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Potted habanero plant, will it survive indoors?


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#1 Hassouni

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 02:20 PM

I've been growing habaneros in a pot outside since midsummer, and now that a hurricane is upon us, it's producing quite a few peppers, some still green, some fully ripe, some in-between. Few questions:

Should I pick the red, ripe ones as soon as they get to that state, or can I leave them on the plant?

What's the best way to store a bunch of picked habaneros?

And finally, I brought the plant indoors so it won't get destroyed in the hurricane, but can or should I bring it indoors over the winter so it doesn't frost up, and if so, can it still produce fruit? There are lots of as yet undeveloped buds springing up on it.

#2 andiesenji

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 03:33 PM

Most chile pepper plants do well in pots - they will need a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight or equivalent. Pinch back some of the growing tips so they don't get too "leggy" - many pepper plants double as "indoor ornamental" plants, especially those with great color. If you treat them carefully, they can live for two years or more - not too much watering, they need good drainage. I kept a Scotch Bonnet plant growing in a pot for three years. I pruned it into a globe shape and during the winter picked off half the blossoms so it wouldn't be too stressed.
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#3 Trev

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 03:39 PM

I've had good luck with habaneros for a number of years now. I'd recommend picking the red ones as soon as they're ready, there's really no advantage to leaving them on the plant. In fact, the others will ripen faster if you take the ripe ones.
For storage, if you're not making a hot sauce or pickling them then just freeze them fresh. That's all I do with mine and then use them one or two at a time over the course of the year. They're fine frozen, don't lose any heat or flavour, but much easier to work with in this state.
As far as keeping the plant over the winter, I'm not sure you'll get anything from it during that period unless you have really good indoor growing conditions. Even a sunroom won't really do it as you're getting so much less sun now than even just a month ago. Much less intensity too. If you have a fluorescent light and table to set the plant up for the winter, then you could cut it back, feed it lightly and baby it through the winter, but I wouldn't expect much from it as far as peppers go when the snow is flying.
Good luck with it.
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#4 Mjx

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 12:13 AM

Andie's advice about keeping the plants pinched back is important for another reason: If the plant grows a lot, you'll probably decide to repot it, in a pot that gives it 'enough room to grow'. And, it will grow. And, while it's growing, it will temporarily but entirely call it quits, with regard to producing flowers.

Our two chili plants are about three years old, now, and one has been producing heavily since early summer (the other, inadvertently repotted in a really large pot, only started flowering about a month ago). I pick the fruit at all different stages, and mostly just string them on thick thread to dry.

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#5 HungryC

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 07:25 AM

Pick the ripe peppers....leaving them on the plant too long will cause the plant to decrease its flowering, leading to fewer peppers.

#6 PSmith

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 12:46 PM

It should survive indoors. Make sure you water it with rain water rather than tap as the chlorine doesn't fit well.

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#7 andiesenji

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 01:00 PM

Also, if the foliage begins to take on a yellow cast, mix a pinch of Epsom salts in the water and apply that about every 3 or 4 days. It shouldn't take long for the leave to green up again, then stop the treatment as it encourages foliage but not flowering and fruit set.
"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
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#8 radtek

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 01:05 PM

I have one that will come indoors soon. Usually I let them die off.

It'll need some light and warmth which is sort of a conundrum in the winter next to a window but this year it'll have a light focused on it. A 46w 2600K CFL puts out quite a bit of heat and the output will supplement what the plants need. Hopefully.

#9 KennethT

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 01:26 PM

I agree with many of the posts above, but in my experience, fluorescents and CFLs do not have enough light intensity for a mature plant. They're great for seedlings and young plants, but if you want your mature plant to do well indoors, I'd recommend a stronger light. For one plant, you could get away with a 150W sodium lamp, or a 90W led UFO. Run them with a timer - roughly 12hours on/off. Neither setup will be inexpensive, but you could grow your plant in a closet and have the output of a normal summer day. Check these guys out: http://urbanhydro.org - they haven't updated their site in a while, and they focus on hydroponics, but they've also done quite a bit of research into lighting.