small pepper plants that won't grow.....

skycladJune 18, 2009

I have several plants this year that could be described as the above...........they won't grow no matter what you do! I think I might know the reason for this though, and wanted all of your opinion on this matter.

This year, as my plants grew under the growLite, I had to postpone their planting in the ground for about 2 to 3 weeks due to the huge amount of rainfall we were getting (you can't plant in the mud..). As a consequence of this I had to keep them in small pots the entire time......... since if I replanted them all into something larger I would have run out of room under the groLite. During all this time they stayed about the same size. Eventually I rePotted some of them, but they still did not grow. When it came time to plant in the garden, they appeared way too small to plant.........but I planted a few anyway, just to see what would happen. They STILL haven't grown hardly at all, and I'm afraid they won't make it due to it being so late in the season. Did these plants become rootBound in the pots and are now stunted due to this? I am wondering what you guys think about this situation. Trying to figure this one out for future reference.....

Thanks for all responses!

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I always have a batch of somewhat stunted plants that haven't been planted soon enough. I always start more than I have room or pots for. I eventually find a spot for them and they eventually catch up, but it takes a while, and they look pathetic in the mean time. Just be sure to gently loosen the roots when you plant so they can stretch :D

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 11:17AM
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Sometimes this happens for what I will describe as 'unknown cause'. I am growing a variety of sweet pepper called 'Lipstick' this year. I haven't grown this variety before. I sowed seeds in nursery tray will cell packs. Many other varieties in the same tray. Same potting mix. Same water/fertilizer and under the same lighting. All varieties grew normally except lipstick. Stunted little plants. Why? I put it down as 'unknown cause'.

Sometimes though, there is a clue. One *possibility* is the plant became root bound. This isn't fatal nor does it mean the plant is doomed to not do well in the garden. However once roots start circling around their container they sometimes can't stop circling. So, they get planted in the ground, but the roots keep circling around like they were still in the pot. Eventually they may spread out, but they may not.

With vigorous plants (I consider pretty much any annual or veggie a vigorous enough plant) it's a good practice to simply remove the bottom 1/3rd or so of the root ball. Just rip it off and then plant. This sounds drastic and scares a lot of people, but what it does is gets rid of any circling roots and it also stimulates the formation of new roots. Roots better adapted to their new home than the existing ones. The plant may sulk for a bit, but in the long run is better off for it.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 11:30AM
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mwylie3(Northeast OH Zone 5)

I'm having the same problem with my jalapenos this year. I planted the Senora II from Gurneys and the Jalapeno M and Mucho Nacho from Park Seed. They sprouted well but after they grew 4 or 5 inches tall they seemed to stop and the leaves turned yellow. I figured it was just a lack of nitrogen so I gave them some 1/4 strength Miracle Grow. The leaves greened up but the plant didnt continue to grow. Now that their in my garden they have grown maybe a half of an inch but its been almost a month. The soil Ph is at 6.8 and I sprinkled some Epsom Salts hoping it was just a magnesium or sulfur deficiency. I think all this rain Ohio has been getting isnt helping...

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 2:54PM
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My Mucho Nacho seeds I tried didn't germinate well at all. After 2 weeks I had one out of 3 seeds come up and stayed at about a cm high for another 2 weeks until I just gave up on that variety until next year. For some reason, whether true or not, I don't think hot pepper seedlings like to be germinated in

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 3:01PM
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jessicavanderhoff(7 Md)

I had a similar experience. I started my peppers way earlier than the tomatoes, and they hardly grew at all. It seemed like they stayed the same size for months, and they seemed way too small to plant.

I do recommend breaking up the root ball-- I do this with everything, and I hard core break it up, so it's a floppy shapeless pile of roots-- I always feel like I'm killing the plant, but I never have. Also, my hot pepper seems to like fertilizer. I hit it with some hydroponic solution, and it finally started growing. I have come to think of them as lazy, sluggish plants. (I'm growing a bolivian rainbow and a golden marconi, and they're both seriously testing my patience).

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 4:00PM
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mwylie3(Northeast OH Zone 5)

Since I'm new to this site, can somebody explain to me what hydroponic solution is? Maybe it can give my jalapenos a kick in the butt haha

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 5:19PM
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Its fertilizer specifically made for growing plants in hydroponics(google it if unfamiliar,you will probably see nothing but pot growing sites but the theory is the same) but alot of them are ok to use in soil too per manufacturer recomendations.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 10:51PM
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