Chilli Health Care Plan

An 8 point plan to preventing chilli plant problems
One of the first lessons successful chilli growers learn, is that when it comes to pests, problems, diseases, prevention is always better than the cure.
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  • 8. introduce nature's little helpers

    Nature’s pest controls are far more effective than manmade chemicals, as well as less destructive to wildlife and the environment. In fact, pests such as greenhouse aphids and whitefly are now largely resistant to pestacides. Ladybirds, lacewings and some parasitic wasps are all effective predators. Encourage them into your greenhouse by leaving the doors open or relocate them if you can.

    If you have an infestation of pests, you can purchase a range of Biological Controls over the internet during the course of the growing season.

  • 7. be vigilant

    Regular checks of your greenhouse and plants will help you to discover any problems early on, making them easier to deal with. Hunt out larger pests such as slugs, snail and caterpillars regularly and check the underside of leaves and plant growing tips for signs of smaller pests. Sticky fly papers hung in your greenhouse will help you to see what pests are around, as well as catching a good number of them.

    If you think there's a problem with your plants, try to identify the issue as quickly as possible rather than waiting to see how it develops. This way damage can be avoided and disaster averted.

  • 6. greenhouse hygiene

    Poorly maintained greenhouses can provide breeding grounds for diseases as well as plenty of hiding places for pests. Pots and planters should be cleaned out at the end of each growing season to avoid the build up of pathogen. If you are growing directly into the soil, don’t forget to rotate your crops.

    Remove any dead plant material, which can provide hiding places for pests as well as attract moulds and fungi. Remove any diseased plants as soon as possible to avoid the spread of pests and diseases.

  • 5. get humidity right

    Plants need to perspire in order to get good water flow through them, delivering nutrients to all parts of the plant. A damp greenhouse can provide a breeding ground for fungal infections and moulds.

    Keep your greenhouse well ventilated, whilst keeping an eye on the temperature. Keep your plants well-spaced as overcrowding can have a negative impact on ventilation.

    Keep your greenhouse tidy to allow air to circulate well and remove any dead plant material and dirt that holds moisture.

  • 4. get the temperature right

    Whilst chilli plants can survive higher and lower temperatures, they thrive between 15 and 30ºC. Excessive heat or cold can cause problems with the uptake of different nutrients and cause problems of humidity, wet soil or pots drying out too frequently. Fluctuating temperatures can cause flower and fruit drop.

    Early in the season, a heated greenhouse, conservatory or sunny windowsill inside are crucial to the well being of plants. Cool temperatures stunt growth and chilli plants will not survive temperatures dipping below 5ºC.

    In the summer, a greenhouse is a must for chinense variety chillies in the uk and a definitely bonus for all chilli species. An automatic opening window is a bonus, helping to regulate temperates. A greenhouse heater will help to keep temperatures optimum whilst your chillies ripen.

  • 3. get feeding right

    Make sure you feed your chilli plants correctly. Overfeeding can be as damaging as underfeeding, since excessive amounts of one nutrient can cause another to be locked out of the plant.

    Seedlings should be fed weekly with a half strength seaweed feed, or similar general plant food. After being potted into their final pots, switch to full strength seaweed feed.

    Once flowering begins, a half strength tomato feed or other high potash feed is suitable. There are also dedicated pepper feeds on the market which cater more specifically to chilli plants.

    A weekly foliar spray of Epsom Salts solution (2 teaspoons per litre) helps encourage leafy growth and eradicates any issues of nitrogen deficiency.

  • 2. Get Watering Right

    Overwatering is the commonest form of chilli plant abuse. Overwatering can cause major problems with nutrient deficiencies, specifically nitrogen deficiency which can majorly stunt plants and is quite difficult to rectify.

    Overwet soil also encourages a variety of pests, fungal infections and diseases and other problems such as flower drop. Chilli plants with too much access to water also tend to produce pods with much less capsaicin, therefore greatly reduced heat levels.

    You will be surprised how little water chillies actually need to survive, in fact they thrive in hot, dry conditions. A fellow allotmenteer used to line up his pots of chillies and then run down the line with a watering can to give them as little water as possible.

    In short, give plants just enough to survive. If you have mixed coir or vermiculite into soil, this will give a reserve of water back out when soil begins to dry.

  • 1. get your growing medium right

    This is one of the most common errors made by chilli growing novices. All too often, chilli plants are quickly potted up into a general compost or tomato bag. In particular, peat-based composts are cold and wet, two pet hates of chilli plants. Get your growing medium right to begin with and your chillies will get off to a flying start.

    This should include all the correct nutrients for the growth of young plants whilst having good drainage to avoid problems of excessive water. A good combination for pepper plants is a 50/50 mix of compost and coir, with a few generous handfuls of vermiculite thrown in. The coir and vermiculite keep the compost friable and well aerated as well as absorbing all excess moisture, releasing it back when plants need it.

    Try this medium and you are unlikely to switch back to ordinary compost as the increased yield is quite obvious. However, if you don't want the expense of coir, or can't get hold of any, choose a very free draining compost or break it up with a few handfuls or grit or sand, avoiding peat at all costs.

About Us
Founded by Sarah Hunt in 2008, World of Chillies is an online chilli shop specialising in chilli plants, seeds, gifts, dried chillies and sauces.

We are dedicated to the pursuit of everything that is hot and great.

We stock an extensive range of chilli plugs and plants varieties from around the world. VAT reg 223 1269 42


Hastings, East Sussex, U.K.
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