What are pepper plant problems? - House Frey (2023)

Bell peppers are fruits in the nightshade family that are also related to tomatoes, chili peppers, and breadfruit. As easy as the pepper plant is to grow, there are still some common problems it faces. Pepper plant problems are what we will discuss.

Bell peppers are fairly easy to grow, so they can be a great addition to your garden. All of them are native to Central and South America. You can enjoy pepper in your various cooking recipes as well as in salads.

However, there are some problems with pepper plants that you may face and diseases of peppers are common problems associated with them. You can also take into account some other pepper problems besides pepper diseases. So, let’s dive into some common problems associated with growing bell peppers.

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Table of Contents

Bell pepper plants do not grow: what are the reasons?

Different pepper plants wilting problems can arise and cause your bell pepper to slow down in growth or even stop growing. Some of the reasons include:

  • Excessive watering.
  • Insufficient watering.
  • Growing pepper with an undersized container.
  • Dry soil.

Pepper Growing Problems

We will look at common bell pepper problems and this will fall into two categories. The first part will be on topics associated with pepper diseases and pests. The other topics related to bell pepper will be related to other diseases. So, read below to get some knowledge about them.

A. Bell Pepper Plant Diseases

So, below are some of the pepper pest and disease problems you may face:

Mosaic viruses

This is a type of pepper disease characterized by yellow spots, wrinkled leaves, stunted growth, and poor or lower quality fruit.

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This disease is transmitted by aphids that transmit this virus. It is common during periods when aphids are most active and this is when temperatures are around 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

To properly deal with this bell pepper problem, uproot or remove infected plants and burn or dispose of them. The virus has been known to survive for up to one year. Therefore, avoid composting uprooted plants but burn or dispose of them.

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Bacterial leaf spot

Bacterial leaf spot is quite common on pepper plants in general. This disease is characterized by yellowing spots on the leaves of your pepper plant. These yellowish spots can end up turning brown and cause the leaves to fall.

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Powdery mildew

Powdery mildew is associated with warm, humid conditions. It usually appears on the underside of pepper plant leaves.


This is a tiny insect that sucks and feeds on pepper plants. They can eat a good portion of your pepper plant overnight.

If you notice or suspect an aphid infestation on your pepper plant, you can use soapy water and wash them off. Or you can use a strong force of water (eg a hose) to dislodge them from your plant. The use of Novobac Beveria WP Bio Insecticidecan also prove effective against aphid organic control.

Horned Worms

Hornworms are another type of pest that can cause problems for your pepper plant. These worms are so large that it is easy to pull them off or remove them from your plant.

What are pepper plant problems? - House Frey (3)

B. Non-disease Bell Pepper Problems

Insufficient watering

This problem is common during the hot seasons. So if you don’t provide the plant with adequate water during this period, you may start to notice some problems with the growth of your pepper plant.

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Pepper plants normally love full sun and require adequate watering. So when you slack off with the watering needs of the peppers, they won’t flower properly, and problems arise.

To reduce the chances of facing this problem, you should strive to water your pepper plant early in the morning and at night. The best time to water is after the sun has set.


Although pepper plants generally like to be watered adequately, you should avoid overwatering. Overwatering your pepper plant can cause problems. This is common with potted pepper plants that do not have proper drainage holes.

So, if you find yourself overwatering your potted pepper plant, simply stop watering and allow the soil to dry out. It is crucial that you fix this problem in time to improve the pepper plant’s chances of recovery.

Scalded by the sun: problems with the pepper plant

Although pepper plants thrive in the sun, they still need time to adjust before being moved outdoors. Potted pepper plants are especially susceptible to this. But this shouldn’t be a problem with pepper seeds sown outdoors early on.

Pepper seedlings started indoors need a transition to outdoor conditions that are often prone to sunburn.

Outdoor conditions like direct sunlight, wind, and changing temperatures can be harsh on seedlings started indoors. To help them adjust, it’s important to harden them off gradually by introducing them to these conditions over time. Therefore, avoid the abrupt transition to full sunlight.

