Need help supporting pepper plant

elight(9b)August 8, 2011

Hi all,

This is my first attempt at growing peppers. When I transplanted it originally, I did not put a stake or cage--whoops! About a week ago, the plant began to lean as its first fruit began to grow larger and weigh it down. Also, over the past week, storms (I presume) have completely ripped off some branches and individual peppers.

I tried to fix this by putting a stake on the side of the bucket and using a variety of ties to hold the plant upright. Although them main stem now is straight up, the branches still lean and I fear that more peppers will snap off before they are ripe.

What can I do at this point to support it? I've come up with the following possibilities:

1. Put an inverted conical tomato cage on top. This may require some finessing of the plant and its branches.

2. Put two more stakes on opposite sides of the container, and then tie string between them at a few different heights to create a make-shift cage.

3. Put a few more stakes and tie individual branches to them.

I am open to ideas, as I have no idea how to properly support this plant and want to make sure that all of my peppers don't end up green and on the ground. Thanks!

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esox07 (4b)

If your plant is putting out peppers, I assume it is fairly good sized now. I would buy a stake. They sell bamboo stakes that are about 4' tall and they are cheap and work great. If you dont need all 4 feet, just snap it in two. Put the stake in the soil about an inch away from the base of the plant and stick it in a good 10-12 inches. Make sure it is approximately parallel to the plant stem. Then use some rope or string such as twine to loosely fasten the plant to the stake. I usually put the string right at a branch on the plant, especially at the main branching point that many pepper plants develop. Tie it two or three times up the stem of the plant. As far as pods falling off, I would look at causes other than wind. If the winds are bad enough to knock off pods, you probably would have trashed plants altogether. If your plant was kept indoors prior to transplanting it and putting it outside, it could very well be that you did not "harden off" the plant and that is the reason for it "drooping".
PS: It is much better to post photos of the problems you describe. It adds a lot of information to your post and will help you get better advice or comments.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 10:59AM
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I'd go with option 2 or a combination of option 2 and 3.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 12:03PM
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Bruce, you are absolutely right - they were not properly hardened off. It's my first year planting so now I know for next year. I think I have already done the procedure you described for the staking so that the plant is upright (this held up just fine over the weekend).

I will try to post a picture when I get home. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 1:23PM
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esox07 (4b)

Yep, when I first got my plants outside, they were probably 6-8" tall and anything more than about 5-10 mph breeze was too much. A slow and gradual hardening off process is the key. But that was three months ago. Now, they could probably withstand 30 mph winds or better.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 3:53PM
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Here is a before-and-after that I took this evening. I originally tried the method of creating a make-shift cage by tying string between three stakes in a triangle formation, but this proved too difficult. Instead, I left the stakes there and gently tied the major branches to the stakes to offer some support.

(You'll notice it's wet - of course we had more major rain this afternoon after I posted the original message this morning!)

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 10:37PM
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esox07 (4b)

Your photo isn't showing up.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 10:43PM
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Sometimes you just gotta make do. I have a couple of poblano's that look a lot like that (though, not in pots). The branches are really long and bend over. I just put one stake in the ground and keep tying them up when they pester their neighbor.

BTW, at your image page, there is a link at the bottom for 'links' and it has the IMG tags...I think one of those will let your pics show in the forum.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 10:14AM
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esox07 (4b)

Here is the Photo:

upload gif

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 11:28AM
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Thanks, Bruce - don't know why it didn't show up in mine... it did in the message preview!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 1:12PM
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Perhaps put that bucket next to that spindled railing. I see alot of potential tie off area there.

Another method that i use for tying pepper plants and tomatoes too is....

I drove 5 or 6 foot wooden stakes into the ground and fastened a crossbeam across the tops of the stakes using tie wire. I use twine to tie the pepper stems up to the crossbeam being careful to not pull them upward to tight and uproot them. I also tie off large fruit bearing branches up that crossbeam.

This pic is probably 2 months old and the plants have extended way up past that crossbeam. I guess planting them plants close together stimulated them to fight for vertical growth and access to the suns rays. But anyways this system works very well for me :)

A pic of same bed taken recently

One more from above some scotch bonnets.

Good luck


    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 8:17PM
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esox07 (4b)

That fist picture looks like you have a bunch of "Outlaw" peppers. It looks like a mass hanging. hehehehe

Great idea though, it still allows some movement which is really great for the plants but also limits their travel.

Those are some nice tall peppers, what kind are they?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 8:26PM
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I find those useless(for tomato) wire tomato cages with 3-4 rings and 3 legs they sell in all the stores seem to be about right for hot peppers. Seems like the hungarian wax bananna kind are a bit on the fragile side.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 6:28PM
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Those are some really lanky peppers. I generally just use a tomato cage for my peppers. I use woven wire fence to make my own cages for my tomatoes.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 1:35PM
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