Pepper leaf curl (Pic)

snappybob(SaTexas Zone 8)May 15, 2008

Every year my pepper leafs curl like this. They seem to do better later on but I'm sure it has an effect on production. Does anybosy know what causes this and what I can do about it or how to prevent it in the future?

Thanks in advance.

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Any weed killer been used in the area?

Are you growing in pots or in the ground?

    Bookmark   May 15, 2008 at 9:50PM
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shelbyguy(z5 IL)

Are the in the ground, or in pots? If they're containerized, how close to being potbound are they? (I don't think it came from being pot bound, but a knock-on effect of it)

    Bookmark   May 15, 2008 at 11:02PM
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I think t is a nutrient problem.
My Pimento is doing that right now and my habs do it from time to time.
Notice the slightly yellow light green faded spots on the leaves.
I never figured out if it was a matter of too much of something or too little.
Might be a PH problem too thats making some nutrient unavailable to the plants.
The problem never seems to cause the leaves on my plant to drop or anything but it sure looks nasty.
Since I think it's a nutrient problem I usually flood the plant several times with water to flush them out real good.
I also check the PH after the flush and it's usually a little acid because of all the wood chips in my pots.I add a shot of dolomite lime or cactus fertilizer.
Usually the problem goes away.
It seems to mostly happen when my habs are budding early.
I think it might be a calcium problem but I'm not sure what causes it.
Maybe an abundance of potasium,phosphorus or nitrogen keep the calcium locked up or something.
Peppers are supposed to tolorate a ph of anywhere from 6.5-7.5 but I think they do best at 7.
Lots of organic stuff in the potting mix causes the ph to get acid at times depending on soil temp. and water content.
I use Fish emultion and a seaweed extract for fertilizer and give them a shot of Epsom salt once or twice a season.
I use weak fertilizer often rather than time release in the soil or full strength a couple times a season.
I put Dolomite Lime and bonemeal in my potting soil when I mix it up for my pots.

I think that rootbound plants aren't a problem if I fertilize the plants enough.I have a tree habanero that has more roots than soil in it's container.It's been in it for almost 5 years.I fertilize it everytime I water it and it's fine.
I consider it a hydroponic plant more or less.
One of these days I'll get up enough nerve to repot it.
I'm just afraid I'll screw it up and it does really well as it is so far.
Maybe it's natural place to grow is in rocky nutrientless soil on some mountain top and it likes being rootbond.
I think as long as it gets enough air, moisture and nutrients to it's roots it will keep on going.
But until I mess up or can't give it what it likes anymore then I'll have to eventually repot it.
It's 6ft. high now.
I cut 3-4 ft. off it last fall.
Check your soil PH.
The ph of my pimento is about 6.
I'll change it to 7 with lime/calcium and see if the crinkle problem goes away.
It'll take a while to see.Calcium will change it eventually.
Hope this helps.
If your plant is in the ground your going to have to keep treating the soil all the time because It'll keep changing on you trying to get back to what it wants to be.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 1:25AM
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shelbyguy(z5 IL)

I used to think I could grow a tree in a shot glass if I fertilized it enough. I was wrong.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 8:00AM
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snappybob(SaTexas Zone 8)

It's growing in the ground. It's highly unlikely that it's been exposed to weed killer. My ph is on the high side usuallly around 7.4. I have been amending with sulphur and using a little peat moss in the planting holes for the last few years but I'll bet it's still around 7.0 at best. All of my peppers get this every year I've just never been able to figure out what it is.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 9:35AM
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byron(4a/5b NH)

Excess nitrogen and aphids

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 10:18AM
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jmsimpson9(CA 8/9)

Do a google search for Pepper leaf curl virus, the picture you posted looks like the ones I found.

In absence of pests, I would suspect your plants may have it.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 1:07PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

It was said: "It's highly unlikely that it's been exposed to weed killer. "

Why is that? The stuff can come in on the slightest breeze.

