As soon as chillies bear a lot of fruit, the short season ends outside. At night the thermometer approaches dangerously close to zero. Now at the latest you should think about overwintering the chili plants. The effort is definitely worth it. Some chili varieties can easily grow 10 years old. Of course only if it is protected from frost and snow.
So you have also in the next year something of the laboriously attracted seedlings. Chili plants that spend the winter indoors have a clear advantage over those you would have to grow from seeds.
Chillies like warmth and die of frost. At night temperatures below 14 °C, pepper plants grow noticeably slower. If the degree numbers remain permanently below 13 °C, heat-loving species of Capsicum chinense lose their leaves and look sickly. Rocotos are less sensitive to cold. A temperature difference of 8 °C during the day (15 °C) and at night is often no problem for Capsicum pubescens.
Suitable chilli varieties
Every chili, whether annual or perennial, is suitable for wintering. If the temperatures fall in autumn, you should first bring Habanero plants into your home. Often particularly hot varieties are also more sensitive to falling degrees. Therefore, Bhut Jolokia, the Ghost Chili have priority over Jalapeño and Tabasco. At the very end you prepare your Rocoto plants for overwintering.
In September the temperatures drop to 12 °C at night. In October, temperatures below 8 °C are not uncommon. Therefore, apart from Capsicum pubescens plants, plants should be brought in during September. You still have time for Rocotos until October. As a precaution you can take care of a frost warner or study weather forecasts in this period.
Chilis can spend the winter easiest in the apartment. Ideal is a bright room with a large window facing south. A heated conservatory or greenhouse is a good choice as a location. Remember that plants are susceptible to disease when exposed to little light and temperatures below 15°C.
The best way to prevent a lack of light is to brighten the plants with artificial plant light. With the help of plant lamps or fluorescent tubes, you can even store chili plants in the cellar or attic for the winter months.
It is possible without high energy costs to harvest further from the chillies in an otherwise dark room. A small insight for the right light is given in this article.
If you do not have enough space in your apartment and do not want to invest money in a heated greenhouse, there is a solution. Some nurseries offer a hibernation service for plants. Such an offer is usually aimed at owners with high-quality potted plants.
Surely one can be divided opinion whether it is worthwhile with the associated costs for Chilis. At the nurseries, which offer such a service, plants are also professionally cared for.
A week before we bring in chili plants, there’s a neem cure. In the house pests spread on the plants like lightning. This is due to a lack of beneficial insects and a dry climate due to heating air. To prevent the spreading of stowaways on the plant from the beginning, we take systematic measures against aphids, spider mites and Co. Let us advise you in the building market, as said, our experience is Neem oil recommendable.
Now you have to decide between an offensive or defensive hibernation strategy. Bring chili plants defensively over the winter, keep the functions of the plant to a minimum. Only survival counts. With the more offensive variant, you can provide many healthy chilli peppers even in winter with artificial lighting, climate and root space.
The usual way to overwinter chillies is to cut them back and plant them in small pots. The branches are cut back to the first branch. What remains is an approximately 15 cm high branch fork with some leaves and nodes from which new branches and leaves can develop.
The advantage of this type of hibernation is that you can have many chillies hibernated on a sunny windowsill. In this video on YouTube you get a good guide. Pour gently and with little water. At the beginning of the new year the plant will sprout again and form new leaves.
You can only do the second variant if you do not have a visit from the police. In the cellar, empty room, attic or garage you build yourself a plantation. With lots of light, warmth and high humidity. You can buy the equipment in so-called “Grow shops”, or you build your own indoor plant. The lighting is provided by fluorescent tubes, plant lamps or LED grow lamps.
You can make the plan tasty for your partner by growing fresh lettuce even in winter.
Get thermally treated soil for herbs or tomatoes. It’s nice to know that you can get it reduced in most garden centres in autumn. Chili plants from the garden have benefited from an active soil life. In winter this does not necessarily have to be indoors.
We had already mentioned it in the previous section. You avoid many problems related to pest infestation if you treat the plants with Neem beforehand.
Neem oil is extracted from fruits of the neem tree. The natural active ingredient, or rather the combination of different active ingredients, is absorbed by the plant. Sucking insects such as aphids and spider mites lose their appetite for the plant sap. The pests lose the desire to reproduce and the population disappears.
During the whole time you check the chili plants for pests. Also, check the leaves every few days. See how you can counter pest infestation if necessary in this article.
Cut off dry branches and remove withered leaves immediately. Otherwise, you may have problems with pests and diseases.
Another problem in winter is mold. Rare airing, too much water, high humidity contribute to it. You also in the winter correctly pour we had already described in an earlier part.