If you grew peppers this year, chances are that you’ve still got a tired-looking plant hanging around with the odd fruit still clinging to it. You could chuck it on the compost, but how about the alternative?
The Chile Man, with a database of 3729 peppers and chillies, is chock full of information, including how to overwinter your peppers. It could be worth it, as peppers, it seems, nearly always produce more fruit in their second year.
Hibernating plants should be cut right down to avoid pest problems. Information includes which species are likely to overwinter most successfully (C. pubescens is most likely to survive, but others aren’t beyond hope), and how to water.
Meanwhile, for a first-person account of pepper care, look up The Ottawa Gardener, who used to blog at Ottawa Hortiphilia, but now writes at Veggie Patch Reimagined. Treating peppers as perennials gives them a head start the following spring, but some TLC is needed. Taking the plants into the shower at night to combat aphids (her biggest problem) might seem beyond the call of duty, but snow hangs around in Ottawa till April. What’s a gardener to do?
Anyway, she gives instructions for overwintering and finds it particularly useful for hot peppers, as it gives her a couple of small harvests a year. If you’re puzzled by leafless peppers or small leaves, here’s the place for reassurance.