My potted capsicum plants are growing very slowly. I had topped off the plants due to flower buds appearing in saplings but the buds are appearing again in the side branches of the leaf nodes. What should I do?
Location: Delhi, India
The early formation of flowers and fruits we would generally interpret as stress in the plants for one reason or another. It might be temperature, lack of air at the roots, lack of light, room for roots to grow, too acid or alkaline conditions for growth, unbalanced fertilizer, or external chemicals such as fungicides. In your location it is unlikely to be light or temperature which is causing the stress. If we look at your plants they seem okay, except that the leaves are not the bright green we would look for and rather small in size unless small leaves are characteristic of your pepper variety. Your plants do seem rather crowded in their pot - one single pepper in that size of pot might do a lot better.
At a guess, it is probably root room that is the issue here. If the pot is shallow then the roots will quickly run out of space to grow and it will switch to non-vegetative growth, sensing that its resources will soon be exhausted. However it is not too late for action; if you can find some other pots and good fresh soil break apart the peppers and give them each one good pot with room to grow substantial roots with good drainage to ensure that the water does not accumulate in the soil. This would almost certainly reduce their stress.