Topping Chillies. Improving growth

Benefits of topping

Towards the end of  May in the UK your Chilli plants should be between 8 and ten inches tall. If you want them to grow big and produce lots of Chillies, there’s a helpful technique called “topping.” It involves cutting off the main growing tip of the plant to encourage more side branches and more Chillies.

Topping means cutting off the very top of your Chilli plant. By doing this, you’re telling the plant to focus its energy on growing more branches and producing more Chillies. It helps make the plant bushier and more productive as upward growth is curtailed in favour of growth outwards.

In addition to the above, you may want to trim away some of the bigger leaves that prevent sunlight from reaching the inner leaves of your Chilli plant. This will stimulate growth and make the plant even more bushy.  It is also advisable when doing this to cut away any unhealthy-looking leaves and thus place your plant in a position for steady and healthy growth.

Having performed topping all you need to do  is continue with routine care, including proper watering, fertilization, and pest management and you are virtually guaranteed of a bumper crop

In this blog post, we’ll explain why topping is beneficial when to do it, and give you a step-by-step guide to try it yourself. It is essential that if you are going to perform topping off that you don’t leave it too late.  That may even reduce your harvest!   So let’s roll up our sleeves, get out the secateurs,  put on our gardening gloves and let’s start topping Chillies.

Step-by-Step Guide to Topping Chillies:

Get your tools ready: Find a pair of clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears and clean them with rubbing alcohol or a mixture of bleach and water. This keeps your plant safe from diseases.

Pick the right plants: Choose healthy Chilli plants that are 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm) tall and have grown 4 to 6 pairs of true leaves. At this stage, the plant has enough energy to grow more branches and Chillies

Find the top growth point: Look for the very top part of the plant, where the newest leaves are growing or where you see a bunch of small leaves.  You may even see the initial formation of flowers.  This is what needs to be cut off.

Make the cut: Position the scissors about a quarter inch (0.6 cm) above the node of the top growth point is growing from. Cut smoothly, at a forty-five-degree angle and make sure the cut is clean.

Trim away some of the larger leaves, but not too many. Leave at least 4 to 5 to allow photosynthesis to take place. Cutting away too many leaves will not be good for the plant and may even cause it to die.

Watch the plant’s progress: In the weeks that follow, keep an eye on your plant. You should notice more branches growing and more places where flowers will appear.


Topping your chilli plants is a great way to help them grow bigger, produce more Chillies, and stay healthy. By cutting off the top and encouraging more side branches, you’ll see an increase in your Chilli harvest. Just remember to do it at the right time and keep an eye on your plant’s progress. Enjoy your thriving Chilli garden!

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