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Started plants off in poor quality mix, unsure of how to transplant.

I made the mistake of starting off my first batch of pepper in a very dense Black Gold potting mix and I believe it's likely choking the roots and keep them from properly absorbing nutrients as all of them (Save for one that was heavily amended with perlite and cinder) have been a light green for their whole lives. The difference compared to the younger plants grown in lighter mixes is like night and day.
 
The thing I'm wondering is whether or not I should try to remove the soil from the roots using a gentle stream of water before transplanting or if it'll be fine if I just dump the whole plug in a bigger pot filled with better soil. I already did so for one of the plants, but it hasn't shown any signs of improvement after a week, which is bothering me since it's just begun to put out its first fruits and is dropping both new leaves and flower buds.
 
I just went through the exact same thing.  I transplanted about half my peppers into better soil, since I had used some cheap soil from Home Depot that had very poor drainage.

I didn't rinse off the roots.  I just removed as much of the large clumps of poor soil, and re-potted in better soil.  It's only been a week, but I'm starting to see new growth on some of the plants, so I'm hoping that solves the problem.  In my (admittedly limited) experience, plants can focus a lot of attention into root growth once transplanted, and it may seem from the surface that nothing is really happening, but in reality there's a lot of growth under the surface.
 
 
 
Takanotsume said:
I made the mistake of starting off my first batch of pepper in a very dense Black Gold potting mix and I believe it's likely choking the roots and keep them from properly absorbing nutrients as all of them (Save for one that was heavily amended with perlite and cinder) have been a light green for their whole lives. The difference compared to the younger plants grown in lighter mixes is like night and day.
 
The thing I'm wondering is whether or not I should try to remove the soil from the roots using a gentle stream of water before transplanting or if it'll be fine if I just dump the whole plug in a bigger pot filled with better soil. I already did so for one of the plants, but it hasn't shown any signs of improvement after a week, which is bothering me since it's just begun to put out its first fruits and is dropping both new leaves and flower buds.
 
always a 1/3 perlite ,    no transplant , week isn't very long to show much ,    :party:
 
solid7 said:
Not sure what you mean by "cinder".  Is that lava, or is it concrete? 
 
It's lava rock.
 
I like the stuff because it's more durable then perlite and won't crumble unless you put it under quite a bit of pressure (Much of perlite I've seen being sold here has mostly been reduced to powder by rough handling), but it's also a bit heavier so it doesn't get displaced by water as easily, either.
 
Can get a 1.5 cubic foot bag of the stuff for like $8 around here, so if I can just mix that with coco coir and some vermicompost then I think I'd have my answer to an affordable homemade soil mix.
 
Most sources I've seen claim the stuff is PH neutral assuming it's pure lava rock and washed properly to remove any outside minerals.
 
I suppose I can just try it and monitor the PH levels as time goes on.
 
Takanotsume said:
I made the mistake of starting off my first batch of pepper in a very dense Black Gold potting mix and I believe it's likely choking the roots and keep them from properly absorbing nutrients as all of them (Save for one that was heavily amended with perlite and cinder) have been a light green for their whole lives. The difference compared to the younger plants grown in lighter mixes is like night and day.
 
The thing I'm wondering is whether or not I should try to remove the soil from the roots using a gentle stream of water before transplanting or if it'll be fine if I just dump the whole plug in a bigger pot filled with better soil. I already did so for one of the plants, but it hasn't shown any signs of improvement after a week, which is bothering me since it's just begun to put out its first fruits and is dropping both new leaves and flower buds.
 

I had the same problem, I bought the cheapest potting soil at Home Depot, the Kellogg raised bed brand.  After two months some of my plants were stunted and yellow.  Kellogg soil is mostly tree bark!   Worthless.
 
Repotted about 20 plants to the only potting soil they had that wasn't bark, the Miracle Gro version.  It's been two weeks and all of them are thriving. 
 
What did you use for new potting soil?
 
I stuck it in some Member's Mark brand potting mix since the grandad dumped a huge bag of the stuff he didn't need on us.
 
It's mostly peat with a generous amount of perlite and what I assume to be pine bark and seemed quite a bit fluffier then the Black Gold stuff. The important part is that it's aerated enough to dry out after just a day or two, whereas the Black Gold mix was staying moist for nearly a week at a time even with near constant sunlight. I amended it with some black cinder to get it closer to the golden 30% aeration material ratio.
 
The plant does seem to have gotten a bit greener ever since, though it's still not nearly as green as the plant that was started in Jiffy mix and later moved into Pro Mix Ultimate. It does seem to have improved its health a bit, though, since it's managed to set two fruits now (Though the bigger one has developed some strange hard bumps on its surface) and four more flowers are almost ready to bloom. I can see around five dozen additional buds forming so I'm really hoping most of them will be able to fruit properly. It's still getting random browning on some of the young new leaves, though, which is concerning me.
 
As an experiment, I also stuck two back-up Aji Limons into some mix formulas that were recommended by pepper growers on Youtube who seemed to have very nice plants. Unusually, they're both on the heavy side, one actually being pure compost with 30% perlite/vermiculite, the other being 75% coco coir/25% compost with a generous amount of perlite. Surprisingly, the plant in the compost mix looks quite a bit healthier and has greener leaves then the one in the coco coir  but both definitely look better then the one I had in the Black Gold mix..
 
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