When choosing your pepper plants and seeds, try to stick with disease-resistant varieties. You can look on seed packages for a code to tell you about this. For example, codes like HR: BLS 1-3 or IR: TEV mean that plants grown from these seeds will have a strong resistance to bacterial leaf spot and certain viruses. Bacterial problems with peppers often come from planting infected seeds. One virus can destroy an entire crop of peppers. The most common diseases in pepper plants are fungus related.
Plants may get discolored, grow poorly and develop spots. You may see leaves turning yellow and dropping. Don’t forget that healthy pepper plants require loose, well-drained soil. Destructive strains of fungus can flourish in an environment where there’s too much water.
Here are six of the most common pepper plant diseases:
- Bacterial leaf spot is one of the more common infections in pepper plants. It causes yellowish spots on the leaves which may turn brown or enlarge, and will cause leaf drop.
- Mosaic virus is also a common viral infection that attracts insects. There’s not much that can be done to alleviate this one because once it’s invaded the plant, it’s already too late to treat it. It causes limited production and stunting of the plant and its leaves.
- Southern blight is a fungal disease that’s prevalent in warm climates. Stems rot and the plant wilts, eventually dying.
- Powdery mildew can appear mostly on the undersides of leaves. It’s associated with warm, humid conditions.
- Blossom end rot is due to calcium deficiency and sporadic watering. Ripe rot occurs on ripening peppers growing in warm, humid conditions. Harvest peppers prior to use and store any unused peppers in a cool area away from direct light.
- Sunscald is a result of too much exposure to direct sunlight. The fruit may become light colored and feel dry and papery.