Do you have a chilli plant that has leaves wilting? This is not uncommon for plants, especially when the weather changes. But there are many reasons why this can happen. For example, your plant may be too close to an open window or door where it gets direct sunlight in the afternoon and evening hours. It could also be because of low humidity levels in your home which will cause leaves to feel brittle and dry out more easily than normal. Luckily, we’re here to help!
You may also get chilli plants that you can’t immediately identify. Perhaps you got some seeds without a label? Perhaps your local garden centre was clearing out a few unidentifiable types? Maybe a friend handed you a plant, but he or she couldn’t tell you much about it? While it’s not always feasible to determine exactly which type of chilli you have, here are a few observations that may help!
Read on for 6 reasons why your chili plant leaves are wilting and how you can identify them:
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Your Chilli Plants Aren’t Getting Enough Water
It’s disheartening to see any of your chilli plants droop, and it’s especially devastating when you have no clue what could be causing it. People typically give their plants a generous, thorough watering right away, but if the problem is something else, such as overwatering, then the well-intentioned gardener may be making the situation worse.
During hot weather, pepper plants, especially those cultivated in containers, will dry out more rapidly and require greater watering frequency. Push your finger into the soil about 1 or 2 inches deep. It’s time to water your soil if it’s dry at least 1 inch below the surface as a rule of thumb. For pepper seedlings, keep your soil or potting mix evenly wet but not soggy.
If your chilli plants’ soil is drying up too quickly, add a thick layer of mulch, such as wood chips, to protect the soil from the sun and slow down evaporation.
Your Pepper Plants Are Wilting from Too Much Hot Sun
If your plants are wilting from too much direct sunlight, they will appear more yellow than green. This is especially noticeable when you compare the shadow side of a plant to the sun-exposed side of it where leaves may be drooping or even cupped downward in some places.
If this happens during hot weather and if there’s not enough shade for them outdoors, move these chilli plants into an area that gets partial shade such as under a tree with plenty of airflow.
Your Chilli Plants Are Getting Too Much Water (Root Rot)
Root rot is a common problem in pepper plants, especially if they’re growing in containers. Early signs of root rot include wilting leaves and yellowing leaves that eventually die off.
If your chilli plant roots are too wet or overcrowded, the foliage will also appear unhealthy with drooping branches and weak stems unable to support its weight. Root rot can be prevented by planting more seeds per pot so there’s better airflow between them, adding gravel at the bottom for drainage, using an appropriate soil mix such as cactus/succulent compost mixture for chili plants grown indoors or outdoors in hot weather conditions.
Your Transplanted Pepper Plants Aren’t Hardened Off or Are Going Through Transplant Shock
Many gardeners start out with the best of intentions, only to be thwarted by poor timing. For example, you may try to transplant your pepper plants during a cool period when they’re not yet used to direct sunlight or their roots are too wet because it rained recently.
Transplant shock refers to the initial wilting that occurs in young chili plants after being transplanted into soil from containers or directly sown outdoors once temperatures have reached at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 C).
This can happen even if you water these chilli plants well right after planting because there’s no established root system for them to drain properly until they get bigger and stronger. You can avoid this problem by hardening off seedlings/seed-raised chillies before transplanting them.
‘Hardening Off’ is a term used to describe the process of gradually acclimatising plants to wind, sun, and lower humidity by exposing them to outdoor conditions a few hours per day for a week or so before transplanting.
Your Chilli Plants Are Suffering from Fertilizer Burn
If you notice parts of leaves turning brown and dry, this is a sign that your chilli plants are suffering from fertilizer burn. The most likely culprit, in this case, is too much nitrogen (the first number on fertilizers), which causes leaf tips to turn crispy yellow or white instead of green.
In some cases, it’s not the excess but rather lack of nutrients such as calcium that can cause problems with wilting chili plant leaves – if there’s not enough calcium in soil, roots may have trouble absorbing water due to poor enzymatic activity within them. You’ll know if this happens when these pepper plants’ stems/stalks appear relatively thick compared to their width while foliage appears more pale than usual at either end where new growth sprouts.
Disease or Pests Are Attacking Your Chilli Plants
The best way to diagnose your chilli plant leaves are wilting problems is by conducting a visual inspection of the foliage. Look for any signs of disease or insect infestation such as holes in leaves, white powdery residue on the undersides and stalks/stems, black spots around leaf edges when they turn brown or yellowish-brown colouration throughout their surface area.
If you notice clusters of small insects near growing tips with ants crawling nearby, these are most likely aphids which feed off sap from pepper plants’ stems and leaves. Aphids secrete honeydew that attracts other pests like mealybugs while making chilli plants more susceptible to diseases caused by fungi spores (anthracnose) because it creates an environment conducive to mould growth.
If you notice signs of possible disease (yellowing and brown spots), it’s important not to overwater your chili plants in an attempt to compensate for this: too much water can cause fungal problems which is something else that causes wilting leaves on the lower parts of pepper plants. Conversely, if there’s a lack or insufficient humidity around these chilli plants, they’ll be at greater risk of developing powdery mildew due to increased vulnerability when their foliage becomes dry and brittle from hot conditions without sufficient moisture in the soil.
Identifying your chillis
So now you have an understanding as to why your chilli plants leaves may be falling off, but how do you identify them? Chilli plants can appear in a variety of shapes and sizes, and it’s difficult to tell the difference between them. Perhaps you bought some seeds without knowing what kind of chilli it was, or you have several varieties that are growing right next to each other.
