Ted’s ornamental peppers “even out”

Catching Ted for a chat isn’t the easiest this time of year; the needs of both the shrub roses and Gardens of Eatin’ are always pressing. We gathered the following info. from Ted before he ran out the door shouting something about Japanese Beetles.

As far as the Home Demo. gardens are concerned, it seems the pepper plants in the All-America garden have just been pruned and staked.

These peppers were staked to bolster the plant for its heavy-hanging fruit. Usually sturdy plants, they sometimes break due to the extra weight.

Ted selects and cuts shoots along the inside of these “Orange Blaze” Ornamental Peppers, a 2011 All-America Selection, to encourage the plant to “bush out,” or grow outward. This practice lets sunlight hit the entire plant, and keeps overcrowding to a minimum, while also promoting more space, and thus, larger peppers. 

“It should have been done a while back,” Ted said, noting that a month after germination is fit to prune (we’re at about six weeks). “I’m only just getting around to it now.”

Light pruning remains key, as a heavy hand now could stunt the plant’s growth and limit pepper harvest down the road. Common advice includes pruning until the plant reaches an “evened out” look.

Once Ted has reined in the swarms of beetles harassing the Arboretum’s rose collections, we’ll be back with more…

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