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Cotys are dying

This is my first attempt at growing peppers, largely because it's hard for me to find anything around where I live that isn't Habs or Jalapenos (being in cajun country you'd think a guy could find some cayenne, but nooooo.)
So the list of things I've probably messed up could be vast.

I bought a starter kit and some seeds (Anaheim, Giant Jalapeno, Thai, Tequila Sunrise, and Habanero) for a test-run. The starter kit worked well, two seeds per starter pod. All was going well.
 
Problem 1: I missed the statement in the Guide about when the humidity dome becomes bad. Oops, but it didn't seem to be a cause of plant murder.
 
Each having one set of leaves, I transplanted them to solo-cups, at least half of the stem up to the first set of leaves into the soil for stability, some further. Most looked real healthy. Watered until soil was lightly damp. Used original soil from starter plus a raised-bed soil I intended for use once I was going to put them in the ground. One plant per cup. Watered as soon as they were in the soil.
 
Problem 2: 2 days later, some of them are wilting bad, looking a bit dried out, leaves curling. Some are looking as good as when I transplanted them. I did water them a bit more this morning.
 
 
Suspicions:
1) Lighting is general house lighting, set on an 18 hour schedule, LEDs set for a cool setting, 60W equivalent bulbs set to 100% brightness, or general table-chandelier style lighting for some others They've got some light coming in through the kitchen windows as well. This is probably not enough. The more I read the more I'm almost certain that's the problem.
2) I have added no fertilizer at all. Just what was in the initial pellets, the garden-soil, and that's it.
 
Other data: House temperature 71 Fahrenheit. Moderately humid (I live in Mississippi).
Planted at the beginning of April. Any growth stunting is probably the result of me leaving the humidity dome on too long. Most were tall enough to touch the dome.
coty2.jpg

It's hard to tell but the center-most cup has a pretty wilted plant in it. The leaves are pretty shriveled, and they didn't start that way.
 
coty1.jpg

Most are better than the first little guy. My Thais and Giant Jalapenos are doing okay, though they're far away from the camera. (My wife was mopping so I couldn't get much closer).

If this batch all dies, I'll be sad, but for my second round of plants I'm planning on Cayenne, Ghosts, and Reaper, and I want to get that one right. If I can save a few of the current batch, that'd be great.

I'm guessing the first thing I probably need to do is buy a portable grow-light off of Amazon and set it up in the middle.
 
Hey!  Welcome to the world of growing peppers!
 
There may be a couple of things going on here, but two things jumped out at me.
 
Make sure those Solo cups have enough drainage.
 
And, although I can't see your lighting setup, I'd guess they need more light.
 
Do you have a place outside with shaded/dabbled sunlight (you don't want full sun at this point).  You have to be careful about leaving such small plants outside if we get one of our torrential rains, but they'd probably appreciate some extra light.
 
DontPanic said:
Hey!  Welcome to the world of growing peppers!
 
There may be a couple of things going on here, but two things jumped out at me.
 
Make sure those Solo cups have enough drainage.
 
And, although I can't see your lighting setup, I'd guess they need more light.
 
Do you have a place outside with shaded/dabbled sunlight (you don't want full sun at this point).  You have to be careful about leaving such small plants outside if we get one of our torrential rains, but they'd probably appreciate some extra light.
I have a patio table that should hold them all, it stays shaded all day.

I wanted to avoid leaving them outside because of pests, but at this point I’m probably doing more damage than they could, and the patio table should elevate them above crawlies.

As for drainage...
Uh, what would be “adequate?” I’m assuming a small hole on the bottom and maybe one or two on the sides near the bottom?


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CaneDog

Extreme Member
Yeah, there's a few things you might consider for this time and next time.  You should pull the sprouts out from the humidity dome as soon as the cotyledons are free of soil and, if it sticks, free from the seed coat.  If you leave them in there they become acclimated to the high humidity and then you need to wean them by progressive exposure to dryer air.  If you pull them out cold turkey, you'll get the shriveling you're seeing because they can't hold their internal moisture adequately.  They stretched because they didn't have enough quality light, so yes, they want better light, but you have to be even more careful now because light and heat will exacerbate the drying after coming out of the humidity done. Add to that both that they're young so more sensitive and that you just transplanted them so they're more sensitive and you can see you'll have to be careful in progressively exposing them to better light as DP already cautions, above.  But they do need more good light, so you can't wait too long or they'll continue to stretch.  
 
A couple more things. Soil suitable for raised beds generally isn't suitable for containers and retains too much water and compacts.  This can show as droopy and dropped (as in fallen off) cotyledons.  Use a good potting soil for your containers that will drain properly.  Also, generally don't plant peppers up the stem as though they were tomatoes.  While some will root a bit up the stem, most don't and you're risking rot and damp off.
 
At this point, I'd say do as DP advises, just be very careful not to give them too much too soon, especially in the first 36+/- hours after transplant and/or removal from the dome.
 
