Question: Should I prune my serrano pepper? I know you’re supposed to prune some vegetable plants, but I haven’t grow peppers before. What’s your advice? – Whitney G
Gardening Channel’s Jennifer Poindexter Replies: This depends upon the growth habit of your plants. Check the following situations to see if they apply to your plant. If so, you may wish to consider pruning your serrano pepper.
1. Serrano Pepper Plant Produces Too Early
If your serrano pepper plants begin to produce fruit early in the season before the plant has reached its full growth potential, you should remove any blossoms.
This will allow the plant’s energy to go into its growth instead of the production of fruit.
2. The Plants Foliage is Touching the Soil
You should also remove any leaves that touch the soil. If you spot foliage that’s damaged, yellow, or diseased remove it as well. This can deter fungal diseases from forming and deter pests as well.
By removing any parts that are susceptible to damage you’re taking steps to encourage a healthier plant.
3. The Plant Produces Suckers
Another example of when you may need to prune a serrano pepper plant is when the plant forms suckers.
By removing them, this will redirect energy to the rest of the plant and the fruit that’s already forming.
4. End of Season
When colder temperatures are getting closer, this is a time to think about pruning your serrano pepper plant.
As you top the plant, this sends a message to hurry and ripen the fruit already growing. This may help you allow each pepper to remain on the vine until fully ready for harvest while still beating the cooler weather.
5. Weak Portions of the Plant
If you grow a serrano pepper where it doesn’t receive enough sunlight, the plant can become lanky. This makes for a weak plant.
Don’t let this deter its growth and production. Instead, cut each branch back to approximately three inches and allow it an opportunity to regrow in an area with better lighting.
These are a few things you should take into consideration when deciding on pruning your serrano pepper plants.
If your pepper plant never faces any of these scenarios, it may not be necessary to prune. If it does, you’ll know that pruning can help rectify some of the issues.
Gardening is a journey with many variations but allow these tips to guide you as you navigate growing serrano peppers in your planting zone.