Growing peppers can be a rather confusing experience if you’ve never done it before. One common thing that a lot of novice pepper plant owners ask is why their paper plants are turning yellow.
As it turns out, there are a wide variety of different reasons why your pepper plant leaves may be turning yellow. All hope is not lost, however - you can usually fix the issue.
If you’re wondering why your pepper plants are turning yellow, you have come to the right place.
Today, we’re going to do a deep dive into how you can figure out what’s up with your plant. We’re also going to explore a couple of ways that you can solve the problem.
Reasons for Pepper Plants Turning Yellow
One of the biggest causes of yellowing pepper plants is a deficiency in key nutrients. For your pepper plant to be growing in a healthy manner, it needs to be producing plenty of potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen.
It should be producing calcium, magnesium and various trace elements too, but a deficiency in these nutrients isn’t quite so bad.
Sometimes a pepper plant may turn yellow because it hasn’t been watered consistently. For instance, if you water the plants more than you need to then it can cause stress for the plants.
This may mean that the leaves start to turn yellow, they don’t grow as quickly and they aren’t as quick to produce peppers.
The last factor is the heat. If it’s overly cold then the leaves can start to wilt and fall off the plant, and they will usually be yellow. It’s even more likely to happen when the weather is very cold, often below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
This isn’t only the case for pepper plants either. In fact, these issues can cause other plants to turn yellow too, such as your eggplants, garden vegetables and tomatoes.
Now that we’ve given you a quick summary, let’s dive into each reason one by one.
If you want a plant to grow, then it’s going to need to have plenty of nitrogen. This nutrient is essential for the plant to grow properly.
It is what helps them to flourish, with large green leaves. If your plant is lacking in nitrogen, it’s not going to thrive as much. It can suffer in a variety of ways. For instance, the plant may begin to have yellow leaves.
How To Know If Your Pepper Plant Needs Nitrogen
It’s actually pretty easy to tell if your plant requires nitrogen. You will notice that the yellow leaves begin at the base of the plant and then gradually start to spread up the tree if your plant is deficient in nitrogen.
Nitrogen is what’s known as a ‘mobile nutrient.’ This means that the nutrient moves between different parts of the plant.
As such, if your plant doesn’t have enough nitrogen, it will start to move up to the older leaves from the bottom. You will usually notice that older leaves on the plant start to become yellow much sooner than the newer ones.
If you don’t deal with this issue promptly, the leaves can start to fall off. You may still have some top leaves that are in good shape.
Symptoms of a nitrogen deficiency include:
- Flowers start to fall off the plant
- The leaves fall off
- The plant isn’t growing
- You notice yellow leaves that are beginning at the bottom of the plant and moving upwards with time.
You don’t need to worry if a nitrogen deficiency is the cause of your yellow pepper plant, however. You can give your plant this nutrient very easily.
Adding Nitrogen to Your Pepper Plants
So, how can you easily add nitrogen onto the plants? Get some fertilizer! If you want your pepper plants to truly flourish, you simply cannot go without fertilizer.
It’s especially vital if you have potted plants. It may not be enough just to get a simple Miracle-Gro fertilizer, however.
When you get the fertilizer, you should check the instructions to see how often you need to be using it, as it will vary between brands.
A good general rule to follow is that your peppers should be fertilized at least once every week or so. This will help to keep your plants in good shape as they are growing all season long.
You may sometimes find that your fertilizer may be stronger, but there are others that are a little weaker. As such, paying attention to the frequency instructions is important.
You will generally find that a 5-5-5 fertilizer will be sufficient for giving your plants the nitrogen that they need in order to prevent them from yellowing.
What do these numbers mean? Well, they essentially refer to the levels of nitrogen, phosphate and potassium in the fertilizer.
It goes without saying that a new fertilizing routine is going to make the plants grow a lot faster, and they will also be more hard wearing.
With that being said though, your yellow leaves aren’t going to suddenly turn green again. You don’t need to panic about this though.
Over or Under Watering
Your plants need water in order to thrive, but it’s vital that they get the right amount of water. If you over or under water your plant, it can cause them stress.
