En EspaŅol

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?


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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
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


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.


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 Shrubs Questions

Shrub to scrren house from dust from gravel road
July 28, 2013 - HI: We live in the foothills of Dobbins, California (2 hours North of Sacramento, Ca). I live on a gravel dirt road with traffic that goes about 45 miles an hour. When they drive by our house it lo...
view the full question and answer

Recovery of an agarita having been cut down from San Antonio, TX
August 16, 2013 - I had an agarita adjoining a cedar and a volunteer hackberry in my yard. The tree trimmers were supposed to cut out the hackberry but unfortunately also cut the agarita back to the ground. How long ...
view the full question and answer

Texas Redbud Suddenly Died in NM
November 06, 2014 - We had a Texas redbud, approximately 5 1/2 years old. It had been doing great then all of a sudden after it bloomed this spring, the leaves appeared but then shriveled right away. We noticed the trunk...
view the full question and answer

Wax myrtle problems from Driftwood TX
September 04, 2010 - We planted 27 wax myrtles on the perimeter of our property last year and were diligent about watering them throughout the drought. They are in very rocky soil (we had to use a jackhammer to dig the ho...
view the full question and answer

Looking for a fast-growing evergreen shrub to use along a fence line to obscure unsightly surroundings in Douglassville, TX.
January 07, 2011 - I live in far East Texas (near Texarkana). I need a fast growing, thick evergreen shrub to plant along a fenceline to block out the unsightly "junkyard" my neighbors have going. Prefer something t...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center