QUESTION: Do pepper plants need support? I’m not sure if I should stake mine like I do with tomatoes, or if they’re fine on their own. What do you think? – Amanda W
JENNIFER POINDEXTER AT GARDENING CHANNEL REPLIES: It depends upon the variety of pepper you’re growing. If you’ve added a smaller pepper variety to your garden, they shouldn’t need added support.
This could include varieties such as baby belle, shishito peppers, cayenne peppers, and many others.If the peppers remain low to the ground and have smaller fruit, they shouldn’t need a cage or staking.
However, if you grow larger pepper varieties (such as bell peppers) they may require support. The reason being is these plants are rigid and the fruits become too much for the plant to support.
To avoid breakage, you should place a cage around the plant or a stake next to the plant. Providing support also helps keep your fruit and parts of the plant off the ground.
This protects your harvest while also deterring pests and diseases. When the plant breaks and becomes damaged, this leaves room for diseases to enter the plant.
If fruit is left to rot on the ground, or if there are diseased parts of your plant, this will attract pests. By keeping everything tidy and healthy, you could avoid these issues.
Now that you know that support is necessary for some pepper varieties, let’s discuss your options for supporting your plants.
The first option is to place a cage around your pepper plant. Cages are a good option as long as they’re placed around the plant while it’s smaller.
It can be difficult to place a cage on a mature plant. Some pepper plants become taller than the cage which also causes support issues.
Another option is to stake your pepper plants. Place a stake of some sort next to your plant and tie the plant to it.
This is a good method if you’re later staking your plants. It also is a good option for plants that become larger than what cages can support.
However, you’ll have to continue to stake the plant as it grows taller or it’ll become top heavy and fall over regardless.
Finally, you can practice the Florida weave. This is where you place stakes intermittently down a row of pepper plants.
Use twine to create a row behind your pepper plants, circle around the end stake, and come back making a row of twine in front of your pepper plants.
This keeps the plants between the two pieces of twine and supports them. If you’re growing a lot of pepper plants, this could be a cost-effective method for supporting them. Yet, you’ll have to tie up your pepper plants as they grow when using this method.
Take these few ideas into consideration when figuring out how to keep your pepper plants healthy and supported during the growing season.
You now have a better understanding of when pepper plants need support and a few methods of supplying this need.
Look at the pepper varieties you’re growing, decide if support is necessary, then pick the best option for your stage of growth and the materials you have available to you. Peppers are a wonderful plant to incorporate into your garden, so take the steps necessary to keep them healthy and productive.