Fertilizer for peppers

marlak25(5b)July 9, 2010

My peppers arent really producing. I have been alternating fertilizer between alfalfa tea and blood meal. Additionally adding epsom salts when I see some yellowing. They are in a raised bed with compost. Should I use something else?

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Yeah, discretion. Let them alone. I cannot, for the life of me, comprehend why growers think they need to keep fertilizing plants.



    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 10:10PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Because that's what the fertilizer ads say.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 10:17PM
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thanks I will let them be. I got some info on container gardening that since they are raised beds, the nutrients leak out pretty quickly and to fertilize weekly. I'll try the nothing approach for a bit. Thanks. All my other plants are doing great and really producing. I just have problems with peppers and swear every year I wont plant again. Problem is hubby bought the plants---ahh.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 10:32AM
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anney(Georgia 8)

Well, there are probably opposing opinions on all traditional advice, but since it was posted, I've followed the information in this fertilizer experiment on bell peppers.

My bell peppers are now extremely productive and lush and have laughed at pests. Last year, the first year I added more fertilizer than I ever had before to my container-grown plants, I was astonished at how many fruits developed, as well as their size. I'd planted Jupiters, an open-pollinated variety received in a seed-trade, and could not have been happier. I did use Dynamite, a 9-month continuous-release fertilizer with micronutrients. Maybe the micronutrients had something to do with their productivity since that's what I used this year when I set them out in garden soil instead of containers. But they're growing like weeds!

I was honestly ready to give up trying to grow bells -- in the past I didn't fertilize them at all, believing the traditional advice that nitrogen fertilizer makes the plants and leaves grow inordinately lushly and will prevent fruit from forming. That was absolutely not true with the Jupiters I heavily fertilized.

Anyway, I'd experiment with the fertilizing of pepper plants grown in containers, none, some, a lot, and see what works for you.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 10:59AM
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anney(Georgia 8)


My containers were self-watering containers, not containers where the water runs out of the drainage holes taking all the soil nutrients with it. The advice you read was correct -- you'll quickly lose any fertilizer you've added if you don't replenish it on a regular basis.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 11:02AM
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I have a raised bed for the first time. I added zero fertilizer before planting (it is filled with a mixture of creek bottom dirt, compost and aged horse manure) and since then part of the bed was fertilized once with a cup of compost tea per plant.

You can see it here. The images were taken 10 days ago and the plants have grown quite a bit since then, thanks to hot weather and a nice rain.


    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 11:27AM
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anney(Georgia 8)


Apologies, I misremembered what I read -- you are growing your peppers in a raised bed, not a container. You won't need to add fertilizer as you would to a container where the water runs out and takes the nutrients away from accessibility by the plant roots.

Whether you need to add fertilizer to ground-planted vegetables as time goes on depends entirely on how rich in nutrients your organic matter is and the plants' needs.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 11:44AM
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DrHorticulture_(Z3 Central Saskatchewan)


I've never had that experience either (too much foliage, not enough fruit). I think that advice came about as a reaction to gardeners who use really, really excessive amounts of nitrogen fertilizer. Otherwise, N is the nutrient used by all plants in the largest amount (after CHO) and any plant deprived of it will not fruit properly. Earlier, though, due to stress.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 12:53PM
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Strange that most companies don't feel that way. Here are the NPK ratios of several hydroponic ferts:

Ecogrow (4-2-4)
Ecobloom (2-4-3)

FloraGrow (2-1-6)
FloraBloom (0-5-4)

Greenleaves Grow Juice (2-1-3)
Greenleaves Bloom Juice (2-5-4)

Grow Big (3-2-6)
Tiger Bloom (2-8-4)

Sensi Grow (1-2-6)
Sensi Bloom (2-4-8)

Tomato-tone is a highly regarded dry fert for tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, etc.

Tomato-Tone (3-4-6)

These companies apparently feel Nitrogen is not as vital as phosphorus and potash, especially when it comes to blooming and fruiting.


