Pepper seedlings are rewarding to grow, but it’s frustrating when you can’t get the strong stalks and abundant yields you were hoping for. However, there’s any easy way to get good side growth and strong stems. All you need is a pair of scissors and a little patience.
Watch this video below for the how-to, or read below for the instructions.
1. Count the Leaves
Your pepper plants should have at least 8-10 leaves before you prune them.
2. Grab a Trusted Pair of Scissors (or use your fingers) and Top off the Plant
Count the leaves from the bottom up, and cut off the last 2-4 leaves. They should be leaf numbers 7,8,9, and 10. I show you how to count in the video.
Top off the leaves and have faith that your peppers will be better for it. The pepper plant will look kind of sad, but it will soon grow into a strong plant with sturdy stalks, lots of side growth, and loads of blooms that will soon turn into an abundance of peppers.
3. If the Pepper Flowers Indoors, Pinch it again
Sometimes the pepper will start flowering indoors before it’s time to set it out in the vegetable garden for the year. If that happens, cut off the blooms. Sure, it’s nice to have a pepper growing in your house, but you’ll get more peppers in the long run if you cut off all blooms until it’s time to harden off the pepper for life outdoors.
Kristen is a former farm kid turned urban gardener who owns the popular gardening website, Shifting Roots. She is obsessed with growing flowers and pushing the limits of what can be grown in her zone 3b garden. She also loves to grow tomatoes, but oddly enough, dislikes eating them raw.