Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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
Not Yet Rated

Friday - November 12, 2010

From: Corpus Christi, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants, Shrubs
Title: Dead or Dormant Chile Pequins in Corpus Christi
Answered by: Mike Tomme

QUESTION:

We have 4 chile pequin and 5 chiltepin plants growing our yard. All were thriving beautifully until we took a 12-day vacation in late July. There was little rain during that time but overall this year we are way ahead on rainfall. On return we found the former had all died or gone dormant, while the latter were doing just fine. What do you think could be the problem? I figure they'll grow back. One native plant nurseryman suggested some kind of fungus or microbial blight.

ANSWER:

It's always hard to say why a plant died without seeing the situation first hand, but Mr. Smarty Plants will not be deterred just because something is hard.

You don't say whether these were recent transplants or established plants, but I am going to assume they were recent transplants. Also when you refer to chiltepin, I am going to assume you mean Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum (Chile pequin)   which is a particular variety of Capsicum annuum (Chile pequin).

Now, let's hink about why some of your plants died and others lived. Being without water for 12 days in July certainly has to be a suspect in their demise. Young transplants may not have enough of a root system to reach down and get water once the soil near the surface dries out. Why did some plants live? My guess is that these plants were in a spot that got more shade or they were in soil with a greater moisture retention capability.

As for a fungal or microbial cause, I'd say this is rather unlikely. One of the great advantages of growing native plants is their resistance to all the diseases and blights that affect many imported plants.

If the plants are indeed dead, my best advice is to plant again and give it another try.

 

From the Image Gallery


Chile tepin
Capsicum annuum

Chile pequin
Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum

More Shrubs Questions

Questions about care and pruning of Mexican Plum and Mountain Laurel in Austin, TX.
January 24, 2012 - I have a couple of questions regarding tree care and pruning. I have a Mexican Plum (Prunus mexicana), about 10 years old or so. I would like to prune it. Is it ok to prune now in late wi...
view the full question and answer

A Bounty of Edibles for New Braunfels Texas
October 25, 2013 - I was hoping you could suggest a few plants that would serve several purposes. I live in New Braunfels, TX and would like to incorporate as many drought tolerant plants which would support birds, but...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs and small trees for a slope in NY
May 21, 2012 - We are looking for a living wall made of shrubs / small trees - no more than 25' for the top of a steep creek bed. We are looking for the best erosion preventing types.
view the full question and answer

Trees & Shrubs for a NY Slope
July 03, 2012 - Our community has a large steep slope (100'high by at least 600' wide) that is sunny & dry. The builders planted "wild flower seeds" on the slope that is now just weeds. We would like to know what...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a condo garden in Decatur GA
February 12, 2009 - I recently moved into a condo in Decatur (just outside Atlanta). I am now working on the back yard - just a patio and dirt right now. It is a small space and is shaded much of the day but does get s...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.