I've been trying to grow some chiltepin plants (a tiny pepper) from seeds taken from a plant that has been growing at my parent's home in Texas for more than 20 years. Unlike most pepper plants, their chiltepin stays alive during the winter so they don't have to re-plant it every year. My goal is to also get a chiltepin to survive year round here at my home in Arizona. I started growing my plants indoors last May and ended up with 31 seedlings (all the seeds were from one tiny pepper, I might add!).
Eventually they started to attract pests so in early fall I moved them outdoors. They grew much faster outside and were just beginning to develop peppers when it started to freeze. I worked hard to cover them up when it got too cold, but I had to leave for two weeks over Christmas and, well, they didn't make it. Since I had been working on them for 8 months I was pretty upset (I have to admit I cried a little). I couldn't bring myself to pull them up and throw them out so they've been sitting in my backyard for two months.
I was making plans to have my mom send me some more seeds when I happened to look at the plants and I was surprised to find that there were tiny green leaves shooting from the bases of many of my "dead" chiltepin plants!
I guess they were just hibernating! The chiltepin seeds can take a month or more to germinate so I was very happy that I didn't have to mess with trying to get them to sprout again. Since I had let them grow too tall while they were inside (they had to be held up by stakes) I decided now would be the best time to prune them a little. Even though they looked pretty dead it was still hard for me to cut them back. I left them all at about 6 inches.
There are still about 1/3 of the chiltepin plants that don't have any new leaves, but the stems of all the plants were green on the inside when I trimmed them so I'm hoping that those will come back too. And as soon as the plants have recovered enough, I'm going to put them in the ground - no more messing around with plastic buckets! Hopefully they'll have enough time this year to make some peppers so I can try cooking with them.
Related Posts: Quail Nest and Chiltepin Seeds, Chiltepin Plants Update 1