Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!

Chilies give many dishes the right pizzazz. They differ in shape, size and color as well as in the degree of sharpness. For hobby gardeners, the cultivation and especially the winter storage of these chili plants that need warmth are a challenge. They are not hardy, which is why these fiery little fruits are usually only grown for one season. Nevertheless, it is possible to cultivate most varieties perennial. Then it depends on the right hibernation.


Why hibernation is worthwhile

Basically, chillies are perennial plants. Most species are also suitable for overwintering and therefore a perennial culture. This is especially recommended if you have decided on certain types that you use again and again. If you want to switch between the numerous varieties more often, annual resowing makes more sense. In addition, there are varieties whose yields are only significantly higher from the second year and are hardly worth mentioning in the first year of cultivation. Some chili varieties can be up to 10 years old, provided that the winter is optimal.

Tip: Varieties of the genera Capsicum frutescens, pubescens and annuum are particularly suitable for overwintering.


Prepare to hibernate

Chili plants originally come from countries with a very mild climate and are not hardy in our latitudes. They must be protected from frost and cold. It is best to plant them in pots or tubs from the start so that they can be transported more easily to their winter quarters. But you can also carefully dig up planted specimens without damaging the roots and plant them in pots. However, transplanting means additional stress for the plants, which should be avoided if possible.

  • Depending on the weather and temperature, arrange plants in autumn
  • as soon as temperatures drop to 12-13 degrees at night
  • ideally always choose the strongest for the winter
  • particularly hot varieties are usually more sensitive to cold than others
  • harvested all the fruit still hanging on the plants
  • Substrate should be well dried before putting away
  • indoors, drying of the substrate takes several weeks
  • Plants could die quickly in the wet substrate

Taking these things into account, overwintering chillies has a clear advantage over seeding from scratch. Overwintered chilli plants always have a clear vegetation advantage, they flower earlier and the yields are higher.

Tip: Before transporting the plants to the winter quarters, a treatment with neem oil or neem powder is recommended to counteract pest infestation, which often occurs during the winter.

winter quarters

Winter quarters conditions - Winter cool

Ideally, chili plants should be overwintered in a cool and very bright room, such as a bright hallway or unheated conservatory, at temperatures between 10 and 15 degrees. However, temperatures should not fall below 10 degrees. They should also not be exposed to frost under any circumstances.

Winter warm

  • Hibernation also possible in a warm winter quarters
  • for example in bright, heated conservatories, greenhouses and bright living rooms
  • Chili plants should get the sunniest window seat
  • bright rooms with large south-facing windows are optimal
  • Temperatures should not exceed 20 degrees
  • Keep light conditions and temperature as constant as possible
  • plants often produce flowers even in winter
  • for fruit formation, use of plant or daylight lamps required
  • with warm wintering, plants more susceptible to pest infestation
  • Too little light also causes plants to wither

Tip: A cool winter hibernation is always preferable in warm rooms. The warmer the winter quarters, the more intensively and regularly you should check the plants for possible pest infestation, especially spider mites.


Care during the winter

In their natural locations, chillies do not have a winter break because they have sufficient light and warmth all the time. However, the climatic conditions in this country do not allow for this, which is why needs-based care during the winter is particularly important. With a cool hibernation, there is not much to do. First of all, you should make sure that the substrate is well dried before moving to the winter quarters. You reduce watering to a minimum and stop fertilizing completely. The soil in the pot should never be wet but rather dry to slightly moist. However, it should not dry out completely. In cool rooms with high humidity, it may not be necessary to water at all. The darker and cooler the winter quarters, the less water is poured and the lighter and warmer it is, the more water is needed. Regular airing is no less important.

A little more care is needed in warm winter quarters. In a sufficiently bright and warm place, chilli plants are usually cared for as before. They are watered regularly and occasionally sprayed with room-warm water. Humidity plays an important role during the winter. It should be a little higher but not too high. Chilies prefer a humidity of over 50%. If it is too low, it weakens the plants, if it is too high, it can encourage pest infestation. Chilies do not tolerate dry heating air at all.

beginning of spring

The right start to spring

From mid-February/beginning of March, the plants can slowly be warmed up again and watered a little more. New shoots appear relatively quickly on plants that are not yet very woody, while it usually takes a little longer on heavily woody ones. It is an advantage if they still have a certain amount of leaf mass through which photosynthesis can take place, which promotes faster budding. In order to optimally prepare the plants for the new start, they should be cut back in February and planted in fresh soil.


A pruning can be done both before and after hibernation. It is not absolutely necessary, but it does not harm the plants either. Cutting back before wintering makes sense primarily to save space. Depending on the growth and age of the plants, they can be shortened above the first branches or cut back to the main trunk. The first variant is particularly suitable for quite bushy growing varieties and older specimens and for those that branch out relatively early. Chili plants that only branch a little or have grown too tall can be cut back to the main stem.


At the end of winter it is advisable to repot the plants in fresh substrate. If the chilli plants were cut back heavily beforehand, you should wait until the new shoots have appeared and the first leaves have formed before repotting. When repotting, make sure that the new pot is only slightly larger than the old one, otherwise the plants will put too much energy into forming new roots. Since the new substrate usually contains enough nutrients for the first time, you can wait to fertilize until the first buds appear.

Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!