Pepper Plants Not Growing – Stunted Pepper Plants – Easy Tips

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Are your pepper plants not growing as expected? Slow or stunted growth happens to peppers sometimes, but there are methods to fix it. We have put together our top tips for when your pepper plants are not growing.

The first few tips in this article will pertain to younger plants, while the later tips apply to more mature pepper plants. However, we recommend reading all of these causes to ensure that you take preventative measures next season!

All of these methods are part of basic pepper plant care. Your routine may simply need one adjustment to get your pepper plants to start growing normally again. For each possible cause, we’ll cover some other symptoms you will likely see in addition to slowed or stopped plant growth.

Pepper Plant Spacing

1. Give Young Peppers Plenty Of Light

Peppers come from a warm climate with lots of sunshine. Young plants are the most susceptible to poor growth if given too little light.

No, a sunny window is not ideal for young pepper plants. For best results and the fastest growth, use a grow light on seedlings indoors. We recommend to provide young pepper plants with 14-16 hours of light per day.

Symptoms of poor lighting:

  • Leggy plants (tall and lanky)
  • Thin stems
  • Slowed growth rate

If you already use a grow light, make sure it is strong enough for your peppers. Light is the energy source for your plants, and this energy is used to form new leaves and branches. Without adequate energy, your pepper plants will grow more slowly.

For a quick recommendation, try this budget grow light on Amazon.

2. Fertilize Regularly (But Not Too Much)

Once pepper seeds sprout, they will start to use nutrients. They don’t need much at first, but as they grow larger, they will use more and more.

Depending on the stage of growth, the type and quantity of fertilizer you use will vary. For young plants 4 weeks or younger, we recommend 1/2 strength nitrogen-rich fertilizer. Alternatively, you could use a nutrient-rich potting soil without fertilizing at all.

See all our recommended soils and fertilizers here.

For plants that are beginning to produce flowers and fruits, we recommend switching to a phosphorus-rich fertilizer and reducing nitrogen. This encourages the plant to stop growing new leaves and focus on producing peppers.

Other symptoms of nutrient issues:

Note: If you use a nutrient-rich soil, then fertilizer is likely unnecessary for the first 2-3 months of growth.

If your pepper plants are not growing, consider your fertilizer regimen and adjust if necessary. If you are fertilizing consistently or have healthy soil, look to other possible causes.

3. Remove Early Flowers and Peppers

One of the most common causes of smaller peppers is leaving early fruits to form. During the first few weeks of outdoor growth, you should pick off flowers and fruits.

This helps the plant direct more energy into growing roots, branches, and foliage. The early growth translates to a larger harvest later in the season.

Small bell pepper on short plant
Small bell pepper plant with early fruit.

It can be tempting to leave an early bell pepper on your plants for a quick harvest. However, this will only set your plants back and cause them to perform poorly overall.

We typically recommend picking any flowers or young fruits until the plants have been outside in their permanent location for 2-3 weeks. After that, leave the flowers on to grow and produce fruits!

4. Transplant Shock

Transplanting is a necessary step in growing peppers from seed. Shortly after transplanting seedlings into larger pots or into the ground, the plants may grow more slowly for several weeks.

This is normal. When peppers move to a larger body of soil, the root systems need some time to adjust and grow into the new surroundings. Be patient and allow the plant to recover and establish itself without too much disturbance. We also recommend avoiding fertilizing for the first 1-2 weeks after transplanting.

Sun shock is a related issue that can occur when transplanting peppers to the outdoors for the first time. Direct sunlight is much more intense than grow lights, and pepper plants must be hardened off gradually to avoid damage.

Other signs of transplant shock:

  • Leaf drop
  • Curling or abnormal leaves forming
  • Sun scald (if moving to the outdoors)

Most important is to be patient after transplanting while the plant gets established. More often than not, the plants integrate within a couple weeks or so, and then take off in growth!

Note: If your plants have been outdoors for several weeks and are still not growing, your soil may be compacted. Avoid walking on garden soil, especially when it is wet!

