Scotch Bonnet- why so small?

Valdo(9b)February 19, 2014

Can someone tell me why this plant is so small, I see potted peppers grow huge- anyone?

I had this scotch bonnet in a small pot for most of its 10 months or so. Transferred it inside and out of the house depending on the weather (we had a lot of freezes and it killed my other 3 ground plants). It has yielded one small pepper.

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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

The pic isn't clear enough to see what's going on.

My immediate impression is that the plant is way over-potted (thus, probably too much moisture in the root-zone). What is the potting medium? How is it being watered? And how have you been fertilizing?

Josh

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 1:22PM
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morugaman

You stressed it out and your soil looks water logged.
-Nick

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 1:23PM
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Valdo(9b)

Here is yet another tragic picture.

Looking at other pictures I think all of you are right. It is water-logged and stressed. I plan to not water it for a bit and see where it goes.

I used Miracle Gro Organic Potting soil, watered it liberally because of the transplant. Funny it did not look too small in it previous pot but when I saw other scotch pictures the leaves were huge comparatively. Not using fertilizer just yet.

Advice on remedying?

This post was edited by Valdo on Wed, Feb 19, 14 at 13:44

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 1:42PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I would down-size the pot, perhaps to a 2-gallon, then transfer the plant once it recovers and is ready for its final home. If you're going to use that MG stuff (junk, in my opinion), cut it at least 50/50 with rinsed Perlite, or something coarse like Pumice, so the roots will have oxygen available.

Do you mean you haven't fertilized at all? Ever? That'll stunt a plant for sure. Obviously the plant is seriously lacking Nitrogen....but that could be from the soggy soil and impaired root-function rather than an actual Nitrogen deficiency in the mix.

Josh

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 1:48PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Regarding the new pic: elevate the bottom of the container so that the pot is not sitting directly in the saucer. A lot of folks use wine corks or blocks of wood. Either way, I'd get this plant out of this pot and into a smaller pot with a better aerated mix.

Josh

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 1:50PM
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jutsFL(9b (Orlando))

Agreed, soil appears really soaked. Better drainage and letting it dry out a bit May help. JMO but I don't know if I'd downsize the pot, added stress IMO. Just have to watch over it a bit more in the larger pot, as the roots haven't filled the area as of yet. From what I understand, Josh has the right view here... Let it drain better. Appears that there is a healthy stem, give the right care it should bounce back for you.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 11:21PM
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scott123456(5)

Sorry to hijack this thread but I too had a similar problem with a couple of my plants last year with the MG potting mix (I agree it is junk). I had to add so much stuff to it (mostly perlite) to get it where I wanted that it was a waist of money. A couple of plants that I didnâÂÂt add enough perlite to ( wasnâÂÂt going to buy any more) became water logged like the ones shown here and would not grow, turned yellow, and eventually died. This year will only be my second year growing and I have a lot to learn, so maybe you all can help me with a couple of questions. First, given the proper soil/mix, how can a pot be too big? I mean no matter how big your pot is, it is not bigger than the ground, and they grow fine in the ground. I would imagine the bigger the pot the better, what am I missing? Secondly, is there an inexpensive alternative to perlite? I was thinking something like gravel or sand would work but I am not sure if this would be ok on the plant.

Thanks,
Scott

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 1:45AM
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Valdo(9b)

I elevated the plant but think I'll keep the pot. The difference was quite surprising, this morning the soil was quite dry. Good drainage seems to be key for potted plants.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 9:55AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Scott,
with the right mix, there is no such thing as too big a pot.
Indeed, you could sow seeds directly in a 20-gallon container, provided that the mix has sufficient drainage. Small gravel or large sand does help a mix by reducing overall water-holding capacity and increasing durability. Perlite is favored because it holds moisture on its outer surface and it is so light.

Josh

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 12:44PM
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TFortune(7a North AL)

If I read the OP correctly, that plant is 10 months old already? If that's true, it seems to me that there are probably waaaay more issues going on than just having waterlogged potting mix at this point... At ten months that plant should be way bigger, I would think. It almost looks to me like my pepper seedlings last year that I let get burned up over a long weekend under lights. The leaves all burned and I was left with stalk only. It also kinda reminds me of the jalapeno my cats got after two years ago that they stripped all the leaes off of...

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 2:21PM
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Valdo(9b)

The only thing similar to what you are saying TF is that it has been an unbearably cold winter this year. Could that be the reason for the stunt?

