state throughout the summer. Also, I need to know the sort of temperature and conditions I'd need to keep them going (if not growing) through the winter.

I'd apreciate any advise or tips as I really don't know what to do with them at this late stage in the year.



  • DinahDinah Posts: 294
    The question mark button isn't working on my keyboard at the moment, so please excuse omissions in the above post! :D
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,391
    They are perennial and can be overwintered as long as they are kept in suitable conditions.  I've had success by cutting them back to the main stalk and thicker branches and keeping them indoors at between 15 and 20C with only a very occasional watering, just enough to keep the soil slightly damp.  This keeps them alive in a dormant state and as long as the stems stay mostly green, they will burst into life in the spring.  Letting the temperature fall much below 10C will probably kill them and much above 15 and they may start to shoot too early.  Some useful info here:

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • DinahDinah Posts: 294
    Many thanks Bob, that is excellent and detailed advise, both from your own experience and the link you've given. I have some of the types mentioned in the article, and feel a lot better for having the means to save something after a  rather disappointing summer. :):):)
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,254
    Having broken my foot two summers ago I just wanted to empathise and wish you well. I understand how very frustrated you must have felt. I hope your chillies overwinter well for you and that you enjoy planning for a much better year in 2020 👍 😊 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • GrumpymumGrumpymum Oxfordshire Posts: 77
    I brought an apache chilli inside last winter.  It was quite a small plant so I didn't do anything to it, just put it on a sunny windowsill. It started flowering again after Christmas so I hand pollinated the flowers and we had fresh chillis ready to eat again in March. 
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,574
    Pot them on in fresh compost and a biggger pot and then keep them in a warm, sunny place with regular watering and occasional feeds of tomato feed and you'll get chilies thru winter.   I've done that before with great success.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • purplerallimpurplerallim LincolnshirePosts: 4,633
    Could I do a similar thing with sweet peppers that have grown but have yet to ripen? I have one turning red now but the yellow ones are still dark green. The light/ heat levels in the greenhouse are dropping now so wondered about bringing them into the conservatory. 🤔
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,574
    They're the same family so yes, it should work.   They need warmth and light and adequate watering.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • purplerallimpurplerallim LincolnshirePosts: 4,633
  • DinahDinah Posts: 294
    Thank you Dove, yes, very frustrating, but partly my own fault, as I put off going to A&E thinking it would heal itself - very silly - 13 days of floundering about on the floor without treatment is very foolish, daft even, Just to warn folk go to A&E however much you hate it! Is your foot all fixed now?

    Thank you for the further advise Obelixx, and Grumpymum, it sounds like I have a good chance with them, very encouraging! :)
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