    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 3:13PM
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DrHorticulture_(Z3 Central Saskatchewan)

Yes, it's too bad that these companies don't realize that whatever the plant is doing (flowering or not), N is the nutrient required in the largest quantities. Perhaps K in some cases, but certainly not P. Part of the reason for those high P formulations is to compensate for P's poor mobility and tendency to be locked up in the soil, but that sure doesn't make sense for hydroponics.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 3:51PM
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sandhill_farms(10 NV)

The fertilizer I primarily use is: 11-52-0


    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 4:03PM
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Like many of you have said, most plants need Nitrogen after a while because it consumes so much of it to grow vegetation. While there are better fertilizers out there, you need to add, at minimum, Nitrogren (20-0-0 ammonium sulfate) to your peppers 4 weeks after transplant and again at 8 weeks after transplant. You will want to only put about 1/2 tablespoon per plant. After the second feeding dont do anymore. I get great peppers every year doing this. For more planting guide information on peppers check out vegenag.com

Here is a link that might be useful: VegeNag

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 4:40PM
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We did it somewhat similar but still a little differently. Used 33-0-0 as a supplement to 15-15-15 in early May, planted the end of May, then side-dressed with 33-0-0 after 2-4 weeks after transplanting. I don't recall the exact amount we side-dressed with but it was in the neighborhood of 200 pounds per acre. I did this for tobacco, tomatoes, potatoes, corn and green beans. They always turned out great - well, except in the couple of years we had a drought!


    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 5:53PM
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farmingvillefarmer(East Coast zone 7)

I was wondering if anyone could comment on what i have growing here in these pics. I have no more room in my yard to plant in the ground so i have them in these containers. I don't know what I should add to feed them if anything, they are in Miracle grow the one that says for potted vegetables fertilizes for up to 4 months. Some are growing great some are yellow and have droopy leaves. Sometimes I see that the flower falls off and no pepper grows. Please give me all your advise on how to improve these plants giving what they are growing in. Next year I could use bigger pots if needed. Thank you all

how can I make this guy look good? =)

One of my better looking plants

The pot they are in

Oh did I mention I don't know how much larger the peppers themselves should get? Do you think they might be good now? I think these are Chinese green or something. Thank you

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 8:47PM
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The first thing that strikes me is your pots look awfully small for the plants in them. Growing veg in too-small pots is setting yourself up for lower yield and extra work just to get much of anything off them.

I've used pots around 30L (8 US gallons) with good success for peppers and chilis, I would not want to go much smaller than that. In a too-small pot root space is limited and it becomes difficult to get the watering and fertiliser right. Also yours look like a strong wind would tip them over.

Yellowing, drooping leaves suggests a watering issue, over or under. IME peppers like to dry out a bit between waterings. This can be tricky in a pot, though, because most potting mixes become hydrophobic if they get too dry.

Fertilising is also something to watch in potted veg. The slow-release fertiliser included in potting mix is of variable quality. I don't know about Miracle Grow, only that lately there have been posts from people using it who have been having issues and comments that people don't like it.

The thing to watch with potted vegetables is leaching. Every time you water, if water runs out the drainage holes, soluble nutrients are being washed out of the potting mix. That includes nutrients from the slow-release granules that are part of the mix. Temperature is also a factor - in hot conditions you might have to add fertiliser sooner.

Also, in a tiny pot the plant has a smaller volume of potting mix from which to obtain its nutrients - the nutrients in that pot are therefore likely to be exhausted sooner. If the plant is growing vigorously and the leaves are a good deep green, then its getting most of what it needs. Pale green or yellowing leaves suggests they need a feed, but yellowing may also be a result of overwatering.

If it was me, I'd be tempted to carefully pot-up the ones that aren't looking too good to a larger pot and see how you go.

Blossom drop can be caused by many factors not necessarily related to fertilization - temps too high, temps too low, stress caused by inappropriate soil/water conditions etc etc. Plus plants often drop blossoms earlier in the season. If the plants are healthy and the environmental conditions are OK they will set fruit. If you worry that every flower didn't become a pepper you'll get an ulcer.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 5:58PM
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farmingvillefarmer(East Coast zone 7)

Thank you very much for the info ausbirch ill try what you said today

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 10:06AM
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