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 3:53PM
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TFortune(7a North AL)

Did you cut it back and overwinter it, or has it always been that small?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 1:36PM
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Valdo(9b)

I did not cut it back at all, only snipped dried branches. But, to be honest, I am wondering if it is not a scotch bonnet or something else. I bought the seedlings through amazon, they all looked the same, but I am wondering...

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 7:29PM
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TFortune(7a North AL)

How did the roots look when you transplanted it out of the small container? I had some bell peppers that i got from the amish in Tennessee last summer that were severely rootbound when I transplanted them and I never got any grwoth out of them. The plants hung on all summer but never produced and never grew much, and they kinda had a similiar look to that pic...

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 2:13PM
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ottawapepper

I'm inclined to think TFortune may have summed it up pretty succinctly when he wrote there are probably waaaay more issues going on than just having waterlogged potting mix at this point... At ten months that plant should be way bigger

Seeds like people sometime inherit bad genes. Have you thought about getting fresh seeds from another source and starting a new plant? You can continue trying to nurse the current one to health and have a, hopefully, strong backup just in case.

Just sayin,

Bill

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 3:25PM
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Valdo(9b)

The roots looked fine, perhaps a little thin. I started another seed with some other peppers. Anyone have some good sources for scotch bonnet seeds?

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 8:37PM
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ottawapepper

If you're interested, I can send you a few Chocolate Scotch Bonnet seeds to try. Send me an email via my profile page.

This is what the pods look like:

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 9:00PM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

Ooo yes. Chocolate SBs are really cool .. er .. hot and prolific. Soon as they set pods and started to ripen people came and bought them all. Recommendation: grow CSBs but don't put price stickers on them.

Dennis (I think)

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 9:52PM
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TFortune(7a North AL)

How do the CSB's compare to the Jamaican yellow scotch bonnets? Those are the only ones i have grown and I really liked the heat level and the flavor. I actually preffered them to the habaneros I grew last year (although I had intended to grow the Chocolate hab since it got really good recommendations for flavor and I wound up with plain jane orange habs and godawful hot red habs due to an unreliable seed source)

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 10:26AM
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ottawapepper

Dennis, prolific seems to be an understatement. They're one of the best producers I've grown. I hope you put a weighty price tag on them!

TFortune, They have the Bonnet taste but are hotter. Did you save any SB Yellow seeds? My Yellow did not germinate, bad seed. If you did save seeds I'll trade you for some (isolated) Chocolate SB seeds to try. If not, I'll send you some anyways ;-) If you're interested send me an email.

Bill

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 5:49PM
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Valdo(9b)

I do hope this has turned out to become a scotch bonnet cult.

Below you will find the extent of my greenhouse. Yes that is an old ashtray. But I see the humidity forming at the top of the tray as a good sign. I have scotch, jalapeno, habanero and thai peppers in there.

Only thing I worry about is a temperature, a brisk 75- advice?

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 8:36PM
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abnorm(Orlando)

I have good quality Jamaican Yellow Scotch Bonnet seeds available......SASE

Here's a pic of last season......doug

This post was edited by abnorm on Thu, Feb 27, 14 at 20:19

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 8:46PM
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Valdo(9b)

Update:

Maybe I just see this little bonnet as the Engine that could, maybe its really doing well, here is an update with my hand to scale. Now maybe its not cabbage leaves like it should be, but I just got a weird feeling that this little guy will surprise us all. I noticed a lot of new growth at the top and sides, and perhaps I am a strange defiantly proud parent, but do the leaves seem bigger to me?

Thanks especially go to Josh for suggesting the elevation, I think it was just the trick.

As a side note, the soil really smells of manure (I know because I got some on my pants- long story) I do hope that is a good sign?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 5:52PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Looks a hell of a lot better, and I'm glad things are turning around. Work to ensure that the mix dries in timely fashion.

Josh

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 7:07PM
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Valdo(9b)

Manchester (plant's name) is popping, growth about. I gave it some superthrive liquid because the soil was looking dry.

Should I be thinking of fertlizer?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 12:57PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Yes, I'd be fertilizing regularly with a liquid fertilizer, probably once a week.

Josh

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 1:32PM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

> " I hope you put a weighty price tag on them! (CSBs)"

I got $10 for a 15" high plant with a couple dozen pods set. Went to a nice Jamaican lady that makes and sells marinades and jerks.

I should have charged her more. The others were still pretty small. Probably $4-5.

