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Habenero issues help!

February 25, 2019
last modified: February 25, 2019

I’ve been growing habenero plants indoors from seeds for exactly three months. Recently my plants began to form spots where the waxy cuticle of the plant leaves degraded and thinned. Also the leaves have begun to curl downward slightly On the edges. I’m not sure what to do. I assumed they were over watered and pulled out my first plant to wick the water and dry the soil. As for my others I have a box fan blowing on them on low to encourage transpiration so they will wick the soil naturally.

Comments (4)

  • PRO

    It appears to be oedema,
    physiological disorder that can affect all plants. It occurs when the
    plant takes up more water than it can rid itself of via the process
    of transpiration. The word itself means 'swelling', which is usually
    the first symptom, and comes in the form of pale blisters or
    water-filled bumps on foliage. Under a variety of
    circumstances/cultural conditions, a plant's internal water pressure
    (turgidity) can become so high that some leaf cells rupture and leak
    their contents into inter-cellular spaces in leaf tissue, creating
    wet or weepy areas. Symptoms vary by plant, but as the malady
    progresses, areas of the leaf turn yellow, brown, brown with reddish
    overtones or even black, with older damage appearing as corky/ scaly/
    ridged patches, or wart/gall-like bumpy growth. Symptoms are seen
    more frequently in plants that are fleshy, are usually more
    pronounced on the underside of leaves, and older/lower leaves are
    more likely to be affected than younger/upper leaves.

    Oedema is most common in houseplants during the
    winter/early spring months, is driven primarily by excessive water
    retention in the soil, and can be intensified via several additional
    cultural influences. Cool temperatures, high humidity levels, low
    light conditions, or partial defoliation can individually or
    collectively act to intensify the problem, as can anything else that
    slows transpiration. Nutritional deficiencies of Ca and Mg are also
    known contributors to the malady.

    Some things that can help you prevent oedema:

    * Increase light levels and temperature

    * Monitor water needs carefully – avoid
    over-watering. I'd heartily recommend a soil with drainage so sharp
    (fast) that when you to water to beyond the saturation point you
    needn't worry about prolonged periods of soil saturation wrecking
    root health/function. Your soil choice should be a key that unlocks
    the solutions to many potential problems.

    * Avoid misting or getting water on foliage. It
    slows transpiration and increases turgidity.

    * Water as soon as you get up in the AM. When
    stomata close in preparation for the dark cycle, turgidity builds. If
    you water early in the day, it gives the plant an opportunity to
    remove (for its own needs) some of the excess water in the soil.

    * Put a fan in the room or otherwise increase air flow/circulation.
    Avoid over-crowding your plants.

    Ideally, especially when growing peppers, you would be growing in a medium that allows you to water to beyond the point of complete soil saturation w/o your plants having to pay a tax on their potential because the soil remains wet for extended periods. Battling your soil for control of your plant's vitality is a losing battle, even if you win it. Even if you gain control of your plants vitality, you still forfeit a significant degree of potential to media that hold excessive amounts of water.

    If you're interested in how to use very simple science to limit the amount of excess water any given soil can hold, Learn How to Use Ballast to Your Advantage.

    How moist the soil is deep in the pot is far more important than how wet it is 2 knuckles from the top. Learn to use a tell to "tell" you when to water:

    Using a 'tell'

    Over-watering saps vitality and is one of the most
    common plant assassins, so learning to avoid it is worth the small
    effort. Plants make and store their own energy source –
    photosynthate - (sugar/glucose). Functioning roots need energy to
    drive their metabolic processes, and in order to get it, they use
    oxygen to burn (oxidize) their food. From this, we can see that
    terrestrial plants need air (oxygen) in the soil to drive root
    function. Many off-the-shelf soils hold too much water and not enough
    air to support good root health, which is a prerequisite to a healthy
    plant. Watering in small sips leads to a build-up of dissolved solids
    (salts) in the soil, which limits a plant's ability to absorb water –
    so watering in sips simply moves us to the other horn of a dilemma.
    It creates another problem that requires resolution. Better, would be
    to simply adopt a soil that drains well enough to allow watering to
    beyond the saturation point, so we're flushing the soil of
    accumulating dissolved solids whenever we water; this, w/o the plant
    being forced to pay a tax in the form of reduced vitality, due to
    prolong periods of soil saturation. Sometimes, though, that's not a
    course we can immediately steer, which makes controlling how often we
    water a very important factor.

    In many cases, we can judge whether or not a
    planting needs watering by hefting the pot. This is especially true
    if the pot is made from light material, like plastic, but doesn't
    work (as) well when the pot is made from heavier material, like clay,
    or when the size/weight of the pot precludes grabbing it with one
    hand to judge its weight and gauge the need for water.

    Fingers stuck an inch or two into the soil work ok
    for shallow pots, but not for deep pots. Deep pots might have 3 or
    more inches of soil that feels totally dry, while the lower several
    inches of the soil is 100% saturated. Obviously, the lack of oxygen
    in the root zone situation can wreak havoc with root health and
    cause the loss of a very notable measure of your plant's potential.
    Inexpensive watering meters don't even measure moisture levels, they
    measure electrical conductivity. Clean the tip and insert it into a
    cup of distilled water and witness the fact it reads 'DRY'.

    One of the most reliable methods of checking a
    planting's need for water is using a 'tell'. You can use a bamboo
    skewer in a pinch, but a wooden dowel rod of about 5/16” (75-85mm)
    would work better. They usually come 48” (120cm) long and can
    usually be cut in half and serve as a pair. Sharpen all 4 ends in a
    pencil sharpener and slightly blunt the tip so it's about the
    diameter of the head on a straight pin. Push the wooden tell deep
    into the soil. Don't worry, it won't harm the root system. If the
    plant is quite root-bound, you might need to try several places until
    you find one where you can push it all the way to the pot's bottom.
    Leave it a few seconds, then withdraw it and inspect the tip for
    moisture. For most plantings, withhold water until the tell comes out
    dry or nearly so. If you see signs of wilting, adjust the interval
    between waterings so drought stress isn't a recurring issue.


    HU-943956161 thanked tapla
  • HU-943956161

    Thank you that all makes perfect sense to me! You indicated several issues in my plant care that I will address. Your knowledge is very much appreciated!

  • PRO
  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

    i have no clue how active it is.. but there was a pepper forum or 2 ... with some real hardcore peeps ... including growing them indoors ...

    otherwise.. it looks like al slam dunked the topic..... lol ...

    do you have much experience with indoor plants??? ... never forget ... the most important thing in a pot.. is the media ... not the plant .. the media is a water management system ... usually tuned to the type of plant ... and when you end up with water problems ... it is probably best to think about manipulating your media for next time.. meanwhile trying to figure out how to deal with this batch ...

    one trick MIGHT BE ... to not water the plant.. until it shows some sign of wilting ... at that point.. you MIGHT feel the pot weight ... to learn how much lack of weight there is with the pot when its dry [its an alternative to sticking your finger in to check for moisture] .... meanwhile learning that you might not need to be watering these more than once a week or something ....

    welcome to the forums ....


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