Green peppers, also referred to as sweet peppers and green bell peppers, are related to the tomato, potato and eggplant family. In temperate climates, green pepper plants flourish from early spring to early summer. In colder climates, the bell pepper plant will produce fruit into the summer months. If you grow green pepper plants in your garden, be aware of a few common problems that may affect your plants.
Cucumber Mosaid Virus
Cucumber mosaic virus is a common threat to green pepper plants. This virus, in its many forms, causes mottling on the leaves, which makes the leaves appear pale with white splotches over the surface. The splotches may appear translucent. The leaves may also curl inward around the edges. Aphids likely carry the virus, and these insects may be infesting other plants in your garden.
These insects invade plants in large masses. Small and brown, black or dark green in color, aphids swarm over plants and suck the juices from them. They appear as small spots on the underside of leaves and along the stems of the plant. Aphids are attracted to young plants, so watch for them closely after planting your peppers. Deter aphids by planting chives, onion or sage in the same bed as your pepper plants. Should aphids invade, spray the plants with a gentle spray from the hose to remove the insects.
Blossom End Rot
Also common to tomato plants, blossom end rot is likely the result of uneven watering patterns or moisture fluctuations in the soil and air. If the bottoms of your burgeoning peppers exhibit soft, brown-colored spots, the problem is blossom end rot. The soil may have dried out and then been overly moistened, either by excessive rains or high humidity. Maintain a regular watering schedule, and if your region experiences heavy rainfall, provide cover in the form of canvas shades or cover rows to reduce moisture content.
If your peppers have white splotches on the sides or top as they mature, they may be overexposed to the sun. A green pepper plant will naturally grow to allow the setting fruit to be hidden by the leaves. Loss of foliage through viral disease or bad pruning can result in sun scald. Avoid pruning your pepper plants after the plants start flowering. If you prune at all, remove only secondary branches and take care not to remove any small branches from the main stem of the plant.
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