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
1 rating

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

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Apples, pears and geraniums in Kipling, Saskatchewan
March 30, 2013 - My geranium's leaves became yellow - Why? Where can I buy a good nice apple tree? Will apples and pears grow in south Saskatchewan?
view the full question and answer

Looking for seeds for Carex texensis and Horse Herb
July 27, 2014 - I am looking for either plants or seeds of Carex texensis and horseherb with no success. I live in the Albuquerque,NM mountain region (at ~6800ft, zone 6). I need something that is very dought resis...
view the full question and answer

Kinnikinnick for a green roof
July 04, 2012 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I live just north of Seattle and want to build a green roof (outdoor kitchen) I'm concerned about the weight of the soil (saturated), drainage etc. am building from scratch and...
view the full question and answer

Want a ground cover instead of St. Augustine to fill in gaps in stone pathway.
November 19, 2012 - I'm considering using Silver Ponyfoot (instead of St. Augustine) to fill in the 6" gaps between my 24"x24" cut limestone blocks footpath and patio. Do they run long that may cover the blocks, whi...
view the full question and answer

Information about Berlandiera spp. from DeLand FL
May 26, 2011 - I am looking for information (something cool) about green eyes, Berlandiera spp. Information such as any medical use or story associated with the plant. Thanks
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