Pepper Plant With Yellowing Leaves
yellow pepper leaves
(Image credit: Joanna R. Protz via GKH Scavenger Hunt)

Many home gardeners enjoy growing peppers. Whether you grow bell peppers, other sweet peppers or chili peppers, growing your own pepper plants can be not only enjoyable but cost effective as well. But when pepper plant leaves turn yellow, it can leave gardeners scratching their heads. There are many things that can lead to pepper leaves turning yellow. Let's look at some possible reasons why your pepper plant leaves are yellow and how to fix yellow leaves on a pepper plant.

Causes of Pepper Leaves Turning Yellow

Pepper Plant Leaves are Yellow Due to a Lack of Water and Nutrients

One of the two most common reasons for yellow leaves on a pepper plant is either under watering or a lack of nutrients in the soil. In both of these cases, pepper plants will also be stunted and will commonly drop the pepper flowers or fruit. If you think this is the reason your pepper plant leaves are yellow, increase watering and apply some balanced fertilizer.

Disease Can Cause Pepper Plants with Yellow Leaves

Another thing that can cause pepper plant leaves to turn yellow is disease. Diseases like bacterial leaf spot, wilt and phytophthora blight can cause yellow leaves on a pepper plant. Typically, these diseases will have some other effect on the pepper leaves, such as brown leaf spots in the case of bacterial leaf spot, or wilted leaves in the case of wilt and phytophthora blight. Unfortunately, most diseases that affect peppers are untreatable and the plant must be discarded; you won't be able to plant another nightshade vegetable in that location for a full year.

Yellow Leaves on a Pepper Plant Caused by Pests

Pests can also cause pepper plants with yellow leaves. Pests like mites, aphids and psyllids will suck on the plant and divert nutrients and water. This will cause the pepper plant leaves to turn yellow. If you suspect that the yellow leaves on your pepper plant are caused by pests, treat the plant with an insecticide. Neem oil is a good choice, as it only kills harmful pests and does not affect people, animals or beneficial insects. While pepper plants with yellow leaves are frustrating, they don't need to be. Check your plants carefully and in no time at all, the yellow leaves on your pepper plant will be a thing of the past.

Heather Rhoades
Founder of Gardening Know How

Heather Rhoades founded Gardening Know How in 2007. She holds degrees from Cleveland State University and Northern Kentucky University. She is an avid gardener with a passion for community, and is a recipient of the Master Gardeners of Ohio Lifetime Achievement Award.