green peppers hydroponics trellising pruning method

Trellised pepper plant with two stems growing straight up to the supporting wire.

 

Trellising sweet peppers is common practice in commercial hydroponics. Although labour intensive, it increases quality and quantity of yields so it cannot be ignored.

Hydroponically grown peppers must be trellised. Most peppers that are grown in soil are allowed to form a bush. However, doing so in a hydroponic system will result in branch damage because of the accelerated growth. Although trellising is labour intensive and must be done weekly, the advantages are far greater than the disadvantages. Trellising plants have the following advantages:

  • Increases yield per square meter
  • Reduces the risk of disease development
  • Allows for higher plant densities
  • Easier picking
  • Mature fruit are easy to spot

Since peppers have a woody stem they tend to be brittle and break or collapse when carrying a commercial weight of fruit. Peppers are trellised straight up, unlike tomatoes that use the layering system. Initially the plant has one stem growing upwards but later it branches into two stems. The plants are left to have two stems and all side shoots are removed. The early flowers are removed up to 300 mm which will allow rapid vegetative development. As soon as the plants reach the top of the wire (± 2.8 m high), the tip of the growth point is cut off so that no further growth takes place.