How to Grow Series


Peppers don't have a lot of pest problems, especially since most pests don't like hot peppers, but occasionally you may be bothered by the pepper weevil.

Pests that may bother pepper plants

pepper weevil Anthonomus eugenii Adult(s)Photo by Alton N. Sparks, Jr

The pepper weevil will eat holes in buds and flowers that can cause the fruit to be discolored or misshapen. Pepper weevils don't usually kill the plant, but fruit production can be greatly reduced. Hand pick adults and drop them in soapy water to kill them and squish any larvae you might find. Remove any plant debris from the garden at the end of the season to prevent them from overwintering in the area.

Pests that may bother peppers

pepper weevil Anthonomus eugenii Larva(e)Photo by Alton N. Sparks, Jr

Verticillium wilt can cause leaves of the pepper plant to turn yellow, dry up and fall off. It generally affects the lower leaves first. Though it is unlikely to kill the plant, Verticillium wilt may spread to all your plants, including tomatoes, eggplant and potatoes which will stunt growth and reduce crops. This fungi can live in the soil for several years, so crop rotation is essential to avoid the spread of this disease. This includes not planting tomato, eggplant or potatoes in the same area as the peppers were the year before. If your garden is small, you may want to avoid growing these plants in your garden for a couple of years, especially if the Verticillium wilt was severe.

Early bright can present itself as dark spots on leaves and stems. The disease spreads eventually killing the plant. Infected plants should be removed immediately and burned so as to avoid infecting other types of plants. The fungi can overwinter on plant debris so removing it at the end of the season is very important. As with any disease or pest problem that may have occurred, crop rotation is extremely important to prevent the spread of the disease each year. If early blight has been a problem in the past, spraying the leaves of plants with a solution of water and baking soda can prevent the fungi from taking hold and spreading. Soon after planting, mix a solution of 2 tablespoons of baking soda to 1 gallon of water and spray on the leaves early in the morning about once a week and after heavy rains. As the season progresses and the temperature gets hotter, reduce the amount of baking soda to 1 tablespoon. As with any homemade remedy, test a small portion of the plant with the spray for a couple of days, before spraying all the plants.

Pest & Disease Problems for Pepper Plants

early blight Alternaria solani Symptoms Photo by Howard F. Schwartz

Mosaic virus, which is commonly spread by aphids, will produce varying shades of greens and yellows on the leaves and the fruit can develop the same condition making the produce deformed, bitter and not of high quality.

Could mosaic virus be killing my cucumbers?

Cucumber Mosaic Virus Cucumovirus CMV Symptoms Photo by William M. Brown Jr.

Unfortunately there is no cure for mosaic virus. Your best bet is to make sure you don't plant anything that looks like it might have the virus. This virus can spread to many of your garden plants so it's important to spot it early. If your plants develop symptoms, pull them immediately, burn them and avoid planting in that spot for the season. You can also grow varieties that are disease resistant.

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