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seeds Crumpled/Distorted/Curled Leaves - (And some won't germinate)

(I didn't take pictures you can google "pepper plants crumpled leaves" and you'll see classic examples, this is exactly how mine look).
 
I am growing several different Jalapeno varieties, and this season it is *really* bad with those crumpled/curled leaves. The plants are very young and some just sprouted, but already the small plants have these crumpled/curled leaves, looks really bad.
 
Yes, I *did* have a minor aphid infestation (thrips), but I already took care of it with insecticidal soap and Neem. I double-checked using a loupe and right now I don't see any aphids.
 
I need to know the reason for the curl, something must be majorly off.
 
(I haven't obviously started giving nutrients yet, the plants are still too young.)
 
The thing is, I am using a DIY substrate where I mixed about 25% vermiculite, 25% perlite, 50% coco coir. Since this is an unusual combo (?), it is possible the substrate has something to do with it. POSSIBLE: Cal/Mg issue...then I'd need to give some Cal/Mg...but it is strange that the plants show the curl at such a young stage already.
 
Another possibility would be pH issues, that the substrate might be too acidy (I actually reused the substrate from last year), and my tap water usually has a high pH, like 8+. But I actually never bothered pH-ing my water for peppers, and in the past I didn't see a need to.
 
**
 
Likewise: I saved seeds from my last Purple Jalapenos, which I took from ripe fruits, dried, and then kept in bags/tins. They won't germinate AT ALL. I have some in Jiffies for over 3 weeks, no dice. Then I am also germinating several with paper towels, no dice, also going on 2-3 weeks now without germination. (Temps here in Southern Spain, about high 80s, so it can't be colder temps). The ones in the paper towel I have in a dark, warm place above a router.
 
Any idea what's wrong?
 
 
Edit: Lookin a little, I am highly suspecting Cal/Mg problems, especially since I am using coco coir where plants require even more Cal. Will do a foliar later on with some Cal/Mag.
 
Vermiculite in coco coir might not be that great of an idea as it might make it hold too much moisture in the end, some perlite+coco coir is much better.
 

Edmick

Staff Member
Moderator
Extreme Member
Could very likely be a calcium issue. If you have any cal mag try giving them a low dose of it and see what they do. Mine usually respond pretty quickly to it. You should start noticing a difference within a few days. I don't use vermiculite but I do use coco and perlite and I would say it's not too soon to start giving nutrients. The mix you described has very little nutrient value so you need to supplement when using it.
 
 
Yes, I *did* have a minor aphid infestation (thrips), but I already took care of it with insecticidal soap and Neem. I double-checked using a loupe and right now I don't see any aphids.
 
 
Are these the first new leaves since taking care of them ?? -- Aphids will damage the new growth before you can even see the leaves so the next few sets of leaves that grow out will usually be deformed - So might just need to wait a week or so and see if it clears up (hard to tell without pics of the actual condition ! )
 
 
 
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