Water is essential for healthy pepper plants, but did you know that too much can actually kill them?
Maybe you already know what I'm talking about.
If you've ever seen your pepper seedlings wilt and fall over, it's often due to damping off. This disease runs rampant in wet, cool conditions.
Hot peppers of all growth stages are at risk for this problem. Watering pepper plants from the bottom is how I bypass this risk.
It's often known as the bottom-watering technique.
Essentially, you provide water underneath your plants rather than pour water over the top.
Peppers only take in as much water they need. Their roots also grow stronger because they are forced to stretch to the bottom where the moisture is.
Bottom-Watering Pepper Seedlings
Make sure that you have the right supplies before you water your peppers from the bottom.
Choose containers that have holes in the bottom, or that can wick up water from below. Select a tray that can sufficiently hold the containers and water.
For example, the image below shows pepper seedlings planted in biodegradable pots and positioned in paper bowls.
For best results, use distilled water because your tap may contain too much chlorine that can kill the chile seedlings.
Optionally, you can use a wicking mat. This mat goes underneath your containers and helps get the hydration to the pepper roots, but it's not absolutely necessary.
Bottom-Watering Indoor Chillies
Place your containers in the plant tray and fill the tray with about 1 inch of distilled water.
Let the water stand for at least 10 minutes and then check to see if the surface of the soil is wet. If it's not, let the water stand for another 10 minutes and then repeat the test.
Pour out the water in the tray and then dry it completely to ensure that your pots do not sit in the moisture.
(Tip: pick up the container to get a sense of how it feels when your pepper seedlings are properly watered)
Continue to water your peppers when the tray feels lighter, indicating that the soil mix is dry.
Watering Outdoor Hot Pepper Plants
Larger outdoor containers may also be watered from the bottom, if you choose.
Obtain a large container, such as an inflatable swimming pool or trough, that is large enough to hold the pepper pots.
Position the pots in the container and fill it with water so that the it reaches halfway up the pots.
Leave the water for about 30 minutes to an hour to allow the pepper roots to soak up all the moisture.
Again, lift the pot to get a feel for how heavy it should be when the hot pepper plant is sufficiently hydrated.
Use this bottom-watering technique when your pots are light, or stick a moisture meter in your pepper soil to determine if its ready for another watering.
Hopefully, you see a huge improvement using this technique!