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
2 ratings

Wednesday - June 08, 2011

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens, Planting, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Chile pequin from Spring Plant Sale in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Re: chile pequin purchased at your Spring 2011 sale: it grows, seems to thrive, but sets no flowers and so bears no fruit. It's in terracotta in Ladybug potting soil, on a shady apartment patio. How can I encourage blooms, please?

ANSWER:

Once again, we share an experience with a plant from the Wildflower Center Plant Sale. I bought my Capsicum annuum (Chile pequin) in the Spring Sale of 2010, and grew it in my concrete garden in terra cotta pots. I had 3 or 4, and all but one dwindled down, and the last one, with one tiny fruit on it, finally died, because I got irritated with it and didn't cover it in our cold spells last Winter.

Also again, I think we have both been guilty of over-care for our plants. I grew these in Brenham in a sunny bed, and they put on so many fruits I was giving them away. Here are the growing conditions for these plants. :

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: clay, heavy clay, sandy loam

Obviously, the very nice potting soil we both gave our chile pequins was not what they wanted, and I would doubt you could buy a potting soil that was clay, heavy clay, or sandy loam. I don't think I put mine in the sunniest part of my porch, because they were supposed to be shade tolerant and that was probably Mistake No. 1. I'm sure the enriched potting soils that we both used were too rich in nitrogen. Too much nitrogen encourages lots of green leaf growth and the plant uses all its energy making those leaves and doesn't have any left over to make blooms. No blooms, no fruit, no seeds.

Possibly this plant is just too tough for container growing by tender, loving gardeners. Unfortunately, even looking something like this up in our Native Plant Database (which surely I, who practically lives in the Database, should have done) might not have helped.  We have a How-To article on Container Gardening with Native Plants that you might be interested in reading, but sometimes only experience helps. We are sorry your plants from our Plant Sale did not work out; they are grown with great care and considered healthy when they are sold.

 

More Container Gardens Questions

Container plants for Bucks County, PA
February 18, 2009 - I live in Bucks County, PA and I would like to have a garden, but do not have a green thumb. Which plants come back each year that survive in large pots. Are daisies also a good choice for my garden...
view the full question and answer

Plants for hanging flower boxes from Austin
July 27, 2013 - I have two long flower boxes 17" x 15" x 25 feet long one on the north side of the apt and one on the south made of metal suspended about four feet from the ground. One will get the morning sun and ...
view the full question and answer

Plant Care for Plumeria
October 15, 2005 - I have a plumeria that is getting too tall for my small patio. How I should cut it back and can start the cuttings into new plants? Does the original plant need any special care when it is cut back?
view the full question and answer

Plectranthus (native of South Africa) winter care and insects
September 26, 2007 - I was recently given a beautiful plant which is now in a pot in my yard. I live in Rochester, NY and need to know what to do with this plant in the fall. The plant is 'Mona Lavender' Plectranthus p...
view the full question and answer

Hanging container for west-facing house in Austin TX
March 03, 2014 - I'd like to put a hanging container in front of my house. The front of my house faces west and gets very hot in the summer time, with full sun in the afternoon/evening. What native Texan plants could...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center