Hey everyone, first post in this stack, so sorry if I didn't see an answer to these questions (I did check though).
So I have a Scorpion Butch T plant that I bought about 2 months ago (63 days). It was already grown to ~9 inches tall, but with most of the stalk trimmed of leaves. Only foliage was at the upper 4-5" mark.
Anyway, it's grown to about 16" now and is finally starting to grow a new leaves. In the past 2 weeks it dropped 6 large leaves that were lower down, so now it's looking like a poodle or something. This Seems quite slow considering that my wife's plant (1 week older) has more than tripled in size so far and is producing ~50 chillies. Now hers is a pepper pequin plant, so I'd expect them to grow differently, but this is just silly.
So, not only does my plant seem to be growing pretty slow, but it's been dropping every flower bud, many of them even before flowering. At the moment this is my biggest concern. What is interesting to note is that they were flowering before the large leaves were dropped and since they haven't even really opened at all.
My wife and I have just been using regular old Miracle-gro and some acceptable soil I got from work. When I started looking I found that there's a lot of science being applied to pepper growing! So I got a soil test kit.
The one I got only goes to a value of 4 at the top... so yeah. 1. pH: 6-6.5 2. N: 4+ (I estimate ~12 based on darkness) 3. P: 4+ (I estimate ~12 based on darkness) 4. K: 3-4
Los Angeles area 12" potted-plant, so temp now is ~65-95F for the most part. Humidity can get pretty low, but the environment on my balcony has been pretty good. Where my plant sits it get ~10-11 hrs of direct/full sun. Wind is hit or miss. If it's windy, they it will get a gentle breeze at least, but the walls on the balcony keep it from getting too violent. I have played with my watering practice a bit and found that it seems to like a good soak that fully drains away, but what's odd is the soils stays fairly wet for ~5-7 days.
The soil is a mixture of potting soil, natural Los Angeles earth (which can be pretty sandy) and some manure that got mixed in a couple seasons back. There are some rocks in the soil, although I've been removing them when I come across them, but I didn't add any rocks.
On watering, the last 2 weeks I've kind of experimented. The pot does have holes, but the dish underneath seemed to have been blocking them a bit. I put some bottle caps between the pot and dish so there's more space, and that seems to have done the trick. Today when watering the water took ~10 seconds to drain (and didn't drain that much water). Also I did let the souls get drier than before.
My wife and I have basically done the same practices with regard to watering and fertilizing, although I've used less of the Miracle-gro. I'm thinking of changing the soil soon cause we bought some fruit/veggie soil which looks much better.
So I suppose if anyone has experience with Scorpion peppers in particular, let me know what stands out to you. For anyone whose cultivated fruits and veggies, I imagine you may be able to impart some relevant knowledge, and I definitely appreciate whatever you've got!
Why is it dropping blossoms and not growing peppers at all!?
Is NPK of 12-12-3 (or 4-4-1) bad for chili/pepper plants?
Is the soil not draining well enough or being overwatered?
With my NPK this far out of whack, should I try to balance it with specific fertilization (like potassium sulfide, phosphorus etc.) or let the plant stabilize the soil before beginning proper fertilization?
If doing targeted fertilization of the NPK, what tricks or methods work best, especially considering that I do want to consume the fruit yield?
So I reported by pepper (thoroughly washed my hands and wore gloves to avoid tobacco contamination ;) ) with new soil and did a new set of tests on it. It's now
- pH ~6.5-7
- N: 4
- P: 4
- K: ~3.5
I also did some trimming of the leaves that were most yellowed and took care of a new little cluster of aphids.
It's looking better and while checking for aphids, I found 2 flowers that have started fruiting!!!
So I'll keep monitoring it and see what's what. Thanks for everything so far!
Plant's also got about 6-10 blossoms that are opening up. We had a hot spell a few weeks back, but now that it's getting more temperate, to doing quite well. So excited!
So I think the solution for me was a number of factors:
- Putting actual potting soil, not garden soil.
- Learning the plants preferred watering schedule (this does fluctuate with temp/humidity changes) which seems to be about weekly with current weather.
- Sparingly using any kind of fertilizers/nutrient supplements!!!
- Using dissolved epsom salt every couple weeks.
- (The one thing I can't control too well) the weather in my locality. If I had more space, and no pets, I'd be willing to put my plant inside as needed with extreme heat or cold, but it's not really feasible. :,( So, this plant seems to be quite happy in the 68F - 83F range.