Pepper plants not growing tall

SoCarRob (Zone 7)July 2, 2014

Hi all. This year is my first year trying to grow peppers. I have jalapenos, cowhorns and banana pepper plants. They have been transplanted for around a month but they seem to have stopped growing in height but have grown a lot of leaves, flowers and even have some pods developing on the jalapenos. The weather has been hot mostly here in South Carolina, being in the mid 90's and we have had rain. A family member also is growing the same peppers and his have grown much taller although he started earlier in the season than I did. But I'm not sure that everything's going right. The center stems seems to have stopped growing tall altogether and now is growing rather thick, growing lots of leaves and sending off shoots. I'm afraid that the plants are stunted somehow and I can't seem to understand why. The plants are only about 8 to 10 inches tall, certainly too short.

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It's fine. You may want to nip the pods to encourage more growth though. Fruiting veggies grow in stages -- foliage, flowers, fruit, harvest, more foliage... and so on.

Also, you may want to mulch around your plants to regulate soil temps and water. When it REALLY heats up like that(mid 90's), they'll thank you for it.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 10:00PM
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how old is it? Peppers are slow growers. What you are describing sounds pretty normal to me but wait and see what the experts say.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 10:02PM
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SoCarRob (Zone 7)

They have been in the ground around a month. I'm not sure how old the plants are, I got them as seedlings. They have been putting on leaves like nobody's business. We have until mid September possibly early October here for the growing season, so pinching flowers and cutting off those pods shouldn't hurt. I suppose looking at my towering tomatoes and then looking at my peppers has me questioning. I planted 4 more jalapeno seedlings today (it's late in the season, but hey they were free and I had the space.) Thanks guys for the suggestions and the affirmation.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 10:24PM
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I wouldn't pinch ALL the flowers, just the pods and maybe a few open flowers.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 11:30PM
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There is no comparison in how fast peppers grow compared to tomatoes. I started all my peppers on feb 8th. I have been giving them specific care (specific lighting, simulated wind, specific soil, specific fertilizer, specific watering, moving them in and out of my house, and in and out from under my balcony. ect) for almost 5 months. On the other hand I planted two tomato plants the first week of June. Just dug a hole in my rocky crappy garden bed soil and stuck them in it (literally did nothing else). The tomatoes already tower over my pepper plants. Peppers are really slow and the ones you have are the fast ones.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 11:49PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Have you been fertilizing them ? What ? How often ?
Your soil looks plain . I would top dress with a few inches of good compost and work it; The mulch with like pine straw.

Make sure the fertilizer has Mg and Ca. Epsom salt is good for peppers as it also has sulfur (Magnesium sulfate)

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 3:04AM
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I think your plants are fine. The side shoots will develop giving a nice bushy plant. Don't worry that they're not growing taller. A thick main stem sounds healthy to me. I agree with comments already made: put some mulch around them; fertilize them; and give them calcium and magnesium. There's a thread on here about Smokemaster's Witches Brew; that's a good way to give them Ca and Mg. You've got plenty of time---here in Upstate SC I'll be good until first frost around the end of October. Main thing you're missing is a little patience to let them sort themselves out.

Cheers, Tom

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 6:17AM
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    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 8:10AM
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SoCarRob (Zone 7)

For fertilizing I have been using MG for tomatoes water soluble (18-18-21) lightly applied weekly. Before planting I prepared the soil by tilling in composted manure and bagged garden soil for some organic matter. The red clay soil we have here is not great.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 9:59AM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

Considering how late you got started, I'd say they look great. Be careful not to over-water. It is harder to do with in-ground plants, but is still possible.

Authorities tell us that peppers prefer an NPK ratio of 3-1-2, like MG's All Purpose 24-8-16. The higher nitrogen should help foliage growth. But what you are doing certainly isn't hurting.

Good growing,

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 12:32PM
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SoCarRob (Zone 7)

Thanks everyone for all of the responses and suggestions. You have put my mind at ease and given me some new ideas and tools. I am very grateful!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 9:37PM
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SoCarRob (Zone 7)

Plants have taken off! There has been noticeable growth in these past few days, including a few jalapenos that I didn't notice under a couple of leaves (one is about 3 inches and getting bigger every day). It's strange, almost like the plants were going through a cycle of development and now they are reaching out for the sky.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 10:46PM
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