Do 'perennialized' plants get tired?

DMForcier(8 DFW)August 29, 2011

The plants I overwintered aren't as productive this year. Some fertilizer helped green up the leaves and (apparently) resulted in a little new growth, but didn't help much in terms of productivity.

Do older plants just lose their vigor? or is this due more to my crappy feeding regimen?

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simsedward

I do not have a lof of experience - I overwhintered one Bhut Jolokia and it is doing twice as good as it did last year. The plant is way taller, a lot bushier and has twice as many pods that are significantly larger than last year's crop. The plant is planted in the ground and I do not use any fertilizer - just my good old garden soil.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 9:47PM
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chile_freak

that is some great soil sims, cant wait for all my bhuts to ripen!
now u just need to make some GHOST SAUCE!
paul

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 11:48PM
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simsedward

Just organic material every season. Grass clippings, leaves, coffee grounds, ashes, old garden plants.

Think I should make the bhut sauce similar to the smoked hab sauce?

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 12:10AM
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tsheets(5)

I have read people saying that their older plants produce smaller fruit or no more than the first year plants. But, I have also read (and experienced) where the 2nd/3rd year is more productive than the first.

I think there are factors at play such as your zone and water/feeding regiment. Maybe even container vs. ground. Also, variety may come into play.

In zone 5, I can tell you I have had more production from my overwintered plants (mostly chinese varieties) than the first year ones. Or at minimum, no noticeable slow-down. I don't keep exact records of number of fruit, weight of harvest from each plant, etc...

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 10:12AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I've found my older plants become more productive (and better tasting) with age.
And I agree that there are other factors at play. There is always the chance that a
particular plant is just genetically weak (lacking vigor). Much of it probably
has to do with maintaining the health of the roots during the wintering process.

My Hungarian Wax is in its fourth season and the pods are some of the largest they've been.
They're also perfectly shaped, unblemished, and coloring nicely.

Josh

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 10:31AM
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romy6(9)

I must say my older plants are producing bigger,hotter and more abundant pods. They seem to be much stronger and able to fight bugs and deal with the extreme here in florida better as well. I have several red habs that are about 1 1/2 years old that have been in the same 3 gallon containers and they just love life!

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 11:33AM
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2ajsmama

I want to overwinter some Hinkelhatz here in cold New England. I plan on putting them in my bay window (until the Xmas tree goes up), I will find the largest pots I can for them, but how about fertilizing? Cut them back? How to harden off again in the spring (just like a seedling?), will probably plant them in the ground if they're really big.

Thanks

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 12:22PM
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biscgolf

i have had decent luck revitalizing weakening older plants by trimming the root ball back considerably and then repotting...

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 4:01PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Ajsmama,
I think you should use smaller containers, rather than larger, for the cold winter.
A smaller volume of soil will dry more readily and will be easier to warm, water, and fertilize.
In my experience, the number one killer of overwintered peppers is too much moisture around
the roots (in other words, too wet a soil).

I do the same as Biscgolf. I trim the rootball and re-pot to revitalize my plants.

Josh

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 8:58PM
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tsheets(5)

When I was planting out this Spring, I found that several of my overwintered plants had some root issues due to excessive moisture down in the bottom 30%-40% of the pot. The tops would be bone dry, so I'd water. I had no idea the bottom was sooooo wet!

So, I agree, smaller pots are better in the Winter. Oh, and I was using roughly 1 gallon pots!

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 9:29PM
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2ajsmama

Thanks - do you think 3 qt (8" mum pots) or 1 gal pots would be big enough for a 2'-3' tall (and almost as wide) plant? Possibly I killed them anyway trying to dig halfway around and lay them down b4 the storm. We'll see. Staked everything back up and a lot of plants are looking wilted. We got over 10" of rain this w/e. Up around 20" for the month.

At least I have the HH and Thai I moved from porch to garage, plus some rescued jals, Hot Portugals, and unknowns (jals, cherries, serranos?) from my cousin that were all in pots in the garage. Though I hate to start with 6" tall plants this late in the season.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 10:00PM
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tsheets(5)

Check out this thread.

Here is a link that might be useful: Overwintering

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 10:10PM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

> i have had decent luck revitalizing weakening older plants by trimming the root ball back considerably and then repotting...

Interesting! How big are your pots? Do the roots want to go deep? or spread?

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 8:01PM
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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

I've been overwintering a naga jolokia for a friend for three years now. Last year it was better than ever. When I gave it back to him in the spring, it had probably 1000 pods just ready to turn red. I bet he's picked millions this summer. I really wish I'd taken a picture of it. He was thrilled.
I'd say if you end up getting any root issues, then that would be the reason for your plant being less vigorous the next year. Also if you're not fertilizing. We were using 20-10-20 at 200 ppm once a week on his pepper during the winter months, then upping that to every watering as the greenhouse went into production in March and we were watering everything more often.
Myself, I wouldn't put it into that small of a pot if the plant was 2-3 feet tall. I'd use like a 3 gallon or so and use just a real good draining mix like promix hp with biofungicide, which is what I usually use.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 4:59PM
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