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Any recommendations you have would be appreciated.

I'm assuming this is bad and will kill the plant? :(

The pepper seedlings have been indoors their entire lives (a few weeks). Not all of them have these bubbles on them, and some aren't nearly as covered as this one. Is there anything that can be done for this or any of them? If not, how do I prevent this in the future? Would less water help?

Click photo for full size

Photo

  • I can't tell whether this is mechanical damage on the stem or scale. How about a closeup picture of the problem? – kevinsky Mar 7 '15 at 23:44
  • It's not scale. The picture was higher res, but SE seems to have lowered it. Here's the (zoomable) original: i.imgur.com/1XnFzln.jpg – Kevin W. Mar 8 '15 at 0:04
  • @KevinW. That doesn't look like a seedling to me. :) Anyway, what variety of pepper is it? – Brōtsyorfuzthrāx Mar 8 '15 at 0:29
  • Well, I'm using "seedling" loosely I guess. It's either 4 or 5 weeks old now, I can't remember. Has otherwise been very healthy and flourishing. It's a variety of Cayenne (Burpee long slim red). – Kevin W. Mar 8 '15 at 1:22
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If those bubble things are hard, they're probably just root nodules, which often develop when there's enough humidity. If true, they're not dangerous at all and actually make rooting cuttings and transplanting more readily successful.

However, in the picture there where they're all grouped together on what appears to be a healed wound of your plant, it does look unusual. To test if they're root nodules, cut a plant off by the stem below the bubbles and stick it in a cup of water. If they're root nodules, the bubbles will turn into roots, and then you can plant your pepper again (but be sure to use a fresh seed-starting mix or you might get damping off disease, which will rot and kill your pepper). To decrease the risk of damping off and to increase your success rate, instead of cutting the stem you can pull up roots with the plant and keep them in the water, too.

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    Very interesting, I hadn't even considered that it was rooting, but after doing some searching, the pictures I'm finding for "nodules" resemble these a lot more than any fungus I could find. There's hope yet, thanks! Nightshades are known for liking to have their stems covered in soil. I'm hesitant to cut it and risk damage (assuming this isn't damage), but I may try filling the pots up a bit more to see what happens. – Kevin W. Mar 8 '15 at 1:21
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    To follow up about ~20 days later in case anyone stumbles up this in the future: I topped off the pots with soil, and the pepper plants have continued to thrive! :) It seems these were indeed root nodules. – Kevin W. Mar 27 '15 at 19:13

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