How old can a pepper

It's not clear what definition you are using when you say "without overwintering", so let's consider chiles outside in nature. It depends on the variety. Pubescens are considered to have the longest lifespan and can live 15 to 16 years - assuming no fire, frost, insect infestation, etc.
 
But for someone growing for other than ornamental purposes (like most of us here), the bigger question is how long a chile plant will be productive enough to justify keeping it around. Again, pubescens seem to have the longest productive lives, as well, assuming you can get production from them in the first place based on your growing conditions. Wilds are probably a close second. General agreement, though, is that most chiles drop off production significantly after the second or third year. Some choose to keep them going after this, while others start new plants when production drops. Again, specific growing conditions have an influence. 
 
without overwintering?   9 months, unless you could move it back and forth between the southern and northern hemispheres.
 
EBHarvey said:
without overwintering?   9 months, unless you could move it back and forth between the southern and northern hemispheres.
Not needed for chile plants growing in the tropics, where they are perennials.
 
AJD's definition of "overwintering" may be giving the plant a severe pruning and forcing it to go dormant. However, overwintering really just means to keep a plant alive over the winter in places where it's too cold, so one could keep it going like a houseplant and it would still be overwintering. 
 
Geemee, yep that is what I was thinking when I used the term.  Pretend in a greenhouse at a constant 80 degrees.
 
ajdrew said:
Geemee, yep that is what I was thinking when I used the term.  Pretend in a greenhouse at a constant 80 degrees.
Then they would be perennials, just like in the tropics. And, as I stated in my first post, the lifespan depends upon the particular type, with pubescens living the longest at about 16 years. Individual plants may live longer or shorter than the average for a given type, of course.
 
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