Dennis

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 2:04PM
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Valdo(9b)

Liquid like? I sense the super thrive ain't enough.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 4:19PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

For example, Miracle Grow, a synthetic fertilizer. Or even Fish Emulsion, an organic fertilizer (which work a bit slower). I personally use a combination of Osmocote slow-release and Foliage Pro liquid fertilizer, but there are many ways to skin a cat, so to speak ;-)

Josh

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 6:54PM
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Valdo(9b)

Draining well, dry soil, lots and lots of growth.

But why does this tiny plant have buds forming? Isn't it too small. I swear it feels like I have a haiku scotch bonnet!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 8:23PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Pluck the buds off to keep the plant in a vegetative mode.
I imagine that it's small because its root-system was stunted.

Josh

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 9:36PM
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Valdo(9b)

Vegetative?

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 9:57PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

...producing vegetation, foliage (as opposed to fruit).

Josh

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 10:11PM
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Valdo(9b)

Bigger vegetation, bigger fruit later- got it!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 10:46PM
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Valdo(9b)

Above you will see my primitive ash tray greenhouse effect. Turns out a bonnet seedling is emerging, the other two are null for now. What do I do with that one cup? I read somewhere that the minute a seedling sprouts you should remove the dome- advice?

Obi

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 11:33AM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

Yeah, I'd take it off. The upside (keep soil from drying, help prevent helmet head) are outweighed by the downside (fungus, damping off, no air circulation to strengthen stem),

Dennis

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 1:52PM
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Valdo(9b)

Does temperature matter, my windowsill is a bit cold. Is temperature still a factor?

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 8:55AM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

Yes, but really only in terms of rate of growth. If you're still germinating and don't over-water, you can leave it on until the seeds either turn into plants or you give up on them.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 12:05PM
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Valdo(9b)

UPDATE: Here she is, I don't know if I should be impressed or not. Gave it some MiracleGro draining it healthfully, pulling pods so that it relies on vegetation. Am I on the right track or do I have a dud?

I got 11 other Scotch seedlings so there are other options.

By the way, the dollar is for size. Too bad its not shedding money huh?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 8:23PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

The vitality has improved markedly! Good job!
Unless you need the container for something else, just let it continue and see what comes of it.

Josh

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 8:34PM
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woohooman

As a side note, the soil really smells of manure (I know because I got some on my pants- long story) I do hope that is a good sign?

Never. Soil should smell like dirt -- earthy and sort of sweet and pleasant. At least it is to me.

You were rotting the roots and soil from what it sounds like and by the way it looks NOW, drainage seems to have fixed the issue.

Much better looking.

Kevin

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 10:52PM
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Valdo(9b)

I thought since it was MiracleGro potting soil and organic that they just but a sack on the wrong end of a cow and bang- fertilizer.

I check the thing every day, but now seeing these pictures together, there is progress, progress indeed!

Ovy

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 11:13PM
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woohooman

ohh.. you mean fresh out of the bag? Then maybe. Still, it shouldn't smell like manure unless it's maybe bagged GARDEN soil where once it's added to the garden, it can be broken down.

If you ever get a potting soil that smells like that, give it some good flushes and wait a good couple weeks before planting. Usually an indicator of unfinished composting.

Btw, I'm with Josh on letting it go. And yes, I'd keep plucking pods and buds for awhile. It may have been stunted some but it looks like it just might recover. It's hard to kill a pepper plant.

Kevin

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 1:12AM
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Valdo(9b)

I'm both scared and proud to show this picture. This is what the plant originally looked like. Yes, I had NO idea what draining meant at all. Now I know. I keep the plant elevated, perhaps letting it soak a bit if I throw in fertilizer.

Yeah thats coffee, I dumped a LOT of coffee on this poor girl.

Gulp huh?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 7:20PM
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Valdo(9b)

Found these bugs all over the soil of the scotch bonnet and a few on the leaves (sorry for the bad pics, they are like gnats). Are they black or winged aphids? Never seen these are so many of them.

Are they harmful to the plant? If so, what organic pest control can I use?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 5:05PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Can't tell from the pics what that is, but you can always spray the top and bottom of the leaves with a mild solution of Neem Oil or other horticultural soap. Be sure to spray after the sun has passed.

Josh

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 8:21PM
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Valdo(9b)

Research has concluded that it might be Fungus gnats, the appropriate steps, holding off on watering, a nice vinegar/ dishwater trap, have been taken.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 8:45PM
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abnorm(Orlando)

Mosquito dunk containing BT in your "watering can"

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 10:12PM
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woohooman

That's BT I variant, not K variant; which is for caterpillars.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 10:27PM
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