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
1 rating

Thursday - July 19, 2012

From: Pflugerville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Propagation, Edible Plants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Problems with chile pequin from Pflugerville TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hello there! I have a question about my chile pequin (Capsicum annuum L.) plant. I purchased it last year from the Wildflower Center Fall Plant Sale. It stayed in a pot until three months ago when I planted it in in the ground with some of 9-4-12 fertilizer. It's currently in a place that gets about 5 hours of direct slightly filtered sunlight, it's watered 3 times a week, and is next to a couple of other different chile pepper plants and tomato plants. Problem is it's dying and I have no idea why! When it was in the pot it didn't grow but was healthy, when I planted it in the ground it was sad for a few days and then it was happy and thrived to triple it's size with lots of flowers and peppers. But about three weeks ago I noticed it had a branch that was dying. I didn't think much of it, but then there was another, and now the whole thing is just sad and dying. The leaves are curling and some of the branches are turning brown. I've been watering it every other day for the past week, but it's getting worse. We have had a lot of rain in our area lately and I have noticed a lot of mushrooms growing in the mulch around all of the plants in the garden (but closer than 2 feet away from the plant) but they're all gone now. Thanks for any words of wisdom! I'd love to keep this guy going!

ANSWER:

Since you purchased your plant from our Native Plant Sale (thank you!) we don't have to ask any questions on whether the Capsicum annuum (Chile pequin) in your garden is native to Central Texas.

Some of the members of this genus are annuals, but they should not begin to die back until October, at the earliest. Since other plants around this plant are doing okay, we will have to hark back to the only change in conditions you identified, which was the move from a pot into the ground. Since this plant can tolerate sun, part shade or shade, it would not seem that the amount of sunlight available should be an issue.

The first thing we would question is the fertilizer: most native plants need little or no fertilizer because they have adapted over centuries to local conditions. In fact, some native plants are actually opposed to fertilizer. Second, if you follow the plant link above to our webpage on this plant, you will note under Growing Conditions that it has low water use. Three times a week, even though we have been having some more rain than normal in Central Texas, is probably excessive. We think you have been giving that plant too much love.

There is also the possibility of some root damage when it was transplanted from the pot. Since this species is annuum, it probably doesn't have much longer to live anyway. If you managed to harvest some seeds before it began to dry up, perhaps you can reseed for next year. Propagation Instructions are on the same webpage.

 

From the Image Gallery


Chile pequin
Capsicum annuum

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Where can white prickly poppy be viewed en mass from Baton Rouge LA?
January 16, 2013 - Does the center feature the native White Prickly Poppy? When is prime blooming season? Can you give me some specific locations in the area where the plant can be seen en mass and photographed? Thank...
view the full question and answer

Making a pollinator garden
August 11, 2014 - Hello, I have a ditch right by my house and I want to turn it into a pollinator garden using native plants. My problem is, right now it's so full of weeds that we have to mow those down so soon. For ...
view the full question and answer

Pest Dug Up and Ate Hypoxis Corms
August 06, 2015 - After years of no problems, something recently dug up and ate all my Yellow star-grass corms. What is attracted to them and is there an organic way to prevent it?
view the full question and answer

Plant for full sun behind waterfall
March 21, 2009 - I have a 24 inch waterfall around my pool. I need to plant something behind it. I have full sun and hot Texas weather. I will be watering everyday, so what do you think would grow well in this area?
view the full question and answer

Nativity of Bidens frondosa from Portland OR
September 16, 2012 - Is Bidens frondosa (Beggar's Tick) native to North America or is it introduced? If introduced, is it considered invasive?
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 | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center