5. Don’t Compress Soil Too Much

The roots of your pepper plants like a well-aerated, porous medium to grow through. If you pack your soil too tightly, the roots may struggle to access oxygen. Water may also have difficulty draining properly from the soil.

For potted plants, we recommend packing soil down somewhat, but never too tightly. When filling new pots with soil, stop compressing when you start to some feel resistance. This is especially important if you are using a coir-based product.

Compress too little, and the soil will collapse when you water for the first time. Compress too firmly, and the roots may not have access to enough oxygen.

Other signs of compacted soil:

  • Root rot
  • Leaves dying
  • Oversaturated soil
  • Poor drainage

If your ground soil is compacted, use a garden fork to gently loosen the soil up. For raised beds or garden plots, we recommend gently loosening (not tilling) the soil each year a few weeks before planting.

Also, add compost and other organic material to ground soil to encourage good bacteria! Compost also helps with drainage and soil structure over the long term.

6. Transplant To A Larger Pot

One of the most obvious causes for pepper plants not growing is an under-sized container. Many pepper varieties can grow to be very large, over 6 feet in height. However, this is only possible with enough soil space.

We generally recommend that peppers are grown in a minimum of 3 gallons of soil. Ideally, your final pot size should be 5 gallons or larger for maximum yields.

How to Make Peppers Grow Faster

Other signs of under-sized containers:

When transplanting pepper plants, the timing is most important. Seedlings in small seed cell trays should usually be upsized to 3-4″ pots about 2-3 weeks after sprouting. After another 4-6 weeks, they will be ready to move outdoors to full-sized containers or into the ground.

7. Pull Weeds Regularly

This may seem obvious, but weeds can inhibit your pepper plant’s ability to grow. While weeding is a chore, it is important to avoid your peppers from competing with unwanted plants. Weeds can also be a breeding ground for unwanted pests.

Pull weeds when they are small to prevent large, nutrient-stealing root systems. Alternatively, lay down a mulch cover around the base of your peppers, such as chopped straw or a black tarp. This will prevent weeds from growing in the first place.

Young Peppers with Straw mulch 2
Mulching around pepper plants to suppress weeds.

Learn more about keeping weeds out of the garden here.

Other signs of excessive weeds:

  • Well, when the weeds are taller than your pepper plants, you have a problem!

For larger garden plots, we highly recommend using a weeding hoe.

8. Check For Pests

Pests can be a nightmare for any type of garden plant. Peppers are vulnerable to aphids, spider mites, thrips, grasshoppers, slugs, caterpillars, and many others.

When pepper plants are under attack, they can often slow or stop growing. However, there are some tell-tale signs of insect damage.

Other signs of pest damage:

  • Curled leaves
  • Holes in leaves or peppers
  • Random brown spotting on leaves
  • Bite marks in leaves (usually caterpillars or slugs)
  • Live pests (look closely and under leaves)
Adult thrip closeup on pepper stem
Thrip on pepper stem.

Aphids are known to feed on young foliage. If you have aphids, your plants may be trying to grow, but can’t because the new leaves are being destroyed.

Learn more about treating pests on pepper plants in our article here.

9. Disease

Unfortunately, pepper plants are susceptible to a variety of diseases as well as pests. Most will cause visible signs of infection and distress.

Diseases can often mean that your pepper plant must be discarded. Most can spread easily from one plant to another, and many can lay dormant in soil or seeds, infecting future crops.

To avoid disease, always be sanitary while in the garden. We also recommend bottom pruning pepper branches to keep leaves up and away from the soil. Never water over the top of your plants, always just at the base of the main stem.

Many diseases are spread via pests as well, so be sure to control your pests in addition to bottom pruning and mulching. Read our article on pepper plant diseases and problems here.

10. Plants Have Reached Mature Size

The last possibility is that your pepper plants have simply reached their mature size! Some pepper varieties won’t grow above 1′ tall, regardless of container size. Others can grow to be truly massive and produce thousands of pods.

