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Protecting Green Pepper Plants in the Winter

Q: I need advise on what do to about bringing my plants indoors now that the winter cold is coming. Any suggestions out there? I'm a new gardener and I had a wonderful crop of peppers all summer and fall and would hate to hurt them now!

Hardiness Zone: 6b

Kiva from 6b

A: Kiva,

If your pepper plants are in the ground, put them in pots filled with 1/3 compost and some good potting mix. Do this in the evening when it's cool. Before bringing them indoors, wash off bugs by giving them a good spray with the garden hose. Bring them into a porch or "in-between" room and wait 24 hours. Examine them for any signs of bugs and if necessary rinse them off again in the shower.

Peppers like it warm (60-65°F) and bright. If possible, put them under two 4 ft fluorescent shop lights (40W cool white). Regular "grow" lights are not strong enough. Buy an inexpensive garment rack on rollers to hang the lights from (available at large discount chains). Keep the tops of the plants within an inch or two of the lights, and keep the lights on all but a few hours a day. Reduce food, and water plants only to keep pots from drying out.

If you want your pepper plants to keep producing, you'll need to give them even stronger light to flower. Use 4 lights instead of 2, or 2 lights plus sunlight. Feed and water as normal.

About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at


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