Ghost Chili's Leaves Curling

TechnoChimp(8)January 25, 2014

I'm very new to gardening, but I've been trying to research as much as possible to keep these things alive. I got one of the ghost chili cans with seeds inside for a Christmas present from a friend of mine. I started them on January 8th and they have grown fairly quickly.

So far I've been keeping them in an enclosed space lined with foil, and I'm using a 26 watt daylight cfl for lighting. The temperature stays between 84 and 86 degrees. I keep the light within 3 inches of the plants and keep it on 24/7.

I water only when the soil is dry on the top, then water until water starts to come out of the drainage holes. I'm not fertilizing yet, but am planning on using a 9-3-6 fertilizer after transplanting.

There seems to be a problem with the leaves, so I figured I should ask some experts before I start fussing with it and killing the plants. The leaves have stayed a yellowish color and have curled more and more downward.

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DMForcier(8 DFW)

They look very good to me. Curling is normal in my experience.

But they are planted very close together and you must separate the plants before the roots become too intertwined. In fact, the two at 8 o'clock are probably already too far along to separate.

You can transplant into nearly anything with a hole in the bottom to let the water drain - use real plant pots or beer cups with holes punched in them. Get a bag of Miracle Gro Moisture Control potting soil, and while you're at it get a box of Miracle Grow All Purpose plant fertilizer (24-8-16 is good). You'll need it later. Fill the new pots but don't pack in the soil too tightly. Take apart the can of plants and use something like a couple of small forks to pull the plants apart. Do Not try to handle them by the stems as they are too weak to support the root ball. The roots will look like little white beards with a bunch of dirt stuck in them. Scoop up with a spoon and set one in each new "pot". Then water in lightly and return to the light box.

They may act like nothing happened, or they may show some stress by wilting. Refrain from watering again for a while. They should be fine. You will be up to your hips in ghost chiles by fall.

I've never heard of a "can of chile" seeds. Cute idea if they are in fact true bhut jolokia (ghost). Now way to really tell until they set some pods.


    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 5:39PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

These "can" peppers are usually Hab's, but sometimes they're Naga's, too. Never seen one that was an actual Bhut Jolokia.

As far as soil, I'd go out of my way to avoid the "moisture control" formula by Miracle Grow.


    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 8:16PM
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Here's the can I'm referring to:

So I took your advice and transplanted them. I was going to wait until the 3rd set of leaves, but I'm glad I went ahead with it. The two big plants had roots the entire length of the can already. Fortunately none of them were stuck together and they all fell out just fine in a bowl of water.

I've put each on in a 3 inch Jiffy Pot. I had some Black Gold natural and organic potting soil with fertilizer (.05-0-0) that I bought a week ago so I went with that. I'll grab some of the 24-8-16 as soon as they ready for it. How big would you recommend them to be to start feeding?

Here's what I have going now:

I'll keep you posted with what happens over the next week.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 9:14PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

If t hey were mine I would have skipped -- not used - peat pots. Those things will wick the water out of the potting mix unless kept continually moist. To do that, they should have been pre-moistened (soaked) before the transplants were placed in them.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 11:16PM
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I got "Ghost Chiles" in that same can with all the colorful peppers on the can. It is actually Dorset Naga. Regardless, they're hot and good peppers.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 9:04AM
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I actually have some other non-pepper plants starting in some pods that I could reuse these pots for. Would it be a good idea to re-transplant these plants into a solo cup setup this soon after transplanting, or should I wait until they've had a chance to better establish their roots first?

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 8:28PM
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Leave them in the peat pots for now until they establish. I don't prefer peat pots because I feel they stay moist to long, grow mold and then dry out to rapidly.
I start fertilizing with an organic fertilizer at this point like fish or seaweed fertilizer. But very diluted. I see it like this if a seed in nature sprouts in super rich soil then it should be given the same under human care. But be careful to strong fertilizer will kill your babies. If your new to growing from seed then skip this entirely and wait till they are larger and more forgiving.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 10:15PM
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Techno chimp. I would find way to flatten your reflective material. All the crinkling will create hots spots in that little tent. If it's not easy to keep flat, go with glossy white surroundings. White reflects and defuses while shiny only reflects. Good luck

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 11:24AM
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Sorry, I disagree with the above statement.
The more rough a surface the more it will diffuse the light creating less hot spots.
A real simple experiment that TechnoChimp can do to reasure himself of his reflective set-up would be to turn the lights off and point a laser at the reflective material and he will see the beam diffuse into many then point the laser at a aluminum pie pan or better yet a mirror and see the beam less diffused or in the case of a mirror not very diffused at all.

Here is a link that might be useful: Specular vs. Diffuse Reflection

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 7:19PM
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I did look up more stuff and your right Leaf, I must have read something fake. Sorry techno for bad info.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 3:43PM
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I've moved the plants to plastic cups with a hole in the bottom. I also added some miracle grow 24-8-16 diluted to half strength. The reflective material has been left crinkled to help diffuse the light.

Here's how everything's looking:

Maybe I'm just being paranoid, but the leaves seem to be drooping a little more than pictures of other seedlings at this size.

At this point I'm going to leave them alone for a while other than watering when the soil dries. I don't want to put any more stress on them after transplanting them twice now.

As for the fertilizing, I've read some people say to fertilize every other watering and some say only once a month. Which do you recommend and why?

Thank you all for your patience. :)

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 12:50AM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

Don't fertilize at all until they look vigorous again. And do quarter strength instead of half strength for a while.

Did I understand you to say that you used Black Cow composted manure? That's pretty strong stuff for starting plants.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 3:33PM
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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

The ones to the right on the picture look pretty yellow to me. The things that cause that are keeping them chronically too wet, to not enough nitrogen, or it could be very high ph, causing the iron to unavailable to them. Do you live in a place with alkaline water? Or another thing, are you keeping them warm enough, that can cause yellowing mixed with overwatering.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 6:24PM
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I'll hold off on the fertilizing. I've noticed that the soil has been pretty damp for a while now. I haven't watered since I transplanted these three days ago, so I'm wondering if the soil is retaining too much moisture. I was wondering if the pH was off, and was actually going to pick up a ph and moisture meter to check it out. I live in Washington just outside of Seattle. The water is a actually pretty good, but I was thinking about using either the filtered water from the fridge or some rain water the next time I remember to leave a bucket out.

As for the tempurature, I'm keeping them between 77 and 80 degrees. The house stays about 70 and the cfl keeps the plants 7 to 10 degrees warmer.

Here's the most recent picture. I moved one to work with me, so I'm down to 5 at home. They're getting bigger, but they're not growing as fast as my jalapeños. Also, the leaves seem to be staying very crinkly looking rather than a nice big round looking leaf.

This post was edited by TechnoChimp on Tue, Feb 4, 14 at 23:57

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 11:52PM
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Just wanted to give a final update on the ghosts. They seem to be doing much better now. I believe the problem had to do with too much water and light. I eased back on the watering until they are dry and just start to wilt, and changed the light from 24 hour to 16/8.

Here's the results:

    Bookmark   February 13, 2014 at 11:10PM
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Hurry and cut the cups down lower to provide light all around the plants

    Bookmark   February 13, 2014 at 11:22PM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

The plants are too shallow in the cups. They like to drive roots the full height of the cup, And deeper soil will help a lot with the watering. water would pool at the bottom, below the majority of the roots. And of course the cup wouldn't shade the leaves.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 2:55PM
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