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Pepper plants wilting all of a sudden

Posted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 10:13 am
by applestar
Recently I lost two of my pepper plants when they were loaded with green fruits. :(

One was a Peppadew in a windowbox and the other was a jalapeño in a 3 gal container. I think they did miss a watering and the soil got very dry. There WAS a heavy rain recently too.

All I know is that they seemed fine the last time I looked at them, then all of a sudden all the leaves had wilted except for the youngest branch (also with fruit) and then that one wilted as well over the next couple of days.

Another one in the ground did the same thing, but this one might be different scenario:

As you know. I have been overwintering many of my pepper plants. So I do have C. annuum species that are more than a year old.

The plant grown from seeds I got in trade and was labeled Etkezi Paprika (Looking on-line I could only find references to Etkezesi Paprika and that could simply mean Hungarian Pepper) is in it's 2nd year, and it fruited tiny little fruits twice over the winter. It shot up in growth this year in the ground and cropped pretty heavily, then when the very last fruit blushed, the entire plant wilted.

The jalapeño and Peppadew above were first year plants intended to replace the older ones and the fruits were still green and hard (well the jalapeño had a couple of red fruits but was loaded with still tiny 1/2"-1" greenies.

Any thoughts on what happened? Usually peppers in my garden produce until frost and die, or I harvest the mature fruits and dig them up with minimal rootball, keep them in the garage to harvest the green ones as they ripen, and then prune down to sticks to overwinter. Occasionally the uprooted plants wilt and die when the garage temp hits freezing mark or due to neglect, but I figure that's normal and prune and see if they make it. Some of the potted hots loaded with fruits matured the fruits indoors but didn't make it over the winter (Trinidad Perfume off type, de Arbol) but I thought that was just from winter indoor stress.

So I don't know what to make of these that wilted. Would any of them recover if I prune them down to sticks? First frost is a month away. If they are not in good health, I don't think they will make it over the winter, but if all they need is a rest period, then being in the slowly cooling garage until deep freeze (around December when the unheated garage temp can start dropping below mid-20's) might be sufficient.

Re: Pepper plants wilting all of a sudden

Posted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 9:22 pm
by valley
Hi applestar, Re: Wilting peppers, I've had pepper plants wilt from missing water, not completely dry, when I watered them they seem to come back without a problem. What I've found, if they lose leaves from too much water they lose the leaves from the top of the plant, if they lose leaves from not enough water they loose from the bottom of the plant.
Never had an adult plant die,,if they're dead, I'd have a look at the roots.

Could a dog have watered the plant? I had a grape die, in a pot, later I saw the dog watering it for me.


Re: Pepper plants wilting all of a sudden

Posted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 12:34 am
by imafan26
When I have sudden death of peppers especially in summer it is usually from phythoptora root rot. The peppers will be fine and suddenly in a week they wilt and die. There are several places in the herb garden that has this problem and it is because of poor soil drainage. The soil does not drain but if it is kept watered the phythoptora stays under control. When it is summer and there is less rain, the water becomes stagnant and the phythoptora blooms with the heat. I found out in those spots I cannot plant anything with roots that go deeper than 8 inches.

I just had a Bhut Jolokia do the same thing. It suddenly wilted after I missed watering by a day and a half. It is in a pot. It did not come back. It still has leaves it is just not rehydrating. I must admit the Bhut Jolokia and Trinidad scorpions are the fussiest of my peppers and I still haven't figured them out yet. They do not behave like other peppers. I do have some pods and I have more than one ghost, so I will have seeds to try again. Most of my other peppers especially the tabasco can go a couple of days before they wilt and come back faster.

Re: Pepper plants wilting all of a sudden

Posted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 1:46 am
by applestar
Thanks Richard, imafan. :D
There's always something new to confound us. But it helps to hear about other peoples experiences.

Re: Pepper plants wilting all of a sudden

Posted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 4:02 pm
by imafan26
My Bhut Jolokia that had been wilted for four days finally decided to wake up at least for now.

Re: Pepper plants wilting all of a sudden

Posted: Sat Oct 18, 2014 9:08 am
by keal
I have a Jalapeno plant in a big plastic pot, and it's outdoors in full sun with little rain right now. I water it daily, and didn't notice that it had about 10 peppers on it. When I did, about half were red, the rest were green. I cut them off with shears to use for dinner, and after that, the plant has been wilting for days, and I just noticed a while mildew forming on the leaves. I wiped them off (kind of crudely with my fingers) and now we have a tropical storm hitting us this weekend, so I moved to pot under my house. I watered it the night before, and it looked a little livelier when I moved it. The soil seems moist and well-drained, so I'm hoping it stays happy during the storm. Perhaps I overwatered when the weather was getting humid? I have a feeling it'll be okay. Watering and keeping off the white mildew must be the keys. The peppers were delicious!