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Yet another "What's happening to my plants" post

Hey all,

I've got some really happy and healthy plants, but two of my plants are struggling pretty bad.

This Fatalii Gourmet Jigsaw (chinense, probably related to moruga scorpion) lost its growing tip, then the leaves started looking ragged, and now, well...




Leaves are a bit curly, almost waxy with how heavy they are, decently stiff. They're green except the edges, but edges are (rotting? getting eaten?)?

Soil is a coir mix that has been doing really well for my other plants. Nutrients is weekly minor elements foliar feed and weekly Miracle Gro Vegetable and Herb. With one exception, my other plants seem to be thriving in the same (or similar) mix and nutrient schedule.

I do see a lot of pillbugs (woodlice, rolly-pollies) in the soil and sometimes on the plant. I don't think they harm live plants, but maybe if they edges of the leaves are dying, they're eating the dead stuff off like maggots in a wound?

A week ago the new growth looked fine so I was just going to let it go, but now the new growth is looking a little twisted, so I'm asking for help.

I also have this White Fatalii plant, with what I think is sun damage.



The brown spots started out bleached, and then turned brown. I should just let this one alone and it will recover, right?

Thanks for any help you can give. Let me know if I should add any pictures or information.
 
If you're using coir, calcium will be an issue, eventually, if your feeding regiment is not optimal.  If I'm being honest, I'm not a fan of the type of feeding that you are doing.  A plant is designed to take nutrients through its roots, not it's leaves.  Yes, leaves will absorb some nutrients.  BUT... feed the roots, first and foremost.  Not going to say that MG won't work, but you can do much better than that.
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If this were me, I'd go to a calcium based nutrient - if you want to stay inorganic - like CNS17 Grow (no bloom formula) or Dyna Gro Foliage.  If you want to use an organic nutrient, just about any liquid fish is great. I'd stay with the Alaska 5-1-1.  It's cheap, and works well.  I did almost all of last season with just 5-1-1 in most of the garden, and my yields were/are more than I can use.
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I don't know exactly what's eating the leaves - kinda looks like slugs or snails - but you'd be best served by just tearing the damaged leaves off, and let new growth fill in at the terminus of the removed leaves. 
 
solid7 said:
If you're using coir, calcium will be an issue, eventually, if your feeding regiment is not optimal.  If I'm being honest, I'm not a fan of the type of feeding that you are doing.  A plant is designed to take nutrients through its roots, not it's leaves.  Yes, leaves will absorb some nutrients.  BUT... feed the roots, first and foremost.  Not going to say that MG won't work, but you can do much better than that.
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If this were me, I'd go to a calcium based nutrient - if you want to stay inorganic - like CNS17 Grow (no bloom formula) or Dyna Gro Foliage.  If you want to use an organic nutrient, just about any liquid fish is great. I'd stay with the Alaska 5-1-1.  It's cheap, and works well.  I did almost all of last season with just 5-1-1 in most of the garden, and my yields were/are more than I can use.
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I don't know exactly what's eating the leaves - kinda looks like slugs or snails - but you'd be best served by just tearing the damaged leaves off, and let new growth fill in at the terminus of the removed leaves. 
 
I'll give the fish a try. I'm a bit concerned it will get me raccoons or something digging up the plants
Isn't that a bit high nitrogen though?
 
deolater said:
 
I'll give the fish a try. I'm a bit concerned it will get me raccoons or something digging up the plants
Isn't that a bit high nitrogen though?
 
Absolutely not.  There is so much BS on this forum and others, with regards to nutrient values, grow/bloom switcheroos, and situational overdosing of nutrients.  If you follow the directions on the jug - consistently, for the entire season - I am quite certain that it will reward you.  Nitrogen is amongst the most mobile of elements, and much (most?)  of it is going to leech, anyway.  Particularly during heavy rains.  Having a liquid nutrient helps you to cure that quickly, though.
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Full disclosure: it may indeed, attract critters.  Personally, I have an electric fence around the garden.
 
MicroHydro said:
Rollie pollies decimated my peppers a couple years ago. Found them inside the fruits as well. Here's a video i found https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=BfDgNR2mWMM.

Miracle grow isn't the problem, nor is calcium. Nothing against Alaska fish fertilizer or dynagrow, but those won't solve your problem. Get rid of those woodlice.
So basically they eat young fragile plants. I guess that matches what I've seen. They're EVERYWHERE, but they don't seem to mess with most of my plants. I'll see what I can do to exclude them from this one. They LOVE the coir mix, which will make this difficult.
 
solid7 said:
Absolutely not.  There is so much BS on this forum and others, with regards to nutrient values, grow/bloom switcheroos, and situational overdosing of nutrients.  If you follow the directions on the jug - consistently, for the entire season - I am quite certain that it will reward you.  Nitrogen is amongst the most mobile of elements, and much (most?)  of it is going to leech, anyway.  Particularly during heavy rains.  Having a liquid nutrient helps you to cure that quickly, though.
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Full disclosure: it may indeed, attract critters.  Personally, I have an electric fence around the garden.
Almost everyone, ranging from the Chili Pepper Institute to my local newspaper's garden guy, say that peppers should have low N, high P K fertilizer, but I don't know how many of the sources are _really_ just quoting other sources.

I'll give it a try with this plant and a few others.

It's not like this going to flower anytime soon anyway. Thanks for the suggestion!
 
deolater said:
Almost everyone, ranging from the Chili Pepper Institute to my local newspaper's garden guy, say that peppers should have low N, high P K fertilizer, but I don't know how many of the sources are _really_ just quoting other sources.

