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I planted a capsicum/pepper plant about 5 months back and it's been growing well and producing a few fruits. I live in Melbourne, Australia and it's now Winter, and the plant now has lots of fruit, but looks like it's on its last legs.

I was hoping to keep it going through winter till next year. Is there anything I can do to save it or am I too late?

Picture of the pepper plant Another picture of the pepper plant

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3 Answers 3

I would pick the ripe fruits - this might give your plant a little bit more strength. however, these plants look like mine when I've grown them in pots and brought them in for winter. Most people grow them as annuals (and this is what I do with my raised bed plants, just letting the frost kill them).

I have had some mixed success over-wintering them in pots, although it is patchy and some years none survive. They seem prone to disease. Leaves fall off (as per yours), but as long as some green stem survives into spring, then you should be able to grow the plant again and get lots of fruit from it. I don't know if it makes a difference, but when I've done this, I've always planted the plant into a bed outside for the new year.

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As an addenda, avoid frosts, and I suspect good light helps for winter (but I don't have evidence either way) –  winwaed Jul 17 '11 at 13:46

The plant is already very tall and all you've got is trimmed branches, I think it is hard for the leaves to grow again from the trimmed branches. So the short answer is no.

I know trimming is all you can do for a weak plant. It is dying. Your might want to save the chili fruit and sow and the seed after winter. A new plant in Spring will be much stronger than a plant that survived winter.

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The OP can confirm but I don't think it has been trimmed. When attempting to overwinter peppers, they tend to drop most or all of their leaves resulting a plant that looks like this. Old fruit stalks may appear like trimmed stems. The few leaves that survive usually look old. –  winwaed Jul 18 '11 at 2:04
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Anyway, plant without leaves is diffcult to pull water to high end of the plant. –  lamwaiman1988 Jul 18 '11 at 2:09
    
Yes most people grow them as annuals because they do this. I have in the past managed to over-winter them though. As long as they reach spring with some green stem, then they'll put out lots of new growth and you'll have a good strong plant - even though most of the above ground stems from the first year will have been lost or will die back. It is nearly a month after the solstice, so spring isn't far away: Although I don't over-winter them myself these days, if I was in the OP's position I'd try to keep them going as spring is probably only a couple of months away. –  winwaed Jul 18 '11 at 13:09
  • remove all maturing fruit so plant doesn't think it's done its job(made seed) and die
  • moist soil is ok but never over water (especially in winter) and never let it get totally dried out or get soggy feet (unless you're growing hydroponically!)
  • good soil nutrient levels are important to strengthen plant before over wintering (yellowing leaves can be a sign of low nutrients as well as other things) - when potting on try to move complete root ball with not too much disturbance and avoid crushing roots/stems
  • good light levels with no overwintering draughts (ie move off window sills at night if indoors, put back in high light levels in warm spot during daylight)
  • if plant drops its leaves to go into winter dormancy trim main stem back to above healthiest, green, 'branch' point and keep an eye out for any further browning and be prepared to trim again if necessary, then wait for new growth in spring.

Pay attention to what the plant is telling you BUT it may still die - they can be fickle things.

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