Ask a Question forum: Planting chilis in October/November tips?

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Name: Charlotte Daniel
UK, Yourkshire
Girl with a passion for creating
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chgz
Oct 22, 2015 7:47 PM CST
Hello, I'm fairly young and just getting into growing plants so I need a few tips.

So far I have grown some little flowers on my windowsill and they lasted a while (until I forgot to water them for a while). But that's about it. I love the idea of growing plants, and I always loved my grandad's garden that's full of delicious goodies like potatoes and tomatoes.
One day I was helping him with a few things on his trip to the local greenhouse centre and I saw a chilli seed section. As soon as I saw them I remembered reading somewhere that they sometimes do better if you forget to water them, so I thought it would be fun to get some to replace my recently deceased flowers.

I didn't really think too much about the fact it was October and its best to plant them in February. I asked my Grandad if it was fine, and he said as long as I am planting them indoors then it shouldn't matter too much. (keep in mind though he has never grown chillies before)
So I got a cute little propagator and planted them. After doing a little research though I haven't found any info on planting chillies in Autumn so I'm beginning to panic a little. I saved half the seeds just incase, and put them in the fridge, so I have some left to try in spring.

Any tips on how to keep my recently planted little seedlings alive and growing over winter?
Peace be with you! Smiling
Name: Kent Pfeiffer
Southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Plant Identifier Region: Nebraska Forum moderator
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KentPfeiffer
Oct 22, 2015 8:14 PM CST

Plants Admin

Does your propagator include a grow light? Chilies can be grown indoors easily enough, if you can provide them with sufficient light.
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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stone
Oct 23, 2015 7:14 AM CST
Got to tell you... My experience is different from the previous poster.
In the autumn.... I dig my mature pepper plants out of the garden... Pot them up and keep them in a sunny window.
They go dormant. I pick the peppers as needed, and eventually... In february, or so... The plants come out of dormancy and start putting out new leaves and blooms, and the dropped peppers start growing litte baby pepper plants...
I failed to set out one of my pepper plants this year... It's still in the pot (outside), and there is little pepper plants coming up in the pot! So...
Yeah, how good are yer plant lights?
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tomato Heads Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1 Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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pirl
Oct 23, 2015 7:57 AM CST
Stone my experience is very much like yours. My Hungarian Wax pepper came in each winter, had fruit, then more fruit when it went outside for the summer. It went on for three years. They do appear "dead" but wake up so nicely. They'd get a few drops of water each week.
Thumb of 2015-10-23/pirl/ec9b40

Name: Kent Pfeiffer
Southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Plant Identifier Region: Nebraska Forum moderator
Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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KentPfeiffer
Oct 23, 2015 8:24 AM CST

Plants Admin

Pretty good. They should be because they weren't cheap.

It should be noted that growing a plant from seed indoors and bringing an outdoor plant in for the winter are two very different things.

I've apparently had more success than you when moving peppers in for the winter, but it's definitely a challenge. Even with the best grow lights, the move from full sun to inside feels to the plant like it has suddenly been put in the dark. It's as much of a shock to the plant as moving an indoor plant outside (who hasn't killed a plant by giving it too much sun too fast in the spring?). No matter how careful you are, digging a plant inevitably damages much of its root system. By the end of the summer, my peppers are invariably infected with a leaf disease or two. Doesn't seem to bother them while they are outside, but becomes more problematic inside. I sometimes get an outbreak of whiteflies when I bring peppers in for the winter. Predators apparently control them pretty well outdoors, but it's a real battle once they get going inside.

Add all of those stresses up and it shouldn't be surprising if a pepper plant drops all of its leaves after being moved out of the garden and into the house. Light levels are the key. The closer you can get to mimicking the light levels the plant is used to, the more easily it will endure the other stresses.

Plants started from seed indoors, on the other hand, have none of those issues.

Name: Charlotte Daniel
UK, Yourkshire
Girl with a passion for creating
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chgz
Oct 23, 2015 8:52 AM CST
Thank you for your replies so far :)
The seeds haven't sprouted yet as I only planted then a few days ago, I have them on a southern windowsill right next to a radiator.
The propagator dosen't have a light, its just a little plastic box with a lid and a compartment where the soil drains into. I don't have a plant light in the house but I do have a few really warm and bright desk lights, if I pop the seeds under one of those will it do?
Peace be with you! Smiling
Name: Kent Pfeiffer
Southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Plant Identifier Region: Nebraska Forum moderator
Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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KentPfeiffer
Oct 23, 2015 9:27 AM CST

Plants Admin

Unfortunately, probably not. Plants mostly use relatively small parts of the light spectrum for photosynthesis. If the light bulb isn't putting out a lot of light at the wavelengths preferred by the plant, from the plant's point of view it is sitting in the dark no matter how bright the light is. The new fluorescent bulbs are much better for growing plants than the old incandescent bulbs were, but they are still not ideal.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Oct 23, 2015 9:50 AM CST
All kinds of peppers need a lot of strong sunlight to bear fruit, as the other posters are saying. So, even in a south window, in the UK your winter sunlight isn't going to be strong enough or last long enough to make the plants flower.

