Tabasco late-starter progress, questions

Graelin(Zone 8a)June 28, 2011

Hey, I don't really talk much here because I don't know much, but you might remember me from a few weeks back. I got a lanky little tabasco plant from a local nursery and got it going in a self-watering container. So far, so good:

I have a couple of quick questions, using the below picture as a reference.

First, that lowest big leaf on the main stem is rather green, but where it joins the trunk is pale, almost yellow. Is that a sign that the leaf should be pruned, or should I leave it alone? I noticed that by removing more obviously weak & damaged leaves, it's strengthened the plant overall, but I don't want to overdo it.

Second, is that shorter sprig going to be a problem later, or is it okay to let it grow?

If I seem like I'm nit-picking, it's just because I got going so late with this plant, so I want to give it the best chance it can get to produce before the season's over.

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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Late?! It looks great!

Man, my Tabasco is six inches tall at the moment.....

You can pluck leaves whenever you wish. Your plant looks great, though.


    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 6:33PM
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Looks like your sprig sprouted from a bud near or below the soil line. It shouldn't be a problem but if it bothers you, you could always snip it off near the base and stick it in some moist potting mix, set it in the shade for a while and if it roots you'll have two plants.
Nice plant!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 6:59PM
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BTW, I'd love to see some more pictures of the self-watering container you've rigged. I'm growing on a balcony so any additional ideas (like for next year and so-on) are appreciated.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 11:29PM
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Graelin(Zone 8a)

Thanks for the replies, you guys are encouraging. Josh, I thought it was preferred for tabascos to be small and shrubby, so you probably have something closer to ideal than mine. Either way, I'll give that leaf some time to decide if it's going to green-up or wilt. I guess I'll leave that sprig alone for now, too.

Drakar, I used these plans on Instructables to build my container. It's a very similar design to the Earthbox or Earthtainer systems. So far, I'm happy with what I've got here and I bet it'd be perfect for a balcony. Mine doesn't look identical to the one in the plans because I washed and used a lid from an old drywall mud bucket rather than buy a new one.

The only things I did that aren't mentioned in the plans is I bought a 1" rubber stopper from the hardware store, to plug the drainage hole so I can move the container without slopping water all over my shoes. I also bypassed all the work with the lid, opting instead to just cut a 3" hole in the middle of the lid to thread the plant through before sealing it shut. The water level has to be topped-off about once a week.

Oh! And there's one other thing I did differently: because I used 3/4" PVC pipe for my water input, I found that a synthetic cork from a liquor bottle fit pretty loosely inside the pipe. So I threaded some long string through the top of the cork and tied the other end to a lightweight bit of plastic, then dropped the cork down the pipe. I did it in such a way that when the water level gets too low, the string sinks in and the plastic tag gets pulled up. When the tag reaches a certain height, I know it's time to water. If you use a 1" diameter pipe, you can probably use a synthetic cork from a wine bottle without having to shave it down.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 2:48PM
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Here is a picture of my tabasco plants last year. They love the summer heat. I would not prune any leaves. The plant looks really healthy. That thing is going to get really big in that swc

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 4:29PM
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WOW, that is a MONSTER!!!!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 7:34PM
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Graelin(Zone 8a)

Wow, those are gorgeous, Romy! They look like little Christmas trees with all those colorful peppers! Did those start from seed just that year? If not, you might want to scan your garden with a Geiger counter. ;)

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 7:45PM
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Romy...that is one of the nicest Tobasco plants I have ever seen. I wish I could grow one that big. I have never been able to grow them to any size, so I used them as an ornamental when their smaller.

Graelin...I think your plant looks great! Especially compared to mine. I have never had great luck with tobasco.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Pepper Guy's Garden

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 11:18PM
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Yes, that is an awesome looking plant, Romy! I gave up on Tobasco's. After a couple years of trying them, I just never got many to ripen (a few, but, most still green) by the end of the season. And the fact that they're so small, I just quit trying.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 10:05AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I've had the same problem getting Tabascos to ripen....
Last year, I only got a handful of peppers off the plant, and those ripened after they were harvested.

One of my friends grew a tabasco in a container, however, and he had a much better harvest than I did.


    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 1:17PM
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I got those two bad boys from ace hardware last May. Before I began growing everything from seed. They were both very ill looking but for a dollar each i had to give then a try. They were very slow at first but after lots of love they shot up to 6 feet. They must love the heat and humidity of Florida. Most of you that have not had any luck seem to be in much dryer colder areas.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 4:25PM
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nice tabasco, romy! I had one that was similar in size last year and fortunately had no problem with ripening.

one thing i will caution, graelin, is that tabasco's, at least in my experience, are late to mature. my plant last year was seemingly fully grown for most of the summer and i was worried it wasnt going to fruit at all, but then BAM! all of a sudden the entire plant was covered in peppers, much more than i knew what to do with.

so dont give up if it takes a while to bloom. it looks like yours already has set some fruit, though, so you should be fine.

happy growing!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 3:58PM
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I started mine quite early under LED. Potted ones are doing much better then in soil. I wonder if production in the potted plants can be prolonged back under the LED? They are a perennials in the tropics, could I grow year round maybe?

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 4:07PM
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Oh yeah . All peppers are perennials. I have heard of some chili's living 10 years are more. With just enough love( no too much) it is amazing how long they can live. You can even did up the ones in the ground and bring them inside over the winter. Lots of threads about it. Check out Josh's grow long (greenman 28) he is the overwinter man!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 3:56PM
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