atxmanApril 9, 2014

Last year I planted serranos, jalapenos, habaneros and ghost peppers in my garden, which is raised and a size of 6 X 8 feet area. The ghost peppers did germinate and sprouted but died after reaching a height of 6 inches. I live in Austin so heat and humidity is abundant. My habaneros did grow and produced many peppers but the peppers were very mild. Possibly milder than store bought jalapenos. Would any of you know why my habs were so mild?
I was meticulous in not overwatering and the soil I used I purchased from a local landscaping company that was 50% compost and garden soil and loam. I also added a little bone and blood meal when I planted them.
Any suggestions on habanero and ghost pepper gardening would be very appreciated

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rdback(Z6 VA)

Hello atxman.

Dying after 6" tall is unusual. Did you harden them off properly before plant out?

What kind of habs did you grow? Some have no heat at all. Could just be the variety you planted.


    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 2:20PM
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HotHabaneroLady(7a Central MD)

Hi atxman,

My first thought is the same as Rick's. There are some varieties of habanero that are super mild and wouldn't have much heat at all. I wonder if you planted one of those varieties.

My second thought is that, as a rule of thumb, heat and dryness make for hotter peppers. Cold and wetness make for milder peppers. In fact, when my peppers start fruiting, they go on a low water diet! You say the weather has been warm and you have been careful about not overwatering. And honestly, I would guess that by the they were watered to the point of being milder than a jalapeño, you'd have watered them to the point of killing them. So one tip to get hotter peppers is to let them get very dry, even a bit stressed. That stimulates the production of more capsaicin in the fruit.

I hope that helps!


    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 2:30PM
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Thanks for the response. I have no idea if I harden off properly for the ghost peppers. I transitioned them to sun in 4 days. The first day 2 hrs, next 4hr, 6hr then planted in garden. It seemed to be fine for about 2 weeks before i noticed that it wlited. With the birth of my child, I kind of forgot about the pepper all together. As for the habs, I purchased from lowe's ready to plant in the ground.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 2:31PM
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centexan254 zone 8 Temple, Tx

The plant died from not hardening the proper way. 3 days is way too fast. I leave mine in the shade for at least 3 days before I start giving them more sun.

As for the habanero I am not sure. I have not tried growing any of them yet.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 4:27PM
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I live over here in Bastrop County, east of Webberville and have successfully grown habs and ghosts, and others.
In my experience, ghosts are finicky, however I did have good success this year, with plants over 5' tall. One variety of hab I grew got to 7' tall. I drip irrigate my peppers so they get a measured amount of water on schedule. All are out now except the ghosts, which I'll put out next week. I planted mine to get morning sun, and afternoon shade, which is needed when the temps are over 100 degrees for weeks at a time.
A good no-heat hab is the Numex Suave Orange.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 5:05PM
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centexan254 and TomT226, thanks for the info. I thought that pepper plants wouldn't need shade so they were planted to get full sun. I probably need to replant the ones I have right now then. As for the ghost pepper, I currently have inside, how soon should I begin to attempt at hardening off and how long should that process be?
Thank you Angie for you comments on my Habs. I will take my low water diet into account for my other peppers as well

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 1:21PM
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I would start with a couple hours outside in full shade. Do that for two days, then go two hours of shade and an hour of sun for two more days. Then two hours of sun for two days and as much shade as you want. Then three to four hours of sun for a couple more days and as much shade as you want. Then keep increasing the sun exposure for a couple hours every couple days until they are out full time. Probably a week or so to complete the process. If you are giving them too much sun for too long, you will notice some greyish coloring on some of the lower leaves. This is sunburn. Not life threatening but a sign you are going too fast. Also, protect your plants from high winds during the process as they are not used to wind and their stems need to harden off just like the leaves do with sun.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 4:03PM
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I also have a drip system but I am not sure what frequency I should be watering at. What do you have yours set at and what size drip emmitors?

I had the smallest (1/2 gph) and the drip system on for 1 min every hour.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 5:32PM
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I've got all my starts on a trolley that I trundle out of the GH and into the shade of a persimmon tree, and I leave it out all day, and bring it in if the temps go below 45 degrees, or it's too windy. I usually keep this up for two weeks, then I plant.
The frequency and duration depend on what kind of soil and what kind of rain you get. Presently, in sandy soil, I have mine set for thirty minutes every two days, unless it rains significantly, then I turn it off. Don't use continuous drip. The soil needs time to dry out a little. I use 1-10 gallon DIG emitters, available at Home Depot. You can take those apart and clean'em which you can't do with the pre-set emitters. The more you mulch, the less water you'll need. Just stick a finger down past the second knuckle and see if it's damp.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 4:51PM
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