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Help with a sick Hawaiian chili

This plant was gifted to me, and came with a few pests. (Whitefly, aphids, spider mites). I have since mostly eradicated the pests, but the plant is still stunted and showing unhealthy signs, as you can see in the photos. Not sure which symptoms are residual from pests. I'm sure there's a mix of factors that are causing this, looking for input on what my next course of action should be to save this guy. Mahalo!
 
Symptoms:
  • deformities in young leaves (i'm pretty sure this is due to a lack of calcium?)
  • yellowing leaves
  • stunted growth (plant hasn't really grown for the past month and a half)
  • lots of leaf drop
  • burnt leaf tips on older leaves
  • what looks like white burn holes in one of the older leaves, maybe that's residual from pests
  • also noticed that the soil coming out of the drainage holes has what looks like tiny white crystalized grains accumulating.
 
Growing Conditions:
  • Fox farm organic potting soil (Ocean forest)
  • Down to earth Bone Meal (3-15-0) and Langbeinite (0-0-22), applied once when re-potting.¬†
  • Water twice/week
  • Controlled pests with neem oil¬†
  • Plant was getting a lot of direct sunlight for a little while, but i determined that was too harsh, and now shade it
 
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Ikaika said:
 
Symptoms:
  • deformities in young leaves (i'm pretty sure this is due to a lack of calcium?)
  • yellowing leaves
  • stunted growth (plant hasn't really grown for the past month and a half)
  • lots of leaf drop
  • burnt leaf tips on older leaves
  • what looks like white burn holes in one of the older leaves, maybe that's residual from pests
  • also noticed that the soil coming out of the drainage holes has what looks like tiny white crystalized grains accumulating.
 
Growing Conditions:
  • Fox farm organic potting soil (Ocean forest)
  • Down to earth Bone Meal (3-15-0) and Langbeinite (0-0-22), applied once when re-potting.¬†
  • Water twice/week
  • Controlled pests with neem oil¬†
  • Plant was getting a lot of direct sunlight for a little while, but i determined that was too harsh, and now shade it
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Calcium deficient - doubt it.  One of the most commonly blamed deficiencies, but in reality, one of the least encountered.  Overwatering will cause nutrient uptake disruption and blossom end rot.  But a deficiency is rarely the culprit.
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Bone meal in containers is practically useless.  Not enough biomass or time to break it down.  That's a soil supplement.  You'd do well to kick it.  It's more likely to have pathogens, than to actually do your plants good.
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Why on earth are you using a such a high K supplement, and how much have you dosed?
.
For me, that plants looks like it's had a few good rains hit it.  Not sure what the holes are.  They're not a serious threat, at this point.  They could simply be mechanical damage.  If you have a lot of leaves with brown tips, you've most likely overfed.  But I don't think so, in this case.
.
What dilution rate of Neem did you apply, and when did you apply it?  During the day or night?
 
solid7 said:
 
Calcium deficient - doubt it.  One of the most commonly blamed deficiencies, but in reality, one of the least encountered.  Overwatering will cause nutrient uptake disruption and blossom end rot.  But a deficiency is rarely the culprit.
.
Bone meal in containers is practically useless.  Not enough biomass or time to break it down.  That's a soil supplement.  You'd do well to kick it.  It's more likely to have pathogens, than to actually do your plants good.
.
Why on earth are you using a such a high K supplement, and how much have you dosed?
.
For me, that plants looks like it's had a few good rains hit it.  Not sure what the holes are.  They're not a serious threat, at this point.  They could simply be mechanical damage.  If you have a lot of leaves with brown tips, you've most likely overfed.  But I don't think so, in this case.
.
What dilution rate of Neem did you apply, and when did you apply it?  During the day or night?
 
Thanks for the reply solid, this is helpful information. I didn't know that about bone meal in containers. do you have a recommended fertilization system for containers i could look into? In the meantime ill look into existing threads
 
My local nursery has been low on organic fertilizers for a while, so after shopping around to several different shops and not finding what i wanted, i opted to get what was available. I used a low dosage since K supplement was very high. (about 1/4 of the recommended). 
 