And when one says "highly unlikely" it makes me think that it could be possible.

Beyond that, I didn't find much for "Pepper leaf curl virus" in fact, the one reference was to a problem in Asia.

So, have you talked to the folks at your county's Extension Service? They're likely to know what are the common pepper problems in your region.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2008 at 7:02PM
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jmsimpson9(CA 8/9)

I just did a search on Pepper leaf virus unites states and found several articles on it.

Seems it was found in AZ last year.

Regardless, it doesnt hurt to take precautions when triming, harvesting or working with your plants. I grow orchids and am in the habit of sterilizing my knives everytime I move to a new plant.

Since the virus is in the US. It sure would not hurt to play it safe.

That said, I have a tree that gets curled leaves every spring as they emerge. They get aphids. Later in the season when the lady bugs take them down, the leaves grow normally.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2008 at 10:41PM
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snappybob(SaTexas Zone 8)

I'm leaning towards aphids also. I sprayed with liquid seaweed this weekend. We'll see if that helps. I keep looking for lady bugs in the garden but I haven't seen any this year.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 10:56AM
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Mine get this too! And it does seem to effect the production. They still fruit, but they are smaller. I have a question about the weed killer, I live in the country and my neighbors across the street run a lawn service and their yard looks like a golf course. But they are at least 400-500 feet away. Could this still effect my peppers and if so, what can I do about it/ I can make them stop using weed killer.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 10:30AM
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I'm getting the same in my peppers which are in containers here on the other side of the Atlantic! I thought it was due to spraying the leaves with a dilute solution of dish soap (to keep insects at bay).

Has anyone tried anything which helps?


    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 11:21AM
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nvrnugh(7b-8a Chesapeake, VA)

Two of my Habs are doing this and they are growing in two different mediums. One is in a raised bed and the other in a pot as I ran out of room. Both are producing VERY well for me. As I'm a complete noob I offer only that it might not be the soil.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 12:23PM
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byron(4a/5b NH)

Excessive nitrogen fertilizer causes that

BACK off of the mirical grow

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 8:50PM
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It looks very much like overfeeding to me, too.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 8:59AM
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Have you found the solution? My patch looks like this as well. I had a heavy aphid infestation before. The ladybugs has arrived, but now all of my pepper leafs curl just like your picture. 2 of my plants has lost all of its fruits and flowers, and the leaf looks somewhat brownish. I wonder if it is caused by the aphids bites or something even more sinister.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 7:12AM
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I have a question:

Should I remove all the infected leaves and branches so the virus won't spread?

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 8:53AM
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I have had symptoms such as that from using too much fertilizer (too strong of dose that is), and from leaving my plants out in cold temperatures. Maybe it was a coincidence, but the leaves of my peppers seem to grow out deformed after extreme cold exposure (just above freezing), existing leaves are not effected. In both cases the plants began growing normal leaves a short time after.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 2:41PM
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I agree that it might be to much nitrogen. I fed mine a couple of weeks ago and guessed, did not measure the amount, I sprinkled around each some got a little more some a little less but one I gave way to much didn't realize the amount I had left in my hand and the leaves curled all up like that. good news is after awhile it will go away mine is

