problem affecting pepper plant leaves


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I am growing many pepper plants in separate containers, some indoors, some out. All were started together indoors, but I have been moving some outdoors gradually. Recently I have started noticing a problem which seems to have spread throughout all of the pepper plants. The problem also seems to be affecting the leaves of my eggplants and tomatoes.

I am assuming it is a bacterial or viral infection but I have gone through many pictures of various problems on the web and none looks quite like what I am seeing, so I have not been able to identify it. Most articles say there is no cure for fungal/bacterial diseases and you need to destroy the plant, dispose of the soil soil and everything to prevent further infection in your garden. I hope this is not true, as I grew all of these plants from seed and they all seem to be affected by this problem.

The basic symptoms I am noticing is that when a leaf is affected, it becomes sort of "crinkly," at the same time a sort of dark soft moist spot will appear on the leaf, which is almost transparent, as if the leaf tissue is eroded. If I don't catch it, it will eventually progress to become a whitish lesion. I have found some leaves that are simply totally black, dry and withered, and I assuming those are leaves I totally missed and that that is the end result of what happens to the leaf if I don't pick it off.

The plants themselves are not dying - they are continuing to grow and new leaf growth looks healthy. however, each time I check the plants, I always find more mature leaves showing this same symptoms.

Has anyone experienced anything like this before? What is it? Is there any way to treat it? Is it true if this is a bacterial infection I need to destroy all of these plants and get rid of the soil?

Appreciate your feedback.
 

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I am growing many pepper plants in separate containers, some indoors, some out. All were started together indoors, but I have been moving some outdoors gradually. Recently I have started noticing a problem which seems to have spread throughout all of the pepper plants. The problem also seems to be affecting the leaves of my eggplants and tomatoes.

I am assuming it is a bacterial or viral infection but I have gone through many pictures of various problems on the web and none looks quite like what I am seeing, so I have not been able to identify it. Most articles say there is no cure for fungal/bacterial diseases and you need to destroy the plant, dispose of the soil soil and everything to prevent further infection in your garden. I hope this is not true, as I grew all of these plants from seed and they all seem to be affected by this problem.

The basic symptoms I am noticing is that when a leaf is affected, it becomes sort of "crinkly," at the same time a sort of dark soft moist spot will appear on the leaf, which is almost transparent, as if the leaf tissue is eroded. If I don't catch it, it will eventually progress to become a whitish lesion. I have found some leaves that are simply totally black, dry and withered, and I assuming those are leaves I totally missed and that that is the end result of what happens to the leaf if I don't pick it off.

The plants themselves are not dying - they are continuing to grow and new leaf growth looks healthy. however, each time I check the plants, I always find more mature leaves showing this same symptoms.

Has anyone experienced anything like this before? What is it? Is there any way to treat it? Is it true if this is a bacterial infection I need to destroy all of these plants and get rid of the soil?

Appreciate your feedback.
I know of 2 reasons for this. I have the same problem with some of my peppers usually but not always sweet peppers. The most common reason is an imbalance in the soil concerning calcium. Tomatoes get Blossom End Rot, peppers get curled and distorted leaves. The cure for this is to use epsom salts. A couple of handfuls around the base of the plant watered in. The second reason, and the reason for the leaves turning black is too much fertilizer, especially synthetic fertilizers. Also, too much fertilizer causes leaf curl and distorted leaves on tomatoes and eggplant.
 
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Thanks Chuck. I am relieved by what you say, because if it's simply a matter of Epsom salts and reduced fertilization then the situation is much less serious than I thought!

I have been fertilizing generally every two weeks, though I think I was doing it once a week for awhile after transplanting. I am using the hasta-grow fertilizer which I think you yourself recommended to me previously!

