Are your pepper plants turning yellow? DON’T FRET!
It may seem like the end for those plants, but it doesn’t have to be.
Your peppers can still survive. And, more importantly, thrive.
But first, you need to understand WHAT is happening and WHY. This will help you find HOW you can fix those peppers.
Here’s a brief guide that will help you with that:
Pepper Plants are Turning yellow: 8 Reasons and Their Solution
We’ve found that pepper plants turn yellow for many reasons.
In the causes below, we’re going to teach you why leaves turn yellow, how to identify the problem, and how to fix it accordingly.
BEFORE READING: Your pepper plant may be suffering from one, two, or even three of these problems at once. Read everything before giving any diagnosis.
1. Irregular Watering Regimens
The most common reason a pepper plant turns yellow is if overwatering. And the second most common reason is underwatering.
Too much water can lead to root rot, which will then cause those peppers to turn yellow and fall off.
And when you don’t water, the leaves wilt. They slowly turn yellow and ultimately dry out to the point of falling off.
How to Identify Irregular Watering with a Pepper Plant?
There are various ways to identify irregular watering.
- The superficial way would be to check the soil. If you water every day and the soil doesn’t dry up, it will probably become soggy. That’s a sign of overwatering.
- If the soil instead feels dry and tough where you can’t even dig a finger. That’s a sign of underwatering.
- If temperatures are rising too much and you aren’t watering enough, that’s also a sign. Similarly, if it’s raining and you’re watering the plant still, your plant may also turn yellow.
- You should also check the roots directly. Overly moist soil directly on the roots is always the reason for the problem, but it may not be visible without digging. Roots will look rotten if overwatering or brittle if underwatering.
Start by doing a simple test, then proceed to check the roots. This will definitely tell you if the problem is overwatering or underwatering.
How to Fix Irregular Watering with a Pepper Plant?
Once you’ve identified whether it’s too much or too little water, you can proceed to do any of the following:
- For overwatering, replant the pepper in a well-draining pot with well-draining soil. Leave it in the pot for a few months until it’s ready to be planted back in the garden. Cut back on how often you water the plant going forward.
- For underwatering, soak up the soil under the plant with several inches of water. Make sure the soil stays soggy for a couple of days. Consider keeping the soil moist going forward, and don’t let the soil stay dry for more than a day so the plant doesn’t get stressed.
It may take time for the pepper to adjust to the chance and stop the yellowing, but these methods should prevent it from happening again.
2. Lack of Nutrients in the Soil
Almost every plant requires nitrogen, magnesium, and calcium to survive. And pepper is among the hungriest species out there.
Low nutrients push the pepper to suck them from itself. The nutrients are taken from its leaves, stems, and branches. As a result, the plant starts to turn yellow, slowly but surely.
How to Know if Your Pepper Plant is Low on Nutrients?
It is easy to know when a pepper plant is hungry. Here are cues to consider:
- For nitrogen, the yellowing starts at the bottom of the plant. Branches and leaves in the lower portion get yellow first, meaning it’s absorbing nutrients from itself (as it moves the nitrogen upward).
- Lack of calcium causes the roots to stop growing. When that happens, the plant may grow slowly and turn yellow. Leaves will also curl and wilt.
- Magnesium deficiency causes problems similar to nitrogen, with peppers starting to yellow from the bottom. Moreover, leaves turn yellow, but veins stay green.
- The plant is not growing as it should. Alongside the yellowing, stunted growth is another sure-fire consequence of lack of nutrients.
- Flowers and leaves falling are also signs that nutrients are lacking (starting from the bottom). If the yellowing has already happened, the leaves don’t wilt but still fall – that’s a plant low on nitrogen.
- Checking the level of nitrogen, magnesium, and calcium in the soil should be enough. Soil tests will give you all the info you need to know about whether they’re too low.
If you spot any of these, your pepper plant is likely not getting enough nutrients.
How to Fix a Nitrogen-Hungry Pepper Plant?
Regular fertilizers may not fix the problem right away, so you may want to consider a few other solutions. Here are the best fixes to consider:
- Get a nitrogen fertilizer, and pour it all over the soil under the plant. This should fix the problem in the short term.
