Many backyard gardeners love having a few varieties of pepper plants in their garden including me.
With so many varieties of pepper plants, it is easy to find one everyone can enjoy.
Pepper plants normally require very little maintenance for gardeners, but this doesn’t mean you won’t have anything to worry about with your peppers. One such issue is a wilting pepper plant.
If your pepper plants are drooping, you may be wondering what you can do to fix them and why they are wilting.
Wilting pepper plants may be the result of over, watering, under watering, or poor soil, but it can also mean something serious like a pest infestation or disease.
You might also notice wilting when the weather turns cooler, meaning there is a possibility of frost damage.
Read on to learn more about why your pepper plant might be wilting and what you can do to help the plant recover.
Why Are My Pepper Plants Wilting And Dying?
Understanding the why behind your pepper plants wilting and dying is the only way you can help your plants and help prevent future problems. Some of the reasons are in your control and are easy fixes, but others are more difficult to tackle.
Over Or Under Watering
Pepper plants, like almost every other plant, require just the right amount of watering in order to thrive. You probably are aware that droughts or forgetting to water will cause harm to your pepper plants, but did you know giving them too much water is just as harmful.
When it comes to underwatering, plants wilt because they cannot get enough moisture to the leaves and stems. On really hot days or during droughts, you might notice your pepper plants wilting and it could be because they need more water.
Even if you have watered your plants, on a hot or windy day they might still appear to be wilting because the water is evaporating from the leaves faster than the root system can get it there.
Minimal periods of underwatering don’t mean serious damage for your pepper, but if the drought lasts too long, it won’t be able to produce blossoms, or fruit and the growth is likely to be stunted.
Ultimately, the plant will die if it doesn’t get the water it desperately needs.
Overwatering is just as detrimental to the plant. Overwatering and poor soil work in conjunction with each other. If you don’t have soil that allows for drainage, think soils with a lot of clay, water cannot drain away.
When this happens, the roots of your pepper plant can’t get the oxygen they need and the plant will start wilting.
The leaves and stem of the plant will begin to turn yellow and brown. Avoid poorly drained soils at all costs as your plants will just not do well there. If you don’t have any soil that drains well, consider a raised bed.
In order to prevent over or under-watering, be aware of what is happening with your soil. Check the soil about six inches below the surface, grabbing a clump and squeezing it into a ball. If the soil doesn’t fall apart, wait a day to water, as the soil is too drenched.
Develop a watering schedule to ensure you are providing water to your plants as needed. An automatic sprinkler may come in handy here, but be sure some plants aren’t getting more water than others. Even watering is very important.
Pests Or Disease
Pepper plants, though they don’t require much maintenance once they are established, are susceptible to a variety of diseases and pests. Often the evidence of a diseased or infested plant is in their wilting leaves.
These diseases may be fungal, bacterial or viral.
Verticillium wilt is commonly seen in peppers and is extremely serious. These soil-borne fungi infect the plant and disrupt water transport throughout the plant.
The plant will act in many ways as if your plant is under-watered like we discussed above because it isn’t getting the water it needs.
You likely won’t be able to tell your plant is infected right away, but eventually, you will notice the plant begins to wilt and lose their leaves.
Wilting may be isolated to only part of the plant or it could be seen throughout the entire plant. As the leaves wilt, they will begin to discolor, turning yellow then brown, eventually dying.
In addition to verticillium wilt, peppers that are wilting may also have another kind of disease.
These include fusarium wilt, bacterial wilt. They might also suffer from southern blight or phytopthora blight. Pests might also be the culprit behind your wilting plant.
Corn borers or aphids are issues gardeners with pepper plants might also run into, both cause wilting leaves and can do serious damage to your plant.
To manage these issues, look into maintaining and providing quality soil with good drainage and make sure you are giving the plants the proper amount of water.
Rotating your crops regularly will help reduce the chances of some diseases affecting your plants year after year. It is best to remove plants infected with verticillium wilt quickly and destroy them by burning.
With some diseases and with pests, the issues can be reversed if caught early. Applications of fungicide or pesticides may help your plant to survive and recover.
In spring and fall, frost is something gardeners have to be aware of for all of most all of their plants.
Pepper plants are susceptible to frosts. In the spring, if a late frost hits, peppers might show signs of wilted leaves. But the leaves might not be the only thing that shows signs of frost.
The entire plant may end up looking droopy. The severity of the frost will show in how much of the pepper plant is affected.
Pepper plants can bounce back if there is a light frost, but a heavy one is likely to do serious damage to your plant, even killing it.
If you notice a chance of frost in the night, take the time in the evening to cover your plants.
You can use a bedsheet, a box or old plastic milk jugs. Just be sure you go out in the morning to uncover the plants or they might cook in the sunshine.
Will Wilted Pepper Plants Recover?
Wilted pepper plants can recover depending on the cause of the wilt. With plants that were over or underwater, if the problems can be corrected in time, the plant will survive and grow.
The ability for the plant to recover relies heavily on the timing. Too long with a water issue and you won’t be able to save the plant.
Diseased plants can often recover if the disease is identified early. Unfortunately with verticillium wilt there really is no known way to stop or reverse the damage, once the plant is infected.
These plants will need to be removed and destroyed. Crop rotation is the most effective tool in avoiding the disease. Also clear dead plant debris as sometimes the fungus can live on this debris.
How Do You Revive Wilted Peppers?
In many cases reviving your wilted pepper plants is something you can do.
With under-watered plants, take time to water them. Watering is best done in the morning, giving the plant moisture to deal with the heat of the sun throughout the day.
Also, by doing this, you give the plant time to soak up the water, so the roots don’t sit in overly wet soil overnight.
If you aren’t able to water in the morning, the second best time is late afternoon into early evening. This ensures the plant has time to dry out before night.
Overwatering is common, especially if you have a lot of rainfall. Watch that you aren’t giving your plants too much water. If overwatering is the problem, check the soil and skip a day or two on your watering schedule.
With infected or diseased plants, revive wilted peppers with some extra care. In some cases, a fungicide or insecticide will aid in their recovery. You must first identify the type of disease or garden pest, but once you do, you can apply the right treatment, if treatment is possible.
Identification of the is the most important first step in determining what you can and should apply.
With light frost damage, your plant has a good chance of surviving and coming back. You will just need to give the plant time. Be sure you are providing proper soil and moisture. Fertilizers can also help give your plant an added boost.
Wilting pepper plants happen to even the most experienced gardeners. Identifying the problem means you can work to remedy the situation.
While some of the issues that cause wilting, like moisture issues and poor soil are more easily corrected, diseases and pests will require more specialized attention and care. Most of the time, your plant can be revived if you catch the problem early.