• If you need help identifying a pepper, disease, or plant issue, please post in Identification.
  • 🔥Cyber Monday BOGO sale on memberships, info HERE!

Root bound or compacted mix..?

  This is what happened to 1 of my 5 month old non-reaper reapers (home depot vigoro').
 
It was doing awesome dark green and had given me at least 80 tasty hot pods, then it got pale,, then light green/yellow. Tried everything I could think of. Nothing helped. Plant was not over watered because after being watered in the morning a few hours later it would be wilting/drooping again. Only thing that would help was more water. More water would perk up the upper 2/3 kind of, but bottom leafs would only get a little better.
 
Plant would only take a couple cups of water before it would come out the bottom of pot. It use to take a full qt+ once a day then steadily would accept less water and less as the months went on...

Strange thing, out of all my plants it is the only 1 that never had even 1 aphid, not 1 white fly, no pests, no mites no spots, never sprayed,, nada. Just light green and lots of fruit. the whole plant stood tall and every leaf was standing up proud, then the last month went downhill fast to almost yellow.

So pulled it from the pot to see whats up. Root ball looked to be dry everywhere after just being watered hours before but not really taking the water it should before it would run out the bottom. The root ball in the pic is basically what came out of the pot with a little soil that fell off the top...These are the pics from last Sunday. That was a 3 gallon pot it just came out of. Now its in a bigger pot and already starting to look much much better in only a  day or 2.  Not sure if it was almost root bound or had compacted soil around the roots not letting the water be available to the roots. Although the root ball fell apart pretty easy when massaged just a little. It was dry. Didn't seem real compacted like I've seen some..? It was a miracle grow organic container mix with about 20% perilite added in.

Got it replanted with the right mix now thanks to some 'solid' advice.  75%peat/25%perilite with a couple few qts of worm castings 1/2 cup Dr earth 4_6_3 and 1/2 cup of powdered eggshell in 5 gal pot.
 Wonder if it will ever recover fully..? will this mix compact..? Or is it something else making this fake reaper plant pale after months of tasty pods..?
 
 
 

Attachments

  • 20190623_155332.jpg
    20190623_155332.jpg
    133.7 KB · Views: 60
  • 20190623_155306.jpg
    20190623_155306.jpg
    97.5 KB · Views: 56
  • 20190623_155256.jpg
    20190623_155256.jpg
    75.8 KB · Views: 63
have you been feeding it?  That organic miracle grow potting soil doesn't have as much fertilizer as the regular stuff.
 
Hydrophobic soil. Waxy buildup on the soil making it very difficult to absorb moisture and deliver nutrients to the plant. Because of this, you were having to give large amounts of water just to give it a small drink, which washed out any nutrients in the soil before the plant had time to use them, hence the yellowing. New soil was a good fix but Im not sure about the mixture that you used. Not much organic matter at all, so I expect you will need to feed on a regular basis, maybe every watering, to compensate.
 
Fed it twice in the last 2 weeks with a heavy mix 2 big scoops per 3 qts water of 10_3_6 organic Natures Care. Didn't seem to change anything at all, not even a little...? That mix makes all my xmas cactus grow like nuts, bright shiny green new growth almost instantly, and does almost the same to all my pepper plants...
 
 Can't use fish stank around my lake, way to much wildlife that goes ballistic in the pots. Coons will dig up the whole pot looking for the 'fish'... Have to stand on guard all nite with my pcp .22 or there would be no garden in the morning. We have multiple roving gangs of 10-20+ coons in my hood... They use to raid the tomatoes and rip the fruit off the plant, tear open the tomatoes and just eat the seeds leaving the tomato to rot... They learned fast to stay out of the tomatoes. They are smart and the older ones teach the younger ones where not to go. You can hear them in the background just out of site at nite. When a young one tries to go onto my property/garden an older alpha scolds it hard till the young gets the message. The alphas remember what happened to their buddies...
 
  Tried Alaska Fish last January, fish stank is just to much for coons to resit, they tore up my garden bad. Had to monitor/guard it for weeks after that, even though the Alpha coons were dispatched, but they finally got the message loud and clear. Not ready for another battle with the coons so fish stank is out.
 
acs1 said:
Feed it twice in the last 2 weeks with a heavy mix of 10_3_6 organic Natures Care liquid. Didn't seem to change anything at all, not even a little...?
It was getting washed out. Try it now with the new soil. May want to try some dry fert too for extended release.
 
is the plant outside?  if you water it in the afternoon, is it still partially wilted a couple hours later, even at night?
 
CMJ said:
Hydrophobic soil. Waxy buildup on the soil making it very difficult to absorb moisture and deliver nutrients to the plant. Because of this, you were having to give large amounts of water just to give it a small drink, which washed out any nutrients in the soil before the plant had time to use them, hence the yellowing. New soil was a good fix but Im not sure about the mixture that you used. Not much organic matter at all, so I expect you will need to feed on a regular basis, maybe every watering, to compensate.
 
could the perlite he added to a potting mix be part of the issue you think?  I've never added perlite or vermiculite to a potting soil since it's usually already in there.  Maybe the soil is too porous now?
 
