Trimming pepper plants helps the plants conserve energy, and often leads to larger peppers. Some gardeners also prune at the end of the season to help remaining peppers mature faster. As the weather cools, growing peppers often run out of time to ripen. By removing unnecessary foliage and stems, you enable the pepper plants to direct their energies to ripening the remaining peppers.
Monitor the growth of the pepper plants during the beginning of the growing season. When the pepper plants become at least 12 inches tall, they are large enough for you to begin trimming back. Look carefully at the way the plant grows to find the sturdiest foundation of the plant at the base with smaller growth at the top of the plant extending out.
Trim off the smaller growth at the top of the plant that extends out from the base of the plant with the pruning shears. Remove these smaller branches where they intersect with the foundational branches.
Check the foundation of the plant for suckers growing between the main stem and the lateral stems. If you find suckers, clip these off at the base where they begin with the pruning shears.
Prune pepper plants until you notice peppers forming. Suspend pruning for the remainder of the growing season once peppers form.
Check the pepper plants approximately three to four weeks prior to the expected first frost of the autumn, looking for peppers that are still growing on the plants. Because these peppers may run out of time to ripen, cut off all branches except for the branches holding maturing peppers. If you find any blossoms or very tiny peppers, remove these as well because this growth will not have enough time to mature before the end of the growing season.