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
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 Planting Questions

Taproot tree to replace willows by pool
June 23, 2008 - Installing Pool with bomanite decking all around it. We're in process of cutting down 18 year old Weeping Willow due to root invasiveness and small messy leaves. Can you recommend a good shade tree w...
view the full question and answer

Where to find milkweeds and other butterfly favorites
March 07, 2016 - Our neighborhood in San Antonio is planning a big Arbor Day celebration. One of the events will focus on Monarch Butterflies. We will be releasing some live ones in our park and will have a booth th...
view the full question and answer

Patience for slow-growing Baptisia
July 07, 2004 - I have three different varieties of well established Baptisia that I have had for several years ... none of them bloom. One of my plants got a very small flower in April, but just pooped out after th...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Habiturf in Austin
May 10, 2014 - I have been trying to establish a Habiturf lawn in my back yard. It is approximately a 1,000 square foot area and this last seeding was the third over about one and a half years. I just recently over ...
view the full question and answer

Disagreement on amending soil for planting from Austin
September 01, 2012 - In today's newspaper column, you answered a question about transplanting a redbud. You said to follow the instructions on the WFC web site, except you recommended adding compost to the backfill soil....
view the full question and answer

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