Bhut plants: beware the tomato horn worm

DarylltxJune 19, 2012

I thought I was done with this ugly creature when they were putting holes in my celebrity tomatoes. I found a product called BT worm killer by greenlight, which is made from a hormone called thurgenisis ir something like that. Anyway, I have never seen one of them on any pepper plant especially jalapenos. then right before dusk, I go out to one of my 2 ghost plants, the smaller and weaker of the two and I found a fully grown, 6 inch long horn worm chewing on the end of one of the top shoots. As a matter of fact, it stripped every leave and buds from the top of this plant. He isn't bothering my Cayennes or jalapenos. You know because of the Texas 95 degrees every day and the no producing Ghost peppers, and the fact that I cant move them, I may hack these two plants down. I may try the shade cloth suggestion, as someone mentioned first. Its frustrating to see a plant not producing even one pepper, when jalapeno plants next door have 20-30 peppers on them

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they say to plant ghost peppers at least three feet apart. this is my first time growing ghost peppers and after 20 years, what i found is that if you plant ghost peppers and all your other peppers at least one foot apart the leaves will touch and start shading the lower leaves. causing lower temps. bigger faster growers in the back and smaller slow growers in the front.
i live in central texas near temple and waco and the heat has been in mid 90s. i have been getting ghost peppers on the vine but at a slow pace. we had a couple days when the temp were in the high 80 due to rain and the ghost peppers took off. the humidity helps also. it seems the plant needs so many hours of heat and humidity to get adjusted then when it gets adjusted it will take off.
i have one ghost pepper plant in a far corner of the garden with no other pepper plants around and i do not have a single pepper on it.
shade cloth will help but you still need that one day of weather in the high 80 and lower 90 or high 70. one rainy day will give you that.
dont give up on it, just shade it and one day you will walk outside and see a pepper started. your not that far north of me.
i never had hornworms on my peppers, but i found one today. caught it in time to keep it from eating the habs. dont get impatient add a shade cloth they sell them at home depot and use calcium to keep new growth on it.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 10:10PM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

Horn worms do not dislike cayennes. I've had my cayenne stripped as their first choice the last two years.

Durn thing kept setting fruit even without most of its leaves. Cayennes are tough!

(I'm outside Atlanta.)

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 1:08PM
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Curious if you have tomatoes nearby? I grow both, and have never had an issue with them on peppers. But in the absence of tomatoes, could this be why?

By the way BT is not a hormone. It's a bacteria that infects caterpillars.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 4:53PM
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thanks for the correction on the BT. And yes I had two celebrity tomato plants for the last 4 months, each about 5 foot tall and five foot wide. My peppers were about 20 feet away. I got hundreds of tomatoes from those plants over the last 3 months and lost about a hundred of tomatoes to those horn worms. And because of the 95 degree Texas days and the sub par tomatoes at the top of the plant compared to the earlier season ones, I just decided to chop them down instead of watching all the leaves turn brown because of fungus or who knows why. As a matter of fact 3 days after chopping them down is when I first noticed that fully grown worm on my Ghost which is about 4 feet from where one of the tomato plants were.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 6:16PM
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thanks for the info. i too have a cherry tomato plant about 8 feet away. will move it. thanks.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 12:07AM
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