For neem, i typically do 1 tsp/qt., but now that i think about it, i think i used a off the shelf product that was a neem-based "organic" fungicide, miticide, insecticide. I applied it maybe about a month ago, i usually do my watering and any spraying (if needed) in the late morning. (730-9am). Sun doesn't hit my balcony until about 1030-11ish because of surrounding structures
 
Yeah, bone meal has been in use for a long time.  Its continued use is probably mostly due to the fact that it's a premium product for those who render carcasses. (why throw it away, when you can mark it up and sell it)  But realistically, you want to have a lot of area, and a lot of time, for it to break down.  It's perfect in soil, but still hardly a the most necessary amendment. (where I live, our soil has a primary constituent of some type of phosphate - I'd never add it)  Also, if you planted this in fresh mix, it probably already had complete nutrition for 3 months, no?
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There are lots of different ways to tackle ferts.  Liquids are one way, you can use synthetics, such as Osmocote, etc.  But realistically, you just need a good balanced fertilizer, that has all 17 required nutrients.  Make sure that it has at least 4% calcium in its composition.  Lots of other tricks, if you want to do organics.  I love the Alaska Fish plus a seaweed supplement.  Or the pellets, if you don't have critters to worry about.
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Neem products should be applied in the evening, with at least 8 hours of no sunlight. 
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All in all, I don't think the plants look terrible - but I also have no reference for what they looked like when you got them.
 
solid7 said:
There are lots of different ways to tackle ferts.  Liquids are one way, you can use synthetics, such as Osmocote, etc.  But realistically, you just need a good balanced fertilizer, that has all 17 required nutrients.  Make sure that it has at least 4% calcium in its composition.  Lots of other tricks, if you want to do organics.  I love the Alaska Fish plus a seaweed supplement.  Or the pellets, if you don't have critters to worry about. 
 
When you say a balanced fertilizer, do you mean an equal NPK? like 10-10-10 for example? Also, any suggestions on finding fertilizers with all 17 nutrients? Most of what i've seen when shopping online don't mention any other nutes other than NPK, or it will just say something vague like, "with some micro-nutrients". Most i can't even tell if they contain calcium, let alone what percentage.
 
Ikaika said:
 
When you say a balanced fertilizer, do you mean an equal NPK? like 10-10-10 for example? Also, any suggestions on finding fertilizers with all 17 nutrients? Most of what i've seen when shopping online don't mention any other nutes other than NPK, or it will just say something vague like, "with some micro-nutrients". Most i can't even tell if they contain calcium, let alone what percentage.
 
Yes, balanced is an equal NPK.  Makes things super simple.
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You live in Hawaii, so I assume that you'd probably want to do some sort of solid fertilizer.  The question is, do you want organic, or does it matter?
 
solid7 said:
 
Yes, balanced is an equal NPK.  Makes things super simple.
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You live in Hawaii, so I assume that you'd probably want to do some sort of solid fertilizer.  The question is, do you want organic, or does it matter?
 
Gotcha. 
 
Ideally, yes, i'd like to keep it organic. I've been going for solid fertilizer because of its slow-release nature, but i'm aware that my knowledge is limited and my entire approach could be wrong. Is there something about tropical environment that makes a solid fertilizer the obvious choice?
 
Ikaika said:
 
Gotcha. 
 
Ideally, yes, i'd like to keep it organic. I've been going for solid fertilizer because of its slow-release nature, but i'm aware that my knowledge is limited and my entire approach could be wrong. Is there something about tropical environment that makes a solid fertilizer the obvious choice?
 
Yes.  Rain.  You have heavy rain fall, which won't make liquid feed a great choice.  Those will tend to be washed out, and with the lessened need to water, it will be harder to get liquid nutrients back in. 
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I'd seriously consider Alaska Fish pellets, if you can find them, and add alfalfa or kelp meal.  That worked very well for me, growing in a similar environment to yours. (Florida)  Other than that, maybe tell me how you plan to buy.  I know that local resources there can be limited.  Not sure how well you are able to get items if you mail order.
 
solid7 said:
 
Yes.  Rain.  You have heavy rain fall, which won't make liquid feed a great choice.  Those will tend to be washed out, and with the lessened need to water, it will be harder to get liquid nutrients back in. 
.
I'd seriously consider Alaska Fish pellets, if you can find them, and add alfalfa or kelp meal.  That worked very well for me, growing in a similar environment to yours. (Florida)  Other than that, maybe tell me how you plan to buy.  I know that local resources there can be limited.  Not sure how well you are able to get items if you mail order.
 
Ahhh ok, that makes sense. I'll look look into Alaskan fish pellets and kelp meal. I think at this point i'll see what I can get online, as I haven't found much locally. Mahalo again for all the insight. I know that was a lot of questions. Much appreciated.
 
You can also try to source different manures/guanos, but you'll need more than one, plus some amendments, for a good nutrient profile.  If you have any questions, just ask.
 
I am following your topic. Please post a photo of your results. Write  what helped you with your plant.
 
evolka said:
I am following your topic. Please post a photo of your results. Write  what helped you with your plant.
 
Hey evolka, i decided to continue with the normal routine for this plant and monitor to see if it corrects itself, since solid said the plant doesn't look to bad overall. The main symptom i was concerned about was stunted growth. I'll update if either the plant recovers or the plant doesn't show much development over the next month.
 
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