How to Prune Hot Pepper Plants


Hot peppers, a summer and early fall garden staple, include the popular cultivars of jalapeño, cherry, serrano and chili. While the shape and hue of the peppers vary, they are all considered spicy when compared to sweet peppers such as bell and banana. When grown in northern climates with short warm seasons, hot pepper plants should not be pruned, as this will reduce the harvest. In warmer climates with late onset or no frost, they can be pruned lightly in late summer for a larger fall harvest.

Step 1

Immediately prune away and discard any damaged, discolored or diseased leaves or branches throughout the growing season.

Step 2

Lightly prune pepper plants in southern warmer climates (with a late or no onset of frost) in the summer to encourage more fruit in the fall. Remove no more than 1/4 of the total plant, placing cuts evenly throughout the small shrub.

Step 3

Cut pepper plants down to the ground after the first hard frost has turned the foliage dark and the plant begins to collapse. Discard or compost the cuttings.

Things You'll Need

  • Secateurs or scissors


  • Texas A&M University: Pruning Hot Pepper Plants
  • University of Minnesota: Peppers
Keywords: pruning hot pepper garden plants, cutting back pepper plants, trimming a jalapeno pepper plant

About this Author

An omni-curious communications professional, Dena Kane has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals, as well as film and broadcast media. Kane studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.