Thin spots in pepper plants' stems

LutzAchillesJuly 20, 2014

So about a month and a half to 2 months ago I started some Ghost Peppers, Cayenne, Habaneros, Jalapenos, and Thai Chili Pepper plants from seed indoors. They started off great and after I saw 4 leaves, they all got transplanted to clay pots.

I started moving the plants outside onto my covered porch for a little bit of time each day, gradually increasing until they sat out there all day for about the last 2 weeks.

Two days ago, I set them all outside in the sun for a half hour, and then yesterday for an hour and now today the smaller 6 plants all have a thin spot in their stem right where the stem goes into the soil.

It seems to be only about a 1/4 inch section, but it goes from normal stem width to super skinny like a hair back to normal width and the plant looks like it is dying.

What happened? Did I put them into the sun too long? Too soon? Please help.

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woohooman

Pics please. And please take a closeup of the affected area.

Kevin

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 3:02PM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

That doesn't sound like a sun or wind problem at all. Sounds more like damping off, but by this age they should be past that.

Tell us, what kind of soil are they in, and what is your watering regimen. Are the pots damp at the surface?

Pics are always good, too.

Dennis

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 3:02PM
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LutzAchilles

They are in a very loose start up soil mix with some garden soil. Not exactly sure what is best for peppers but I usually have pretty good luck with this.

This is the first time I have tried all this in Florida though so I am trying to give them more leeway in hardening off.

I usually do not have to water more than once every few days. Really only when I notice that the soil is dry.

I did water them after I noticed the problem so the soil right now is damp and packed around the spot. I'll try to get some pics today.

What could this be? What would cause this? I just really want to know so I can avoid this happening again or to any other plants.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 4:16PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Probably just some residue from the soil. In this case it should be wiped off with your finger.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 11:58PM
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LutzAchilles

Sorry it took me so long to get some pictures up. Please take a look and help me figure this out. Already lost 3 plants to this and I really want to prevent this from happening to more plants.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 9:45PM
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LutzAchilles

another pic

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 9:47PM
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LutzAchilles

another pic

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 9:49PM
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woohooman

Are the leaves slowly shriveling and then the plant dies? If so, then I agree with DMForcier... damping off fungus.

Prevention?

Let soil dry out almost completely between waterings.
Sprinkle cinnamon around seedlings.
Water with 1 part Hydrogen peroxide(3%) to 4 parts water every couple weeks until plants get past the critical stage of this possible affliction -- 1st 6 weeks or so after the 1st set of true leaves.

Good luck and any more questions, just ask.

Kevin

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 10:08PM
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scott123456(5)

Agreed damping off. The only thing I can add that hasn't been mentioned is only water from the bottom.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 1:05AM
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LutzAchilles

Thank you everyone!

Kevin, I will take your advice with the watering and hydrogen peroxide and cinnamon. This was just so confusing because it happened immediately after I put them in the sun for the first time.

Scott, I have never bottom watered plants before. How is this done?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 8:15AM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

Tray of water and set the pots in it.

But I never do it.

Dennis

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 2:16PM
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woohooman

What Dennis said, but only for about 15 mins. and then remove, let dry out, and so on. Works well for those 1st couple months when damping off is most likely. After that critical stage, you should start top watering to leech salts and excess ferts out.

Outdoors "could have" had something to do with it, since you were probably overwatering, worrying about the hot days. Might have also been where fungus gnats dug in and created the damage.

Kevin

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 2:24PM
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LutzAchilles

Thank you again guys. For all the help and advice.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 10:34PM
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judo_and_peppers(Tampa FL)

am I correct in guessing from your name that you're in Lutz, FL? if so, you're about 10 minutes from me. I have more plants than I can fit in my tiny yard. would you be interested in some free, mostly healthy plants? can't help the ones that are currently dying, but maybe we can replace them.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 11:17PM
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northeast_chileman(6a)

Late to the party! I use Chamomile Tea following the recipe below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Water Your Seedlings with Chamomile Tea to Prevent Damping Off

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 10:52AM
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scott123456(5)

I agree with what everyone has said. Heck, they taught me everything I know lol. I use, one solo cup with holes in it, inserted into another without holes to bottom water. Lift up the one with holes and the plant in it, put a inch or so of water in the bottom cup, and put the other back in. It will float for a little but but then sink.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 11:32AM
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