Q.Our Carolina Reaper peppers look wilted, and the leaves are falling – we’re not sure if they’re under-watered or over-watered,
or something different altogether. We’ve been watering the equivalent of 3/4 coffee mug a day (see picture). Novice gardeners here trying to grow Carolina Reaper peppers… we’ve made tons of progress, but all of a sudden the plants don’t seem to be doing so well! There are a few things that we’re not sure of.
1. Are we overwatering or underwatering the peppers? Leaves have been falling for many days straight. We water around 3/4 a coffee mug daily (see picture; there’s a dinnerplate nearby for scale) per plant. I suspect that is too much – is that so? (The problem is that the plant below has not been properly watered for 2 days, and it seems to only be doing worse.)
2. Is the pot size too small? Should we do a transplant, and if so, what is the best way?
3. Some of our leaves have a large, pale, white spot. What is this, and what should we do?
4. We’re often afraid to put the plants in full sun – temperatures sometimes get up to the mid-90s here. As you can see it’s currently up against a wall. Is this the right thing to do?
When watering, give it enough water so that it starts to come out the bottom drainage holes. Toss the water that drained out; don't let the plant sit in it. It may need substantial amounts of water daily in over 90 F or very windy weather. If you lift the container and it is light, the soil is bone dry. In that case, watering from above may just run down the sides and out the bottom in a flash. Hardly any water is absorbed. If this is the case, put your container in a pail of water 3-4 inches deep and let it slowly re-hydrate. It may take 30-60 minutes. Again, when you pick it up, you'll get a feel for how much water has absorbed. A pint (16oz) of water is one pound. The leaves look scorched which is more common when they are dry. Normally, veggie plants tolerate heat if the soil is moist and the roots aren't too hot. Is it possible to give your pepper shade during late afternoon until this heat wave passes? You could use a large cardboard box to block sunlight from reaching the plant. (or put the plant in the box) You might also try aluminum foil over the container to lessen the amount of heat building up in the soil. Mulch 3 inches deep to minimize moisture loss and over-heating of roots.