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I have a 15-20 cm Bhut Jolokia planted together with a slightly smaller Bhut Jolokia in a pot and they're both growing a lot a suckers (see pictures). In contrast, I also have some Malegueta plants that didn't grow any suckers before branching out in a Y or three branches.

Should I prune some or all the suckers? The plant is very crowded at the bottom, but most resources online advise against pruning peppers, at least at this stage.

Both plants Bigger plant #1 Bigger plant #2

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Any bhut jolokia variety I have planted in the last 8 years has always showed vigorous sucker growth. I have picked them off at your stage and I have let them grow out. The plant will get taller and have more of a canopy if you pick off the suckers. If you let the suckers grow out, you'll have a very bushy plant. I prefer picking off the suckers because it allows for a more manageable plant. I have also heard to not pick them off but I never noticed any difference in growth response from my personal experiences. I think the results would be more pronounced if I lived in a year-round pepper growing season. Allowing the plant to get 2-3 years old might exemplify some better reasons for pruning suckers or not pruning suckers.

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  • Thank you. I've planted a few more in May and left one pot outside and another inside till mid June. The one inside grew much taller with shade leaves and with no suckers till late July and the one outside grew very bushy from the get go. July was very hot they set no fruit (same for the earlier plants). In August both set a lot of fruit, and I can't tell if it made any difference in terms number of pods. However, the late suckers are still setting fruit, so there may be advantage in letting late suckers grow. – Artefacto Sep 5 at 23:28

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