Care and feeding of your Chilhuacle pepper
February 5, 2019 3:51 PM   Subscribe

I have identified my mystery mole pepper- it's a Chilhuacle negro! Great! Only the wiki page for the pepper is in Italian, and most other pages about it are in Spanish. I know it's a Mexican mole pepper, and mine seems to have become a perennial. How do I care for it so that I can get good sized peppers this summer and fall?

Here are some pictures of my plant. It's in a good pepper sized urn, and a few weeks ago I cut off most of the sucker stems. There are a few sucker stems left, but they have peppers of decent but small size on them and I'm waiting til I pick them.

Should I be fertilizing the pepper now even though it's cold? Is my usual Maxsea the right type of fertilizer? Should I cut off all the small peppers now so that the plant will grow better come summer? Should I cut off the two remaining sucker stems now? Should I mulch it more? less? Is there some special care tips for mole peppers in specific or peppers in general that I just don't know because I've only grown tomatoes before?

I'm reading my various San Francisco gardening books, but most of them have information concerning annual pepper growing, not a plant that has refused to die and looks like It'll live for a decade if I'll let it.

Basically, what should I be doing now, and what should I be doing come Spring and Summer so that my perennial pepper produces.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis to Home & Garden (3 answers total)
Looks very healthy to me. I don't see nutrient deficiencies so I wouldn't worry about fertilizing yet, but it could probably stand some fresh soil to top off the pot. I wouldn't worry about pulling suckers or removing fruit either and would pretty much leave it to its devices for another month or two, then see how it's doing come spring. You might eventually need to repot it (budget at least 1.5 gallons soil per foot of plant height) but it doesn't yet look stressed.
posted by Rust Moranis at 4:34 PM on February 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

There's no reason a pepper plant can't be over-wintered. It'll be happiest at a nice room temperature though.

Feeding-wise, they need plenty of phosphorus to produce fruit. A fertiliser that just supplies a lot of nitrogen will result in lots of green growth, but not much in the way of actual peppers. Treat a pepper much like a tomato.

Keep the small peppers on.
posted by pipeski at 4:49 PM on February 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

I mean that looks good to me. Give it some slow release fertilizer and maybe some seaweed tonic, and a deep water at the base, and it will pretty much take care of itself. Near the end of winter give it a good trim to promote new growth in spring and summer.
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:56 PM on February 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

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