The Q&A Archives: hot peppers as perennials

Question: In a previous question I asked about my hot pepper plant which is some relative of a cayenne pepper. The reply called it an annual - however in Florida I know it will grow as a perennial. Do I prune it back ever and if so, at what time and to what extent? It is in a container, big and bushy and still producing currently. Gets larger constantly.

Answer: Sweet peppers are typically annuals, but under the right growing conditions hot pepper plants can be perennial - if they are protected from frost. I know some do grow in Florida as perennials. They can be pinched back to encourage a bushy growth habit and to keep their size under control. Do this on a regular basis - don't wait until they are overgrown or they will become bare in the center and leggy with just a few leaves. Just cut them back gently on a regular basis (every 2-3 weeks while they are actively growing) or pinch out the growing tips to encourage two new stems where one once was. Enjoy!

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