What do you consider a good fertilization schedule for pepper plants in containers? Also, I am using the diluted solution of fertilizer in water recommended in the instructions, but I just want to verify with you, on the days when I fertilize, should be giving that plants that diluted solution exclusively for their full watering, or just a portion of it, and the rest plain water?

also, I should mention I just noticed some white powder underneath the leaves of some of my pepper plants in my indoor grow area. I have seen this before and did not think much of it - I thought it might be insect related (I constantly have to o fend off aphids and ants). But it occurred to me this might be the beginnings of powdery mildew? Do you agree or could there be another cause? Right now it does not seem extensive, but I am finding it under some leaves of some plants. I cut off some of the most affected leaves, and sprayed the rest with a neem solution. Do you have any other thoughts about what this might be or effective treatment suggestions?
 
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Thanks Chuck. I am relieved by what you say, because if it's simply a matter of Epsom salts and reduced fertilization then the situation is much less serious than I thought!

I have been fertilizing generally every two weeks, though I think I was doing it once a week for awhile after transplanting. I am using the hasta-grow fertilizer which I think you yourself recommended to me previously!

What do you consider a good fertilization schedule for pepper plants in containers? Also, I am using the diluted solution of fertilizer in water recommended in the instructions, but I just want to verify with you, on the days when I fertilize, should be giving that plants that diluted solution exclusively for their full watering, or just a portion of it, and the rest plain water?

also, I should mention I just noticed some white powder underneath the leaves of some of my pepper plants in my indoor grow area. I have seen this before and did not think much of it - I thought it might be insect related (I constantly have to o fend off aphids and ants). But it occurred to me this might be the beginnings of powdery mildew? Do you agree or could there be another cause? Right now it does not seem extensive, but I am finding it under some leaves of some plants. I cut off some of the most affected leaves, and sprayed the rest with a neem solution. Do you have any other thoughts about what this might be or effective treatment suggestions?
When I fertilize my peppers I use a 2 gallon watering can. I put in 2 oz of Hasta Grow and any other stuff I feel that they might need. Each plant gets about 1 1/2 quarts. I try to do this every 2 weeks. I would need to see pictures of this white stuff. I don't know of anything white on leaves of plants that is good. It might also be a good idea to spray your plants weekly with a two to one hydrogen peroxide solution. 2 parts water one part peroxide.
 
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I removed all the affected parts and sprayed the rest but if I see any more I'll take a photo.

I gave Epsom salts to all my plants after receiving your original reply. So far so good. I am not seeing any new leaf problems, but if I do I'll update with photos.

There is one plant, however, which wilted and became droopy the day after, and I don't know if this is related to the epsom salts or just a coincidence. Never seen this sort of thing before unless related to heat, but that can't be it, because all of the other plants look fine. What do you think?

Hopefully it's clear in this photo, all the leaves of the plant became droopy and haven't yet recovered.
IMG_6689.jpg
 
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I removed all the affected parts and sprayed the rest but if I see any more I'll take a photo.

I gave Epsom salts to all my plants after receiving your original reply. So far so good. I am not seeing any new leaf problems, but if I do I'll update with photos.

There is one plant, however, which wilted and became droopy the day after, and I don't know if this is related to the epsom salts or just a coincidence. Never seen this sort of thing before unless related to heat, but that can't be it, because all of the other plants look fine. What do you think?

Hopefully it's clear in this photo, all the leaves of the plant became droopy and haven't yet recovered.View attachment 80475
What time of the day was this picture taken? How much of the liquid fertilizer @1oz per gallon of water are you pouring on each plant? Are the images in the following pictures the same as your plants are experiencing.
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I just took that picture, so about 1pm in the afternoon, but it has looked the same since the day after I applied the epsom salts. The plant is in my indoor grow area, so its enviornment is fairly stable.

I bottom water my plants and just let them keep soaking up the water with diluted fertilizer until they stop drinking. My bigger more established plants seem able to drink an entire gallon. The smaller ones, maybe half a gallon?

From what I can see in the pictures you shared the problem seems a bit different. Those leaves appear to have a lot of yellow spots and little bumps, whereas mine do not. Some of mine do get that "crinkling" effect, but my main concern is those white lesions which appear out of nowhere and darken over time until the leaf withers (which you can see in the pictures in my first post). I have not seen any new lesions like that in the last couple of days. I am not sure if they could be caused by insect damage or some kind of disease.