Just looking at your picture they don't look terrible.  Good luck with them.  Plus you should have all the kinks worked out by round 2 and the cayennes, ghosts, and reapers!
 
- For drainage you can cut little "slices" off the bottom edges with scissors.  Adding 2 or 3 short cuts like that will help a lot with drainage and air exchange.
 
CaneDog said:
Yeah, there's a few things you might consider for this time and next time.  You should pull the sprouts out from the humidity dome as soon as the cotyledons are free of soil and, if it sticks, free from the seed coat.  If you leave them in there they become acclimated to the high humidity and then you need to wean them by progressive exposure to dryer air.  If you pull them out cold turkey, you'll get the shriveling you're seeing because they can't hold their internal moisture adequately.  They stretched because they didn't have enough quality light, so yes, they want better light, but you have to be even more careful now because light and heat will exacerbate the drying after coming out of the humidity done. Add to that both that they're young so more sensitive and that you just transplanted them so they're more sensitive and you can see you'll have to be careful in progressively exposing them to better light as DP already cautions, above.  But they do need more good light, so you can't wait too long or they'll continue to stretch.  
 
A couple more things. Soil suitable for raised beds generally isn't suitable for containers and retains too much water and compacts.  This can show as droopy and dropped (as in fallen off) cotyledons.  Use a good potting soil for your containers that will drain properly.  Also, generally don't plant peppers up the stem as though they were tomatoes.  While some will root a bit up the stem, most don't and you're risking rot and damp off.
 
At this point, I'd say do as DP advises, just be very careful not to give them too much too soon, especially in the first 36+/- hours after transplant and/or removal from the dome.
 
Just looking at your picture they don't look terrible.  Good luck with them.  Plus you should have all the kinks worked out by round 2 and the cayennes, ghosts, and reapers!
 
- For drainage you can cut little "slices" off the bottom edges with scissors.  Adding 2 or 3 short cuts like that will help a lot with drainage and air exchange.
Thanks!

Yeah, like you said, in hindsight I probably did too much too fast. The dome came off and they were transplanted within 24 hours of the dome coming off. I got more focused on the fact that I was doing things wrong and wanted to fix them, and didn't think about the stress it would put on the little guys.

Would the raised bed soil still work for this, or should I transplant them again after they start to recover and stabilize?

I'll probably have to move them in and out of the house on a daily basis or get a good grow-lamp. Today the low temperature is 46F, high temperature is only in the 70s. There was still a bit of frost on the ground when I took them outside this morning, I'd rather not subject them to that overnight.
 

The_NorthEast_ChileMan

Extreme Member
Pharthan said:
Would the raised bed soil still work for this, or should I transplant them again after they start to recover and stabilize?
 
You've received great advice so far from DP(Don't Panic) & CD(Cane Dog). Two
 
I wanted to make sure we're talking about the same thing in above question, please read Potting Soil Vs. Potting Mix: What’s The Difference? so that we're all on the same page.
 
The_NorthEast_ChileMan said:
 
You've received great advice so far from DP(Don't Panic) & CD(Cane Dog). Two
 
I wanted to make sure we're talking about the same thing in above question, please read Potting Soil Vs. Potting Mix: What’s The Difference? so that we're all on the same page.
Thanks.
I assume Potting Mix is what I want while they're in Solo cups, from what I read there?

Also, there's a lot to wade through for lighting in the initial Guide page; is there any problem with me using an Indoor-plant Grow Light? My current plan is to use a flexible, multi-light set-up on a dresser next to a mirror when I have them indoors; right now sunlight lasts only ~11 hours instead of the ideal 18, and less if I have to move them indoors overnight to keep them from getting too cold.

https://www.amazon.com/JUEYINGBAILI-Spectrum-Dimmable-Brightness-Succulent/dp/B0838XNJS2/ref=sr_1_4?crid=1SQ92CODXJV3O&dchild=1&keywords=grow+light&qid=1588783247&s=lawn-garden&sprefix=grow+light%2Clawngarden%2C179&sr=1-4
 
Right now I'm looking at something like that, but I assume something like this might be better with Sunlight Full Spectrum
https://www.amazon.com/KINGBO-Spectrum-Gooseneck-2-Switch-Replaceable/dp/B07LG39B3M/ref=sr_1_18?dchild=1&keywords=grow+lights+for+outdoor+plants&qid=1588771373&sr=8-18
 

The_NorthEast_ChileMan

Extreme Member
Pharthan said:
Thanks.
I assume Potting Mix is what I want while they're in Solo cups, from what I read there?
I try to use "media" for anything that doesn't contain soil - Not beating a dead horse but see any "soil" in this members  mix?>Rate my soil mix
 