Tips to revive pepper plant problems

A pepper plant can die for various reasons, including lack of water, abundance of it, or some disease. In case you have been out for two weeks and you did not leave any irrigation systems, if they are in the sun, they will not last that long. However, if you want to revive a dry plant, you can follow these tips:

  • Remove all wilted stems and leaves. If the dehydration has been severe, it may need more aggressive pruning. Fear not, this step is vital so that the plant can focus the few remaining forces on its healthy parts. If you keep sending nutrients to its withered parts it will never recover, and remember to always disinfect pruning tools before you start or else it could be counterproductive.
  • You should also check that it has not been attacked by any pest and carefully remove the superficial part of the substrate. The substrate tends to become caked and does not allow irrigation water to penetrate it or reach the plant well.
  • When you have removed the top layer of soil, remove the root ball of the plant from its pot or from the ground without damaging the roots in the process.
  • Once outside, submerge the root ball in warm water for 10 minutes or so to rehydrate the plant. Warm water is more effective at penetrating the substrate than cold water, so it is important to use warm water when watering plants.
  • When peppers show wilting, they might be infested with pathogen disease such as Fusarium, Rhizoctonia and Pythium. Apply the Novobac Trianum Shield bio fungicide for soil borne disease control during pepper organic production.
  • Leave the root ball in a dish where excess water can drain and replant it in a pot with a new substrate.
  • Place the plant in a spot that receives plenty of indirect sunlight.

Finally, it is very important that you keep in mind that this method of reviving pepper plants has a good chance of working, but only the first time. If the same plant has already been exposed to a critical state on some occasion, it will partly lose its recovery capacity and it will be very difficult for it to survive another critical situation again.


Pepper plant problems can arise in a few different ways. Problems associated with peppers can be pests, diseases, or even other environmental factors.

We have listed some of these problems that can arise when growing peppers and how to mitigate them. Therefore, we hope that this article can be of great use to you regarding pepper plant problems.

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What bugs lay eggs on pepper plants? ›

A variety of insect pests, such as beet armyworms, tomato hornworms and cutworms, find pepper plants an irresistible snack. These pests lay their eggs on pepper plants, and both larvae and adults eat the foliage and fruit. Moderate damage stunts a plant's growth, and serious injury can kill it.

Why are my pepper plants struggling? ›

They could be stunted by cool weather, especially cool nights. Keep peppers warm and wait to plant outside until the weather has warmed up to 60-70˚ F at night consistently. You'll find once the hot weather arrives and the soil warms up, the peppers should start taking off.

What is destroying my pepper plants? ›

Slugs, flea beetles, grasshoppers, cutworms, armyworms, tomato/tobacco hornworms, cabbage loopers, Colorado potato beetles, or aphids are pests that might be responsible for chewing holes in pepper leaves. The good news is that you can control these pests and save your pepper plants from further damage.

What are the tiny bugs on my indoor pepper plants? ›

Noticing some tiny green bugs on your pepper plants? They are probably aphids. Aphids may be good for the ecosystem, but they can also cause a lot of destruction to your pepper plants, sending all your months of hard work down the drain.

What do aphid eggs look like? ›

Aphid eggs are either oval or chisel-shaped. The eggs are attached by threads or supports. Recently-laid aphid eggs have a light yellow-greenish coloration, with the shade becoming darker as the eggs mature. Certain aphid species cover their eggs with wax to make them distasteful to predators.

What does an overwatered pepper look like? ›

An overwatered pepper plant can be identified by its wilted leaves, stunted growth, yellow leaves, drooping, curled leaves, and root rot. Most growers fail to produce quality pepper fruits because of overwatering.

How do I make my pepper plants happy? ›

To put it simply, pepper plants require lots of nitrogen during early growth to produce healthy leaves. During the fruiting stage, plants need less nitrogen but plenty of phosphorus and potassium for the best yields.

Why is my indoor pepper plant dying? ›

By far the most common reason for pepper plants wilting is a lack of water. When plants become dry, the first sign will often be drooping leaves. This is especially noticeable in pepper plants. The reason leaves wilt when a plant is dry is simply a lack of available water within the plant.

What does Epsom salt do for pepper plants? ›

Epsom salt spray can be used late in the growing season to increase tomato and pepper yield and keep plants green and bushy. Early in the season, you can add Epsom salt to the soil to aid germination, early root and cell development, photosynthesis, and plant growth, and prevent blossom-end rot.