If you’re growing pepper plants, it’s important to water only enough to ensure that the soil is moist. It should not be completely soaking.
Likewise, you should ensure that there is decent drainage if you are using planter pots or planting them in the ground. You don’t want the water to start getting trapped around the roots as it can lead to rot and water logging.
This isn’t the only problem that you can get from poor drainage. Drainage issues can also result in your plants struggling to get the oxygen that they need.
This is a real issue for your plants. As you can probably imagine, this may cause your plant leaves to yellow, and you may also notice that the plant produces fewer fruits and it’s much smaller as a whole.
The main problem with pepper plants is certainly overwatering. Your plants can deal with a little dryness, and you will find that you can tell if your plant is too dry as the leaves will wilt.
It’s better to slightly under water the plant than it is to over water it.
It’s important to note though that no plant is going to like being totally dried. It’s a real bad sign if your plant’s leaves are wilting before you water them each day.
If you notice that this is happening, it’s a good idea to water the plants a little more often. Some circumstances like hot weather will also mean that you need to water the plant more often.
Ideally, you should be looking at the peppers on a daily basis. Have a look at the soil and see if it’s moist enough.
You should lift up any pepper pots to see the weight, as this can tell you how well watered the plant is. If the plant pot is much lighter than usual, it’s a good sign that it’s time to whip out that watering can.
If this isn’t very helpful to you, then you can get some extra assistance by purchasing a water meter. These are inexpensive devices that will give you a good indication about the amount of water that’s currently in the soil.
Not only that, but it can also tell you the pH levels to ensure that the acidity levels are good. All plants are different, so it’s best to do this if you want an accurate answer about how much water your plant needs.
Winter and Dead Leaves
If it’s chilly outside, you may want to check if your pepper plant’s leaves are yellowing. Cold weather can cause some problems for your pepper plants, since they are used to warm environments.
Your plants may experience stress when the temperature starts to drop and the fall arrives.
You may sometimes notice that the leaves are yellow the next day if the temperature goes below 50 degrees fahrenheit throughout the night.
They may even fall off. It’s your plant’s way of going into hibernations.
You will notice a lot more leaves falling off if the temperature drops below 40 degrees, and your pepper plant is basically toast if the temperatures drop below 32 degrees.
If you think that the leaves are yellowing because of the weather, then you will notice the leaves randomly spreading around the plant. It won’t be in any particular location, making it easy to spot if the cold weather is the culprit.
You should always double check what the temperatures are going to be like overnight where you are, as it will tell you whether you need to bring your pepper plant indoors overnight.
Other Nutrient Problems
Nitrogen deficiency is one of the most common causes of yellowing pepper plants, but your plant may also become yellow if it’s missing other nutrients too.
For instance, if your plant is low on magnesium or calcium, you may notice that the plant is yellow.
How to Deal with Nutrient Deficiencies
Thankfully, it’s fairly easy to deal with a nutrient deficiency. You can usually just apply a cal-mag spray on the foliage of the plant to keep the issue at bay for a while.
In the long term, you should try and get a soil that is richer and lies in the proper pH range. 100% Epsom salt can also be a gamechanger.
My Leaves are Yellow Even With Fertilizer - Why?
Nutrient deficiencies cause some major problems for plants, but fertilizing can sometimes help. It doesn’t always help, however.
One key issue is that fertilizer isn’t a fix-all remedy. Your leaves aren’t suddenly going to become green again because you’ve applied fertilizer - it’s important to keep this in mind.
You also need to check that you’re using the right type of fertilizer.
Likewise, if the soil isn’t the right pH, then the pepper plant may have a hard time trying to eat up the nutrients inside of the soil, regardless of whether they are there or not.
Make sure the fertilizer, soil and weather conditions are correct, and you should be fine.
In summary, there are a number of reasons why your pepper plant may be yellowing. It’s always best to look out for the warning signs, as these will help you to understand why the yellowing is occurring.
In most cases though, the yellow leaves are very simple to fix.