The Q&A Archives: pepper plants

Question: I'm having a hard time with my pepper plants. The leaves have large holes and they don't seem to be growing is there some kind of pest and what can I use to stop this.

Answer: For best growth and performance, p-eppers need full sun, rich soil (amended with compost, well-rotted manure, or leaf mold) and good drainage and a 2 to 3 inch mulch around the plants. Mulch keeps weed growth down and maintains soil moisture. Soils should be kept lightly moist, but not soggy and plants should be fed with an all-purpose water-soluble fertilizer about six weeks after transplanting, and again if the plants start to look pale or the leaves are small. Peppers are generally quite healthy but pests can be an occasional problem. Tiny green aphids sometimes cluster on the tips of branches. In large numbers, they suck plant juices, which deform the leaves and steal energy from the plant. Aphids can also spread viruses. A strong spray of water from the garden hose can knock aphids off the plants. Caterpillars, including corn earworms and corn borers, can destroy the fruits; hornworms eat both fruits and leaves; weevils and flea beetles can make holes in the leaves. I can't tell from your description just what the munching pest might be. Perhaps they've fed and already left the area. Try to catch one in the act of eating the leaves by visiting your garden at different times of the day. If you find pests collect a few and take them to a well staffed nursery for identification and suggestions for control. Good luck with your pepper plants.

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