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My peppers plants are doing well (I hope...), but while looking closely at them today (I was looking at the flowers (or fruit?) poking through at the base of the leaf stems), and I've now really noticed that near the base of each of the plants are two really small leaves, branching out like a centimetre above the soil line.

Generally they seem healthy, so I've been ignoring them, but they're obviously tiny in comparison to the rest of the plant, and I've now noticed that these still have little buds forming at the base of their stems.

Should I remove these tiny leaves? Ignore them? Or what?

Because it will be much more effective than any explanation I can form, here's a photo of one of the plants, with the leaves at the base highlighted:

Cropped photo of full pepper plant, in pot, on window sill

And here are the leaves up close:

Cropped photo of pepper plant base, showing only the smallest leaves near base

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Are you sure those leaves weren't there to begin with? –  Peter Turner Jun 24 '11 at 19:15
    
@Peter - I'm not sure what you mean... they had to grow from somewhere, they can't have been there to begin with because there wasn't a plant to begin with - I was given the plants when they were ~5cm tall, and they were started them from seed before given to me, I believe. –  DMA57361 Jun 24 '11 at 19:19
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Heheh, yeah I guess that's technically true. I think however, that those leaves are the first leaves that show up. They always look a little different than the rest of the plant. I don't know if it's ok to pull them. If you were planting tomatoes you'd probably bury them. It's probably not as serious as trying to surgically remove your tailbone, but probably just as useful! –  Peter Turner Jun 24 '11 at 19:26
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up vote 7 down vote accepted

The very first leaves a pepper seedling puts out are thin and pointy. They're about an inch long and don't last long. Technical term is a dicot cotlydon. These "bootstrap" the seedling whilst the first proper leaves grow.

By this definition, those look like adult leaves, although yours are smaller than the top leaves (which look very big to me). The intermediate level leaves are an intermediate size. So I think they're just older leaves. What kind of chile pepper is this? (the top leaves look a little different to what I usually see - could be the variety or the growing conditions)

With a mature plant, there usually is growth from the bottom. If you look where those leaves join the main stem there are a couple of tiny buds - these will grow into new stems. I just let them go ahead and put out new branches. You'll then have more flowers and fruit later on.

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Good advice (and good eye), my gut reaction would be to pull those suckers, but I guess you don't have to. –  Peter Turner Jun 24 '11 at 19:38
    
I think it's some kind of bell pepper, probably red, based on the unsure response I've had from who gave them to me. The growing conditions are unlikely to be ideal... as I'm kind of making up how to look after them as I go along (except for the bits I've already asked here!). And this plant has the biggest leaves of the lot, it's just the one that's next to me when I'm sat at my desk so for maximum laziness its the one I photographed. But, ultimately, the stems do have little buds forming, so I guess I'll leave them for now if that's a positive sign. –  DMA57361 Jun 24 '11 at 19:52
    
Yes it looks fine - the darker green leaves are a good sign. I find they turn a yellower green when they're feeling old and growth is slow. –  winwaed Jun 24 '11 at 23:27
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