I definitely have an ant & aphid problem. I control them but can't eradicate them. From what I can gather the ants occupy the soil in my containers and then proceed to farm aphids on the plants. I have tried everything from spraying neem, to completely submerging containers in soapy water, but they always come back. I don't know if that has anything to do with those strange lesions I've found on the leaves though.
 
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I just took that picture, so about 1pm in the afternoon, but it has looked the same since the day after I applied the epsom salts. The plant is in my indoor grow area, so its enviornment is fairly stable.

I bottom water my plants and just let them keep soaking up the water with diluted fertilizer until they stop drinking. My bigger more established plants seem able to drink an entire gallon. The smaller ones, maybe half a gallon?

From what I can see in the pictures you shared the problem seems a bit different. Those leaves appear to have a lot of yellow spots and little bumps, whereas mine do not. Some of mine do get that "crinkling" effect, but my main concern is those white lesions which appear out of nowhere and darken over time until the leaf withers (which you can see in the pictures in my first post). I have not seen any new lesions like that in the last couple of days. I am not sure if they could be caused by insect damage or some kind of disease.

I definitely have an ant & aphid problem. I control them but can't eradicate them. From what I can gather the ants occupy the soil in my containers and then proceed to farm aphids on the plants. I have tried everything from spraying neem, to completely submerging containers in soapy water, but they always come back. I don't know if that has anything to do with those strange lesions I've found on the leaves though.
It doesn't matter how much a plant in a container takes up water.l It will stop taking up moisture when it is saturatedl. After that a continual water regimen will only lead to root rot. As far as the ants are concerned make a soil drench of spinosad at 2 oz per gallon of water and drench the soil. It should take about 1 1/2 quarts of this mixture. You must get rid of the aphids. Aphids are ease to eliminate. Just spray with an insecticidal soap or a spinosad soap mixture. I am doing an experiment by spraying a hydrogen peroxide mix of 1 part 3% peroxide to 2 parts water. I encourage you to do the same. Spray every 3 or 4 days. It can't hurt a plant and what I have seen so far it makes a huge difference. And it can't be harmful to the plant.
 
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I started with the hydrogen peroxide spraying last night - will start a regime of every 4 days and see what happens.

Thanks for telling me about spinosad - I'd never heard of this before - surprised it is organic! Not exactly sure what I'm looking for, as many solutions with different names pop up. Is there a particular brand you recommend?

Do you think the wilting pepper may have gotten overwatered when i watered in the epsom salts and that is why it is wilting? Not sure what to do about it. It remains in the same state and looks to me like it's dying. Do you think if I just leave it alone and let the soil totally dry out it will eventually recover?
 
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I started with the hydrogen peroxide spraying last night - will start a regime of every 4 days and see what happens.

Thanks for telling me about spinosad - I'd never heard of this before - surprised it is organic! Not exactly sure what I'm looking for, as many solutions with different names pop up. Is there a particular brand you recommend?

Do you think the wilting pepper may have gotten overwatered when i watered in the epsom salts and that is why it is wilting? Not sure what to do about it. It remains in the same state and looks to me like it's dying. Do you think if I just leave it alone and let the soil totally dry out it will eventually recover?
All you can do about the wilting right now is wait and let it dry out a little. Perhaps give it morning sun afternoon shade.
 
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I just took that picture, so about 1pm in the afternoon, but it has looked the same since the day after I applied the epsom salts. The plant is in my indoor grow area, so its enviornment is fairly stable.

I bottom water my plants and just let them keep soaking up the water with diluted fertilizer until they stop drinking. My bigger more established plants seem able to drink an entire gallon. The smaller ones, maybe half a gallon?

From what I can see in the pictures you shared the problem seems a bit different. Those leaves appear to have a lot of yellow spots and little bumps, whereas mine do not. Some of mine do get that "crinkling" effect, but my main concern is those white lesions which appear out of nowhere and darken over time until the leaf withers (which you can see in the pictures in my first post). I have not seen any new lesions like that in the last couple of days. I am not sure if they could be caused by insect damage or some kind of disease.

