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Avatar for GloriaGardening
Apr 18, 2020 6:07 AM CST
Arizona (Zone 9b)
Thanks for the information. What is the general verdict on adding Epsom salt to bell pepper plant soil? I started from seed and the plants seem to be quite slow-growing. I have read that bell pepper plants do not like nitrogen-rich soil and I used an organic potting mix for container gardening that has a somewhat high nitrogen content without realizing this. This can probably be changed when transplanting, but it may make a difference in the long run. Most of what I've read so far indicates mixed views on adding Epsom salt to the plants' soil. Any recommendations for vegetable potting mixes that are good for these plants, and what about Epsom salt? Could a magnesium deficiency be stunting their growth? If I don't make it this year, I will be at it again next year. Thanks for your help.
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Apr 18, 2020 6:39 AM CST
Name: Sally
central Maryland (Zone 7b)
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Welcome!
A packaged potting mix should be a good start for the plants. I would not suspect Mg deficiency in a potted mix.
Are they OK so far?

Using Epsom salts is a running joke among a lot of plant enthusiasts. Yet some people swear by it. Anecdotal experience. I had my soil tested and it was already high in Mg so I need Calcium.
Plant it and they will come.
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Apr 18, 2020 8:07 AM CST
Name: Big Bill
Livonia Michigan (Zone 6a)
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People have grown bell peppers for decades and decades without knowing about Epsom salts. Now all of a sudden, we need them? Makes very little sense.
I just stick with the basics. Good potting soil, proper light and a little well balanced fertilizer. Those and a little water and you are all set.
Taught classes on Orchids and Orchid growing and led hundreds of bird walks. Retired Wildlife Biologist.
Avatar for GloriaGardening
Apr 18, 2020 9:04 AM CST
Arizona (Zone 9b)
They are doing okay and bell peppers may be slow growers. I am a bit concerned about the fact that the potting mix I started them in, Nature's Care, from Home Depot, does not mention magnesium and is 0.15% nitrogen. I read that they are magnesium-loving. What is a "good" potting mix for these? Thanks.
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Apr 18, 2020 9:17 AM CST
Name: Big Bill
Livonia Michigan (Zone 6a)
GROW ORCHIDS!!!
Bee Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Region: Michigan Hostas Growing under artificial light
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I have been using Miracle Grow potting mix for at least 30 years maybe. I love it!

I grow tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, Dahlias, zinnias, coneflowers, Salvias, Sage, petunias, and tuberous begonias in it.
Taught classes on Orchids and Orchid growing and led hundreds of bird walks. Retired Wildlife Biologist.
Avatar for GloriaGardening
Apr 18, 2020 9:23 AM CST
Arizona (Zone 9b)
Good to know. They are still in small pots so I can get something different for next time. Thanks.
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Apr 18, 2020 10:56 AM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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Using potting soils like Miracle Grow save you money in the long run. I always grow my peppers in pots as they are perennial and my growing season is short. I never have to fertilize the first year. Depending upon what part of Arizona, you could have those peppers for years to come.

Its important to read the bag before you buy anything.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Apr 18, 2020 10:57 AM CST
Name: Sally
central Maryland (Zone 7b)
Let's all play ukulele
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
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Pepper seedlings are slow growers. Much slower than tomatoes.
I do not think magnesium is something that potting mix is generally labeled for, as it is a micronutrient.
Good peat based potting mix with perlite for air, should be fine for peppers in pots. Are they going in a garden later, or staying in pots.
Plant it and they will come.
Avatar for GloriaGardening
Apr 18, 2020 3:16 PM CST
Arizona (Zone 9b)
Staying in pots. Yes. I've also read that they're perennials that are grown as annuals, which I found puzzling. What happens to the plants if you leave them in? Also good to know that they are slow growers. Thanks for your help.
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Apr 18, 2020 4:15 PM CST
Name: Sally
central Maryland (Zone 7b)
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Perennial versus annual is a functional thing you might say. Let's just say, if yours dont freeze they may keep on producing for a long time. I dont know as mine freeze and die. Shrug!
Plant it and they will come.
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Apr 18, 2020 4:26 PM CST
Name: Tara
NE. FL. (Zone 9a)
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We overwinter jalapeƱos, and habaneros. Have not tried "bells". Though I think I will experiment with them this year, if they are "good growers".
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Apr 18, 2020 4:46 PM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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A perennial is any plant with the capability of living more than one year. An annual lives its entire life cycle in less than a year. Just because a tender perennial dies when it gets too cold, doesn't suddenly make it an annual.

