What is happening to my pepper plants?


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Hi everyone,

Novice gardener here :) I planted a variety of pepper plants (anaheim, habanero, serrano etc), and they all have this issue of leaves curling inward or sometimes outward. On top of that, it looks like more leaves are falling off. The pictures show some seedlings I planted as well as 2 mature plants

I've looked for pests and seen some whiteflies and tiny spider looking things. I have tried neem and a soap spray and fertilize every 2 weeks.

I think I was overwatering (I read the sticky) for a while (everyday). I bought a device which shows moisture levels - Should I not water unless this indicates dry towards the bottom of the pot? Also, I am in Houston and the summers are blistering with full sun and heat all day.

Any ideas on what could be wrong? Thanks so much!
 

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Peppers require full sun for best growth. The curling leaves are probably caused by fluctuations in humidity. What type of soil are the plants in and what fertilizer are you using and what size are the containers? Moisture meters are useless. I've been gardening for many decades and I have never seen one that works well. It appears that your plants are just about to bloom and the only thing wrong with them is that they are a little stunted in growth. Neem Oil and Insecticidal Soap are good insecticides. In the first picture, I see an insect that I can't quite identify and other images of what looks to be the start of a mealybug infestation. For these insects, you need an insecticide called Spinosad Soap. Please post back as to the soil, fertilizer and container size so I will have a better idea of how to help you out.
 
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Hi Chuck, thank you so much for your response!

I just used the Miracle Grow potting soil and miracle-grow fertilizer. Also, I just used the spinosad spray today for the first time. In the first picture, it looked like a tiny spider when it was alive (before I sprayed the Spinosad). It was about 1/3 of a cm.

Railing planter with seedlings: 24"L x 5"W x 7.5"H
Planter on the floor: 24"L x 8"W x 7.5"H
Pot: 8" diameter / 6" height

Thanks!

-Amith
 

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You aren't going to like what I say but ALL but 1 or 2 Miracle Grow products are terrible and you don't have the decent ones. Your plants are stunted because the containers are either too small or there are too many plants in the container. Their roots are all intertwined and each plant is fighting for what nutrients are in the fertilizer. The fertilizer you are using leaches away and does not adhere to the soil molecules. Pepper plants should be, at a minimum at least 1 1/2 feet apart for decent growth. The plant by itself should be in a container with at least three times the soil volume. All of the plants will continue to grow, but they will grow slowly and never reach their potential. They all should be repotted with a GOOD potting mix and fertilized with a non-synthetic fertilizer such as Hasta Grow Plant. The peppers should be in at least a 4 gallon container and separated.
 
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Thank you Chuck - One more question. I started noticing that some of the leaves on my pepper plants (in both planters) have a dark discoloration and eventually fall off. I know I have overwatered + possibly over fertilized and am in the process of letting the soil dry out.

Any thoughts?
 

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Thank you Chuck - One more question. I started noticing that some of the leaves on my pepper plants (in both planters) have a dark discoloration and eventually fall off. I know I have overwatered + possibly over fertilized and am in the process of letting the soil dry out.

Any thoughts?
That is a fungal infection caused by the soil staying too wet. It will probably grow out of it. But in the meantime sprinkle agricultural cornmeal on the soil and make a cornmeal tea and spray the plant. This will help grow a beneficial fungi that attacks harmful fungi.
 

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