Be sure to set your plant size expectations realistically at the beginning of the grow season. In our experience, C. chinense and C. baccatum pepper species tend to grow quite large, while C. annuum are small to medium-sized.

As we’ve covered, there are many possible causes for pepper plants not growing or growing slowly. With the right nudge, I hope your plants will be back on track and growing healthy again soon.

Calvin Thumbnail


One of the original Pepper Geeks! When Calvin isn’t gardening or learning more about peppers and botany, he might be traveling new places or playing some music.

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  1. I have quite a few pepper plants growing, many varieties. All are doing well, soil ph is 7.1, they get plenty of sun, regular watering, night temps are 65+.

    All plants are flowering/fruiting except my serrano peppers, they’ve grown to almost 4 ft height, have very healthy foliage.

    Are they getting too tall, should I prune height? Thoughts/suggestions on why they are not flowering?

    Thanks in advance, appreciate your site!

    1. If the other peppers are flowering and fruiting, it’s tricky to know why the serrano won’t. It could be that the soil is overly- nutrient rich (especially nitrogen) in that area, causing the plant to stay in its growth pattern rather than starting to fruit. I would reduce/stop fertilizing and see if the plant naturally switched in time.

  2. I have had my peppers growing now for my fourth season. I have had a few issues with Birds Eye peppers with aphids and a white fungal infection, which I treat by spraying with a fungal and pest spray about every two weeks (avoid spraying before the rain). We are going into our winter; Queensland Australia and my peppers have had their last batch of peppers for the season. I am also growing habanero, Serina, cayenne, Jalapeno and bell / capsicum. I never used to go for chili before growing them, and now I love the zest provided by the peppers. I freeze my small batches and then dehydrate them and put the peppers through the blender to make a rough flake or ground down to a powder. Either way just a small pinch is enough to add heat to any meal. I also combine the peppers with dehydrated tomato for some extra flavor. I also make my own sources and chutney for later in the year when the plants are not producing, that way have all I need for the years. I try to use all of produce from my little Vegi patch. I give some of my produce away to family, friends and even the Neighbours and work mates have sampled. I took some of my ground peppers in for a few work mates, who loved chili peppers. I gave them a small jar and warned them it was hot (macho). They each took a pinch from a small spoon onto their fingers and down it went. The colour change in their faces and cheeks was photogenic, (I wish I had my camera ready) not to mention the gasping for air and water. Love it.

  3. One thing I think I’m suspecting this year — one of the most important stages for getting pepper seedlings accustomed to bright light conditions is when they very first emerge, while they only have seed leaves or very small true leaves. At that stage I have never seen sunscald symptoms, but the longer you wait the more traumatic it gets to expose seedlings to strong light. Another mistake I think I’ve been making is mistaking upward leaf side-curl for sunscald when it may have been due to too-infrequent watering.

    I’ve also been suspecting thrips are the sarcoidosis of pepper seedling diseases [House reference]. They are talked about a lot and I’ve never seen any signs of them. Or maybe my forest setting has enough beneficial insects (and other beneficial arthropods) for thrips to never bother me. Another odd thing — there are plenty of squirrels here but they never bother my gardens, while others complain about squirrels digging up their seedlings. And I never have a problem with rabbits due to the foxes and barred owls.

  4. I moved to a new location last year, and all my plants struggled for months. As of the last 4 months, all plants have recovered and are better than ever except my mochero pepper. It is fully stunted, still full of green leaves but small ones, not growing, not flowering. All my other peppers are doing beautifully (Limo, Amarillo, pinguita de mono, charapita, panca). It is currently in a grow bag like the rest of the peppers but im wondering if repotting to a new one would help

  5. one year My pepper plants were huge but no flowering. I sprayed the leaves with Baking soda and afterwards I got a few peppers only.
    This year I am growing banana peppers because I get a lot. But this year the plants are only about 6 inches tall . What can I do.

