Even veteran gardeners have trouble with pruning. You don’t want to take off too much, but you also need to make sure you take off enough! Sometimes it feels like you just can’t win. Luckily, we have some answers so you can prune happy, healthy poblano pepper plants.
Pruning poblano peppers will help them grow develop and produce better throughout the growing season. Pruning early will encourage root growth, promote branching, and create air movement. Pruning midseason will help avoid pests and shift focus from foliage to fruit production. Pruning late in the season will create one huge final yield.
Keep reading to make sure you prune your poblano pepper plants correctly!
Should you prune poblano pepper plants?
Pruning is often overlooked but can make all the difference between a sad plant and a happy plant.
You should prune poblano pepper plants to:
- Improve fruit production
- Shape the plant
- Change how the plant looks
- Promote plant health
Pruning early in the season encourages root growth, promotes branching, and creates air movement. Pruning midseason helps avoid pests and shifts focus to fruit production. Pruning late season creates one large final yield.
Likewise, there are three main questions you need to ask yourself when pruning a poblano pepper plant:
- Why are you pruning your plant?
- When is the best time to prune your plant?
- How should you prune your plant?
Throughout this article, we’ll dive deeper into these four reasons and three questions!
When should you prune poblano peppers?
So when exactly should you prune your poblano pepper plants?
You should prune poblano peppers early in the season to encourage root growth, promote branching, and create air movement, in the mid-season to avoid pests and make your plant focus on fruit production, and late in the season to create one bountiful final yield.
Pruning poblano peppers early in the season sets them up for success throughout their life.
Pruning early in the season:
- Encourages root growth
- Promotes branching
- Creates air movement
Pruning mid-season helps your peppers along and helps:
- Avoid pests
- Your peppers focus on fruit production
Lastly, pruning late in the season will encourage one large, final yield.
What’s the purpose of early-season pruning?
Prune poblano pepper plants early in the season to encourage root growth, promote branching, and create air movement.
Read on to learn more!
Encouraging root growth
How does pruning encourage root growth?
Prune poblano peppers early in the season to encourage root growth. Roots are the life force behind plants by uptaking water and nutrients. When you prune your poblano peppers early in the season, it sends a message to spend more energy developing the root system.
You want your poblano pepper plants to establish a strong, extensive root system while they’re young as a good basis for the rest of their lifespan!
Good root systems increase the overall health of plants by allowing better uptake of water and nutrients. They also encourage more growth and can hold up more weight.
Your peppers will put more energy into their root systems if you prune them early in the season because less of their energy will be spent on foliage. You’re essentially tricking your plants into working on their roots!
Branching creates big, strong, healthy plants.
Prune your poblano peppers early in the season to promote branching. Peppers grow out in a Y formation when you prune them at growing points (where two baby leaves are growing on the stem).
If you prune your young peppers at their growing point, it will cause them to form a Y at that point and branch out. This rule follows suit their whole life- pruning at a growing point above the formation of two young leaves causes your plants to branch out.
Creating air movement
Air movement is good for photosynthesis!
Prune your poblano peppers early in the season to create air movement. Peppers need oxygen for photosynthesis.
Pruning the lower section of leaves on your pepper plants creates air movement and allows a better flow of oxygen.
Peppers need oxygen for photosynthesis, the driving force behind all plant functions. They breathe oxygen in through their stomata.
Now it’s midseason. Do you still need to prune?
Prune poblano pepper plants midseason to avoid pests and shift focus from foliage to fruits.
Let’s get some more details!
You don’t want pests crawling all over your poblanos!
Prune poblano peppers midseason to avoid pests. Keeping branches and leaves off the ground discourages pests from crawling on your pepper plants. It also helps avoid diseases spreading from the soil to your leaves.
Pruning the bottom leaves and branches of your poblano pepper plants helps keep your plant elevated above the ground as much as possible.
Keeping leaves and stems from touching the soil decreases your chances of pests climbing onto your plant, or diseases spreading from the soil to your leaves.
Shifting focus from foliage to fruits
At this point, you want your poblanos to start focusing on producing fruit instead of foliage.
Prune your poblano pepper plants midseason to help them shift focus from growing foliage to producing fruit. Pruning foliage encourages your pepper plants to put more energy into their fruit production.
When you prune your foliage, you’re telling your poblano pepper plants to put more energy into fruit production. Feel free to prune branches with no flowers or fruits on them to encourage your poblano peppers to shift their focus from growing foliage to growing healthy fruits.
Late season (before winter)
Is there any reason to prune at the end of the season?
Prune poblano pepper plants late season (before winter) to force your plant to put all of its energy into fruit production.
Finally, the home stretch.
Putting all energy into fruit production
A final pruning can create an epic last yield!
Prune poblano pepper plants late season (before winter) to make them put all their energy into fruit production. This will create one large, healthy final yield before the season is over.
Pruning your pepper plant completely down except for the branches with flowers and fruit at the end of the season will encourage one large final yield by forcing your plants to focus on fruit production.
How to prune poblano peppers
Now that you know when and why to prune poblano peppers, let’s talk about how!
To prune poblano peppers:
- Sanitize your shears
- Gently hold your pepper plant, with your hands out of the way
- Prune where two baby leaves are forming
- Compost the branch you’ve cut
Keep reading to find out exactly how to prune your poblano plants.
Sanitize your shears
Your best option for sanitizing shears is to use 70-100% isopropyl alcohol. All you need to do is wipe your shears down with alcohol. No need to wipe it back off- it will evaporate!
Isopropyl alcohol will kill any harmful pathogens without damaging your shears.
Gently hold your pepper plant, with your hands out of the way
Gently hold your pepper plant around where you want to cut. Don’t tug on the branch, just support it. Keep your hands out of the way from where you’re going to cut the pepper plant.
Prune where two baby leaves are forming
The best place to prune a plant is where two baby leaves are forming. This will encourage branching as each leaf will create its own branch.
Compost the branch you’ve cut
Compost the vegetation you’ve cut in order to dispose of it sustainably!
Pruning poblano peppers in a pot
If you’re growing your poblano peppers in pots, feel free to bring your pot on top of a table or bench while you prune. It’s also a good time to inspect the soil for mealybugs and similar pests.
Pruning poblano peppers in a raised bed
One of the main reasons people choose to grow poblano peppers in raised beds is that you don’t have to bend down as far while working. Pruning your peppers in a raised bed will be easier on your back than if you were pruning in the ground.
Pruning poblano peppers in the ground
You’ll have to get on your hands and knees to prune your poblano peppers in the ground! You might as well do some weeding while you’re down there.
You can use knee pads or other devices to make the ground less harsh on your knees.