What does baking soda do for pepper plants? ›

Baking soda on plants causes no apparent harm and may help prevent the bloom of fungal spores in some cases. It is most effective on fruits and vegetables off the vine or stem, but regular applications during the spring can minimize diseases such as powdery mildew and other foliar diseases.

How do you save a dying pepper plant? ›

If the plant is very dehydrated during mid-day, use a watering can to get water directly to the soil near the plant. Even a significantly dehydrated plant will make a quick recovery with water and the lowering of the sun. If droopy leaves are common mid-day, either increase watering amount or frequency.

What are the signs of root rot in pepper plants? ›

Root and crown rot is primarily caused by Phytophthora capsici. Symptoms on affected pepper plants include rapid wilting and death of pepper plants. Close examination of the roots and stems is necessary to confirm the cause of disease. The disease can develop at any stage of pepper plant growth.

What are the signs of disease in pepper plants? ›

Physiological Disorders
  • Blossom end rot. Blossom end rot (BER) is a common disorder of greenhouse peppers, with the symptoms occurring on the pepper fruit. ...
  • Sunscald. ...
  • Fruit cracks. ...
  • Fruit splitting. ...
  • Fruit spots. ...
  • Misshapen fruit. ...
  • Internal growths in the fruit.

What do mites look like on pepper plants? ›

Small white or yellow feeding spots – Stippled leaves with lots of small yellow/white spots can indicate spider mite damage. Because they feed on your leaves by puncturing small holes, the leaf loses its pigment and this is the damage they will leave behind.

How do I keep aphids off my indoor pepper plants? ›

Typically, aphid infestations in peppers will not require insecticide management. Squishing the aphids without damaging the leaves may be effective. Also, the application of soapy water to the undersides of the leaves may reduce the aphid populations.

What is the best bug killer for pepper plants? ›

Bacillus thuringiensis and spinosad kill various pepper pests including corn earworm, cutworms, hornworms and leafrollers. Before using a bacterium pesticide to control pepper plant bugs, refer to its label for treatment instructions and warnings.

What do indoor aphids look like? ›

What Do Aphids Look Like? Many times they look like tiny green bugs on houseplants, but adult aphids can be just about any color – red, brown, blue…you name it. Sometimes aphids blend in so well with the color of the leaves, that you won't even notice them until their population explodes.

What does aphid infestation look like? ›

Aphids are very common insects and are found on most plants in yards and gardens. In most cases they cause little or no damage to the health of plants. Signs of severe aphid feeding are twisted and curled leaves, yellowed leaves, stunted or dead shoots and poor plant growth.

What do thrips look like? ›

Thrips are soft-bodied, cigar-shaped insects, reaching just 1/25-inch long. They are brown, black, or yellow; some with colored markings. They have narrow, fringed wings, but are poor fliers. Nymphs look similar to adults, but are smaller and wingless.

What does pepper blight look like? ›

One of the earliest signs of the disease is a small, brown lesion on the stem. You may later see a cottony, white growth around the stem near the ground, but symptoms also show up throughout the plant. Peppers with southern blight have yellowing on the leaves, which will eventually turn brown.

What should dehydrated peppers look like? ›

You'll know when your peppers are fully dehydrated as they will feel brittle when you touch them. There will be no flex or bend. They should 'snap' in half or apart when you attempt to bend them. Some peppers may be done faster than others; that's normally as just like humans, no two peppers are the same.

How do I know if my pepper plants are getting too much sun? ›

Brown or white foliage

Without proper hardening off, tender young pepper plant leaves may become damaged from excessive sunlight. Sunscald on pepper leaves will start with leaves turning brown or ivory-white, quickly becoming dry and crispy to the touch.

Is Miracle Grow good for pepper plants? ›

Miracle-Gro® Performance Organic® Edibles Plant Nutrition Granules will feed your pepper plants for up to 6 weeks, providing loads of extra nutrients to the beneficial microbes in the soil as well as to the plants. A month after planting, mix this into the soil around your pepper plants, following label directions.

Is Miracle Grow good for plants? ›

This quick-dissolving formula is full of essential nutrients and feeds plants instantly. You can use it throughout the season and it's safe for all plants—guaranteed not to burn when used as directed.

How often to use Miracle Gro on pepper plants? ›

Feed with MiracleGro® Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food every 7-14 days. Feeding is especially important while the plants are flowering. If your pepper plants get tall and start to droop, use stakes or tomato cages to prop them up.

