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Hardiness Zone: 6b
Angela from Painesville, OH
If you don't see signs of insects, my guess would be that it is some type of bacterial leaf spot. Incidentally, tomatoes are also susceptible to bacterial leaf spot and can act as hosts for this disease.
Symptoms usually appear as small yellowish-green spots on the plant's leaves. As the spots mature, they become brown to black and sunken. Tissue in the center of the spots often dries and breaks away, giving the leaves a "bullet hole" appearance. The edges and tips of leaves may die, then dry and break away, causing leaves to appear ragged and eventually drop off. Bacterial leaf spot can also cause brown, scab-like spots on the peppers themselves.
This pathogen usually starts with infested seeds (surviving up to 10 years on dried seeds). It can also lay waiting in the soil on dead plant debris (for up to 6 months) and spread from plant to plant by way of splashing water.
The first line of defense in controlling bacterial leaf spot is to make sure you start with pathogen-free pepper seeds and transplants. Avoid watering plants from overhead to reduce splashing and practice crop rotation by rotating non-host crops like corn and beans every few years. Spray your pepper plants with copper as soon as symptoms appear to prevent further spread of the disease. Seeds can be pre-soaked in a 10% bleach solution. Discard severely infected plants, including all plant debris. Don't compost this material, toss it in the garbage.
I can't tell from the picture if this is caused by overwatering and not letting the soil dry between waterings or if you have a bug called scale. Scale is a small brown bug that you can easily take off the plant. As they travel and multiply they leave a sticky residue. There are houseplant insecticides you can buy that sometimes work. Try looking online at other pictures to compare with.
Have you contacted your extension office yet? They are a great resource (especially since your tax-dollars pay for it) and will let you know what is wrong with your plants!
THANK YOU! I actually do have another question though... do I have to get rid of the pots these plants were in also?
Ellen mentioned spraying them with copper. What exactly is that and where is it purchased? Thanks
I am having trouble with my capsicum plants (bell peppers). The leaves are falling off and they have also gotten a bit light and close to a yellow colour. I don't see any insects on the plants. Any ideas please? from Sri Lanka
By Sumudu L. from Sri Lanka
Peppers need lots of things, mostly a fair amount of water, but they can also benefit from epsom salts. Place1 tablespoon under the plant when transplanting, or mix1 tablespoon in a gallon of water and spray the soil, or you can use a spray attachment on a garden hose (use 1/2 cup of salts).
I spray the soil around the plant once a week and the pepper plant stopped losing leaves. I now have my first batch of flowers and one lone pepper starting to grow.
Why can't I seem to get my pepper plants to grow? They have yellow-spotted leaves? They are in a flower pot (cement-breathable).
Hardiness Zone: 10a
By Catherine from Port St Lucie, FL
People are so fooled by breathable pots. The clay pots kill almost every thing they touch. Even though the guy from the flowershop swears by them. Even my aloe had to go to plastic. And it thrived like majic after the transplant.
Remove the dead leaves.
Use a different kind of pot. Put plastic bottles or something in the bottom, then a layer of the garden cloth, or a piece of old sheet. Then soil then plants with more soil. This makes the pot more breathable from the bottom. And much more happy plants.
Been there with many plants. Happy Gardening!
You need a deep enough pot for the root systems. About 10-12 inches of dirt deep.