Problems Growing Peppers

Question:

I usually have great success growing peppers. This year the plants have not grown at all since I planted them (2 months ago). The leaves have black edges on them and are curled sideways. I do rotate my crops and do not understand what is going on.

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Any suggestions?

Hardiness Zone: 6a

Betty from Slate Hill, NY

Answer:

Betty, It's tough to say what is causing your pepper leaves to curl and growth to stop, but here are some possible causes that match the symptoms you describe:

  1. It could be Pepper or Tobacco/Tomato Mosaic Virus. Symptoms include stunted plants, distorted leaves and fruits and reduced yields. Check your peppers for aphids and spider mites. They are the common carriers of this disease.

  2. It could be damage due to the application of herbicides (Did you spray anything on other non-edible parts of your garden?).

  3. It could be weather related. Leaves often curl and plants quit growing due to heavy rains or when excessive amounts of moisture stays in the soil for prolonged periods of time. The upper leaves are usually the first to curl. Peppers like water, but they don't do will when over-watered. Keep their soil a bit on the dry side without letting it ever dry out completely.

  4. It could be due to extreme temperatures. Cool temperatures (day or night), especially when peppers are first transplanted, can stunt their growth. Peppers like it hot, but prolonged periods of extreme heat can cause stress and result in permanent damage.

  5. It could be due to a lack of potassium in the soil. This causes brown leaf margins and curling. Many people make the mistake of giving their peppers too much nitrogen. Peppers need care similar to tomatoes and prefer a fertilizer that has a higher ratio of phosphorus and potassium.

  6. It could be root nematode damage. Peppers should never be rotated to an area where members of the nightshade family (e.g. tomatoes) were grown the pervious year. Peppers and tomatoes have certain pests and diseases in common that can be easily passed back and forth between plants.
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Check with your neighbors and see how their peppers are doing. If they share your pepper problems, it's probably due to rainfall or temperatures. If not, you may want to contact your county extension agency about getting a soil test.

Good luck!
Ellen

About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

July 25, 20060 found this helpful

I wish that I had an answer for you. I always grow green peppers without problems, and this year the leaves on mine are curled too. So are the leaves on the pepper plants of everyone that I've talked to in my town. I was wondering if it might be a blight of some kind. I've done just about everything that I've known to do and then some things that gardening books tell to do without much luck. By the way, I'm not a novice gardener and neither are many friends that I've talked to--many have gardened over 60 years. We're all stumped.

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July 25, 20060 found this helpful

WOW! Finally someone else knows what I am talking about!! I planted 4 bell pepper plants and NONE of them have produced a pepper. One plant did bloom and then the bloom turned black and fell off. I have never had problems before this year. I planted sweet banana peppers and one hot pepper in the same area and they are fine. I was beginning to think I planted them too early. I would love to find out what the problem is.

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October 20, 20060 found this helpful

I don't know if this will help but I heard that you should put matches in the roots because they are acid lovling plants, I 've never tried it but it's worth a try

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May 21, 20070 found this helpful

The top set of leaves on my peppers have started to curl up and wilt, im not sure whether its the washing up liquid mixed with water to kill the green-fly or over watering. One of them has a white spot on it and the 'veins' in the leaves are going brown. ill try to get a picture uploaded.

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