Questions: Jalapenos and Habaneros grown indoors, hydroponically.

wtienkenOctober 21, 2007

What is the typical recommended relative humidity for growing jalapenos and habaneros in a greenhouse type setting? I assume that since these plants grow in hot, dry climates in nature, it is not really a big issue. In addition, it is my understanding that both jalapenos and habaneros reach maturity in approximately 75 days. How many days, approximately, do blooms usually being to appear for habaneros and jalapenos? See below for background information and links to details.


I have four jalapeno and two habanero plants that I have grown from seed. I started them on the 10th of September. I transferred them to an ebb-and-flow system 2 weeks later. Just yesterday, I moved them into an autopot setup (10" pots using gravity-fed sub-irrigation with a smart valve that only re-fills the tray when it is completely dry mimicking the natural wet/dry cycle of rainfall) in a 55% to 45% ratio of perlite and coco-coir with a 1" top dressing of LECA. They are doing well. The jalapenos are about 8-10 inches tall and the habaneros are about 4-5 inches tall. I would have expected them to be a bit bigger by now, but I have been less-than-eager to raise the PPM of fertilizer in my system.

Presently, they are being fed with approximately 1100-PPM nutrient mix. This is the recommended PPM from the manufacturer of my nutrient mix following the drain-to-waste program for growth phase although there is no waste. I can bump it up a bit to their "aggressive growth" strength, but I do not want to over-fertilize. I use Flora Nova series nutrients supplemented with Floralicious Plus from General Hydroponics and a low dose of Cal-Mag Plus from Botanicare to supplement the lack of Ca and Mg in RO water. They look very good  nice and green, no leaf curls or discoloration. The new growth jalapeno leaves appear a bit wrinkly, but I assume that is how they look when they first appear anyway.

The relative humidity ranges between 33% and 38% and the temperature ranges 78-82 degrees during the "day" cycle (17 hours of HID lighting via a 400W metal halide grow lamp in a 3Â X 3Â indoor greenhouse) and ranges 68-72 degrees during the "night" cycle. I will be switching to a 400W HPS grow lamp when it is time to transition to bloom.

If you need further details, please let me know I have links to all of the above items mentioned in my email, but the "spam filter" on this website is preventing me from posting them. Thanks!

Walter Tienken

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greystoke(South Africa(11))

Thanks for the info Walter. This is most interesting.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 7:05AM
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greystoke(South Africa(11))

I hope people wonÂt mind me saying this, but . . . living in Africa it has always astounded me how Americans will buy a top-range cadged, install it, then switch it on, and away it goes.
What a difference in Africa! Things are simply not available. Not, unless you live near to a major center, and then, the diversity is very limited and expensive. It boils down to building something with the means available, hoping it will give us what we expected. And then the electrical power! Where I live itÂs there most of the time, but not ALL the time.
So hereÂs the challenge: Build a hydroponic system, preferably not needing electricity, or if so . . not requiring a continuous supply.

Away you go!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 7:34AM
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I am growing bell peppers in a small ebb n flo in my office window. during vegative growth, I generally keep the EC at around 2.0-2.4 which (according to the stick) is approximately 1500-1700, so your 1100 sounds a bit low to me.
I started my plants approx august 20. I have one that is very leggy, the other is short and stout. the latter is about 8" tall and has 6 fruits. the largest fruit being about 1.5" between flower and stem. I am currently clipping flowers to limit quantity and focus on size. the leggy one only just recently started to flower, and I haven't seen any fruit set yet. I generally keep my EC as stated above w/ pH of 5.8-6.0. I use general hydronics per their label, except in flowering I'll increase the micro a bit and / or lessen the grow.
My experience with these plants and the ones I've grown in the yard is they are not very large plants, so I would expect 8" to 1 foot to be about max height, especially since you're using artificial light.

I'm working on just such a system now. I'm thinking two tanks. the one at the bottom catches system runoff, the system at the top is a gravity feed reservoir. you just have to dump the bottom tank into the top tank each day.(muscle versus electricity, has to be some kind of power input) this system will also require some kind of check valve to keep the ebb n flo starting and stopping throughout the day. I haven't got the valve part fully worked out yet, but when I do I'll let you know. I believe it will somehow incorporate the smartvalve walter mentioned in his post though.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 9:32AM
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greystoke(South Africa(11))

grizzman wrote:
I'm thinking two tanks . .

So have I . . . but how to get the water back into the top: That's the question.
I think that you only need to flood once a day. Preferably during midmorning. That leaves the night or early morning to transfer the effluent. Wind power is one way, and if thereÂs no wind . . human (animal?) muscles must help out.
But there are other ways, such as using just one tank which you can lift up or down as the need arises.
Right now IÂm using a small solar panel which powers a 12V caravan pump. I know its cheating, but . . . I was thinking buying these solar garden lights which are sold cheap (±US$ 6 each). I can take the lights out and use a few of these units to power a small pump.

