En Español

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
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 Planting Questions

Establishing wildflowers on a slope in Virginia
August 18, 2012 - From Roanoke Virginia. I have a steep bank rising from one side of my driveway to woods above. Different areas vary from full sun, to half day shade. It is possible to carefully walk/stand on it, we a...
view the full question and answer

Trees for Plum Grove, TX
October 05, 2013 - Sorry Mr. Smarty pants, my question is I live in Plum Grove Texas, I have 5 acres and NO TREES. What trees were on the property were either taken out by Ike, or the twisters that followed. I have boug...
view the full question and answer

Pinus taeda (Loblolly pines) for a property in Van Zandt County, Texas
March 17, 2015 - I want to initiate a stand of loblolly pine trees on our property in Van Zandt County in NE Texas. Assuming the ph factor is within range, how do I obtain seedings for this endeavor? Any other advic...
view the full question and answer

Eastern redcedar uprooted by snow in Arlington, TX
February 14, 2010 - During the recent snowstorm one of our juniperus virginiana fell over with the rootball looking intact and with a lot of soil all around it.Should we try to save it? It is approximately 20 feet tall ...
view the full question and answer

Source for trees from Burnet TX
August 19, 2012 - I am desperately searching the central Texas area for Pistacia Mexicana male and female trees to buy. I would like about four, maybe more. I live in the Killeen-Lampasas area and have been to seve...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center