Nitrogen and Potassium Fertility Affects Jalapeño Pepper Plant Growth, Pod Yield, and Pungency

in HortScience
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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, Box 340375, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634-0375

The influence of N and K rates in Hoagland's nutrient solution on Jalapeño pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) plant growth and pod production was determined on greenhouse-grown plants in sand culture. Varying the rates of N (1 to 30 mm) and K (1 to 12 mm) in Hoagland's solution identified optimum concentrations for Jalapeño plant growth and pod production. Two experiments were conducted to determine Jalapeño pepper sensitivity to differential fertilization. In the experiment seeded in April, nutrient treatments began at transplanting, and in the one seeded in May, treatments began after all plants had flower buds and half had flowered. Biomass and pod production per plant responded curvilinearly to N rate in both experiments. Optimum N rate for pod yield was 15 mm. Nitrogen rate affected pungency of pods only in the first experiment, with 1 mm N reducing capsaicin levels in fruit compared to other N rates. Biomass, fruit count, and fruit weight per plant increased linearly with increasing K rate in the first experiment and curvilinearly with K rate in the second experiment. The optimum K rate for pod yield was 6 mm. Potassium rates did not affect pod pungency. Jalapeño peppers grown in sand culture required 15 mm N and at least 3 mm K for optimum pod production.

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