My Bhut Jolokia's Won't Get Bigger!

turkuJuly 23, 2010

Hello Everyone,

I am new to the forum. This is my 2nd go around trying to grow the Bhut Jolokia from a seed. I have purchased my seeds from 3 different dealers. All have germinated by I can't get the plants to grow beyond 1-2" tall with only two leaves. They stay this way for MONTHS and then eventually fall over and die. I have never seen anything like this. I live in San Diego and have planted them in MG soil with a heated base at 80 deg F and flouresent light.

Please let me know what I need to do to get them to the next stage. Really frustrated.

Thank you.

p.s. I tried to embed a picture of the plants in this post. If it did not work you can view it at:

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hey, Turku, I'd try a more porous mix.
Water from the top, don't allow the seedlings to sit in water.
It sounds as though your seedlings are damping off.
Do you have access to Perlite, Pumice, Lava rock (Scoria)?

Here's a pic of the fast-draining mix that I use.
This was my first Bhut from earlier this year (March).
All seeds germinated, but only 5 out of 6 grew into full-sized plants.
Thick, healthy trunks on my seedlings from start to finish.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 12:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

At the very least, they need more light.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 1:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Looks like your soil is regular MG potting soil. In my experience, it doesn't drain very well for starting pots like those. I had some luck with them but they grew very slowly. I'd definately use a different soil, like the kind in the previous post. That MG potting soil allows the water to stand a bit much.

Personally I keep it simply and use those burpee starters with the dirt prepackaged. Apart from roots invading adjacent pods, they work like a charm.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 1:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

When u said yer pepper plants were only 1 to 2 inches for "months", I'm wondering if u still had them in a seed starter flat with those small little compartments?

I started peporoncini and hab's in those flats this year and probably had a 90 percent or better germination rate. They were growing quite slow as i left them in there maybe close to to a month and a half and then re-potted them in 8 ounce foam cups with holes cut in the bottom for drainage. They grew a little more in those cups for about a month.

When i planted them in the ground in various beds around the yard with different soil mixes and differnt sunlight hours i noticed a substantial growth spurt and now have peppers forming on the peperoncini's and habs are showing flower buds forming.

Maybe yer plants just need a lil more room to grow? Maybe sunlight is the issue as well.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 11:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks everyone for responding. Greenman28's picture is cool but how do you transplant something like that? Seems like the rocks would fall away and you would be left with just roots. What soil mixture would you transplant into?

Shoontok and napalmxv3 what soil mixture do you use?

I was thinking maby cactus mix. I look at other pics of peoples BJ's and they seem to be in normal soil.

Still not sure what to do. I guess I need a step by step.


    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 10:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

The mix is very loose, but the roots hold everything together.
When I transplant these small seedlings, I put them into a mix that has a greater percentage
of bark - about 5 parts bark, 1 part perlite, and 1 - 2 parts pumice. I include Garden Lime
at 1 Tbsp. per gallon of soil, and a small amount of Osmocote slow release fertilizer.

Although it looks crumbly, it is a wonderful media from seed-start to transplant.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 12:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My starters use the prepackaged dirt discs that come with the starter trays.

I haven't ventured into trying the fancier soil mixes. That's next years experiment. At this point I used Miracle Gro potting soil with bone meal added around the roots when I transplant. after a bit I put some fish emulsion into the mix and later added a bit of fertilizer, making sure to take things slow. It works well when you have very little time on your hands.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 4:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Thanks for your reply.

What kind of bark are you using and what is your mix ratio for the seeds?

Are your plants outside and if so what are do you live?

One last question how are you able to post your pics in the reply? I tried to do this and I only got a red X.

Thanks for your help.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 9:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

My pleasure!

First, you need to use the HTML code to link your pics. It's the code that begins with one of these "I don't use Flickr, so I'm not too sure how that site works.

I use Orchid Bark or Micro Bark. I screen the particles with a 3/8 and a 1/16 inch screen.
That leaves the majority of the bark pieces between 1/8 - 1/4 inch, which is what I use.
*Some folks use Repti-Bark (for lizards and such), purchased at pet stores. From
what I've seen, it is more expensive...but it's also pre-screened and (I think) sterilized.

Seedling/Starting mix:
The Seedlings are in a 1:1:1 mix - Bark, Perlite, Pumice (scoria, lava rock). It is very gritty, and
the drainage is excellent. There is no standing water, no algae, and no fungus gnats. As a precaution against
aphids, you might want to pour boiling water into your bark (in a bucket) to sterilize any pests/eggs.

I'm in northern California, in the Sierra Nevada foothills, at about 1,600 feet elevation.
I start my seeds indoors in late February, using a very simple two-bulb 40w grow-light. I start
my seeds in the nursery 6-packs, and I re-pot into 4-inch containers when roots peek out the bottom.
Typically, I plant my peppers in the garden in May.

I'll include a link that details my entire pepper season.
Please, feel free to ask any questions.


Here is a link that might be useful: Greenman's Peppers 2010 (pics)

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 12:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


How often do you water the starter mix since it is so porus?

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 2:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

i beleive another problem your facing here is that some species of pepper do not like a peat content in there soil Bhuts are one of them, MG potting soil has an awefull lot of peat in it, peat can cause all kinds of problems for these sensitive species, such as retarded growth, blossom drop, no blossoms, fruit drop, leaf drop and eventually death of the plant, i would get them in some soil with no peat, my lemon bhuts are doing great planted in my garden because there is no peat in the soil, i am starting to harvest a few,

hope this helps thanks your friend joe

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 3:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I water every two to three days or so in winter.
Although the mix looks dry, the bark, perlite, and pumice all hold moisture without staying wet.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 10:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

we use Park's sponges to germinate all of our seeds & plant the sponge/plant in the garden. Never had any problems & have nearly 100% germination.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 12:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I used a mix of some basic potting soil and peat moss to germinate my plants and worked just fine. They didnt really grow nicely until i got them outside into the ground that i tilled top soil, some peat moss and some manure. And have been using fertilizer from time to time.

I still think Turku's problem must of been an issufficient lighting issue.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 12:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
pkapeckopickldpepprz(z9 a/b FL)

Greenman where do you get ground pumice/lava rock like that? Also do you use that mix or when you plant in ground did you then use soil?

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 11:11PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Help, Jalapenos and Serranos flowering....WAY too early.
I figure it must be a fertilizer issue. I am in Victoria,...
best flavored of the "super hots"
I am sort of reluctant to use the words "super...
Looking for delicious peppers
Just got my first pepper order from Judy at pepperlover....
Bhut Jolokia best growing conditions?
I have some Bhut Jolokia peppers coming in the mail....
Sponsored Products
Madalyne Iron Double Table Lamp with Stone Shades
$229.95 | Bellacor
Provence Round Outdoor Outdoor Bistro Table - Black, 30" Round, Patio Furniture
$849.00 | FRONTGATE
LZF | I-Club Small Wall Light
$990.00 | YLighting
Furniture of America Florencine Glass Top Dining Table - Black - IDF-8372BK-T
$577.62 | Hayneedle
Leslie Mirrored Tufted Sofa - BROWN
$6,799.00 | Horchow
Purple Link Personalized Weekly Notepad
$19.99 | zulily
Overdyed Oushak Faded Rose 100% Wool 10'x13' Hand Knotted Oriental Rug Sh17791
1800 Get A Rug
Chaparral Aged Bronze Ceiling Fan with 52-Inch Plus Series Walnut Blades
$237.60 | Bellacor
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™