I'll give it a try with this plant and a few others.

It's not like this going to flower anytime soon anyway. Thanks for the suggestion!
 
A lot of advice is geared towards soil farming, where fertilizer is laid down once, and the levels draw down over the season, with some nutrients being more mobile than others.  The truth of the matter is, a plant doesn't arbitrarily (opportunistically) uptake certain nutrients over others.  So if the nutrients are there, they'll get used, as needed, period. We really have to be careful when using inorganic sources, as they're derived from salts, and can dessicate the roots if over-applied.  Organic N sources are much more safe.  We just need to be careful not to apply too much N that is derived from Urea.
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For a single season grow of peppers, your environmental conditions, and your planting media are far more important that obsessing over NPK values.  Maybe if you're going commercial, it's worth having the nutrient discussion.  But you can use the fish sludge with no concern.  It's proven.  There are a lot of folks here who have done such.
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Just water it in once a week at full strength when the plants are bigger than seedlings, and focus on pest management...
 
MicroHydro said:
Miracle grow isn't the problem, nor is calcium. Nothing against Alaska fish fertilizer or dynagrow, but those won't solve your problem. Get rid of those woodlice.
 
These plants are not growing optimally.  They look like they still aren't over the hump from hardening off, as noted by the decline of the largest leaves.  So I do beg to differ that getting these things growing optimally isn't going to (at least mostly) solve the problem.  For minor pests, it's fairly simple to keep the plant growing faster than the damage can occur. (things like rats or caterpillars are much trickier)
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Getting rid of what's eating the plant is easily solved with a Neem solution.  2Tbsp per gallon of Neem, emulsified with 1Tbsp per gallon of soap (not detergent), and sprayed on at night.
 

PaulG

Extreme Member
I agree with Solid 7 on this one. AK Fish is
my go-to fertilizer base.
 
I also use the AK 'grow team', AK Fish + AK Mor-Bloom.
I have used that combo with great success for years.
 
Also, for the pests, I use NEEM when necessary, but my
first solution is Safer Insecticidal Soap. A bottle lasts a
long time, and it's very effective. If bugs are bad, I give
'em a 1-2 punch with the Soap, followed a few days later
with the NEEM (only pure NEEM oil, no premixed stuff.
I bought an 8-ounce bottle in 2012 and it's still half full!)
 
The chew holes look like slugs for sure. They hide during
the day, and come out at night, so are hard to find. Even
a tiny one can chew pretty big holes.
 
I think Paul G is right on the money...snails or slugs. Some of the leaf damage looks like it also could have been caused by wind as well as sun. Even after a good hardening off the leaves can get pretty battered by the wind. Many of my "indoor" leaves got shredded by a thunder storm not long after plant out.  My go to for slugs, pillbugs, earwigs and other ground dwelling pests is food grade diatomaceous earth. You will likely find the culprit under the edges of your containers if you want to do it the old fashioned way. 
 
Good news is although ugly, they will all recover. 
 
I love the fish emulsions also. Alaska also offers it in pellets with kelp added. You can sometimes get the gallon jugs of Alaska fish emulsion at Walmart CHEAP too.
 
ATM its around $23/gal. At the end of the season they blow it out for around $15-17/gal.
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Alaska-Fish-Emulsion-Fertilizer-and-Plant-Food-1-Gallon/17757317
 
From a cost standpoint fish emulsion and a kelp extract or kelp meal is a very hard combination to beat.
 
I've looked and have never found kelp meal around here.  Seems like a local store should have it, but if they do, they hide it from me.
ShowMeDaSauce said:
I love the fish emulsions also. Alaska also offers it in pellets with kelp added. You can sometimes get the gallon jugs of Alaska fish emulsion at Walmart CHEAP too.
 
ATM its around $23/gal. At the end of the season they blow it out for around $15-17/gal.
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Alaska-Fish-Emulsion-Fertilizer-and-Plant-Food-1-Gallon/17757317
 
From a cost standpoint fish emulsion and a kelp extract or kelp meal is a very hard combination to beat.
 
 
Orekoc said:
I've looked and have never found kelp meal around here.  Seems like a local store should have it, but if they do, they hide it from me.
 
 
Amazon all day long. 
 
stc3248 said:
I think Paul G is right on the money...snails or slugs. Some of the leaf damage looks like it also could have been caused by wind as well as sun. Even after a good hardening off the leaves can get pretty battered by the wind. Many of my "indoor" leaves got shredded by a thunder storm not long after plant out.  My go to for slugs, pillbugs, earwigs and other ground dwelling pests is food grade diatomaceous earth. You will likely find the culprit under the edges of your containers if you want to do it the old fashioned way. 
 
Good news is although ugly, they will all recover. 
DE will kill my ladybugs and ladybug nymphs too though, won't it?
 
deolater said:
DE will kill my ladybugs and ladybug nymphs too though, won't it?
 
Yeah, but just pile it up at the base of the plant, so the slugs have to go through it to access the main stem.  The others are already on the plant, and don't really make it a habit to come up and down.
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DE is going to be useless after the first rain or watering, so just throw it down for a couple days, and then scratch it in when you see the damage stop appearing.
 
deolater said:
DE will kill my ladybugs and ladybug nymphs too though, won't it?
It can...but as S7 says if you pile it up around the base of the plant it will kill any ground critters coming and going without hurting the friendlies. Neem, safer soap...any of the other things listed before this will kill friendlies as well, so DE is actually a better option for targeting ground pests without harming any of the good guys.
 
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