How long do indoor pepper plants live? ›

Some pepper growers growing in regions with cold winter weather bring their super hot pepper plants indoors to overwinter them to have a huge head start on the next season. Tabasco Peppers, Malaguetas, Thai Hot and many of the peppers grown in India. These peppers can live between 3-8 years.

How do you tell if pepper plant is overwatered or underwatered? ›

Check the soil as well, if it feels dry an inch or two down, then you can water again. Don't water pepper plants if the soil feels and is already moist! Even if they're drooping, as this could mean that you're overwatering them. Sometimes people confuse drooping with needing more water, when in fact, the soil is soggy.

What is the best homemade fertilizer for pepper plants? ›

One that is popular with many pepper farmers is Epsom salt fertilizer. Epsom salt consists of magnesium sulfate and has been used in gardening for centuries. Add Epsom salt to the soil before transplanting your pepper plants, and you can also use it in the form of a foliar spray.

Can I sprinkle Epsom salt around plants? ›

Adding Epsom salts to soil that already has sufficient magnesium can actually harm your soil and plants, such as by inhibiting calcium uptake. Spraying Epsom salt solutions on plant leaves can cause leaf scorch. Excess magnesium can increase mineral contamination in water that percolates through soil.

Can you spray soapy water on pepper plants? ›

Spray the plants with soapy water every few days, especially on the underside of the leaves. One tablespoon of dish soap or castile soap per gallon of water is enough. Spray with dish soap plus cayenne pepper and/or neem oil.

Is hydrogen peroxide good for pepper plants? ›

Hydrogen peroxide is an important signal molecule in plant defense against biotic and abiotic stress. Pepper golden mosaic virus (PepGMV) is a whitefly-transmitted geminivirus causing significant yield and quality losses in pepper and other horticultural crops in Mexico.

How many times should I spray baking soda on my plants? ›

Apply the spray one time each week on a cloudy or overcast day to avoid plant burning. Spot-treat a few leaves as a test before widespread use. Another preventative option is a spray made with four teaspoons of baking soda in one gallon of water. Apply regularly to prevent disease onset.

Can you spray dawn on pepper plants? ›

It's not recommended to use dish detergent (like Dawn), laundry detergent, or hand soap (even the “natural” versions), since these soaps contain abrasive ingredients that could harm your plants. For DIY insecticide, organic pure castile liquid soap is the best solution since it's all natural and highly effective.

How often should I put Epsom salt on my pepper plants? ›

Peppers & Epsom Salt

By adding one or two tablespoons to the area before planting for seeds, starter plants and full-grown plants, and then adding it twice a week based on the height of the plant (see above), you can give your pepper plants a much-needed magnesium boost.

Should I remove damaged leaves from pepper plants? ›

By pruning pepper plants to remove yellowing, spotted, or rotten leaves on a weekly basis goes a long way toward limiting fungal diseases common to peppers. You should also trim off any leaves or branches in direct contact with the soil, even if they are higher up on the plants and arch down to touch the soil.

What causes leaf curl in pepper plants? ›

Overwatering can cause pepper leaves to curl due to the roots' inability to access enough oxygen and nutrition from the soil. Overwatering will also usually cause yellowing leaves and stunted plant growth. The most common reason pepper plants become overwatered is poor drainage.

Do pepper plants need water every day? ›

As a general rule, pepper plants should be watered about once per week and allowed to thoroughly drain. However, this frequency can vary significantly based on the temperature, wind, and the size of the plant and its growing container. During a heat wave, you may need to water your potted peppers every day!

How can you tell the difference between root rot and wilt? ›

Root rot appears as reddish-brown to dark brown discolored roots and poor nodulation. Foliar symptoms of Fusarium wilt include scorching of the upper leaves, while middle and lower canopy leaves can turn chlorotic and later wither and drop from the plant.

Can you reverse root rot? ›

It is not possible to reverse root rot. The treatment of this disease involves removing the affected portions of the plant. Once the rotting or dying parts have been removed, they can then be repotted in fresh soil to give the remaining healthy roots a fresh start. What does root rot look like?

