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?

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
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

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 Shrubs Questions

Control of non-native invasive Japanese Barberry from Enfield NH
April 22, 2014 - I recently bought a home that is bordered by woods and a sizable area of invasive Japanese Barberry growing on a steep hill in and around a stone wall making it that much harder to dig up. I've alway...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen plant to cover parents' graves in Louisiana
June 30, 2013 - We want to plant ground cover on our parents graves in Plain Dealing Cemetery in north Bossier Parish LA. Soil is red clay/dirt. Want native plant, slow growing, short not tall plant, that might sta...
view the full question and answer

Tx Mt. Laurel and Mex. Buckeye seed propagation in drought
July 01, 2011 - I live in the Hill Country near New Braunfels. Since I am only at my house in July and August, I would like to plant both Texas Mountain Laurel and Mexican Buckeye from the seeds harvested from mothe...
view the full question and answer

Draought-tolerant screening shrub for Shasta County, California
July 08, 2015 - It has been suggested to me that I plant phodocarpus 'maki' along my fence for needed privacy due to it's dimensions. I need something that does not grow too wide. I would not be pruning them as I ...
view the full question and answer

Native plants suitable for rock garden in New York
March 26, 2006 - I'd like to start a rock garden. The area is very rocky, the soil is shallow and it's partially shaded. I'd like mostly perennials that flower from spring to fall. I hope to make some purchases fr...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center