Bell Pepper Seedlings Losing leaves

swimlikehellMay 7, 2009

I have about 4 bell pepper plants I have grown from seeds, they are only a few inches tall since they sprouted not to long ago and are currently in gallon size nursery containers. A few days ago I notice some of peppers were missing part of their leaves. The following morning two plants were stripped down to the stalk, I thought it could be an animal but I am living in an apartment on the second floor. This morning I went to water my plants and check on them and two of the leaves on one of the other plants just fell off. I also have cucumbers growing in the same type containers and the same location and they are fine. If anyone has any thoughts they would be greatly appreciated.

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Check your plants very closely & see if you have any bugs on them, first.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 3:08PM
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I have not seen any, the fist time I noticed missing sections of leaves I looked closely to my plants and didn't see any thing.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 3:58PM
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Pictures available?
Did you look at them during daytime or night-time?
What type of potting mix are you using?
How often are you watering?
Have you fertilized them or used pest control on them?
If so, what kinds & how much?
What (average or educated guess) temperatures do they see during day & night?

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 6:06PM
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I have looked at them during the day, I am using MG Potting Mix, I am watering about once every other day, when soil at the top of the pot looks dry. I have not fertilized or applied pest control, the mix I am using says that it feeds for up to 3 months. I do not know how to attach a picture or else I would for you. We are hitting in the 80's during the days and around mid to upper sixties at night. The only bad thing is right now I do not get much sun during the day on my patio. Hope this help, and any other thoughts would be appreciated.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 8:54PM
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That all sounds just fine. It must be some type of pest, fungus or disease. I would say, take one or two and repot them, flushing completely with water very well first & see if those few improve. Hard to call w/o a picture. Upload the picture to photobucket, facebook, twitpic, etc.. Then, if they provide the code for you (like photobucket), paste the 3rd (out of 4) on your message here. If no code is provided, use the following guideline.

replace 1 with (can't actually type the in here cuz it would be the working code and you wouldn't see

1a href=""2 Name for picture 1/a2

- Steve

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 10:27PM
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Are green leaves disappearing or are they dropping off and remaining on or near the container?

If they are outright disappearing then suspect a pest eating them.

If they are falling off then I would ask if they are yellowing before dropping off. If so, it's likely overwatering.

If they are dropping off, but not yellowing are they spotting? If so it's likely a disease.

It is incredibly difficult to diagnose over the web so I am just providing general ideas for your investigation.

If you suspect a pest don't just scout during the day when many of them hide, look at dusk or even after dark with a flashlight.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 10:50PM
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Good point justaguy about the flashlight.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 1:03AM
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After reading justaguy2's post I might have a couple issues I am seeing, two of my plants the leaves disappeared with no trace. On one of my other plants, the one I saw yesterday morning two of the four leaves still green and apparently healthy fell straight off. Maybe I will invest in an insecticide and look into some options for disease control. I cannot get a good picture of the stalk of my plant to turn out clear since it is still so young. I was wondering can the plants that are striped to the stalk be saved, with an insecticide and time or should I just can those two? If anyone has any further suggestions then please let me know.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 11:32AM
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Were the two leaves that fell off the healthy looking plant the seed leaves or true leaves?

Plants that are just stems and no leaves may recover if whatever was bothering them goes away, but it's not all that hopeful. Seedlings only have so much energy to use and replacing leaves after complete defoliation takes a lot of energy. They may recover, but I wouldn't bet the farm on it. Go to plan B ;)

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 11:58AM
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I am new to this whole gardening thing, I just figured I would give it a shot this year for fun so I will tell you what I know. I have/had 4 leaves and now I have two with some new ones getting under way. The ones that fell off were the bottom ones so I want to believe that these were the seed leaves. I did however move my pots this morning and I saw little flat white grey bugs on my porch, I didn't know if these could bee the culprits. I have 6 cucumber plants that are all doing fine, so I don't know if what is getting my pepper plants is in the soil of the peppers or if they just haven't made it to the cucs yet.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 12:15PM
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I am not sure what critters were under the pot, there are many harmless ones that would be attracted to the moisture and sun protection. You can place the containers on wood/brick pieces to elevate them an inch or so off the ground to get rid of them.

If it was the bottom most leaves that fell off those were almost certainly seed leaves and it's normal for those to be cast off some time after true leaves form so no worries there.

Cukes grow a lot faster than peppers so I wouldn't be too concerned about them in this case. It takes a lot more predation to bother them than the slower growing peppers.

Probably a good time to head to the store and replace the peppers that are just stems. If they survive then you have bonus plants :) In the case of the disappearing leaves or half gone leaves I would be looking for a pest as the culprit. May have already moved on, if you are lucky.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 1:02PM
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swim: How big were those bugs you saw?

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 1:48PM
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real small probably about the size of half a pencil eraser and flat and oval looking.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 2:12PM
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My best guess would be a Pepper Maggot.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 4:15PM
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Hi all, new guy here.Well, not new to learning from here, just posting. My name is Mark and I do my gardening in sunny N Florida.
Decided to register today because I am having a similar problem with my peppers as described in this thread. Only difference is my peppers were more established and looking great and all of the sudden 2 of my plants start dropping leaves overnight! I added some 10-10-10 the other day and then BLAMO! It has only happened to 2 of 4 plants, any help would be much appreciated.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 10:58AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

Well I have a 4 year old jalapeno pepper with tons of leaves and peppers. Recently I noticed many of the leaves were stripped off, and even some of those hot peppers were half eaten! THEN, the culprit showed his ugly face! Big fat green tomato worms! 3 of them, and then I found baby ones too! I went to the tomato forum and they told me to get this stuff called BT. It's organic, and will not hurt the peppers, but it will do in those worms! Those worms even attacked one of my grapevines!! WAR!!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 8:48AM
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Oh, my, ststephen, those are some unhappy pepper plants. I can imagine that you are worried for the other two.

The leaves remaining look as if they might have been over-fertilized based on pictures I've seen, but I'm not an expert on that by any means as I've not had anything similar happen.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 5:21AM
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I was worried that the other two would follow suit, but so far so good. That is what got me so perplexed, I thought I may have overfertilized as well (was almost sure that was the problem)but the other peppers seem to be doing fine to this point. Guess I will flush these two out and hope they can recover.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 8:18AM
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