Help with peppers in 5 gallon buckets

moeptx85April 11, 2014

Hello everyone,
Im a new gardener and I just planted two jalapeno pepper plants in separate 5 gallon buckets last night. I used potting soil to fill the buckets, planted my pepper plants, then added a few handfuls of organic compost on top. I watered the buckets until it streamed out of the bottom holes. When I woke up this morning, the plants were both droopy and looked pretty bad. I'm not sure where I went wrong but any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Was the night temps below 60 degrees F? If so they were stunted by the cold. It may take weeks to overcome if the case. They may never overcome it. Peppers are tropical plants. 50 degrees is the minimun, 60 is much better. I won't leave them outside if below 60 degrees.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 12:36PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

The roots are "offline" for a day or two after potting. Keep them in a protected, shaded location for a few days and I'm fairly sure that they'll perk up.

I've had seedlings and overwintered peppers on my deck for a few days and the nights have been in the 40F's. This does slow their growth somewhat, yes, but it also hardens them off.


    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 1:34PM
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shazaam(NC 7B)

"I've had seedlings and overwintered peppers on my deck for a few days and the nights have been in the 40F's. This does slow their growth somewhat, yes, but it also hardens them off."

Same story here. My peppers have never appeared to have trouble with nights in the 40s -- this year's seedlings have been outside for a couple of weeks at this point and routinely exposed to temps in the 40s and 50s. They're healthy and growing, and I didn't have any wilting/drooping after moving them from 3" to 1 gallon pots last week. Were there multiple sources of stress? For example, did they lose significant root volume when you transplanted them, were they suddenly exposed to much colder temps, etc.? Regardless, Josh is almost certainly right that they'll perk up in a few days.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 2:11PM
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Thanks everyone, No real stress when I planted these two yesterday. Im in El Paso, TX and the weather here is already starting to warm up. I think the low last night was around 58. My main concern was the compost that I placed on top. Its really the first time I've used it and I was curious to know if maybe it somehow suffocated the peppers?? Any reason to be worried about that? Thanks for all the quick responses.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 3:04PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Everybody has their own experience. It was not that cold, just some transplant shock. I have noticed with my peppers exposed to colder temps just never really produce that well. I noticed this putting them out in batches, the later peppers where you expect to be behind , and were somewhat, but once producing really produced. I also noticed an increase in production with early harvest. It seems the more I picked the peppers off, the more it produced, If left on to fully mature, the plant would stop producing. This varies from type and variety. Some plants produce no matter what! Some do not no matter what :).
So no, if it dips into the 40's I bring my plants in. I have them out now, but they are brought in at night. Tuesday the low is 25 degrees, we are still getting freezes.
A pain they are hardened off, they took 30 MPH winds yesterday with not a hitch. Tonight the low is 42, coming in, tomorrow 55, staying out for the first time! But again it get's cold again next week here.

I forgot to mention I use compost too, peppers love compost, so no, I would think it would be a plus not a minus.

This post was edited by Drew51 on Fri, Apr 11, 14 at 19:53

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 3:58PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Definitely not a LOW temp problem. It is more likely a hardening of (or lack of it) problem.

Did your seedlings get afternoon or morning sun ?
If you night low is/was 58F probably it gets about 75F during the day. That added to the direct sun, and plants not being hardened of can cause wilting/drooping.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 12:06AM
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The peppers looked a lot better yesterday evening. Once they received some sunlight in the morning they perked right up. The temperatures are in the 80's throughout the day so I think its safe to have them outside from now on. The biggest problem out here is the wind...could be around 30mph today. Well see how that goes. The advantage with the 5 gallon buckets is that they're able to be moved inside. Hopefully it works out well.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 8:07PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Cool, glad to hear they are doing better. It's fun to grow peppers. I keep adding on to stuff I grow. Today a new seedling sprouted up for me of Solanum caripense.
A very rare fruit that is quite similar to the pepino, but having round fruits growing to a bit over 1" wide. Like the pepino, the fruits are cream colored, with prominent purple stripes. Flavor is melon like, with some sour and tart overtones.
Yesterday a black pepper vine came in the mail. I'm going to grow it in a pot and loop around the vine to form a circle using two stakes. I might as well grind my own peppercorns! Well it will be a couple years before it bears fruit.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 9:58PM
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Drew - I never thought about or heard about growing black pepper. Where did you get the vine?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 10:22AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

A couple places have it. Logee's is one, I bought it at ACCENTS FOR HOME AND GARDEN. A lot cheaper, but a small plant. Although it is very healthy I also bought from them a night jasmine hybrid with orange flowers that smells like orange blossoms. I already have a night jasmine, it is the world's strongest scented flower. No doubt about that either. The scent is a little too much in the winter. I need to make it go dormant.

Here is a link that might be useful: Black pepper

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 2:30PM
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