Can you overwinter New Mexico Chile plants?

We were recently asked:

Is it a 100% no for overwintering NM Chile plants? If so why?

We've found that New Mexico chile plants don't produce as well after being overwintered – they will survive if kept from frost, but they are not usually anywhere near as productive as fresh started plants the next year. Some pepper plants are more suited to overwintering and can live and produce for many years, but New Mexico chile plants seem to be best in their first year. 

Rattlesnake Hatch Chile - Super hot!!


The super hot Rattlesnake Hatch Chile, shown above,
produce the most in their first year



Here's a little more information on New Mexico chile varieties:

Capsicum annuum: 1.5-3 years
These are the shortest lived of peppers, and are best grown as annuals each year. Although "annum" is Latin for "annual," these can still be perennial plants if grown in tropical climates. These include New Mexico ChileBell Peppers, sweet/Italian Peppers, Serrano, Cayenne, Paprika, Hatch Chile Peppers, ornamental peppers like the gorgeous NuMex Twilight pepper, and all of the fast growing Jalapeños. These pepper plants can live between 1.5-3 years.

Because of their short lived nature, we find that the New Mexican Chile varieties really produce the best in their first year, they don't produce much if grown longer than that, so planting fresh plants each season is best for the biggest harvests.

Can you overwinter pepper plants? Carolina Reaper plants can be grown for many years.
Carolina Reaper plants are part of the Capsicum chinense family and can live 3-5+ years if kept warm and happy.


Want to grow peppers for many years?

If protected from frost, or if growing in a warm client without winters, many peppers will produce for years. Read more in our post: How Long do Pepper Plants Live and find out what kind of pepper varieties grow for 5-10+ years.