Results of topping chilli plants

It was March 28th when the Big Snip occurred. The tops of the seedlings were unceremoniously chopped off and they have been nursing their wounds ever since. All in the hope that new side shoots would appear and make bushier, sturdier and more productive plants.

That was two weeks ago…what do the plants look like now?

Here they are, in all their glory: tight plants with side shoots a plenty. A bit awkward, in the teenage phase if you will, but their small leaves will soon catch up with their big leaves and all will be bushy and well.

What’s next?

The plants need to have a good space around each of them. They are currently wedged together on windowsill trays and under a grow light in our study. Not ideal. There are now some critical issues:

  1. Shortage of compost: many plants need potting on but compost is in short supply. We are reusing last year’s spent compost, mixed with extra perlite and garden compost. No grit this year as it is too expensive and difficult to get hold of.
  2. Over crowding: by not potting on yet we have larger plants in smaller pots, with less gap between each plant. Light, air flow and good space is what each plant needs to grow to its full size potential. All those new side shoots will grow leggy if they are over crowded.
  3. Pot bound root ball: yet again roots are starting to be seen from the bottom of pots. If they are not potted on the roots poking out will wither and the ones inside will become pot bound.
  4. Space indoors is running out: an entire room has been taken over by chillies. This is not practical anymore.

Solutions are coming.

A 900L bag of compost is on the way (there are also tomatoes, squashes, cucumbers, beans to consider you know). A 3m x 2m poly tunnel is ordered, staging is being prepared. Perhaps within this week our plants will be heading out into the great outdoors (heated poly tunnel).

3 thoughts on “Results of topping chilli plants

  1. Great post. I’m having similar issues (short of compost and about 60 chillies that at some point will need bigger pots. I haven’t topped any for now, but I was thinking about doing it, aiming for “bushier hairstyles” this year… We’ll se how that goes.
    Thanks for sharing your experience. Best of luck with your season 🙂

    Like

    • Thanks Sara. Sorry for the delay in replying (over a month!), but this comment slipped through the net. Compost has been a serious issue for growers this spring. We were lucky enough to get a bulk 1 tonne bag delivered a few weeks’ ago, just in time for the serious potting on. Weather has been fine this year so topping should work – as long as they survived last night’s frost! All the best, Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: How and when to top your chilli plants? | Birdhouse Chillies

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