How to Control Mosaic Fungus on Pepper Plants


Pepper plants are susceptible to both tobacco and cucumber mosaic. Tobacco mosaic causes foliage to appear mottled with light and dark green with dark edges that may appear fern-like, and it stunts plant growth. Cucumber mosaic presents with yellow rings on the foliage or fruit that's deformed or misshapen. Both are introduced through soil, air or contact with infected materials and inhibit fruit production. There are no effective chemical treatments for either tobacco or cucumber mosaic. Each requires the same basic care to prevent the introduction or spread of the disease.

Step 1

Avoid tobacco products or smoking when handling young plants. The disease is often introduced during transplanting. Any small breaks or tears in plant tissue allow the virus to enter the plant.

Step 2

Wash hands often when transplanting or after handling infected plants to prevent the spread of disease.

Step 3

Clean garden tools used near plants with mosaic in a solution of hot soapy water to prevent the spread of the disease. According to the University of Minnesota, bleach is not an effective measure to prevent or kill mosaic and detergent is more effective than soap. Boiling tools also kills mosaic.

Step 4

Remove and destroy infected plants. Dispose of garden debris away from the garden if mosaic is suspected. The virus responsible for the infection can live up to 50 years in plant debris or dried material.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not add plant material infected with mosaic to compost bins.

Things You'll Need

  • Detergent
  • Soap and water


  • University of Minnesota: Tomato-Tobacco Mosaic
  • Cornell University: Virus Diseases of Peppers
  • NDSU Extension: Disease Management in Home-Grown Tomatoes

Who Can Help

  • MSU Extension: Pepper Disease Control
  • University of Illinois Extension: Peppers
Keywords: control tobacco mosaic, control cucumber mosaic, mosaic and pepper plants

About this Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with 4 years experience in online writing and a lifetime of personal journals. She is published on various sites, including Associated Content. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.