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Mr. Smarty Plants - Chile pequin not ripening to red from Marlborough MA

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Friday - September 14, 2012

From: Marlborough, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Herbs/Forbs
Title: Chile pequin not ripening to red from Marlborough MA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a healthy Chile Pequin in Marlborough, MA, flowering and fruiting profusely. But, the fruit are not ripening to red, as did their parent plants in Florida. Fruit go from green to deep purple almost black and fall off the plant. Can you tell me if the plant is missing something, or it this is a common occurrence? Thank you.

ANSWER:

We were surprised to hear from Massachusetts on Capsicum annuum (Chile pequin). As you can see from this USDA Plant Profile map, while it grows in next-door New York and Connecticut, it is not recorded as growing naturally in Massachusetts. We were surprised because we have always thought of it as a southwestern plant, but obviously it will grow farther north.

However, we suspect that the reports of plants growing as far north as you are consist of potted plants. Since it is annuum, that indicates it is an annual plant that grows, fruits in one year and dies. The growing season is simply not long enough for this plant to continue this process naturally. You did not say from what part of Florida your plants originated, but the USDA Hardiness Zones in Florida range from 8a to 11a. Middlesex Co. is 6a. According to our webpage on this plant, it blooms from May to October, and THEN it begins to fruit. In fact, one website we read recommended planning for it to add color to the garden at Christmas, when the fruits would surely suffer from frost damage outside in Massachusetts. If you are growing it inside, it still needs a lot of light, so it should be grown in a sunny window.

 

From the Image Gallery


Chile pequin
Capsicum annuum

Chile pequin
Capsicum annuum

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