- Is it magnesium or calcium the problem? Then search for calcium and magnesium solutions. These include sprays and liquid mixes specifically designed to treat deficiencies. AVOID GENERAL FERTILIZERS.
- For magnesium deficiency, you can add Epsom salt to the soil. Mix the soil with the Epsom salts and keep adding every two months to keep it magnesium-rich.
- Use eggshells in significant quantities. Like compost, eggshells can add tons of calcium and magnesium to the soil to make it fertile.
- As the best solution, keep the soil with compost. Repotting or transplanting the plant into compost-rich soil should be your best bet.
- Remember to fertilize the pepper plant at least once every three months. Keeping the soil fertilized is the best way to ensure it will never run out of nutrients to absorb.
It’s sad to know, but the yellowing leaves on your pepper may never turn dark green again. However, the yellowing will stop within a few days. You will enjoy further growth and new green leaves regardless.
3. Unhealthy soil’s pH Levels
Soils that are too acidic (low pH) or too alkaline (high pH) will make it harder for the pepper to absorb nutrients.
While knowing the soil’s pH level is not exactly easy, it is totally possible. And amending is not too hard either.
How to Identify Unhealthy Soil pH for a Pepper Plant?
There are various ways to test your soil’s composition. The best ones include:
- A clear sign of pH levels being out of hand is stunted growth. If the plant turns yellow but it’s also struggling to grow as it should, that could be unhealthy composition. But that’s not enough.
- Use a soil test for acidity/alkalinity. These are sold in most gardening shops and require little to no effort to use. Follow the instructions, and you may get answers within a few minutes.
- Send a soil sample to your local gardening center. Ask them for a soil test. They should give you more accurate results within hours or a couple of days.
If any of the tests come back out of range (between 6.0-8.0 pH), there’s no need to worry. It’s totally fixable.
How to Fix an Unhealthy Soil pH for a Pepper Plant?
You will need to proceed according to what soil’s pH problem you’re suffering from. Consider the following:
- For low pH (acidic soils), you can use limescale or similar liming materials. Wood ashes will also help increase acidic to a healthy level.
- In case of high pH (alkaline soils), use aluminum sulfate or sulfur. These two materials add extra acidity to the soil, changing its composition within days.
- Be sure to check the pH levels every week to see how it’s going. In case the levels go out of hand, fix as needed.
You may not see results until after a couple of weeks, but the yellowing should stop almost entirely as the plant recovers from the lack of nutrients.
4. Disease Has Taken Over
Another reason why a pepper plant turns yellow is infection from a fungal disease.
It is typical for diseases like Phytophthora blight, wilt, and bacterial leaf spot to affect pepper plants. They cause the yellowing almost right away (as well as other effects).
How to Identify a Pepper Plant with Diseases?
Even though every disease will hit different, they are pretty similar. You can check whether it’s sick with either of these methods:
- Look at the yellowing leaves and search for wilting and black spots. If both are happening at the same time, that’s a disease.
- Try digging the plant out and checking the roots. If you see weird fungus-like material in the roots, then that’s a sick pepper plant as well.
- Are other plants around also showing these signs? Then that’s an even more evident sign of infection.
Luckily, it’s all fixable.
How to Fix a Pepper Plant with Fungal Disease?
The solutions are not the most pleasant, but they are the most critical. Without them, a pepper plant could die. Here’s what to do:
- Dig out the plant and check for the roots right away (if you haven’t yet). Then cut off every portion of the root that looks either rotten or infected by fungus. Clean the remaining roots and replant the pepper in healthy soil away from other infected plants.
- Cut off infected leaves, branches, and parts of the stem. The disease may also NOT affect the roots but the top portion directly. Cut the infected pieces right away and let them grow back. Be sure to keep the plant away from other infected plants.
Both of these problems may fix the issue, mainly if you can perform them simultaneously. The cut leaves and branches will grow back eventually, so don’t worry. However, it is not always sure whether the plant can recover.
5. Pests Are Eating the Pepper
Pests like aphids, psyllids, spider mites, flea beetles, whiteflies, grasshoppers, and even potato bugs may bite your pepper plant in search of food. In the process, they suck away nutrients, causing yellowing.