I definitely have an ant & aphid problem. I control them but can't eradicate them. From what I can gather the ants occupy the soil in my containers and then proceed to farm aphids on the plants. I have tried everything from spraying neem, to completely submerging containers in soapy water, but they always come back. I don't know if that has anything to do with those strange lesions I've found on the leaves though.
Do not fertilize from the bottom up. The fertilizer is in solution and adheres to soil particles on a microscopic level. The bottom half of the container is getting most of the fertilizer. Most of the roots are in the top half of the container at this stage of development.
 
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it's now been several days since I applied the Epsom salts, I've been observing the leaves and it looks like whatever is causing this issue is still progressing.

I'm still totally stumped. I've reviewed the whole catalog of bacterial and fungal diseases and none of the photos really look quite the same as what I am seeing on my plants. My main concern is whatever it is, it is affecting my entire family of plants. I'm hesitant to keep pulling affected leaves, because I know without leaves to take in light they cannot grow well, and because it seems even if I pull one leaf, it just crops up on another. Whatever this it, it develops fast, because just a few days ago all of these leaves looked fine.

I've done my best to take some close up photos of affected areas of leaves on various plants. Here they are.




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I removed all the affected parts and sprayed the rest but if I see any more I'll take a photo.

I gave Epsom salts to all my plants after receiving your original reply. So far so good. I am not seeing any new leaf problems, but if I do I'll update with photos.

There is one plant, however, which wilted and became droopy the day after, and I don't know if this is related to the epsom salts or just a coincidence. Never seen this sort of thing before unless related to heat, but that can't be it, because all of the other plants look fine. What do you think?

Hopefully it's clear in this photo, all the leaves of the plant became droopy and haven't yet recovered.View attachment 80475
About this plant. Go out and remove about 1/2 inch of soil at the base of the plant and see if the plant is girdled. I have had cutworms girdle or almost girdle a plant and it does this. If it is girdled you may as well pull the plant.
 
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it's now been several days since I applied the Epsom salts, I've been observing the leaves and it looks like whatever is causing this issue is still progressing.

I'm still totally stumped. I've reviewed the whole catalog of bacterial and fungal diseases and none of the photos really look quite the same as what I am seeing on my plants. My main concern is whatever it is, it is affecting my entire family of plants. I'm hesitant to keep pulling affected leaves, because I know without leaves to take in light they cannot grow well, and because it seems even if I pull one leaf, it just crops up on another. Whatever this it, it develops fast, because just a few days ago all of these leaves looked fine.

I've done my best to take some close up photos of affected areas of leaves on various plants. Here they are.




View attachment 80677View attachment 80676View attachment 80678View attachment 80679View attachment 80680
This doesn't look like a fungal problem or a viral problem. Possibly it could be a bacterial problem but it just doesn't look like it. That leaves insects. Don't know what it could be except maybe mites. You could spray with Neem. It won't hurt anything and probably the plant will grow out of whatever it is. And don't remove anymore leaves for such a problem as this. The plant needs as much photosynthesis as it can get. At least until we can figure out what is going on.
 
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Hi Chuck.

Good news, most of my plants recovered, except that one which mysteriously shriveled up and died. Most of them are larger now and many producing peppers.

But a huge problem still persists with my indoor plants - ants and aphids.

My theory is - since I never see the aphids without also seeing ants - that the ants are bringing the aphids in from somewhere to farm them. Although today, two days after my last spinosad treatment, I am observing something a bit unsusual - I don't see a single ant, but I've still got a ton of tiny aphids covering the leaves a few plants.

I have tried everything I know including your suggestions but so far nothing has worked.

I have tried both foliar spray and drench with a spinosad product (Monterey garden insecticide) .

I have tried both foliar spray and drench with neem.

In both cases the aphids are back covering the leaves within a day or two, like nothing happened, seemingly unharmed!

I have tried showering all the plants to get the aphids off - equally useless.

I have tried hydrogen peroxide spray every few days.

