Troubleshooting Green Pepper Plants

Overview

Green peppers, also called sweet or bell peppers, produce their harvest from midsummer until fall. Peppers require a long season of warm weather to produce their fruit. While most varieties grow well in the home garden, poor weather, disease and insects may damage the plants and inhibit pepper production. Troubleshooting any problems as soon as you notice them allows you to remedy the situation and ensures the pepper plant remains productive throughout summer.

Step 1

Check unproductive plants for blossoms. Lack of blossoms is often caused by temperatures above 90 degrees F or below 65 degrees F. Continue watering and caring for the plant until temperatures return to an optimum between 70 and 80 degrees F and they will resume blossoming and fruiting.

Step 2

Adjust watering if the pepper leaves are yellowing, wilting or browning around the margins. Check soil moisture before each irrigation and only water when the top 1 to 2 inches of soil begins to feel dry. Moisten the soil to a 6-inch depth at each irrigation. Too little or too much water can cause plant wilting or death.

Step 3

Inspect the underside of the pepper leaves for insects or their damage. Look for sticky spots, discoloration, visible insects or small holes and tears. Treat infested plants with an insecticidal soap or an insecticide formulated for vegetable plants.

Step 4

Check the plant for fungal problems if the plant is wilting the leaves are dying and dropping off. Look along stems and leaves for white powdery mildew, blackening rotted spots or slimy areas. Prune away severely damaged stems and leaves and treat the pepper plant with the appropriate fungicide.

Step 5

Inspect the pepper fruit for blackened or discolored areas on the blossom end, as this indicates blossom-end rot. Maintain proper watering and fertilizer habits to prevent this condition.

Step 6

Dig up and dispose of pepper plants that exhibit signs of virus. Symptoms include mottled, light green leaves and malformed fruits. Inspect remaining healthy plants for aphids, which carry many viruses, and treat the plants with insecticidal soap. Tobacco also spreads viruses, advises Utah State University Extension, so wash you hands before entering the garden if you use tobacco products.

Step 7

Prevent sunscald during hot, sunny weather. Sunscald produced discolored areas on parts of the fruit exposed to the sun and may inhibit fruit growth. Avoid pruning away foliage, which shades the peppers, and practice proper irrigation during hot weather.

Tips and Warnings

  • Weeds in the garden bed often harbor disease and harmful insects. Weed the bed regularly and lay a mulch around the plants to prevent further weed growth.

Things You'll Need

  • Insecticidal soap Pesticide Shears Fungicide

References

  • Texas A&M Extension: Peppers
  • Utah State University: Peppers in the Garden
Keywords: troubleshooting green peppers, green pepper problems, growing pepper plants

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.