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Talkback: Overwintering chillies

I live in the southern hemisphere and winter is not that harsh, still it rains a lot and temperatures are on the one digit. I left Jalapenos in the green house, an harvested them in August, some were really small, but still they were good. In the e end the plants were rotting because of the humidity. I will do the same this year.


  • am trying this year to over winter my dorset naga and scotch bonnet plants, not going to hold my breath though!! the main problem ive had this year with my chillies is aphids and have had very littel success in controlling them, would be grateful for any help on this matter
  • I've been growing many chilies for the last five years or so, only last year I tried overwintering them (I wanted to experiment). I brought them in on the windowsill but the house was invaded by aphids, literally (lots of them flying around and sticky substances around the window). I managed to control them to some degree by giving them a jet of water in the shower, but after about two months of doing this, I'm starting to wonder if it was worth it. Those I left in the conservatory didn't make it, but the ones in the house on the windowsill was ok. In late winter, I gave them a drastic cut until about 20 cm of the soil level. They grew back very well, but now at the end of the season I also find their fruits are not as big as those I started from seed this year, though there are as many of them. So, I think the conclusion of my experiment is it's not worth the effort of trying to keep control of the aphids for the whole winter. On the other hand, lots of the fruits are still green until now so I don't really want to kill them yet. I have one more experiment I want to do: overwinter them, and in late spring give them a hair cut and root cut, then re-plant in new compost. Maybe then I'll get a good result?
  • In London, I successfully overwinter jalapeno chillies on a sunny windowsill indoors every year so that I have a supply of fresh chillies. This year I'll be trying the 'super chilli' variety as they are still laden with unripe pods.
    I treat jalapenos as biennial and they do produce flowers and pods earlier than ones sown from seed.
    Aphids are a general pest when bringing plants indoors and should be treated as such.
  • Hi Kate,
    We have a naga chilli sitting comfortably in our conservatory (S.E.England) as it has done for the last 4 years. It seems happy to flower & fruit (with a bit of manual pollination) all through the winter & only requires a bit of judicious pruning if it gets leggy. Yes, white fly & spider mite can be a problem but an occasional water spray or immersion seems to help prevent this.
    This year we will be trying to overwinter some additional types (apricot, coffee bean, pumpkin & Etna).

    A simple tip (well it works for us) is to initially reduce the summer growth by 1/2 to 2/3rds & then provide as much light as possible & not over/under water.
  • what is the best way to dry chillies.
  • to ray,
    the best way to dry chilies is with a towel or tissue...
  • Thanks for all your comments

    Anonymous - I've never had a problem with aphids on overwintered chillis. The only thing I can suggest is that you thoroughly inspect and remove any on the plants before bringing them indoors.

    Simon S - thanks for your tip and good luck with your other overwintering experiments.

    Mandy - thanks, that chutney looks delicious. My mum once made chilli jam, which was amazing.

  • I brought my apache chilli in from a raised bed in my polycarb home made greenhouse.I kept it on my bathroom window ledge which has 2 outside walls and gets very cold at night after the heating goes off. I was very surprised in spring when new shoots appeared. Eventually the weather warmed up and it grew big enough to put out in my proper greenhouse. The chillies only grew to half the size of the original ones last year, but by god they are twice as hot. I am going to try again this year with a normal green pepper plant. Green fingers crossed lol.
  • I forgot to mention that i cut off all branches so i only had the main stem, hence, no aphids or bugs of any kind.
  • I don't see why not, Kate. I would overwinter them just the same as I overwinter pelargoniums ie in the conservatory but failing that I'm sure a sunny windowsill during the day and on the floor at night would do.
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