The simple fix for a hydrophobic media, is just to put the pot in a collection reservoir.  Meaning, something that will pool up the water that runs out, allowing it to absorb from the bottom.  Once it gets wet, it should stay wet.
.
You can "cure" hydrophobic mixes by adding a bit of vermicompost.  But if you've up-potted it with the new mix surrounding the old, it should work itself out fine.  Just make sure that it's accepting water, by the method posted above. ^^^  
 
acs1 said:
 
 
Plant would only take a couple cups of water before it would come out the bottom of pot. It use to take a full qt+ once a day then steadily would accept less water and less as the months went on...

Root ball looked to be dry everywhere after just being watered hours before but not really taking the water it should before it would run out the bottom. The root ball in the pic is basically what came out of the pot with a little soil that fell off the top...These are the pics from last Sunday. That was a 3 gallon pot it just came out of. Now its in a bigger pot and already starting to look much much better in only a  day or 2.  Not sure if it was almost root bound or had compacted soil around the roots not letting the water be available to the roots. Although the root ball fell apart pretty easy when massaged just a little. It was dry. Didn't seem real compacted like I've seen some..? It was a miracle grow organic container mix with about 20% perilite added in.

Got it replanted with the right mix now thanks to some 'solid' advice.  75%peat/25%perilite with a couple few qts of worm castings 1/2 cup Dr earth 4_6_3 and 1/2 cup of powdered eggshell in 5 gal pot.
 Wonder if it will ever recover fully..? will this mix compact..? Or is it something else making this fake reaper plant pale after months of tasty pods..?
 
I would have used Root Bound not root ball.
 
The question I have is did you break it up when transplanted? If not it will slow water/nutes from reaching them.
 
 
Doelman said:
is the plant outside?  if you water it in the afternoon, is it still partially wilted a couple hours later, even at night?
Yes, and yes, and yes.
  The plant usually doesn't get exposed to any of our constant sFL rain. I do all its watering. It gets 10+ hours of hard direct sun multiplied by the sun directly reflecting off my lake into my garden.
 
Doelman said:
 
could the perlite he added to a potting mix be part of the issue you think?  I've never added perlite or vermiculite to a potting soil since it's usually already in there.  Maybe the soil is too porous now?
Not sure,, maybe..?
 
solid7 said:
The simple fix for a hydrophobic media, is just to put the pot in a collection reservoir.  Meaning, something that will pool up the water that runs out, allowing it to absorb from the bottom.  Once it gets wet, it should stay wet.
.
You can "cure" hydrophobic mixes by adding a bit of vermicompost.  But if you've up-potted it with the new mix surrounding the old, it should work itself out fine.  Just make sure that it's accepting water, by the method posted above. ^^^  
Crumbled off as much of the old soil as I could without totally disturbing the root ball.
 
The plant looks much better in just 48 hours after the re-pot.
 
  For my plants that have that same mix of MG org/perilite, noticed they all seem to be going the same direction as the fake reaper did, but none are pale yet, maybe just a tad of un-fixable droop on the lower leafs..  Started to water them with an adapter I made for my hose end. a 1/4" copper tube 12" long with holes drilled in it on both sides every inch or so. The bottom of the tube is silver soldered shut and filed/sanded to a smooth rounded point to avoid cutting the roots. Hopefully it just pushes them to the side as I insert it in containers at various spots around base of stem and open up the valve slowly part way for a few seconds in each spot. You can hear the water gushing in to the root ball, then draining out the bottom. But the pot now stays heavy with water for the rest of the day/nite and the droop is 70% gone...
 
 Will be replanting the few plants left with the old mix of MG/perilite,, too a 'solid' mix soon as my new 5&7 gal grow bags come in. Really didn't want to go to big containers like that but seems my peppers give me no choice... lol
 
 
CMJ said:
It was getting washed out. Try it now with the new soil. May want to try some dry fert too for extended release.
Makes sense. Did roll in 1/2 cup of dry Dr Earth 4/6/3...
 
  • Like
Reactions: CMJ
The_NorthEast_ChileMan said:
I would have used Root Bound not root ball.
 
The question I have is did you break it up when transplanted? If not it will slow water/nutes from reaching them.
 
Yes, but not completely. Crumbled off/massaged out as much old mix as I dared...
 
 
If you decide you don't want to repot the other plants, you should do what Solid suggested and I would just bottom water them.  Get some trays and place under them, the soil will wick up the water from the tray.  I use 3 gallon containers for all my peppers and they get pretty dang big and produce all season, bigger containers will get bigger plants but soil is expensive, completely up to you.
 
I like the trays here, they've worked great for my 3 gallon pots and are cheap.
 
https://www.greenhousemegastore.com/containers-trays/trays-flats/1020-trays-heavy-duty?returnurl=%2fsearch%3fq%3dtray%26count%3d90
 
Top