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Topping Chilli Plants – Comparing what happens with Topped Plants vs. Non Topped Plants

I have way to many Chilli Plants this year, and thought that this will be a great opportunity to do some comparing tests. I will compare what happens if I Top the Chilli Plants vs. if I just leave it to grow by it’s own without interfering/cutting/pruning/topping.

In this test, the Chilli Plants are topped when they are about 20 cm high. I have Choosen 4 pairs of Chilli Plants for this test. The pairs look and seem fairly comparable. The experiment is done on these varieties:

– Hungarian Hot Wax
– Fenir
– Habanero Lemon
– Jalapeno

Examples of what a pair looks like before cutting the top of one of the plants form each pair:

I cut the top of one plant of each variety. I cut about 5-7 centimeters from the top (which means that i Cut of 6-8 leaves).

This is how they looked after topping:

It breaks my heart to cut all of those tops of. But I have good hope for better plants. I will keep you posted. 

Update, 6th of April

I still have my plants indoors, so I hope that the conditions are controlled enough for the plants to regrow and be even stronger. Here is a picture of the progress 4 days after topping. It will be interesting to see comparing pictures in a few weeks. 

Update, 10th of April

New Shoots are growing fast on the topped Plants. I have a good feeling about this experiment.

Update, 17th of April

So… I think it’s time to share some comparing pictures of how the topped chilli plants are doing vs. the non topped plants. 

New set of leaves has been coming all over the topped plants. 

There are real differences between the topped plants, and the non topped plants. 

Habanero Lemon (topped plant to the right). The topping has really affected the number of leaves in a good way:

Not as big difference on the Hungarian Hot Wax (topped plant to the right). The non topped plant has flowers coming. The topped plant is producing new leaves, but I’m not expecting Flowers in a while.. 

Chilli Fenir (topped plant to the right). The non topped plant has really been growing taller.

Jalapeño (topped plant to the right):

Excited to continue the experiment. Trying to keep the plants comparable, with the same placement, amount of nutrients and water and so on..

Update, 24th of April

The Plants have been growing a lot the last week. 7 days since last update, and they now look like this.

The Topped Habanero Lemon is now taller (!) than the Non Topped Plant. Topped Plant to the right:

Chilli Fenir is closer to what I expected. The Non Topped Plant has Flowers, and the Topped Plant (on the right) is not at all as tall, and is growing a bit wider:

Hungarian Hot Wax is growing similar to Fenir. The Non Topped Plant had Flowers that is transforming into fruits now. The Topped Plant (to the right) is starting to take another shape.

Jalapeño looks like this. Non Topped Plant is tall and have Flowers. The Topped Plant (to the right) is way smaller, but you can see that Flowers start to form.

Update, 8th of May

14 days since last update. Here’s the current status of the Topped and Non Topped Chilli Plants. 

Chilli Fenir:
The Topped plant (to the left) is really growing just as tall as the Non Topped Plant. However it’s just one branch growing tall. 

The Topped Plant simply look like it decided to grow another top just besides the cut:

The Non Topped Plant has been Flowering for a while, and has Chillies coming right now:

The Non Topped plant (to the right) is growing tall, has been flowering and has Chilli Fruits coming. The Topped Plant (to the left) is much shorter, but has some flowers and quite a lot of more buds coming.

Zoom in on the Topped Jalapeño Plant. This is more the behavior I expected from all of the topped Plants:

Habanero Lemon:
The Topped Plant (to the left) is the tallest plant. It’s simply regrowing to the size it wants to have. Maybe I topped them to early when they were to small? 

However the Topped Habanero Lemon is growing more leaves from the stem:

Hungarian Hot Wax:
There is a big difference comparing the Hungarian Hot Wax Plants. The topped Plant (to the left) is much smaller. It started to develop Flowers about 2 weeks after the Non Topped Plant. Remains to see how it stands in the long run.

A close up on the Non Topped Plant Chillies. Beautiful i think!

Update, 23rd of May

New Chilli Comparison update! The high level conclusion so far is that the Non Topped Plants are producing fruits faster. This goes for both Fenir and Hungarian Hot Wax and Jalapeño. It also seems like the Topped Plant grows into the same height anyway. This Hungarian Hot Wax, Habanero Lemon and Fenir. Maybe I topped them to early?  I am a bit tempted to topped the already topped plants one more time – but I will leave them alone for at least a few more weeks. Topped Jalapeño plant however really has a lot of Flowers coming and are growing in a slightly more bushy way.

Here are some pictures of the current status. Non topped plants are to the left, and topped plants are to the right.


Habanero Lemon:


Hungarian Hot Wax:

Update, 26th of June

It’s now about 1 month since last update and I’m sticking to the same conclusions as I assumed one month ago. 
1.) Non topped plants are producing Chillis faster
2.) They tend to grow to about the same size
3.) I might have topped them to early

Main conclusion is that I will try to top my Chilli plants again next year, but I will let them grow bigger before i top them.

I can also mention that my experiment with rooting the cuttings has been very successful. More about that experiment here: Growing Chilli Plants from Cuttings.

Some pictures from the Topped vs. Non topped Plants (topped Plants to the left):

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