Who knows?

    Bookmark   October 25, 2007 at 1:55AM
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Being in america where we have an abundance of available electricity, I'll probably use a pump to lift the water daily. This will minimize electrical power without inflating the human muscle factor.( a cost analysis thing being dependent on where you are. in US, electricity is WAYYYY cheaper than muscle)If I didn't have that available, I would use a set of at least 3 pulleys with a counterbalance on the other end so as to minimize the amount of human energy expended to raise a 50 gallon or so bucket of liquid.
what you're proposing isn't so much ebb n flow as daily watering of a generic media. This is fine so long as you have an abundance of cheap media that holds both ample air and moisture throughout the day. I prefer to use the drawdown of an ebb n flo system to introduce air into the plant substrate.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2007 at 8:08AM
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I have a Habanero outside in a container that is only about a foot tall and has one fruit on it already. I'm in a humid climate and it seems to be doing ok so far.

As to solar light panels powering a 12V pump, You might be unhappy to learn that the pump probably requires a pretty high amperage compaired to the amperage supplied by those little panels. The number of those little 4.5 V (and probably .05 Amp) solar panels you would need to start up that pump will be pretty high. I have a source for the little panels under $5 each but when I did the math and realized I would need at least 120 of those little panels to even concider getting my pump to run. This math is with 4.5V .05 Amp solar panels and a 12V 2 Amp water pump. This would be wiring the panels in sets of three in series and then wiring those 40 sets of three in parallel to get the right voltage and amperage. And then it would probably only work with perfect angle direct sunlight.

I have had success making a little air pump work using those little solar panels. I simply wired two together and the air pump kicks on when the sun shines on the panel. This worked in sunny weather for a few gurgle gardens I built. I doubt it would be powerful enough to deal with a 50 gallon system though.

You might look into a windmill or hand crank type rope pump to move the water from a lower tank up to the top tank. Or if you can configure it so the top tank is next to the bottom tank then simply using a bucket might be the low tech way to transfer.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 11:23AM
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greystoke(South Africa(11))

The pump only works for an hour a day. So, if the panel works with a battery, you can then use a smaller panel, although the battery is a problem. Besides . . . panels and batteries are being stolen here like they're going out of fashion.

Windmills are promising. Our blacks are excellent at making small mills from wire and sheetmetal.

But the best system may be the hand crank. Containers can be tipped up and down at one end by means of an ordinary car jack to create level changes. You can then use just one tank. Tip it up to flood . . tip it down to drain.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 12:59AM
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Your nutrient concentration is too high for chiles at 1100 ppm and you will get dropping flowers and no fruit. I run at 450-550 ppm.

I grow chiles at 15-85%RH without any problems.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 9:24AM
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I don't know if anyone will even see this post but if so this is directed toward Greystroke;

If you have any access to a garden store, they sell water timers that you can hook up to you hose faucet for a drip irrigation system. If so get either the battery or mechanical powered timer. This is essentially a valve run off the timer. The timers are typically 5/8'' in diameter to fit a 1/2'' hose, at least around me they are, you can get a 5/8'' connector and epoxy it to the BOTTOM of your reservoir. then connect the valve end of your timer to your hosing and presto!
I personally use a battery powered timer, and have not used a mechanical timer in this type of system. My fear is that gravity will not create the same pressure that a typical garden hose faucet would, never the less the battery powered works like a champ, using minimal electricity, and being convenient enough to set up anyway regardless if its on or off the grid, indoor or outdoor. I have used this system for ebb & flow, nutrient film technique, and drip irrigation for my soil.
It is worth noting that when you first set this up you should keep a grow journal, if you don't already, so that you can take note of your growth and adjust your watering schedule as necessary.
Hope this helkps

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 8:33PM
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green thumb,

Good idea. I haven't used the timers for hydroponics, but I'm using three of the timers for irrigation of yard plants. They are inexpensive and provide a lot of options in terms of start and time-on.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 11:37AM
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Back to jalapenos. I get the feeling that Willard3 has a lot more experience with jalapenos than I do; I'm only on my second crop. I'm going to check on "dropping flowers" at hight ppm. I'm doing recycle drip feeding, using a tomato formulation for my jalapenos; solution runs between 1400 and 2240 ppm, as opposed to 450 to 550 ppm cited by Willard3. I'm still getting fruit, but less than I would like.

Using a single formulation for multiple crops is a challenge, one that requires compromise. Work in progress.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 12:00PM
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