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Why Are My Green Pepper Plants Leaves Curling Up?

By Mike Ludwig
Tom Brakefield/Stockbyte/Getty Images

The mosaic virus causes green pepper leaves to curl and become discolored. The mosaic virus is often associated with tobacco crops, but it infects dozens of plants and garden vegetables. The mosaic virus is a common disease, but simple precautions can keep green peppers from becoming infected.

The Virus

The mosaic virus, also know as the tobacco mosaic virus, is found worldwide and can infect 150 different crops and plant species, according to plant pathologists F. L. Pfleger and R. J. Zeyen at the University of Minnesota. The mosaic virus is one of the most common causes of viral infections in green peppers and other crops grown in North America.


Curled leaves, stunted plants and yellowed, spotted leaves are signs that a pepper plant is infected by the mosaic virus, according to Charlie Nardozzi of the American Gardening Association. The virus can also cause green peppers to wrinkle and develop small bumps or dark spots.

Common Misconceptions

Gardeners sometimes confuse the symptoms of the mosaic virus with the affects of air pollution, herbicide or nutritional deficiency. The virus almost never kills green pepper plants but will lower the quality and yield of the fruit.


There is no known chemical treatments to prevent or cure the mosaic virus. Plants are infected by the virus for life, and infected plants should be removed from the garden. The virus is often spread by insects like aphids, so pest control is one of the most popular preventative measures against the virus.

Garden Tips

Nardozzi suggests that gardeners should prevent the mosaic virus from infecting green pepper plants by controlling insect populations, avoiding tobacco use while in the garden, frequently washing hands with soap and water and destroying any infected plants.


About the Author


Mike Ludwig is a freelance writer and journalist in the United States. He has worked as a freelance newspaper reporter, section editor and magazine feature writer. Ludwig has three years of freelance writing experience, and has been published in "Southeast Ohio Magazine," InTheFray.com and the alternative bi-weekly paper "The Athens NEWS."