• If you need help identifying a pepper, disease, or plant issue, please post in Identification.

container Should I cut off the lower leaves of my container pepper plants?

I don't have a digital camera so I'll describe the plants. 
I have 2 Fatalli plants in plastic Folger's coffee containers I have on the deck. They get sun all day from 8:15 to 5:15 and are very warm on the Trex decking.
The larger plant is in a 39 oz container, is 11" tall and the crown is 9" wide.
The smaller plant is in a 24 oz container, is 10" tall and the crown is 8" wide. This plant emerged about 8-10 days after the larger and is smaller for that reason not due to the container size.
Both plants have sprouted a lot of very small leaf growth lower down the stem and I wonder if cutting the bottom 4-5" of those leaves would allow the plants to put more energy and assuming more flowers into the upper part of the plants? These lower leaves are pretty much shaded by the large leaves above them and seem to be useless as they don't get as much sun and I question whether they'd produce flowers.
My take on this, for small plants like you have, most times plants know best whats good for them.
Usually very low small leafs will fall off all by them selves when the plant deems fit.
I will remove them when finding white fly white crap, fungus, white powdery mildew, aphids, or pest/mechanical damage, etc.
  But, just because you remove them (even if done before any pests infest them) doesn't mean the pests/disease won't infest upper leafs. Sometimes those lower leafs are harder to look/check under, and if bunched up, lots of them, they do seem to be an attractive infestation area....
As sicman said, lower leafs often are 'low hanging fruit' for pests/disease.
For tomatoes I do remove the lower 18" of leaves for air circulation. Air circulation around these 2 plants shouldn't be an issue as they are out in the open and high up on a deck. My concern is more that the plants are wasting energy growing leaves that won't really be useful for photosynthesis as they are under rows of large leaves and in the shade most of the time. Seems to me that they are taking energy that could (?) be used for the growth of the top of the plants, more and larger leaves on the top 2/3 of the plants and for flowers.  
I like my plants to look like this.
Us anxious primates have a bad tendency to meddle without cause!  I try to assume that the plants know what they are doing.   So long as reasonable light reaches those leaves, they will contribute to the overall energy output.  Leave them unless they are dragging on the ground and rotting, etc.