I have tried a foliar spray made up of comfrey and nettle and mint - all things which I have read will deter aphids. Useless!!!

At this point I really don't know what to do. I think the ant/aphid populations here must just be gigantic and they seem to be invincible.

The amount of maintenance needed to remove constantly returning aphid populations from my plants seems excessive. Having to remove all my plants from the grow area every few days and shower them or spray them just to get the aphids off (which will then return in a day or two!) feels like too much work!

If you have any other ideas let me know.
 
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Hi Chuck.

Good news, most of my plants recovered, except that one which mysteriously shriveled up and died. Most of them are larger now and many producing peppers.

But a huge problem still persists with my indoor plants - ants and aphids.

My theory is - since I never see the aphids without also seeing ants - that the ants are bringing the aphids in from somewhere to farm them. Although today, two days after my last spinosad treatment, I am observing something a bit unsusual - I don't see a single ant, but I've still got a ton of tiny aphids covering the leaves a few plants.

I have tried everything I know including your suggestions but so far nothing has worked.

I have tried both foliar spray and drench with a spinosad product (Monterey garden insecticide) .

I have tried both foliar spray and drench with neem.

In both cases the aphids are back covering the leaves within a day or two, like nothing happened, seemingly unharmed!

I have tried showering all the plants to get the aphids off - equally useless.

I have tried hydrogen peroxide spray every few days.

I have tried a foliar spray made up of comfrey and nettle and mint - all things which I have read will deter aphids. Useless!!!

At this point I really don't know what to do. I think the ant/aphid populations here must just be gigantic and they seem to be invincible.

The amount of maintenance needed to remove constantly returning aphid populations from my plants seems excessive. Having to remove all my plants from the grow area every few days and shower them or spray them just to get the aphids off (which will then return in a day or two!) feels like too much work!

If you have any other ideas let me know.
Can you take a picture of the aphids?
 
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Here are a couple of pics. I removed a bunch of aphids before you replied, so these pics only represent one type of aphid I am finding on my plants.

I have noticed several different types: some look like tiny brown balls, others like white dots, and some are even finer and smaller - they almost resemble white flecks of dust, and seem to be able to disperse themselves all over the place. And remember this is just two days after I did both a spray and drench with spinosad!!

I will try to get more pictures for you as the various types reappear.
 

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Hi Chuck.

Good news, most of my plants recovered, except that one which mysteriously shriveled up and died. Most of them are larger now and many producing peppers.

But a huge problem still persists with my indoor plants - ants and aphids.

My theory is - since I never see the aphids without also seeing ants - that the ants are bringing the aphids in from somewhere to farm them. Although today, two days after my last spinosad treatment, I am observing something a bit unsusual - I don't see a single ant, but I've still got a ton of tiny aphids covering the leaves a few plants.

I have tried everything I know including your suggestions but so far nothing has worked.

I have tried both foliar spray and drench with a spinosad product (Monterey garden insecticide) .

I have tried both foliar spray and drench with neem.

In both cases the aphids are back covering the leaves within a day or two, like nothing happened, seemingly unharmed!

I have tried showering all the plants to get the aphids off - equally useless.

I have tried hydrogen peroxide spray every few days.

I have tried a foliar spray made up of comfrey and nettle and mint - all things which I have read will deter aphids. Useless!!!

At this point I really don't know what to do. I think the ant/aphid populations here must just be gigantic and they seem to be invincible.

The amount of maintenance needed to remove constantly returning aphid populations from my plants seems excessive. Having to remove all my plants from the grow area every few days and shower them or spray them just to get the aphids off (which will then return in a day or two!) feels like too much work!

If you have any other ideas let me know.
Use an oil such as neem on BOTH sides of the leaves. Use spinosad as a drench. Do it about 2 times per week. Aphids are not difficult to eliminate. Aphids come from eggs that are on the plant. The ants come from eggs in the soil. Oil smothers eggs. Spinosad is death on mature aphids. How old is your Neem Oil? You do not have to move your plants. Aphids do NOT fly, they crawl.
 

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