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 3:09PM
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hope they are doing okay by now, what i had found was it was a difficiency, bonemeal. peppers are extremely heavy feeders. once i treated them to a little (careful with application not to get near stalk once they are planted, best if you work it into the soil prior to planting) they were very happy and cranking out pretty flat leaves (next set after feeding) and lots of peppers. this went for my hots and my sweets and in betweens.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 4:25PM
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Thanks for the pictures of the pepper leaf curl and the suggestions.I did use Miracle Grow when I planted them but could this really be the cause? On top of the leaf curl I have tiny black bugs that are eating through the leaves and the edges. I've grown chilis for years and haven't had this problem previously. Should I give up for the season already? Thanks for any suggestions.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 9:39PM
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Snappybob, I have the same problem and on a few of the plant I have its very bad. I am growing 25 plants total a mix of serrano jalapino and sweet bell peppers (excuse the spelling) I have been trying to isolate the problem. This is my observation. I have most of the plants in raised beds with alot of organic mix, you may have heard about the lazagna layering where you put compost material and grow in that, well I have a high amount of wood and sphagnum peat moss which is acid, I have not tested the ph. At the beginning of the season after I had planted my keepers I had 4 left and did not have the heart to kill them so I just on a whim planted them in a wall of cinderblocks I had built for my asparagus. Now the cinderblock leach out lime. well those 4 extra throw aways are doing super great, they have NO leaf curl or new growth that is crinkled. They have already given me big health peppers. So the post by smokemaster is making alot of sence to me. I used the same exact ferts for all of them including the ones in the cinderblocks. The one thing we have in common is the peat moss. The ones I have in the cinderblocks the soil does not have peat moss just wood compost and sandy loam. I have been told by many different growers on different forums that peat moss is a bad idea and I have others disagree so I am on the fence. I know this may not help I am to new to growing veggies, but I had to chime in. I hope you can fix your problem, if it does reverse itself please post back with the methods you took. Thanks and good luck Deanna

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 10:36PM
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This is my first try at peppers and upon inspection I've found some tiny insects that seem to be eating the new leaves(and old ones too),causing them to curl.I've also had holes eaten in new fruit as well.I've released ladybugs twice now.Before that I sprayed w/Ortho Vegetable plant insect killer(waiting 7days between aps).I'm thinking of trying the soapy water spray.I've also seen tiny slime tracks(cutworms?)at the base and under the pots.
I live in OrangeCounty California.It's a battle.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 3:55PM
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Your Caribbean red looks healthy in the picture, minus the wrinkling. I sometimes have the same problem with the exact plant. I have 10 of them, plus 12 ghost peppers, plus 8 chocolate habas, and a few more different varieties of hot pepper plants. All and All I have over 70 hot pepper plants and have been growing for nine years and even crossed a few species. "NO" it is not a bug problem. Over the years growing hot peppers plants, I have noticed a few things that affect my plants. (1) How hot is it where you live? When a plant grows new leaves at night then gets hammered by very hot days of 100 degrees or hotter like in Texas the structure of the leaves deform especially with little humidity. The cell walls harden before they can fully develop. When I control the sun�s contact everything goes back to normal. People have the idea the more sun the better. That�s "BS" when I control the temperature in my green house below 98 degrees and the sun�s contact my plants get huge. Last year my ghost peppers got over eight feet tall and produced around 100 pounds of product. "Think about it" plants thrive in their habitats� "specific soil, Temperature, humidity, PH, and rain". If you plant them in the ground and did nothing to help them, they would be dead in no time, unless they are native to that area or live in same environment. (2) PH can affect them. Try to save rain water. (3) Try to stay away from over fertilizing them and over watering them. When you do excessive watering your plants will stop absorbing nutrients and they will stop growing roots, keeping them smaller in size. They need to dry out a bit to absorb oxygen unless you are doing hydroponics. I only fertilize around 4 � 5 times a season.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 3:25PM
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I do not believe the leaf curling is due to Thrips. Like Dave above, I live and grow chilis in Orange County, CA. My best advice is to use the epsom salts (magnesium) in small amounts. This year, my plants are better than the last few years. I also add small amounts of nitrogen (in contrary to other advice here) and find that the curling goes away.

Hope this helps,

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 2:23PM
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Calcium deficiency. Treat with Cal-Mag and some additional epsom salt. Mg will help with the uptake of Calcium and other nutrients.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 8:34PM
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muslickz(Zone 9 CenFL)

I have this issue and think it may be broad mites. I have found a few pictures of peppers with a downward leaf curl, almost a clawing I would describe it as.. I have also dropped a link to the post I found excellent photos in..


Here is a link that might be useful: Images of broad mite damage on hot peppers (Scroll down to see images)

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 5:45PM
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