Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - November 12, 2010

From: Corpus Christi, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants, Shrubs
Title: Dead or Dormant Chile Pequins in Corpus Christi
Answered by: Mike Tomme

QUESTION:

We have 4 chile pequin and 5 chiltepin plants growing our yard. All were thriving beautifully until we took a 12-day vacation in late July. There was little rain during that time but overall this year we are way ahead on rainfall. On return we found the former had all died or gone dormant, while the latter were doing just fine. What do you think could be the problem? I figure they'll grow back. One native plant nurseryman suggested some kind of fungus or microbial blight.

ANSWER:

It's always hard to say why a plant died without seeing the situation first hand, but Mr. Smarty Plants will not be deterred just because something is hard.

You don't say whether these were recent transplants or established plants, but I am going to assume they were recent transplants. Also when you refer to chiltepin, I am going to assume you mean Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum (Chile pequin)   which is a particular variety of Capsicum annuum (Chile pequin).

Now, let's hink about why some of your plants died and others lived. Being without water for 12 days in July certainly has to be a suspect in their demise. Young transplants may not have enough of a root system to reach down and get water once the soil near the surface dries out. Why did some plants live? My guess is that these plants were in a spot that got more shade or they were in soil with a greater moisture retention capability.

As for a fungal or microbial cause, I'd say this is rather unlikely. One of the great advantages of growing native plants is their resistance to all the diseases and blights that affect many imported plants.

If the plants are indeed dead, my best advice is to plant again and give it another try.

 

From the Image Gallery


Chile pequin
Capsicum annuum

Chile pequin
Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum

More Edible Plants Questions

Edible native plants in New York
July 29, 2013 - In your plant database- which is great by the way- it does not say whether or not the plant is edible. Do you have any way to search for edible plants? Or do you have a separate database? Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Native wild plum trees for Johnson County, Texas
December 24, 2012 - What native wild plums will grow in southern Johnson County? And where can I find the trees locally? Thank you
view the full question and answer

Can beautyberries be used to make jelly from Hodges SC
August 02, 2010 - Since the beautyberry bush berries were used for tea to help with colic, can the berries be used for making jelly?
view the full question and answer

How Do Persimmons Breed - Starkville, MS
August 14, 2012 - Thank you for your earlier response about the genders of native persimmon trees. We have two, a much larger one that has borne fruit for years and years and a smaller one that I'd just assumed was m...
view the full question and answer

List of plants native to the Abilene, Texas area
September 15, 2011 - Am looking for direction to a complete list of plants native to the Abilene, Taylor County, Texas area (trees, shrubs, grasses, cacti and other plants that grew here before cultivation, eradication or...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.