    1. There are so many reasons this could be happening – temperature is key for faster growth, so if it is still getting chilly overnight, this could be why. Not enough nitrogen, poor pH range (below 6 or above 7.5) can cause nutrient issues, or it could just be that the plants are not quite established in their planting location. If you haven’t fertilized, the plants may just need a bit of nitrogen. Not too much, as it can cause what you mentioned (lots of leaves but poor fruit production), but nitrogen is a very important nutrient nonetheless.

  6. My plants look healthy, but they are not growing roots real well. I’m afraid if I try to transplant them outside, they won’t make it.
    Thanks for your help

    1. @Dianna, it could be due to damping off. That can happen due to overly moist conditions indoors (inadequate drainage, poor water management characteristics of your soil, or too-frequent or too-intense watering). It can also happen when seedlings are taken outdoors in kinda small pots in rainy conditions — this has afflicted a number of my more marginal pepper and tomato seedlings for me this year.

    2. @Dianna. What I tend to do to make sure my plants grow lots of deep roots is using red plastic cups. I cut 3 or 4 holes in the bottom of the cup that will be holding the soil. The next cup isn’t getting cut, I add a marble (or rock if you have some small ones available). Fill water in the 2nd cup until you cover the rock or marble, add the seed in soil cup on top. Water the small seedling from the top until you believe it should be big enough to “drink” from the bottom. I’ve been getting very nice and plenty of roots since they search for a source of water. It’s worked great for my tomato and pepper plants and they take to transplanting really well! I hope this helps!!

  7. My pepper seedlings all sprouted about three weeks ago, but they are not really growing at all. Most of them only have one set of true leaves, but the true leaves are only about 1/4”-1/2” in length. The plants are all about an inch tall and haven’t increased in height either. I grew them in seed starter mix, but I’ve been adding 1/2 strength miracle gro fertilizer once per week since they sprouted with no change at all in growth. They’re under a mars hydro 300w light (25% at 12” away) and PPFD ranges from 170-250 from the outer edge to the center for all of the plants. Is it because I used a nutrient-less seed starter? Should I just re-pot everything in potting soil? Thanks!

    1. Hm, how is the temperature in the growing area? I’m not sure what might be causing this sort of setback in a well-lit area other than cold, or maybe pH. If you’re using tap water maybe test for pH to see if it is highly alkaline, and adjust to acidify to around pH 6.5. I wouldn’t overdo it on the nutrients, what you’re doing sounds a-okay.

  8. My bell peppers are fully grown but some of them are staying small they are not getting very big the fruit

    1. @Basil Stavrakis, I live in Texas where it’s been very hot. My pepper plants would not flower in extreme heat 100+F. But now that the temps have dropped a bit, they are flowering. Not sure where you live, but temperature can be a factor.

  9. Soo I did my first overwinter of pepper plants. 2 survived, and after putting them in the garden early May. Only one of them has sprouted leaves. The second has yet to do anything, its alive and has nice green stalks but no leaves yet with a full month outside. I’m wondering why that is? I don’t know the types of either one but I’m guessing it’s because it’s a hotter variety and needs constant high temperatures? But I’m just guessing. Wondering if you know why or have had this happen before as well?

  10. i’ve got no problems so far. just aphids june 1 in pittsburgh pa. got a bell pepper 4 inches first of the new year. still green i over wintered plant in garage ha ha

  11. I was having problems with my starter plants. I grow them in the basement under LED lights. They would start well and the after getting a couple of true leaves, they’d stop growing. The roots would be brown but not mushy so I ruled out root rot and no other disease noted. After experimenting, I realized the basement was too cool (59F) so I added a space heater below the plants and within 10 days they restarted their normal growth. Next year, that space heater will be there all the time.

