The Q&A Archives: Peppers Not Growing

Question: My California Wonder peppers are not growing. I have kept them watered, and they have full sun. I sprinkled epsom salt around the plants to help them grow a strong stem. All twenty-five plants won't grow past 2-5in. tall.

Answer: From your description it sounds like your plants may be stunted. This can be caused by a variety of things, but one of the most common reasons is failure to root into the garden soil. For instance, rooting may be halted if plants are allowed to become potbound prior to planting, if the soil is inadequately prepared, if the plants are planted into overly cold soil, or if the plants are somehow stressed at any stage in their growth, even at the seedling stage.

With regard to adding epsom salts for soil improvement, the best thing you can do is start with a soil test to see if you soil is deficient in any way and then add amendments accordingly. In some cases additives can be more harmful than beneficial or may even be wasted. If you have doubts about the fertility of your soil, again the best way to find out for sure is to test it. Your County Extension can help you with the tests and interpreting the results.

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