Maybe you received a plant as a present but don’t know much about it? You can at least determine the family from the flower of the plant, as the family is typically named after the flower. Have a look at the list below so that you know what to look for:
Annum plants are plants that belong to the Solanaceae family. This family contains plants with flowers that are either white, yellow, purple, or blue in colour. The flower is at the top of the plant and has six petals.
Capsicum Annuum chillies are native to North and South America. Capsicum Annuum chillies are one of the most widely cultivated species in the world. The majority of fruits have thick skins with a relatively high water content. The Jalapeo, Poblanos, Cayennes, Seranos, and Bells are all members of this family, with ratings as low as 0 SHU. Although annuums means “annual,” this family is perennial in nature.
Baccatum plants are related to the Solanaceae family. The flowers of baccatum plants appear in either white, purple, blue or pink colours. These flowers have four petals that sit close together at their base and then open up into a bell shape towards the top.
Baccatum is the scientific name for chillies in the family of Baccatums. In South America, many Baccatum cultivars are known as “Aji” chillies, especially those that are native. Sugar Rush, Bishops Crown, Peppadew, and Brazilian Starfish are among the peppers in this family. The fruit usually hangs downward rather than facing heaven. Many of the Baccatum family have a Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) of 30,000-50,000 but some can be much higher or even hotter!
Chillies from the Cardenasii family are native to South America (particularly Peru and Bolivia). They’re little, round berry-type fruits. Surprisingly hot given their size. The plant’s stems are often flimsy, and the leaves typically have a lightly hairy look about them. Cardenasii plants have been shown to be resistant to Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV), unlike other chilli families.
Chacoense is the scientific name of chillies in the Baccatums family. The fruit are small and round with a thin, waxy skin which has either no or very little flavour.
Chillies from the Chacoense species are small, somewhat elongated berry-like peppers that reach around 10mm in length. The pods are edible and easy to collect since they fall off the plant’s calyx and have a medium heat level. The plants develop in a compacted manner, but with tent to spiral and whisp with branches that spread out. There are five petals on Chacoense blooms.
The Chinense family of chillies are native to the Amazon region, Africa and Asia. The flower has three petals which sit close together at their base before opening up slightly in a trumpet shape towards the top.
Chillies from this plant family typically have black seeds with thin waxy flesh that is sweeter than most other members of this species. They also tend to be hot! This can vary depending on where they were cultivated though so look out for warning labels if picking them up in your local store or market! They grow quite slowly but are deffinetly worth the wait.
Ciliatum plants are members of the Solanaceae family. This plant is a herb that grows up to 60cm in height with one or two flowers per stem. The flowers have four petals and appear white, yellowish-white .The Ciliatum family includes chillies such as cayenne pepper which can be used dried or fresh for cooking purposes.
This is a Mexican chili, sometimes known as the Capsicum Rhomboideum. The tiny mature fruit is bright and round, but it does not contain any heat and has a sweet malty flavor. Some experts argue that this sort should not be included in the capsicum family because to its complexity.
A unique chilli from Bolivia and Argentina that is quite rare. The pods are tiny and slender with a pointed oval shape. This unusual chilli has a hot flavor but isn’t the nicest-tasting fruit. There will be many people ready to germinate seeds because to its uncommon growth if you have this plant.
White outer petals, green in the middle. The fruit is a tiny berry with a bullet shape about 7 mm long that ripens to crimson and grows in Brazil. It’s quite spicy and uncommon.
The Tabasco pepper, Piri/Birds Eye pepper, and Thai peppers are all examples of the Cascabels. The stems generally grow straight up and then arc just before touching the flower head. The Frutescens plants are typically short and shrublike with a lot of blooms. Chillies are typically lanceoloid in form, although they do not vary much.
It may come as no surprise that this variety originates from Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands. The plant and its leaves are tiny and covered in fine, densely hairy hairs that give off a pleasant scent when touched. The white hair that grows all over the plant is one of the most reliable ways to tell whether you have a Galapagonense plant! The fruit is dark green (unripe) before ripening to red, with a tiny berry-like appearance.
The golden lanceolatum is a very uncommon variety (it was thought to be extinct at one point!). Lanceolatum distinguishes itself from all other species in the genus by the mixing of leaf form and position. The leaves tend to grow in pairs, but they can also develop in various directions and vary considerably in size and shape depending on the plant’s maturity. Small hairs similar to spikes are present on the leaves. The fruit is tiny and round, with black seeds tucked away inside.
It’s from the Annuum species but grows wild.
Beautiful blooms with a white corolla and yellow/green markings around the petals, along with a large purple border surrounding the petals. The plant leaves are larger than typical Capsicum peppers and the fruits are tiny yet fiery hot and delectable. Cumari Pollux is one of the more (slightly) frequent types. The plant usually looks like juniper in form.
Pubescens comes from the Latin words “purpureus” (purple) and “pubes” (hairy). This pepper’s leaves are referred to as pubescent. The flowers are solitary or paired, with flower stems that are about 1 cm long. The calyx has five triangular pointed teeth, and the flowers are blue-violet in color with violet-colored petals. Pods range in size and shape, ranging from apple-like to cylindrical with black seeds. SHU can be any amount depending on the variety, ranging from 12,000 to 250,000 units.