If you have ever tried to maintain a garden or vegetable patch, then you will know that sometimes your plants can grow a bit top-heavy.
If you prune early you can avoid any tall, lanky plants, but no matter what, as your plants grow larger, your pepper plants will need staking to avoid any damage.
Depending on what variety of pepper plant you have, they can grow anywhere from 2ft to 8ft tall in one season. But, the most important factor of all, is where the plant's weight is distributed.
If a majority of the leaves, fruits, and branches form at the top of your plant, then you may find that your plant will begin to lean. It is in these situations that staking will help the health and aesthetics of your plant and garden.
What staking does is provide a sturdy support, this allows your plants to stay upright, allows for better airflow and overall easier harvesting. Staking your peppers will also prevent your plants from falling over or breaking in windy and rough conditions.
It will simply do your garden justice.
Now, let's learn how you can stake your pepper plants the right way.
Staking- What is it?
So, what is staking exactly? Well, staking involves you providing your plant with the support of another object that is upright. This is usually a sturdy piece of metal, wood, or plastic.
Many gardeners will stake their pepper plants from day one to ensure their plants always have good support.
However, peppers are not always in need of support, and it does depend on which variety you are growing.
As an example, many C. annuum varieties will grow short and bushy, they will often already have the support they need given by the main stem.
Bell peppers, on the other hand, are different, they will usually need assistance, as the weight from these peppers can cause the plant to lean or break.
Heavy pepper varieties should have a support system in place to prevent any breakages caused by the weight of their fruits.
Other plants, such as C. chinense peppers, like ghost peppers and habaneros, will grow tall and wide, and these can end up top-heavy with fruit.
These plants will benefit from having a sturdy stake in place that you tether to the plant to prevent damage.
What should I use to stake my peppers?
There are a multitude of very creative methods people use to stake plants, from using a wimple wooden stake to complex and artful trellis for climbing plant varieties.
When it comes to staking peppers, you do not need to rig up anything fancy. It should just be sturdy enough for you to support your peppers in windy conditions.
Yet it does not need to be extremely thick either.
Here, we have some suggestions for you to use for staking your peppers.
Skewers- best used for young plants
When peppers are young and being hardened, they can be staked with a lightweight and sturdy skewer. These are a great option as they are sharp, which helps to avoid any potential damage to the roots.
Do remember, though, these are not strong enough to support a fully-grown plant.
One of the best things about these as an option is that they are thin. At no more than half a centimeter wide, with a pointed end, they are great for effortlessly sliding through the soil without causing any disturbance to the roots of the plant.
Traditional stakes are usually a straight, pointed piece of wood, or another sturdy material. They are purpose-built, and they are really easy to find at a local garden center.
These types of stakes should be driven into the ground around 2-3 inches from the base of your pepper plant.
Then, as the plants grow, you can attach various points of the plant to the stake for support. You can easily find these online, or even at stores such as Home Depot.
They are economical, reusable, and they are also specifically made for this purpose.
Do try to get thin stakes, as thick stakes may disrupt your plants roots.
A unique form of recycling, that will also give you a rustic garden aesthetic, and save you money you would otherwise spend on stakes.
You can just head into the wilderness, and pick up some recently fallen tree branches. You just need to ensure that they have some strength left in them, so they will not snap during the season.
They will not be reusable for every season, but it's not like the woodlands are in shortage of these. You can also sharpen the end of the tree branches before staking so that you do not disturb the roots of your plant.
How to do it
Staking your peppers is simple and easy. However, there are some important steps you may want to take so that you can ensure that your staking goes as well as it possibly can. The most important thing is that you avoid disturbing your pepper plant roots as you stake.
Cost to stake- $5-$10 USD (Or, free if you are crafty)
What materials do you need?
- Stakes- from Amazon, Home Depot, or the wilderness if you are using tree branches.
- Staking Velcro/ties- from Amazon or Home Depot.
Pepper Plant Staking Steps:
1. First of all, determine which way your plant leans. If your pepper plant is leaning to the right, then you will want to insert the stake on the left side of the plant base.
This is because the stake will do a better job of pulling the plant up than pushing it up. If you are dealing with a young plant that is not leaning yet, then just skip this step.
2. Next you will need to insert your stake around 2-3 inches from the base of the plant. Once you have determined where you will place the stake, in one fluid motion you should insert your stake at the base of the pepper plant.
Push it down around 6 inches until the stake is sturdy. If you are growing peppers in pots, you can push the stake to the bottom of the container, as long as your stakes are long enough to do this.
3. Finally, you will want to tether the plant to the stake. You can use Velcro, zip ties, twist ties, or string, and loosely tether the plant to the stake.
If your plant is leaning, then pull it gently toward the stake and loosely fasten the main stem to the stake around halfway up the plant. Leaving some room to allow for it to grow.
Ensure that you secure the plant just above a node on the main stem to ensure that the tie will not move as the plant grows.
After you have staked your pepper plants, you should check on them to ensure that the tie is holding and that they are doing okay. You should also give the stake a little movement test to ensure that it is sturdy.
If your stakes are tall enough, you can also dual-purpose them into garden est deterrents.
You can tie some tin pie pants at the top, and they will blow around in the wind, making noise and reflecting light, which will deter a few types of pest.
As your plants continue to grow, you should regularly tether them to the stake to continually provide additional support. If your plants grow additional stems, as well as the main stem, then adding more support around each plant can help with the weight of the fruits.
If this is the case, you can always take a tip from bean growing and use three or more stakes to create a cone shape around your plant, which will provide plenty of stakes that you can tether the additional stems to without squashing the plant.
Frequently Asked Questions
Could I use a tomato cage?
Yes. You can. Tomato cages may even be more beneficial for pepper plants than they are for tomatoes. The circular supports that surround these are perfect for hanging branches' ad heavy fruits.
The height is usually perfect as well, around 4ft in height above the soil. They are reusable and create a uniform appearance in your garden.
Do all peppers need to be staked?
Not all pepper plants need staking. Some will d just fine without one. However, it doesn’t go amiss to add one just in case, as your plants grow larger. Better to be safe than sorry.