Pepper plants are one of the most versatile and easier plants to grow in your garden. But growing these plants doesn’t always come without complications. Whether you’re just starting your garden or have some experience under your belt, understanding what can potentially set back the growth of your plants will enable you to effectively combat the issue. Before you plant, it’s best to be aware of some common issues that can arise when growing peppers. Let’s discuss some of those common pepper plant diseases and pepper problems you might experience during your gardening journey.
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Common pepper plant diseases
Just like any plant in your garden, pepper plants can be exposed to a variety of diseases. Some include:
This is a common virus that affects more than 150 types of plants, including fruits, vegetables, and flowers. This disease is mainly spread by insects, specifically aphids and leafhoppers.
Mosaic virus is characterized by leaves that are mottled with yellow, white, and light or dark green spots and streaks, giving a “mosaic” of colors. Other signs that your pepper plant has mosaic virus include curled or wrinkled leaves and stunted plant growth. Additionally, plants with this disease may have blistered or watery areas.
If your pepper plant has leaf spots, this means that your plant has a limited, discolored, diseased area of a leaf. These spots are caused by fungus and can be found in your outdoor garden as well as indoor houseplants.
Essentially, fungal spores in the air find a warm, wet plant surface to attach to. Once it attaches, the fungus begins to reproduce, which leads to tiny, brown fungal leaf spots.
Blight is a fungal disease that spreads through spores blown in the wind from one area to another. This allows the infection to spread rapidly on plants. Early signs of blight can be hard to spot, but brown patches on the leaves and stem tend to appear quickly.
It’s important to note that blight only spreads under warm, humid conditions. Additionally, it only comes after two consecutive days of temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity above 90% for eleven or more hours.
Pepper plants can rot due to calcium deficiency in the pepper plant. Calcium is necessary because it helps the plant develop the cell walls of the pepper. If the plant lacks calcium or grows too fast for the plant to supply enough calcium, this can cause the bottom of the pepper to begin rotting as the cell walls collapse.
Causes of calcium deficiency may include the following:
- Lack of calcium in the soil
- Periods of drought followed by an excess of water
- An excess of nitrogen, potassium, sodium, or ammonium
Powdery mildew can affect the leaves on a pepper plant. It’s important to note that while mildew often occurs on older leaves, it can develop at any stage of crop development. Mildew on pepper plants can be characterized by a patchy, white powdery growth that eventually covers the entire lower leaf surface.
The edges of the infected leaves might roll upwards, exposing fungal growth. As a result, the diseased leaves drop from the plants and leave the pepper plant exposed to the sun. This exposure can result in sunburn.
Common pepper problems
Beyond common pepper plant diseases, peppers can face various problems while growing. Some impact the plant itself, while others impact the fruit. Common problems include:
Pests and infestations are a common problem for pepper plants and plants alike. Infestations can cause deterioration or death of your plant, but it is a treatable problem. Common infestations that your plant may experience include aphids, spider mites, mealybugs, fungus gnats, thrips, and slugs.
Another common pepper plant problem is under-watering plants. Plants that are underwatered generally grow slowly and have brown, dry leaf edges. The plants may drop leaves or the plant may fail to flower.
Plants that grow from soil that’s too wet experience a lack of oxygen. This leads to the death of the roots and loss of vigor in the plant. One common symptom of overwatering is slow growth, accompanied by yellowed leaves.
Stems are a vital component of plant growth because they transport nutrients from the soil to the leaves and blossoms. Unfortunately, these stems sometimes become broken during the growing process. Broken stems can be a result of numerous things, including high winds, heavy rain, or poor handling.
It’s not uncommon to find sun scald on peppers in the high heat of summer when the humidity is at its peak. In most instances, the foliage on pepper plants helps shield them from the sun’s UV rays. But there are some instances where the leaves partially defoliate due to disease or insects. This leaves the pepper plants vulnerable to the sun.
Avoiding frost is key to protecting your pepper plants because plants that frost generally die. With that said, pepper plants can handle a temperature above freezing.
Temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit will slow the growth of mature pepper plants and will stunt the growth of seedlings. Pepper plants growing at temperatures of 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below will likely die, as they cannot survive those cold temperatures.
Birds and animals
Another problem to consider when growing your pepper plant is protecting it from outside critters. Pepper plants can be damaged or eaten by a variety of pests, insects, birds, and animals. This alone can cause your pepper plants to become spoiled.