How to Identify Pests Eating your Pepper Plant
This is one of the easiest things to search for, as pests tend to leave super-clear signs of their presence. These include
- Bite marks. Even minor marks that seem to be slowly eating your pepper plant leaves are clear tellers of pests around.
- Eggs in the leaves or branches. Most insects leave their eggs in the underside of leaves or in the thickest branches.
- The insects themselves are easy to spot. If you see things crawling on the plant, then you probably already know what’s happening.
Whatever’s happening, you can remove it with little effort.
How to Get Rid of Pests Eating a Pepper Plant?
Not only is it relatively easy, but there are also many ways to eliminate those pests. Like these:
- Neem oil is one of the safest bets, as it kills insects without causing much harm to the plants. Also, it doesn’t kill beneficial insects like bees.
- Soap pesticides and diatomaceous earth also get the job done. But be careful, as they can be damaging if misused.
- Chili pepper or garlic spray may also scare them away. This is a great preventive and short-term solution.
- Use companion planting to take the pests away from the pepper plant. Some ⦁ pepper companions can be a long-term solution.
Check your pepper consistently and see whether the pests have gone away. If you have one mild method and it doesn’t work, try with a harder one. Pests should go away or die within a couple of days.
6. Irregular Temperatures
Abnormally high temperatures and freezing weather also cause yellowing.
Both happen because the pepper plant is a fresh-environment plant. It prefers warm but not hot environments. Otherwise, its leaves suffer almost direct physical damage.
How to Identify a Pepper Plant in Irregular Temperatures?
Tiny but clear signs will tell you whether temperatures are too high or low. These signs include:
- In cold weather, leaves tend to burn with freezing temperatures, turning yellow and eventually red. If the leaves have reddish areas, that’s a sign of burning from cold.
- For hot temperatures, they will instead dry up. That means they will turn crispy and curled.
- Check that temperatures don’t dip below 50 degrees Fahrenheit and don’t go over 85 degrees either. Preferably, temps should stay between 65 and 80 degrees.
How to Fix a Pepper Plant in Irregular Temperatures?
There’s not much to do here apart from this:
- For high temperatures, try keeping the plant in a windy place with ideal ventilation. Keeping the plant under a fan or air conditioner may also help.
- For cold temperatures, maintain the pepper close to heating appliances if possible. Don’t leave it outside in the winter, either. Keep it in your home or in a ⦁ greenhouse.
Plants recover quickly from irregular temperatures, luckily.
7. Irregular Sun Exposure
If the pepper isn’t getting enough sunlight or it’s getting way too much, it will turn yellow as well.
From too much sunlight because it starts to suffer, causing the plant to slowly dry out. This starts with yellow.
And from little sunlight because it lacks chlorophyll. This is what plants use to trap sunlight, which causes the green color. It goes away when the sunlight is not there, causing the yellowing.
How to Identify a Pepper Plant with Irregular Sun Exposure?
This problem is simple to identify, but it may be confused with others.
- The most unmistakable sign is when other plants are surrounding it and not letting the sunlight touch it.
- If you’re growing the plant indoors, it may not be receiving enough sunlight either.
- Too much sunlight is clear because the leaves don’t only turn yellow but also crispy. They are burning.
Checking for these things will tell you what’s happening almost right away.
How to Fix a Pepper Plant with Irregular Sun Exposure?
The best way to fix this is by moving the pepper plant to a different area, cutting back on how much light it has in its current spot, or in the case of insufficient exposure, adding artificial lights.
8. It’s Normal!
Finally, if your pepper plants turn yellow, you may not need to worry.
There might not be anything wrong at all with your pepper. Sometimes plants will grow quickly to recover from their pepper production, slowing down their nutrient absorption.
In the process, leaves turn yellow out of nowhere. But that’s not a bad sign – it is temporal. It will go back to normal within a few days.
Pepper plants turning yellow may be a scary sight. But there’s nothing to worry about.
As long as you know WHAT is happening, WHY is causing the leaves to turn yellow, and HOW you can fix that – you’ll have an easier time not letting your pepper suffer anymore.
And luckily for you, all that info is located above.
So don’t let your pepper plant turn yellow again!