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Why Are Pepper Leaves Curling? Here’s Why!

Why Are Pepper Leaves Curling? Here’s Why!

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Pepper is a fruit plant of Capsicum annum. 

The plant produces different colors of fruit including, green, red, white, orange, green, and purple.

Pepper is perennial, growing up to a height of 156 inches, with leaves measuring about 2 inches wide and 4 inches long.

Fruits from the pepper plant are used for making a range of spices used in households.

The pepper plant is quite finicky if you’re talking about its ideal growing conditions.

If the epitome conditions are not met, it will lead to the plant developing deteriorating symptoms which include leaf curling.


Why are Pepper Leaves Curling?

Leaf curling in pepper can be caused by thrips, spider mites, and aphids. Excess water is another cause of leaves curling in pepper. Pepper prefers dry soil for growth. Other factors that cause pepper leaves to curl include inadequate lighting and improper fertilizer used. 


Causes of Pepper Leaves Curling



Aphids, spider mites, and thrips cause localized leaf curl. They suck the juice from new or young leaves, leaving them curled and bubbled.

In pest infestation, prevention is better than treatment. Pest removal can be quite hectic since it’s done by hand-picking affected leaves and burning them.

Aside from hand-picking affected leaves, you can use the biological control method by introducing other insects that feed on the pests, such as ladybugs.

For preventive measures, neem oil does the trick. Put it in the soil before transplanting or spraying a diluted amount on pepper leaves.

Pepper leaves treated from insect infestation will not regain their former shape but will still be okay. The problem would have been solved.



Pepper plants thrive in dry soil. Therefore, too moist soil from overwatering will make leaves curl.

The roots will be unable to access enough oxygen and nutrients, which leads to yellowing of the leaves and stunted growth. 

Water the pepper plant as needed, but make sure the soil’s dry first.

Before you water, test the soil’s moisture by sticking a wooden dowel into it. If it stays clean, the soil’s dry.

As you keep the soil dry, take caution not to let the plant over-dry as this would also lead to curling of the leaves.


Excess Light

This is a common occurrence for indoor pepper plants that use grow lights. The lights vary in intensity and are vital for growing pepper seeds indoors.

Placing plants too close to the light leads to the curling and closing up of the leaves in response to too much light. If this persists, leaves dry and fall.

Insufficient light problems are tackled by investing in growing lights. Adjust the lights a few inches away from the plant.

Growing lights away from the plants should be between 12 to 18 inches.

Pepper needs full sunlight throughout its season of growth. Lighting issues are unlikely to arise in peppers grown indoors if you invest in growing lights.


Nutrition Deficiency

Nutrients such as calcium are needed for the development of cell walls. Without it, plant leaves would curl. 

On occasions, calcium deficiency is shown by brown spots on leaves. The yellowing of leaves is another indicator of calcium deficiency.

Leaf curling due to nutrient deficiency is fixed by providing calcium supplements such as bone meal to the plant.

Calcium is a secondary nutrient provided to plants for proper development. It is available in all-purpose fertilizers and potting mixes.



Viral infection causes curling, rings, yellow spots, and bulls’ eye on leaves. Pepper plants get viral infections carried by insects from other plants.

The best method to control virus infection is to plant virus-resistant peppers from a nursery garden with a history of past but resistant virus infection. 

Remove infected plants to help curb the spread of a virus.

Another way to prevent the spread of a virus is to replace infected plants early in the season when the virus has not spread into the soil.


Plant Edema

Plant edema is a cellular disorder arising from irregular water retention. This disease causes leaves to curl when it persists to extreme levels. 

It’s characterized by leaf blisters and white bumps under the leaves. When plant edema persists, brownish dry spots appear and cells collapse, manifesting into leaf curls.

Solutions to curb plant edema include growing peppers that are less susceptible to edema.

Since the condition is caused by environmental factors, improving air circulation, giving plants room to breathe, regular watering, monitoring humidity, and watering whenever the soil is warm will prevent edema.


Other Causes of Leaf Curling in Pepper Plants

The causes of leaf curling mentioned above are the most common. There are other potential causes we have not discussed.

If none of the above apply, there is a probability of the roots being constrained by containers. When this happens, leaves can become distorted.

The diseases we have mentioned affecting peppers can be due to virus infection and physiological conditions. 

Leaf curling could also be a result of bacterial infection. Sterilized soils are likely the cause of bacterial infection because they attract new bacterial colonies.


Frequently Asked Questions about Leaf Curling in Pepper Plants


How Are Peppers Grown?

They are grown from fresh seeds planted in consistently warm and moist soil to facilitate germination. Caution is taken to avoid overwatering and when the first blossom appears, they are pinched to encourage fullness and keep the plant in check.


How Long Does It Take For Pepper To Grow?

For most sweet peppers, it takes 60 to 90 days to grow. For hot peppers, it takes 150 days. Seed packets have indications of the number of days it takes for maturity, including details from the day of transplanting to the day the plant bears a full-sized fruit.


How Is Pepper Harvested?

Pepper is harvested by picking the fruits the moment they turn red then dipping them in boiling water for around 10 minutes. Dipping pepper in hot water turns them dark brown. They are then sun-dried for three to four days.



Growing pepper can pose a great challenge, especially when the plant starts to experience hitches like leaf curling. 

You must understand what causes leaf curling in the growth of pepper and how to reverse it, and what’s even most important is to know how to take care of the plant.

Pepper requires sandy or loamy soils that promote good drainage and warmth. They also need a proper PH, which is between 6.0 and 6.8. 

In addition to the soil and PH conditions, proper maintenance like mulching, careful watering, ample sunlight, and the use of the right kind of fertilizer will ensure healthy and succulent pepper leaves.