We absolutely love Chillies, and we eat A LOT of them.
Which is why we absolutely have to grow our own, because if we didn’t, come Winter when they are out of season, they easily fetch up to $6 for 5 pretty sad looking red chillies and we’re refuse to pay that much for them.
We have been really lucky with our chilli plants and always get a pretty good crop. But it’s always sad to see these lovely ornamental plants shrivel up and die when Winter sets in.
Well it used to be sad, before we began growing our Chilli plants as perennials.
Although Chillies are actually perennial plants, because the cold temperatures normally kill them off, most people plant them as annuals. But given the right conditions and care, you can take a Chilli plant through the cold months and have it survive to flourish again in Spring and produce more fruit for many seasons.
Although our Chilli plants live in the greenhouse during the Spring, Summer and Autumn, in Winter, when we get hard frosts, we move them indoors as keep them as a house plant. Lovely green Chilli plants dotted around on the corner tables, cabinets and window sills.
In fact, when they go back out into the greenhouse in Spring, the house looks a little bare : (
A Perennial Chilli Is Better Than An Annual Chilli
Because it has been our experience that the older Chillis produce a lot more fruit.
You will also have a longer growing season. If the weather turns cold before your fruit has ripened, bringing the plant indoors will extend ripening times.
Perennial Chilli plants are also time and effort savers, without the need to grow new Chilli plants every season. Now, we just grow 2-3 each year and use them to keep our perennial stock up.
Caring For Your Chilli Plant As A Perennial
The main key to caring for a perennial Chilli plant is to make sure it always has warm to hot conditions. So, when it’s cold, move it into a greenhouse or indoors. As mentioned, we bring ours right indoors once the frosts set in.
After fruiting, prune your Chilli plant back by about 1/3. Also prune off any weak or damaged branches.
Set your Chilli in a place where it will get sunlight from a window but avoid windows that are on the colder sides of the home.
Regularly water and fertilise your Chilli plants but don’t let their feet become too wet.
Keep an eye out for aphids and spider mites and use a natural spray to control them if needed.
So, you don’t have to watch your Chilli plants get frost bitten and shrivel up with cold over the Winter. Try moving them indoors to keep them as a perennial house plant and enjoy your chillies for longer.