How to Help Pepper Plants With Yellow Leaves

Overview

If your pepper plants have leaves that are turning yellow, there may be one of a few problems at work. Aphids, whiteflies, and flea beetles are all insect pests that like peppers, and any one of them may be responsible. Peppers are in the same family as tomatoes and tobacco, and may be suffering from Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV). Another likely culprit is simply temperature shock. Insect pests and temperature shock can be remedied. TMV may require you to start new pepper plants entirely.

Step 1

Identify the problem. Examine the affected plants carefully all over. Aphids like to cluster on the undersides of plant leaves. If it is an insect problem, you will likely either see the insects or see bite marks.

Step 2

Spray insecticidal soap mixed with a drop or two of orange essential oil on your peppers if it is an insect problem. Gardening expert Rose Marie Nichols McGee recommends this mixture because the orange essential oil helps the slippery soap stick to the leaves of the plants. It also smells good, and is a natural insect inhibitor.

Step 3

Spray pyrethrum or rotenone on your pepper plants according to manufacturer instructions if the insecticidal soap does not work. Both insecticides are plant-derived and safe for use on edible plants.

Step 4

Consider the climate. If you purchased your pepper plants from a greenhouse or garden center, it is possible that they have not yet hardened off. Hardening off is the process by which plants that have been babied are made to handle living in outdoor garden conditions. Plants that were not hardened off may suffer from temperature shock that can cause leaves to yellow.

Step 5

Cover peppers you suspect of having temperature shock with a row cover, if they are planted in a traditional or raised bed garden. If they are planted in containers, you can both cover them and place a heating pad underneath the pots to warm the soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Insecticidal soap
  • Orange essential oil
  • Pyrethrum
  • Rotenone
  • Row cover
  • Heating pad

References

  • McGee and Stuckey's The Bountiful Container; Rose Marie Nichols McGee and Maggie Stuckey; 2002
  • Texas A&M Agrilife Extension: Pepper Q & A
  • North Dakota State University Extension Service: Questions on Pepper Plants
Keywords: yellow pepper leaves, help pepper plants, pepper plant troubleshooting, care for pepper plants

About this Author

Amrita Chuasiriporn is a professional cook, baker, and writer. In addition to cooking and baking for a living, Chuasiriporn has written for several online publications. These include Chef's Blade, CraftyCrafty, and others. Additionally, Chuasiriporn is a regular contributor to online automotive enthusiast publication CarEnvy.ca. Chuasiriporn holds an A.A.S. in culinary arts, as well as a B.A. in Spanish language and literature.