  12. Hi, Calvin. Thnx for the tips. But still does not answer my question. I planted jalapeño peppers from seeds. They sprouted well. Replanted them in good soil. Not compressed. Watering but not too much. Direct and good sunlight an almost full day (except the first week after replanting). Now it has been 3 weeks after replanting but plants have stayed the same 2 inches tall as they were on the day of replanting. Although looks good. Nice color on leaves, but not growing even a bit. Any ideas what’s wrong or how to boost? P. S. Nights are fresh, (+62+65F) but don’t think that is the issue.
    Thank you

    1. If you planted into a fairly large pot, then the plants could very well just be focusing on growing roots before growing more foliage. It is a good sign that they are still healthy-looking. You could try fertilizing with a gently water-soluble fertilizer to give a quick feed, but often just waiting a few weeks will yield the best results.

  13. Hey, I think I have started my pepper plants from seed to early, like in late Jan and have planted them outside to early. They have been exposed to some chilly rainy weather lately and some lite frost.
    They have turned yellow with some leaves are falling off.
    Do you think when it warms up they will bounce back to life and green up? I hope so.

    1. It is possible, but that is not good! A cold snap can cause pretty serious damage, especially frost. Next time, you can try covering the plants with a cut-off milk jug top to protect them from overnight cold.

  14. Hey Dude, Put some Capsicums in a hothouse 2m x 2m, good potting mix, small fruit and maturing very early.
    I live in Tasmania and last month of summer now. Temp in hothouse 10 degrees hotter than outside, usually 22 degrees. I water nearly every day as they dry out quickly. Pots about 400 mm across.
    Any ideas ?

  15. Hi, I just wanted to ask you about the possible reason why my pepper seedlings were stunted last growing season. I don´t think any of the reasons you listed in this article necessary apply to my case. I think the culprit was that seedlings started blooming prematurely – plants were not large/strong enough. I tried removing the buds but even with just 15 seedlings it was futile. When I planted them outdoors I gave up on the effort which resulted in tiny plants having very early fruits but very stunted growth which resulted overall in very low yield. They somehow recovered at the end of the season but that was obviously too late.
    Could this be caused by using full spectrum LED lights where the red light is prevalent over blue light – which could theoretically cause premature blooming phase?
    Appreciate your insight.

    1. Pre-mature blooming is almost always from late transplanting. I doubt your light had much to do with it, but instead when you move the seedlings into larger pots. I would try to time things right this year by not planting as early as last year and moving the plants when they say they’re ready! If that means moving them into a large pot while they’re still indoors, then do that. The goal is to align the move outside with them outgrowing their smaller pots inside.

  16. Hi, Calvin! During the summer of 2021, I planted a lot of different pepper varieties and they did well. I used the same seeds in 2022, and some of my peppers didn’t even reach one foot. Few of them were as robust as they were the year before. I did not have any major pest problems. I square foot garden, so they were in the same spot but with lots of soil turnover and rejuvenation. I do pay attention to companion planting. I stored the seeds in a wood seed box on on a shelf, not in a fridge, but I figured that if I could get them to germinate (which they did, beautifully), the resulting plants would be healthy. Did seed age make the plants give such a poor showing, or was it more likely a problem with my watering or fertilization or something?

  17. My hit banana peppers are not reaching size before ripening. Some reaching 1.5in before turning red. They are potted and in full sun. What might I be lacking.
    Buffalo ,NY and actually been good sunny summer.

    1. I would guess it has to do with nutrients if the plant has had plenty of sunlight. That, or the pot size is too small. Without enough root mass, the plants will sometimes make smaller pods. It could also just be the early pods of the plant (sometimes the first 1-2 fruits are tiny while the plant is still growing up)

  18. So i have a few peppers inside of a grow tent with a spider farmer sf4000. I also have a few on my window. Ive noticed the plants growing in the tent have much tighter node spacing and have yet to put out any flowers, while the ones in the window are growing pretty tall and have put out flowers and even fruits. They were all purchased at the same time, only difference is the plants in the tent are in 5gallon fabric pots and the ones on the window are in 1 gallon nursery pots. Is there any reason why the plants in the tent are seemingly not doing as well?
    They are all cherry bomb and carolina reapers. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  19. Habenaero’s are tough growing for me. low yield if at all. Right now I ahve a plant thats been repotted and is still the same size from two weeks ago. When I report it though I see a large sqaure chunk of the root ball still in the shape of the original pot. I can only presume the roots are just jammed up. Am going to try unpotting and crunking that soil/root clump to see whats going on in there.