The_NorthEast_ChileMan said:
I try to use "media" for anything that doesn't contain soil - Not beating a dead horse but see any "soil" in this members  mix?>Rate my soil mix
I just checked the bag, it is a potting mix.
Contains perlite, coir, sphagnum peat moss, sand, ground dolomitic limestone, gypsum, and organic fertilizer,
Total Nitrogen, 0.3%
Phosphate 0.1%
Potash 0.1%
derived from Composed poultry manure, dehydrated poultry manure, composted chicken manure, feather meal, bat guano, kelp meal, and earthworm casings
 
 

The_NorthEast_ChileMan

Extreme Member
Pharthan said:
I just checked the bag, it is a potting mix.
Contains perlite, coir, sphagnum peat moss, sand, ground dolomitic limestone, gypsum, and organic fertilizer,
Total Nitrogen, 0.3%/Phosphate 0.1%/Potash 0.1% - derived from Composed poultry manure, dehydrated poultry manure, composted chicken manure, feather meal, bat guano, kelp meal, and earthworm casings
 
I'll never understand the sand thing even though I've seen it recommended a number of times.  Who's the MFG?
 
.
 

PaulG

Extreme Member
Pharthan said:
As for drainage...
Uh, what would be “adequate?” I’m assuming a small hole on the bottom and maybe one or two on the sides near the bottom?


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I agree with CaneDog, keep it simple. I just use
a box cutter to cut four small 'wedges' off of the
beverage cup bottom's rim.
 

CaneDog

Extreme Member
Pharthan said:
Kellogg Garden Organics
 
I have some of my younger plants in that right now (assuming it's the same composition both here and there).  It's not what I usually use, but it was easy to get under the current restrictions.  It has pretty good drainage, which might be a positive in your location given the humidity.  It does need to be watered a bit more often than what I usually use, though.
 
CaneDog said:
 
I have some of my younger plants in that right now (assuming it's the same composition both here and there).  It's not what I usually use, but it was easy to get under the current restrictions.  It has pretty good drainage, which might be a positive in your location given the humidity.  It does need to be watered a bit more often than what I usually use, though.
I did notice that it seems to dry out quickly, even when I didn't have enough drainage, but I might just not have watered it enough, initially.
 
My overnight arrangement to keep them out of 40 degree weather and to give them a few more hours of light posted below:
Question, is it better for them to sit like this until I get a proper grow-light, or in direct sunlight? They get about two hours of direct sunlight just before sundown in their current location, and I can't really do any better than that right now.
coty3.jpg

 
I already had to pitch 5 of them. So shriveled you couldn't even tell they had leaves at all. One or two more in this pic will be that bad by morning, I'm guessing. Maybe more.
Some aren't doing too bad, I just wish that it had been my Anaheim or Tequila Sunrise and not three of my Giant Jalapenos that went.

(EDIT: I initially took the lampshade off the far lamp, but it does a good job of directly light directly down. That, plus the mirror, I figure they're probably getting a fair bit of light. The lampshade on the closest one wasn't doing any favors to any of the plants except the couple right beneath it.)
 

CaneDog

Extreme Member
Bummer you lost the big jalap's. You may lose a few more, but it looks like you have survivors too. 
 
I'd give them what sunlight you can, provided it's not too hot/direct, and the balance of maybe 14 hours (total) with the supplemental light.  I think some rest hours are good, too.  I recommend you don't use mirrors or metal to reflect light.  It concentrates the light and can stress the plants further.  Use white paper or a white painted surface or if you have it, Mylar.  Your outside temperatures are warm enough - weather report says 56F by 8am tomorrow - to put them outside during the day if you don't mind bringing them back in overnight. If you can't get proper lighting on the ASAP that's probably the best bet.  Just don't expose them to direct sunlight right away and they'll need especially good protection between probably 11am and 3:30 pm.
 
So, some of my little guys are doing real well and starting to show their second pair of leaves, so I'm doing something right...

... but I'm still doing something wrong.

Some of them are still curling quite a bit; watering them once every two days (waiting for the soil to be dry before watering), gave them some vegetable plant food as well. Some are pretty much done for.
My question: How much of the below is the previous problem - taking the humidity dome off after leaving it on too long and transplanting them too quickly afterwards.
Some of them are showing blackening around the leaves, almost like they're burnt, before shriveling.
dying cotys.jpg

 
I also impulse bought some tabasco plants, dragon cayenne , and a ghost pepper plant that I'll need to put into a bed soon, just as soon as I figure out what happened to a couple of the plants, looks like some insects got them.
tabasco.jpg

 
 

CaneDog

Extreme Member
All you can do is do your best and give them a chance - but definitely don't fertilize them as they don't need it and it can make things worse.  Wait at least a couple weeks, if not longer and start out light.
 
Those new plants should take right off in the raised bed!
 
Okay, I was starting out real light with the fertilizer, but I wanted to give them something because a couple looked to have a calcium deficiency (including this pictured).
 
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