2017 Pepper Season: Week 18 Update

We’re now just over 18 weeks into the 2017 pepper season and things are starting to look a bit brighter — mostly because we’ve actually had a good amount of sun as of late. And the progress on most of the plants has increased a good amount as a result. I’ve still got a few plants that just have not (and probably won’t) recover from that cold snap that really shocked all the plants.

In the two weeks since the last update, I’ve since replaced a couple of the poorer performing plans, namely those that just hadn’t shown any sign of growth or recovery. Gone are a Carolina Reaper, orange Habanero and I believe a Peach Bhut Jolokia. In their places I picked up a new But Jolokia, Trinidad Scorpion, Aji Lemon Drop and a Hot Portugal. As you’ll see below, those plants are thriving on the back deck.

Mystery Peppers

Mystery Peppers

The unknown pepper varieties that my neighbor had given me back at the start of the season are finally starting to do things. As you can see, they are not the most attractive or even the healthiest looking of plants, but both are starting to form a few buds. Both plants have them sprouting right at the crown. I suppose this is due to the lack of branches on each, so we’ll see how they progress. I’m interested to see what type of fruit they produce.

Purchased Bhut Jolokia

Ghost Pepper

I, honestly, only picked this one up due to the condition of the one it replaced and the ghost peppers sitting in buckets. At the time of this purchase, they just did not look healthy in the least so I needed a back up plan and since this plant hadn’t been beaten about by the cold and rain, it seemed like a smart thing to do.

Trinidad Scorpion

Trinidad Scorpion Peppers

For those of you that followed last year’s season, you’ll remember my issues with the “scorpion” that I had purchased. It didn’t amount to anything — wrong shape, zero heat, etc. Well, I decided to chance fate again this season and picked this one up from the same shop. This was their last plant with the Scorpion name tag and thus far it looks vastly different than last year’s plant. Fingers crossed.

Chocolate Bhutlah (smart pot)

Chocolate Bhutlah Peppers

This little plant right here is the one that I was most excited about when the plants moved outside. But as has been documented so far this season, it’s one of the plants that got hit the hardest by the cold snap and rains. Leaves fell, growth stunted — you name it, it happened. There is hope, however, as the little bugger just recently started showing signs of a renewed spirit with the increased sunlight we’ve been having. It’s hard to tell in the photo above, but it’s looking much better.

Aji Lemon

Aji Lemon Peppers

When I spied a single Aji Lemon plant sitting on a random shelf at the garden center where I picked up the above plants, I just about giggle like a school girl. I’ve been hoping to find one based on everything I’ve read about the fruit it produces. And apparently the plant was excited to find a home on my back deck, as well. This plant has doubled in size in the two weeks since I transferred it to the permanent pot. I cannot wait to see how the rest of the season goes with this one.

Chocolate Habanero

Chocolate Habanero Peppers

I have two chocolate habanero plants that I picked up a couple days prior to the last season update and both have been doing quite well since then. They haven’t grown a good deal, but both have produced a fairly bushy appearance and produced a bud or two that I have snipped off in the hopes of promoting more plant growth. They are nearly identical in appearance and I have high hopes for a good season with both.

Red Savina Habanero

Red Savina Peppers

This little plant hasn’t produced much height as of yet, but it has more than tripled in girth, filling out the smart pot like it was its job. The pepper plant has taken on a bushy appearance that I’m hoping equates to many more pods hanging from all those branches when the time comes. I can’t wait for this fiery treat to get rolling.

Scotch Bonnet

Scotch Bonnet Peppers

This plant has taken a beating, having been dug up by one of my dogs shortly after it was transplanted to the smart pot it in which it currently resides. And, like a big middle finger held high to the mutt, this plant has been growing like crazy. It’s double in height and started to fill out nicely. I’m just hoping that the fruits are more in line with expectation than the plant I had last year.

Hot Portugal

Hot Portugal Peppers

While I was out purchasing some of the above plants after the last update, on a lark, I picked up a small Hot Portugal that already had three small peppers on it and a pile of blossoms/buds. Well, in just two short weeks, those fruit have quadrupled in size to what you see above. I’ve also removed the buds in order to keep this small plant growing — the peppers are almost as long as the plant is tall!

Chocolate Bhutlah (two bucket set up)

Chocolate Bhutlah Peppers

While the Chocolate Bhutlah on the deck is trying its best to recover, I’ve got a couple downstairs in two-bucket systems that are doing slightly better. Well, one of them is doing better. In fact, the plant in the photo right above actually started forming buds this week. I’m torn between removing them as it still a bit early and leaving it as the plant is already over a foot tall. It’s a bit lanky in appearance, but has showed significant growth over the past couple of weeks, so I’m leaning towards letting those buds continue.

Carolina Reaper

Carolina Reaper Peppers

I’ve only got one Reaper left that’s actually showing promise — it’s got a couple of buds for that matter. My second Reaper is still alive and kicking, but only barely so all of my hopes now rest on this little bugger for any of the world’s current hottest peppers. I’m hoping that I’ll get more growth out of this one as well. It’s over a foot tall just like the Chocolate Bhutlah sitting next to it, but doesn’t have much in terms of side growth so we’ll see how it continues.

Orange Habanero

Orange Habanero Peppers

This little Habanero plant is the only one I’ve got left that I grew from seed. The other that I had was pretty much destroyed by the cold snap and this one seems to have taken its demise personally. It may be smallish (just about a foot tall), but it is packed with tiny buds at the time of this writing. I’ll probably remove a few of them to promote continued growth and let those that are left behind develop into tasty orange treats.

Bhut Jolokia (two bucket set up)

Bhut Jolokia Peppers

In addition to the new ghost pepper plant I just recently installed on the deck, I’ve still got a couple in two bucket set-ups that are still alive and kicking. The one pictured above is in the better shape of the two and has also just recently started budding. It’s not the most impressive specimen, but I’m hoping that it produces a few potent pods for me. If they are any where like last season’s peppers, they are gonna hurt oh so good.

Peach Bhut Jolokia

Peach Bhut Jolokia Peppers

I bought Peach Bhut Jolokia seeds over the Winter, sowed them, nursed them inside and transplanted them when I thought the time was right. Of the four plants that made it into bigger pots, I’ve only got two left. The cold and too much rain were just more than the little plants could endure. Both that I have remaining are set up in double buckets, but only one of them is doing well enough to be excited about — and I am overjoyed to have found a bud on this plant while snapping photos for the update. This particular plant looked horrible just a couple of weeks ago, but it’s made a 180° shift, sprouting to almost a foot tall and branching out nicely.

This update was a bit longer than I expected. That tends to happen when I get excited about pepper buds finally coming in and having a much wider array of plants than when I started the season. Here’s to hoping the next few weeks go just as well.