sick looking bell pepper plants

dolivoJune 3, 2012


Approx 4-5 days ago, I transplanted some healthy bell pepper plants in my garden. Now they look like this. It's been nice and sunny, no frost at night and they have enough water and moisture. No sign of pests or rot. What's wrong and will they recover? Thanks!

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Wow, those look bad. I do not know what is wrong. I'm wondering if all that straw is harboring insects, and I saw on another thread that cutworms can be a problem. Do you have just two? Do you have any spare pots or potting soil? You could try transfering them to see if they survive. Take a look at the roots and stem too.

I hope someone else here can be more helpful.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 5:12PM
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They look awfully large for cutworms. All I can think of is they weren't hardened off and the sun got to them. In which case, they might come around.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 8:17PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

They're dry.

Check the original rootball for moisture. Then drizzle some water on that area if needed.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 8:19PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

And rig temporary shade.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 8:20PM
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They were hardened off. they had been outside on my steps for a week in the pots I bought them in. They were used to the sun, the nights and looked great. I don't think cutworms are the problem. I am going to go dig on up and see if the rootball is dry. The soil around the plants are wet, but I guess it's possible the rootball is dry.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 8:44PM
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howelbama(7 NJ)

Herbicide damage? Or fertilizer burn? Do you have any neighbors that spray herbicides like round up etc...? Could that straw have been treated with something??

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 10:24PM
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I don't use herbacides and I didn't fertilize them. I don't know if the neighbors sprayed anything, but none of my other plants in the garden look sick or affected. The straw is around many other plants and they are fine, so i don't think it's anything in the straw.

I did go out and dig one up and check the rootball. it was on the dry side. So I watered them all good. I think I already see (an hour and half later) a slight improvement. Tomorrow will tell the story if dryness was the problem. I thought they had been watered enough when I planted them, but I may have misjudged. I also think it could be a bit of transplant shock. From what I've read, peppers are very suceptable to wilting after transplant.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 10:39PM
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howelbama(7 NJ)

Yes, they can be a bit picky about transplanting. If the roots looked dry and they are showing a bit of improvement already then it was probably lack of water. I would, as others suggested above, give them a little shade for a few days until they bounce back. You could just set up a little umbrella over them, just make sure it's well secured so it doesn't blow away and wipeout any of your plants. I had one fly off my deck once and totally demolish about 10 tomato plants! That was a sad day lol...

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 11:05PM
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PROBLEM SOLVED! thank you everyone for your responses, but especially thanks to Jean001a for suggesting the rootball may be too dry. Two hours after giving them a good hefty shot of water, they have perked up an incredible amount and look almost as good as new. Amazing.

Newbie lesson learned! When I planted them, the garden soil was fairly wet due to several days of rain. So I planted the peppers and thought, "well, the ground is pretty wet, so I don't need to water them. The roots will just suck up the water from the surrounding soil". MISTAKE. Lesson: Always water good after transplanting!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 11:15PM
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howelbama(7 NJ)

Awesome :) it's amazing how resilient plants can be isn't it. Good luck with your garden!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 11:32PM
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Thanks! :-)

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 11:36PM
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