Pinching out peppers: Useful or not?

Pointed pepper
Pointed pepper

Pinching out peppers is not a must. But it has, as with tomatoes and cucumbers, some advantages. Here is how to do it and what it can do for you.

Opinions differ as to whether or not peppers need to be pinched out. Some think it is a sensible care measure, others feel it is unnecessary. The fact is: it is not mandatory, as is the case with tomatoes, for example, but it does not harm the bell pepper. But there is demonstrable no evidence whether the harvest is better by pinching out the peppers. But it is definitely worth a try.

Crisp, ripe peppers and plenty of them are the dream of many amateur gardeners. Sweet or hot, roundish or pointed ,there are very many shapes and flavors of peppers, hot peppers or chili plants. They all belong to the same group of plants and, accordingly, are sown and cared for in the same way. But before it can be pinched out, the bell pepper must be successfully sown and grown.

How to pinch out peppers?

Pinching out a bell pepper means removing unfruitful side shoots that form in the leaf axils, that is, between the stem and the summer shoots. The purpose of pinching out is to stimulate the bell pepper plant to produce more flowers and thus to bear more fruit. The procedure is the same as for tomatoes. Cucumbers and eggplants also enjoy such a care treatment.

Peppers should be pinched out from the young plant stage, and then until they bear fruit. If the stingy shoots were allowed to grow, the plant would produce a lot of leaf mass but hardly any fruit. If you remove the side shoots, the bell pepper can invest all its energy in the formation and supply of fruit. It is best to carry out this care only in dry weather and in the morning, because then the wound dries and heals the fastest. It is also advisable to regularly check the plant for new stingy shoots, because the smaller the shoots that are removed, the smaller the wounds.

If you choose to pinch out, you should also support your peppers with a stick or small scaffold, as removing the side shoots will make them grow less bushy and, depending on the variety, may make them unstable. In addition to pinching out the peppers, you can harvest the first fruit when it is still green. This will stimulate the plant to form more new fruits.

Tip: break out the king flower of the bell pepper

If the bell pepper has grown to about 40 cm (16 in), then it has already formed large leaves, and it does not take long before the plant begins to appear its first flowers. In other varieties of peppers, the height of growth varies.

For large-fruited bell pepper varieties, one trick has proven to be very effective: Pinching out the king flower. This forms at the top of the plant between the main shoot and the first side shoot; they make a Y. Grasp the flower between your thumb and forefinger and twist it out. The king flower can also be pinched off or broken out. Breaking out the king flower stimulates leaf and shoot growth.

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