If you are in Zone 9 or above, you can leave peppers in the garden year round. Those of us from cold climates take them in for the winter. If your indoor space is bright enough, they will produce all winter. Pollination is by wind so a gentle shake will do the job.

Sometime before the end of winter, prune them and repot if they need it.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
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Apr 18, 2020 5:32 PM CST
Name: Ken Isaac
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA (Zone 7a)
As sallyg said, peppers you started from seed are slow growing, especially when you compare them to tomatoes sown at the same time. I start peppers under lights 3-4 weeks before tomatoes for this reason, so they'll be a good size when planting out. I think peppers just love more warmth as well. I use any commercial seed starting mix (without added fertilizer in it) and I never fertilize young pepper seedlings until they are on their first or second transplanting or in garden soil or big pots so I don't get a buildup of salts in the pot.
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Apr 18, 2020 5:55 PM CST
Name: Sally
central Maryland (Zone 7b)
Let's all play ukulele
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
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My peppers on left in black pots, my tomatoes on right. Peppers are at least five weeks older than tomatoes, , tomatoes planted March 2.
Thumb of 2020-04-18/sallyg/1c4c8b
Plant it and they will come.
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Apr 18, 2020 6:11 PM CST
Name: William Groth
Houston, TX zone 9a
Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Garden Photography Cat Lover Ferns Peppers
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I would say that for a bell pepper the season is variable and runs from 60 to 80 days
My only recommendation is to put the plants into larger pots and the soil is probably fine
remembering that Mg is a micronutrient so if the soil really does not have Mg then adding
a little Epsom Salt is a good thing.
Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.
Robert Louis Stevenson
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Apr 18, 2020 6:42 PM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Epsom Salts is never a good thing. The plants don't need it and it poisons the soil.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
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Apr 19, 2020 6:10 AM CST
Name: Sally
central Maryland (Zone 7b)
Let's all play ukulele
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds Butterflies
Anything in potting soil should do well with wise use of a good general fertilizer like Miracle Gro or Vigoro blue water types that have a good balance of the major nutrients NPK and some micronutrients.

Googling 'epsom salts for potted plants' will give you plenty of articles recommending it. But plenty of those are written by people just repeating what they read, or using anecdotal experience to recommend it.
Look to university agriculture like this
https://gardening.usask.ca/art...
Plant it and they will come.
Last edited by sallyg Apr 19, 2020 6:10 AM Icon for preview
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Apr 19, 2020 6:18 AM CST
Name: Sally
central Maryland (Zone 7b)
Let's all play ukulele
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds Butterflies
Longer but more for everyday gardeners
https://s3.wp.wsu.edu/uploads/...
Plant it and they will come.
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Apr 19, 2020 6:18 AM CST
Name: William Groth
Houston, TX zone 9a
Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Garden Photography Cat Lover Ferns Peppers
Roses Sedums Sempervivums
Well, I just read the article regarding the use of Epsom salts and I agree that before you
consider using it you must KNOW that your soil needs Mg and the article does not preclude
the use of Epsom salt but to use it very sparingly remembering that Mg is a micronutrient
so soils do not need a great deal of Mg.
Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.
Robert Louis Stevenson
Avatar for GloriaGardening
Apr 19, 2020 7:55 AM CST
Arizona (Zone 9b)
Lots of great information. I did not know you could winter them over like that. I should do well in Arizona. An added benefit. Thanks so much.

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