  20. I have pepper plants in a raised bed with plenty of room. New nutrients dense soil. Northern Californi in a sunny hot climate.
    They havnt grown since I bought small plants about 6″ tall at Home Depot a month ago. They flowered & grew fruit right away but the plants have not grown. I can see no pests, the leaves look good I have shavings over the soil, I do not over water. All I can think of is I will try fertilizing. Any other comments or tips are appreciated.

    1. Usually, storebought plants will be on the brink of flowering. It is best to remove the flower buds/tiny peppers straight away before transplanting to encourage root development and foliage growth. The plants are also often root bound, so it is a good idea to loosen the root ball, or in extreme cases cut off the bottom 1/2″ of the root ball to re-stimulate growth outwards.

    2. @Renee, I’m Nor-Cal too; my plants are in quality loose soil with nutrients, in beds, pots, bags, ground — purchased a little over a month ago, healthy, at a reputable garden center. I keep them evenly moist, good drainage, occasional dry-out — everything by the book. They get constant sun and overnight warmth in a protected corner. And yet — spindly, spare, lackluster… Tomatoes are doing this too. Yet no bugs or scale… My only thought has been the wind — constant since April, and occasionally with temperature swings.

      1. Hm, I wonder if the plants were root-bound, or if your soil’s pH is off the mark at all. After a month, you should definitely start seeing the plants turn around from any transplant shock.

    3. @peppergeek, if I did not pick off the flowers and the fruit early on in the plants growth. And I believe that is the culprit for the stunted plants is there any way that I can reverse that now. Can I remove the flowers and the fruit and the plant will grow taller and have more output?

      1. It should, if you have a small plant with fruits growing, it is likely going to focus on those fruits and avoid growing more foliage. I’d also make sure the plants have plenty of nutrient-rich soil to grow in to get larger

  21. Hi, Andy. I stumbled upon this site and found lots of useful information! 🙂 We just started a pepperoncini plant (about 5 inches high) in a pot on the deck and it has not grown at all in a week. It has not died either, so that is a bonus, I guess! We planted it in quality potting soil, water frequently, and use the water from boiled banana peels as well. My husband read that somewhere! Any suggestions? We have grown jalapenos in the past with awesome results and the red peppers and squash that are on the deck in other pots today are thriving (same soil, same sunlight, same watering, etc.) Thanks very much.

  22. Hi – I’ve over wintered a chilli plant (superhot) and now re potted to a new pot and compost ,the plant looked healthy and had new growth in all the nodes – it’s now only producing very small leaves only the size of a finger nail -much smaller than the original size leaves and no new branches – it’s now been like this for weeks with no new growth – it’s looking quite bare – I’m not sure what is causing this- other plants are growing as they should be –
    Any suggestions would be welcome – the soil make up is compost , worm castings , perlite , handful bone meal slow release fertiliser and some chicken pellet fertiliser mixed in – I’ve used this soil make up for years –
    Any help would be greatly appreciated-

  23. I have 14 pepper plants of various varieties but I am running into the same issue with basically all of them. They are the same size or maybe 1 set of leaves taller than when I put them in the ground nearly a month ago. It is a brand new raised bed, fully organic, filled with 6″ of compost, 3″ of composted horse manure and sand, and 3″ of additional compost. in addition to that there are about 6 dead fish (bluegill) buried in the soil under them. i have given them an additional shot of blood meal and fish emulsion but to no avail. They get a full 8hrs of sun/day and a water them well every 2-3 days give or take. the soil is loose and airy, they are mulched well with straw, but they are just not growing well. Some of them have some light yellowing on the leaves. The only exception to this is my over wintered habanero that is planted in the same area and has just set about 10-12 fruits.

