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What's up with my (bell) pepper plant growth?


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Old 08-30-2012, 12:50 PM
KDillon KDillon is offline
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Default What's up with my (bell) pepper plant growth?

This is the first time I've attempted a sweet (bell) pepper indoors but I have it in a 5 gal bucket (DWC) w/RO water and General Hydroponics FloraDuo A & B nutrient solutions (currently under late growth schedule) with the pH adjusted to ~6.0. I started it out (in flexiplug and netpot w/ clay pellets) under 2 T5 lights but have since moved it to a 100 watt MH light. The 2 air stones are pumping out plenty of oxygen and the roots are going crazy. "Above ground" however it seems the plant has stalled out. It's ~8'' tall and has many large leaves but now as the vertical growth has slowed it is still producing leaves so there are ~15 or 20 small leaves bunched together at the top (crown?) of the plant and it is starting to put out many small buds. I like seeing the buds but it has been this way for 2 weeks now and it seems like the plant is no longer growing vegetatively. Is this bad or normal? And when should I switch over to "bloom" lighting (either hps or T5 "bloom" tubes) since peppers are indeterminate and put out fruit pretty early in their growth cycle? Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks!!

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Old 08-30-2012, 05:03 PM
KDillon KDillon is offline
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Here is a pic from 2 weeks ago and the only thing that has happened since then is that there have been tons of little leaves added to the top of the plant, the stem has gotten thicker and the current leaves have gotten bigger. But the plant is not getting taller.
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Old 08-31-2012, 07:07 AM
fintuckyfarms fintuckyfarms is offline
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Wish I could help you, I will be taking the master gardeners program this winter so I can figure out my own plants and maybe offer some insight when people ask. Not much help today though, sorry.

I did a quick google search and I suggest you check your nutes temp. Apparently they like a warm soil and will not grow unless warm.

Last edited by fintuckyfarms; 08-31-2012 at 07:14 AM.
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Old 08-31-2012, 08:14 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Hello KDillon,
From the picture it looks healthy, but a picture (especially an old one) may not show everything (especially in the true colors). But I have a few possible thoughts though.

First is that you switched from using florescent lighting to using HID. Florescent lighting generally causes the plants to reach up towards the light because it's low light levels (especially in flowering/fruiting plants). This also tends to make the plant tall and thinner. When you switched over to HID lighting the plant may likely have just taken the advantage of the higher light level's to grow healthier, thicker, stronger stocks (that you say you experienced), rather than just continuing to try to grow up towards the light (for better photosynthesis) with the lower light levels of the florescent lighting. That's because the light levels are directly related to plant ability for photosynthesis.

Second thought is, it takes a lot more energy for a plant to produce flowers/fruit. Any slow down may also be a result of all the new buds/fruit you say the plant is producing.

Third thought is, even though you stated the nutrients your using, that dosen't say in what concentrations your using them, and/or if your fallowing the manufactures directions (for anyone not familiar with them). Not to mention if you have ever changed the nutrient solution. Or even how many gallons the reservoir is/holds. I can only guess that it holds about two gallons going by the picture, and may or may not be an issue depending on the other factors.

Forth thought is temperatures, when you switched to HID lighting that increased the heat from the light source 10 fold. Did you adjust the height of the light source so the air temp at the top of the plants foliage isn't any higher than 85F max? Also I don't believe you mentioned the water (root zone) temp.

P.S.
As for when to switch over to bloom lighting. As soon as you want the plant to produce fruit. Some people prefer to pluck the buds and grow more foliage before letting the plant bloom, and others (like me) would allow it to produce fruit ASAP like it has done in nature for century's.

"indeterminate"
indeterminate is a classification of the plants height, not when or how often it flowers. Your thinking of the term "continuously fruiting plant" Continuously fruiting plants fruit from the start of their life to the end. A indeterminate plant has no defined plant height and can grow quite tall. Indeterminate peppers have been known to grow well over 10 feet tall. Determinate plants have a specific determined/defined plant height. Determinate plants are often also called bush variety. Most determinate pepper and tomato varieties only grow 3-4 feet tall.
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Last edited by GpsFrontier; 08-31-2012 at 08:23 AM.
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Old 08-31-2012, 10:02 AM
KDillon KDillon is offline
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Wow GpsFrontier, thanks for all of the great information! A lot to consider and each point is valid and worth addressing. I definitely considered the effects of switching from fluorescents to HID (with the T5s, the top leaves were 2-4" from the tubes; with the 100watt MH bulb the gap is ~12"). Being one of the lowest wattage HID bulbs and with a glass shield it isn't really pumping out the heat but it's definitely warmer. But I believe this phenomenon was occurring before the switch. You're right the start of bud production takes a toll on the plant and over all growth will be impacted. I looked closer last night and, though there are A LOT of leaves being produced at the top, there are two definite branches forming. maybe once it gets more adjusted to the HID light it will take off stronger and more vigorously. As for nutrient conc. I follow the recommendations on the bottles of the FloraDuo A and B nutrients (General Hydroponics) for the Late Growth schedule. I'm wondering if I should transition to Early Bloom schedule. The bucket has 4 gal. of the nut. soln. I may follow your suggestion and remove the buds to possibly promote more vegetative growth. Thanks again for your thoughts and suggestions!
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Old 09-01-2012, 06:14 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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KDillon,
Can you elaborate on your nutrients? I'm not saying there is anything wrong there, I just don't have enough details to form any opinions yet. For instance I have used GH flora 3 part (Gro, Micro, Bloom) series nutrients, witch is not the same as the FloraDuo A & B. But with the flora series I know that for a balanced full strength nutrient solution I would be mixing 10ml (2 tsp) per gallon of water. From there I can mix it to my needs because I know the basic starting point. Generally I use a 3/4 strength nutrient solution (7.5ml per gallon of the flora series) for plants in full growth. Smaller plants even less. But water volume, plant size, how many plants, temp and humidity, as well as how often you change the nutrient solution are all factors too. There are other nutrient factors as well. But I don't want to spend an hour posting paragraphs without even knowing the basic details.

So far I have no idea what or how you are mixing them. All I know is that you feel whatever chart you are using to decide, you did correctly. And you may very well have done just that. But I just cant give any stamp of approval personally when I don't know any of the details (not that my approval is needed). I could do a search for your mixing chart, but that still wont tell me exactly how you are mixing them. Beyond that, there are so many different plants that there is simply no such thing as a one size fits all mixing chart. It's only meant as a general guideline, and adjust as needed.

But like any driving directions someone gives you, even if you try to fallow them to the letter, if you don't know the starting point, you'll wind up completely lost. That's why I have no opinion at this point. I don't know what the starting point is, nor any of the rest of the important details in order to form a reasonable opinion.
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