Pinching Peppers

Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated June 3, 2020)


Peppers are often among the easiest, though strangely still tricky, plants to grow at home. If you love to garden, then chances are you know the challenges and tribulations that come with trying to make your plants thrive. Over time, you may learn a few simple tricks of the trade that can help "encourage" your pepper plants to grow and thrive. One of the easiest, and often overlooked, tricks of the trade is to pinch your peppers. Here is how you can pinch peppers and help make them grow to their largest possible size.

  • What is pinching? Pinching, in the simplest terms is when you kill off a few smaller blossoms, or blooms, to help encourage larger later blossoms. The way that this encourages growth is by forcing the nutrients and more energy to the remaining blossoms. While there are many different ways that you can go about killing off those first few blossoms, there are two main ways that you should do it. The first method is to pinch (hence the name) the first few blossoms, and thus kill them, while the other method is to simply cut off the blossom.
  • When should you pinch? When you decide that you will be pinching, you should only pinch off the first few blossoms or fruit. While there is some debate over whether you should prune off the first blossoms only, or if you should also pinch off the leaves as well, stick to only the blossoms. The leaves will help provide shade which can help protect the blossoming fruit from over exposure to the sun, while also providing a little extra protection against adverse weather Remember, there can actually be too much of a good thing, so keep the pinching in check.
  • When to stop pinching? Typically peppers will have a 70-day growing cycle, and if you pinch too often you end up disrupting that growth cycle. The best rule of thumb as to when you should stop pinching is to stop after pinching off the first few early blooming blossoms (particularly the ones that are bearing fruit). This will kill of those first few early bloomers which can end up stunting the later growth and development of more properly formed pepper plants.

Keep in mind that pinching your peppers is primarily something you will only need to do when transplanting the plants from a container to the garden. The transplanting process can actually traumatize the immature plants and shock them into an early blooming that can end up stunting the growth of the pepper plants.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...


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What is five less than 5?

2014-06-24 19:33:49

Bob Whitaker

Another way that I encourage growth is to harvest the fruit smaller.This keeps the blossoms coming and unless you're wanting to stuff your peppers the small nice is nice and tastes the same.I'm in SW Florida and the same plants have been growing since October .I move them in a shade house in late April and they're still bearing and its the end of June.Yes, our growing season is waaaay different here and took time to get used to.


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