    I’m at a loss…

  24. I have jalapeno, bell and poblano peppers growing. Soil is acidic, sandy, and all three have thrived the past three years. I haven’t done a single thing differently this year, but the japs and bells are only about six inches tall, to the poblano’s 15 inches, all planted the same weekend. Also, the japs and bells leaves are so huge they’re nearly touching the ground (about a third of the leaves on each plant).
    It is possible I’m overwatering – I can’t stand to see them droop in the afternoons on days I don’t water them.
    We did have 2 or 3 cold snaps about a week after I planted them (Easter weekend). If it’s cold stunting, will they outgrow it now that it’s unlikely to get cold at night anymore?
    Any guidance appreciated!

    1. If the cold weather passes, the plants should bounce back soon and start growing again. As long as the roots were protected, they shouldn’t have too much trouble recovering.

  25. First time grower here of ghost peppers. Plant is about 2 ft tall, looks healthy, watered by drip irrigation for 2 minute intervals every several hours , has tons of fruit bulbs that aren’t getting any bigger and I have no clue why. I’ve had the plant for about a month and have not fertilized it yet, pH level is about 6.5.

    1. I might suggest a light feeding. If the fruits are full-sized, then they are probably just in-between and will eventually ripen at that size. Otherwise, feed on a regular schedule to encourage lots of full-sized fruits.

  26. I live on the west side of the mountains in Washington State. Is it better to grow peppers in a greenhouse in 5 8 gallon buckets or out in the garden?

  27. My pepper plants are not growing much. I think it’s due to planting them outside too soon. Cold soil. Very slow growth. Do I toss them and start new? Or, can I save them? How can I save them?

  28. How do you know if you should just start your pepper seeds over? Also what does it mean if your pepper plant leaves turned black? They’re not crispy or moldy, but they just turned black. I feel like I should just start over since the plants are so small but have been growing for 8 weeks. My pepper seedlings are Santaka peppers.

    1. Hmm, how small are they? Still tiny like freshly-sprouted seedlings? Some leaves will turn dark from light exposure, a natural reaction. I would at least try to identify what went wrong before just starting over. Try to hatch a new plan (watering less, fertilizing earlier, different soil, etc.) before just scrapping them!

  29. My pepper plants have confused me for sure. They started producing and then all growth stopped where it was. After a little research I think possibly I was overwatering them. I didn’t give up and it took months but all of a sudden they all started growing again beautifully, producing a ton. Now suddenly I’m right back to everything completely stuck. Whatever peppers on the plant have stopped at whatever stage/size it is at and the plant itself has stopped growing in height and isn’t producing anything more.

  30. I have the opposite problem.
    I’ve two Mad Hatter pepper plants- one of my favorite varieties- planted in my keyhole garden, right next to the compost bin. It’s only my second year doing this, and the plants are ENORMOUS! Ordinarily, I wouldn’t complain, except they are overshadowing everything else in the 6’x6′ bed! The spread is probably 6′ x 4′ & 4′ high
    They’re amazingly healthy & absolutely LOADED with fruit! Great! But I also want my other peppers!
    It’s so hard to prune.
    Should I do a hard cut back?

    Is this typical for a keyhole garden? Should I just plan in the future to have only a few plants there?
    Thanks in advance

    1. Hey – so Keyhole gardens were designed for smaller root system crops – lettuce, herbs, kale, bok choy, carrots, beets, onions, etc. Pepper roots will typically take over and dominate in these types of gardens, we better to plant them in a separate bed or in pots and save the keyhole for leafy veggies..but nothing wrong with letting your huge mad hatter produce for this year and enjoying it!

  31. Hi, I have just started trying to grow chilli peppers and know that I am a little late in the season (Scotland) so I bought a plant which has now started to flower. I noticed that at each node the junction is turning black and reaches half an inch or so up each stalk at the juntion. I thought this a fungal infection then noticed the same on a plants in a few youtube videos including your latest on flower drop. Can you please tell me what this is and whether it is something to be concerned about?


    1. Hi John, the darkening at nodes is completely normal for many varieties. As long as your plant looks otherwise healthy, assume this is normal.

