Transplanting large pepper plants.

rustico_2009April 13, 2014

I have a bunch of good size pepper plants, I started them too early so potted them up to quart pots. They are now stocky plants about 10 inches high and have lots of flowers. I believe the pots have slowed their growth at this current size. As you all know they are normally a lot taller when the set fruit.

These are California wonder and other bells with fancy names I can't recall at this moment.

Is it a waste of time to transplant these into the garden? Maybe I should just pull the flowers and plant them? Or would it be better to get younger plants? Normally the biggest nightshades I ever put in the garden are in solo cups and I plant them while they are still growing fast. Usually though, I use 6 packs or smaller.

Thanks for any tips.

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Looked at the calendar, the plants in question are 12 weeks old.

Interesting link , opens the idea that yield at various planting dates can depend a lot on cultivar but doesn't go into it much.

Here is a link that might be useful: Transplant age

This post was edited by rustico_2009 on Sun, Apr 13, 14 at 14:16

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 2:13PM
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plant them. and i wouldn't pull anything off. some compost in the planting hole. a lot of water.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 2:32PM
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That's what I am preparing to do, Randy. All the holes are prepped and they will go in when the heat of the day starts to wane.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 4:03PM
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Haven't worked with peppers that size but I've transplanted eggplants in gallon pots before. The biggest issues I faced were the inconvenience of digging deep holes and a somewhat greater risk of transplant shock. Shade during the first few days of establishment helps. All of my eggplants eventually recovered and produced like crazy.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 5:35PM
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Thanks, Slimy okra, it was a lot of work with the holes since I decided to break some more or less new ground. We freeze a lot of bell peppers so if they aren't the nicest there is always that.

It's amazing what eggplant plants do sometimes!

This post was edited by rustico_2009 on Sun, Apr 13, 14 at 17:53

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 5:50PM
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I've planted up to gallon potted plants, I do get a head start on production by having the larger plants. I don't remove the blossoms or anything. You will want to give them a good dose of fertilizer and make sure the roots aren't wrapped around the pot. If so, just tease them out so that they will expand the root system. they will take a bit of time to establish into the ground, but will do just fine.

I know many others have mentioned that planting larger plants don't give you any time advantage, but I have found it works for me.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 11:56AM
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it will be an experiment for me, Marla, My best bells are come from 6 pack size plants put in in June, but they work as early as March. Even some of the ones I put in on Valentines day made a comeback, but they are short and the fruit will be crammed into the branches and weird shaped.

Roots were not bad at all...tight but just touching the bottom, no circling...I did open them a bit.

There were some Poblanos in trade gallon pots, those were about 2 feet tall. there are a lot of shoots coming our the leaf junctions so even if the top goes south it seem like they will become productive after that stuff grows.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 2:04PM
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I have found that sometimes the easiest way to tease the roots apart without damage is to dump a few quarts of water quickly into the planting hole, collapsing the rootball. Fill immediately with garden soil.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 12:44PM
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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

I think personally messing with the roots on any plant is bad unless you're also pruning the top at the same time. If you're planting an intact top, plant an intact root. If a plant is healthy, it will spread its own roots out on its own. I planted some kale plants last summer that were so rootbound in 4 packs that you couldn't even see any soil at all. They were actually so rootbound that I was keeping them in a no holes flat and watering them twice as much as they needed each day just to keep them alive, so they could soak up the water over the course of the day. I really didn't have any hope for them when I planted them out but I thought it would be a good test of just how did plants bought past the end of the season perform...They did just fine and didn't even seem to have any transplant shock and I planted them in July.Come to think of it I did the same thing planting my late tomatoes, I used leftover ones from spring that were in no holes flats, and they did fine too. They were celebrity and big boy tomatoes.
I never mess with the roots of any plant I transplant into bigger pots in the greenhouse and they have done just fine. I think that the physical process of ripping those roots apart is bad for the plant, destroying some of them. Then wouldn't they need a top pruning too to make up for the root loss?

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 4:45PM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

As most people said, i'd plant them. But even though it's a pita, I would snap off as many flowers as you can. When i've done this with slow growing peppers they do seem to put on more top growth instead of putting the energy to making small peppers. Sometimes the plants that put on fruit at a small size never catch up to the others.
Just my 2cents.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 10:06AM
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I'll get my kids to snap the flowers off of half of them today. Either way , I am pretty sure there won't be a bumper crop of many nice fruits on these plants. But I really like the opportunity for the trial and observation for all of us too.

Plenty of time to grow some other plants still.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 11:11AM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

I agree with Mark, I would break of many to all of the blooms. I try to break off the flowers, but sometimes I miss some of them. The plants that I miss them seem to get stunted and don't produce as many peppers, bells that is.

Here is some plants from last year. I broke off most of the blooms, but I did miss this one. It was a yummy pepper, early in the season.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 11:59AM
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The reason I mentioned teasing the roots of the peppers is that Tree installers will do that to help the tree to establish itself better and faster.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 1:13PM
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Looks like I'm about a month late to the party here, but I'll post anyway...

In my experience, my fruiting plants are almost always in quart - gallon size containers when transplanted outside, anywhere from 12-18" in height generally. They do just fine unless you are transplanting to a radically different medium (ie. I have transplanted 18" hydroponically grown tomato plants into potting soil, and the transplant shock nearly killed them). But transplanting from a container full of potting soil to enriched native soil in your garden should be just fine.

In my opinion, these larger plants will intuitively produce more. Assuming you remove flowers at transplant, an 18" plant might produce 100 flowers a couple weeks after transplant as compared to a 6" plant that will produce 10 flowers in the same time frame. Although I had problems with my peppers last year, my tomatoes were in half-gallons and 18" at transplant. I was the first grower at market to have tomatoes (and they were heirlooms!), and these plants produced like crazy throughout the season.

Obviously you went for it, so let us know how it went!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 10:54AM
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We picked off most the flowers but there are a few peppers almost ready. There is new top growth with flowers, the plants don't look great though. I am hoping now that nights will stay over 50 for the most part that they will do better. It's just too cold at night.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 11:47PM
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