What does early root rot look like? ›

Signs of root rot are slow growth, mushy stems, and wilting, yellow, distorted leaves (especially when the plant has been well watered, as wilting leaves can also be a sign of a dry plant). Usually the soil will smell rotten and the roots will appear to be reddish brown.

What are 4 signs a plant has a disease? ›

When disease attacks a plant, it's easily visible. Growth slows, stunts or becomes spindly; leaves may yellow, show white powdery blotches or develop spots. Affected leaves eventually drop. Stems may become soft and mushy, with black tissue visible near the soil.

What is killing my pepper plants? ›

The most common pests that can destroy your peppers are aphids and spider mites, and these are insects you'll want to keep FAR away from your pepper plants because they can stunt plant growth and kill your beautiful plants. If this is something you are noticing at the moment, it's best to keep the pests under control.

What are the tiny eggs on my pepper plant? ›

European corn borer eggs are laid in masses of 15 to 30 eggs per mass. Eggs are round and flattened and overlap each other like fish scales. Often they are placed on the underside of the pepper leaf near the midrib. Age of the egg mass is indicated by its color: freshly laid eggs are white, then cream.

What bug infestation on pepper plants? ›

Here are some pests that love pepper plants: Cutworms are usually the most damaging to peppers and they especially like the young seedlings. Aphids will cluster beneath pepper plant leaves, excreting honeydew, which attracts other insects. Aphids create spots, distort the plants' leaves and will make them wilt.

What bug eggs look like pepper? ›

Although adult bed bugs are very small, the bed bug larvae are even smaller. They appear like tiny grains of pepper and you can only see the eggs or other parts of their body by looking at them under a microscope. Bed bug larvae actually go through five stages of development.

What does a pepper maggot look like? ›

Description: The adult pepper maggot is a brightly colored yellow striped fly. There are three yellow stripes down the back (thorax). It has iridescent green eyes and distinctive dark colored stripes on the wings (Fig.

What do plant mite eggs look like? ›

Twospotted spider mite eggs are about 0.006 inch (0.14 mm) in diameter and are laid on the undersides of leaves. They are spherical, clear, and colorless when laid but become pearly white as hatch approaches. Nymphs, adult males, and reproductive adult females are oval and generally yellow or greenish.

What do gnat eggs look like in plants? ›

Fungus gnat females lay small, yellowish-white eggs on the surface of moist soil. The larvae that hatch are legless, with white or transparent bodies and shiny black heads. Fully grown, larvae measure approximately 1/4 inch in length. They live within soil and eventually develop into pupae.

What does a pepper weevil look like? ›

The adult pepper weevil is a small beetle, about 1/8 inch (3 mm) long, with a dark body that has a brassy luster to it. Larvae are off-white grubs with a brown head and are about 1/4 inch (6 mm) when mature. Adult females lay eggs in holes they create in pepper buds or in the base of young pepper pods.

What does fungus on a pepper plant look like? ›

The fungus can often be seen growing as a white mycelial mat growing on the stem and the surrounding soil. The mycelia will develop sclerotia which are light tan to dark brown pathogen survives in the soil or in plant debris, volunteers and weeds.

What bugs look like specks of pepper? ›

The critters are also called “snow fleas” because they're more noticeable on snow. They gather in large numbers and look like jumping flecks of black pepper. However, snow fleas aren't only found during the winter. They're active all year round.

What does a roach egg look like? ›

Cockroach eggs look like small tan, brown or black capsules shaped something like a pill or a purse. German and American cockroach eggs are approximately 1/3-inch (8 mm) long, while those of the Oriental and SmokyBrown cockroaches are slightly longer, reaching lengths of almost ½ inch (12 mm).

What do mealybug eggs look like? ›

Mealybug egg masses look like small white puffs of cotton or fluffy deposits of white powder because the female covered the eggs in waxy filaments. There are many species of mealybugs and each has its own host range.

What is the white larva on pepper plants? ›

Pepper Maggot. These small white maggots are the larvae of a fly that lays its eggs beneath the skin of peppers, eggplant and other tomato-family crops. Pepper maggot damage is similar to that of the European corn borer, and makes the fruit prone to rot.

What do spice bugs look like? ›

The bugs most commonly found in spices (especially paprika and cayenne) are cigarette and drugstore beetles. Both are derived from the same family and have a reddish-brown color and a size similar to that of a sesame seed.


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