  32. I have Anaheim chili and jalapeño plants that are mostly long tall stems, and leaves, not a bushy filled out plant, I planted them mid March, I’m in a hot desert of California,I definitely water them regularly and fertilizer..why aren’t they becoming bigger bushier and producing peppers?..they’re all in HUGE pots

  33. I’m switching to 5 gallon buckets next year. Tired of soil compaction and messing around with composting. What do you think about half potting and half store bought garden soil mixture ?

  34. Hi, I have a question regarding some peppers I planted. I started gardening a few months ago and planted a bunch of plants (tomatoes, lettuce, basil and peppers). I started with some red bell peppers and followed a few weeks later with some cayenne peppers and some sweet peppers from the store (they looked like pointier medium-sized bell peppers with yellow, orange and red colours, sweet definitely not spicy).

    Pretty much all seeds germinated from all kinds by now so yay (about 6 of each kind), but I’m noticing that the cayenne peppers and the sweet unknown peppers have actually caught up and even passed the bell peppers in size, even though they were planted a few weeks later.

    They have all been grown in the same conditions: Inside in the same spot, in rotation under the same grow lights since it was cold outside, all still look like small seedlings with most of them getting their first true leafs now (so all are still very small). The last few days have been sunnier and in order to get the tomatoes out (cause they were taking over the kitchen), I also let all the peppers out, under shade from the seedling tomato leafs (who are growing quite nicely) and let them all in full sun for 20 minutes the first day, 45 the next and now we’re doing pretty much a full day in the sun and the evening under grow lights inside. I put them out thinking maybe they just want more light (their leafs are pointing up, but they’re not leggy)

    Some plants have complained some days since not all liked this change, so I’ve been babying those and leaving the yellow cherry tomatoes in partial shade since only they burned a bit (they’re doing fine now), as well as a single red cherry tomato who still refuses to stay in full sun with its siblings, which I have convinced to finally accept the sun through a shaded straw fence. Every plant has its preferences I guess =). But the bell peppers have not shown any of the “too much sun” signs like the other plants, also no burns so I don’t know what’s wrong

    All the pepper plants seem perfectly fine with full sun and are not complaining (and it’s much better/more light than I can give them with my lamp), but I’m confused about the bell peppers. They look ok, but there’s something wrong I can’t quite figure out since they don’t seem to be benefitting as much as the others from the sun (and the difference is getting bigger each day and I don’t want them to get stunted). They still all have their leafs pointed up (unlike the other peppers) and I thought maybe not enough light. They’re not leggy, just the leafs pointing up. So I’ve tried leaving 3 under grow lights only and the other 3 outside with the others (partially shaded by tomatoes for the transition) to figure out what they want, but all 6 look identical. They also seem a lighter colour of green compared to the others now (not yellow/white or burned, just less coloured), but they’re different species so I’m not sure. I though that maybe they wanted more or less light, tried both but nothing.

    I’ve been scared to give them fertiliser too soon, so I was waiting for the first set of leafs to come in, but maybe they need more nutrients? They have all been germinated in potting soil for vegetables, so there should technically be some nutrients there.

    Would any of you have an idea of what could be happening here? I’ve tried to figure out what’s wrong myself but haven’t really found anything useful that seems to apply =/

    Thank you in advance

    1. Did you ever figure it out? My peppers haven’t gotten much bigger than a few inches tall. They look healthy, but just not growing.

  35. Ok, here’s the deal… A week or two ago, we had a nasty hail storm. All my plants are in 7 gal or larger pots . They had at least an inch or two of hail stones in them after the storm. I went out the same night and shoveled out the hail. Most of my other plants have recovered and are trying to flourish with our typical fertilization practices.
    I was wondering if there may be in need of say, Epsom salts, or H2O2 (peroxide) to give em a booster?

    1. I would just allow the plants to recover from any damage from the storm. If the main stem was not damaged, and the temperatures didn’t go down below 32°F, you should see the plants recover over time. Hail can be super damaging, especially to younger pepper plants…good luck.

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