If you can put a grow light or two over the plants, and add a few hours of light in the morning and evening, that will at least keep the plants from becoming leggy and "reaching" for more light. Could you buy a "grow light" bulb for one of your desk lights? It will help your plants a LOT. Even if they don't flower and fruit this winter, when you put them outside next spring they will be ready and waiting to make chilis for you.

As far as the 'forgetting to water' part, if you do that to the baby plants, they sure will not like it. The little root systems and small container size won't let them survive very long if you let them wilt. Once the plants are big, well established and in nice big pots, you can stress them like that for a few days, but once the leaves wilt you must water them really well again. Plants that bear fruit really work pretty hard, and need their water and nutrients.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Charlotte Daniel
UK, Yourkshire
Girl with a passion for creating
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chgz
Oct 23, 2015 10:41 AM CST
Some excellent advice, thank you so much!

I will look into getting a little light for them next chance I get. The idea about getting a bulb for my lamps is a great idea, I will probably do that :)

Also thank you for warning me about not watering them before they start growing fruit, that could have been a disaster! I'm usually good when I first start out with plants, I'll keep an eye on them to make sure they are nice and moist.
Peace be with you! Smiling
Name: Charlotte Daniel
UK, Yourkshire
Girl with a passion for creating
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chgz
Oct 23, 2015 11:01 AM CST
Also, any recommendations on what type of grow light I should get? Or any ideas on what wattage I should go for?
Peace be with you! Smiling
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
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dyzzypyxxy
Oct 23, 2015 11:24 AM CST
The more, the better, Charlotte. Check how much wattage your desk lamp will take (they usually say right on them "max. 75 watts" or something) and get the biggest grow light bulb it can handle.

Be aware that your plants could be a foot tall or more by next spring. You might need two desk lamps if you succeed with several plants!
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Charlotte Daniel
UK, Yourkshire
Girl with a passion for creating
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chgz
Oct 23, 2015 11:51 AM CST
Awesome, thank you so much! Your help is greatly appreciated and I can't thank you enough :)
Peace be with you! Smiling
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Oct 24, 2015 10:07 AM CST
The only grow lights I'm aware of that could be used in a desk lamp are the incandescent variety and they do get hot. So if you opt for that type, you'll need to keep them far enough away from the seedlings so that they don't cook them. There are LED grow lights out there, which would be much cooler, but I haven't tried them yet myself.
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Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
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DavidLMO
Oct 30, 2015 10:25 PM CST
Starting peppers indoors this time of year is no big deal. The biggest problem will be light cause your plants will likely get leggy without supplemental light.

WRT moving peppers indoors, I over wintered a Jalapeno for 3 winters under lights in my basement. So the plant was moved back out and enjoyed 4 growing seasons in my garden. (We 8 plants all together.) The 4th winter my wife got sick of them and tossed them into the compost heap. Much to my dismay.
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Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Oct 31, 2015 9:31 AM CST
David, how large a pot did you have that pepper in? And did you have any problems with aphids or white flies?
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
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DavidLMO
Oct 31, 2015 10:18 PM CST
woofie said:David, how large a pot did you have that pepper in? And did you have any problems with aphids or white flies?


5 " first winter and 6 " the following 2 years. Plants always trimmed, pruned and root pruned before bringing in. My biggest problem indoors is always aphids, though I have had problems with everything at one time or another cause I over winter so many things indoors. Worst is scale fer sure. They are very destructive and hard to control. Once you see them - they are at an very advanced stage.

I always start with Insecticidal soap. If need be, I move up to Neem oil. If bigger guns are needed, I do not hesitate to use Sevin or some other Ortho product. My plants are far more important than some allegiance to being "organic". Besides - I grow nothing for human consumption. My investment includes multiple thousands and thousands of $ and year and years of my time. (In 2014 for example, I spent over 1,000 $ on seeds alone.)
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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woofie
Nov 1, 2015 10:06 AM CST
Yow! $1000 in seeds? You ARE serious!
Well, that is interesting about the Jalalpenos. I always thought pepper plants were annuals.
What kind of lights do you use? Have you ever tried the LED grow lights?
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Nov 1, 2015 4:20 PM CST
Woofie, for US they are annuals... my sister-in-law in Florida has a jalapeno plant that I sent home with her as a seedling, still growing (outside) after at least 4 (maybe 5? we can't remember for sure) years!
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Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
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Horntoad
Nov 1, 2015 4:31 PM CST
Weedwhacker said:Woofie, for US they are annuals... my sister-in-law in Florida has a jalapeno plant that I sent home with her as a seedling, still growing (outside) after at least 4 (maybe 5? we can't remember for sure) years!

A perennial is a perennial no matter where it is grown. It may be used as an annual because it can't survive outside it's natural zone, but it is still a perennial.

wildflowersoftexas.com
texasnatureonline.com


Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
Seed Starter Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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DavidLMO
Nov 1, 2015 6:00 PM CST
Yep. There are very few true Annuals.

Woofie - I use flourescent lights. Have not tried any of the LEDs.

Many - probably - most things you grow as Annuals - are actully Perennials - just not in your zone. My attitude is Zones be dam***. Pentas? Angelonia? Calibrachoa? Lantana? And on and on and on come in and grow next year. I hate wasting money on "Annuals". nodding
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976

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