An overwatered pepper plant can be identified by its wilted leaves, stunted growth, yellow leaves, drooping, curled leaves, and root rot.
Most growers fail to produce quality pepper fruits because of overwatering. Pepper varieties like the Chile pepper, which is native to warm Mexican climates, are very susceptible to soggy soil.
If your pepper plants are exhibiting any of the above-stated overwatering symptoms, follow the guidelines that are presented in this article to get your plants back to their healthy state.
- What Factors Cause Pepper Plants To Be Overwatered?
- How To Revive an Overwatered Pepper?
What Factors Cause Pepper Plants To Be Overwatered?
The factors that cause pepper plants to be overwatered include incorrect soils, too much watering, slow-draining containers, and changes in weather conditions. Pepper plants respond accordingly to the amount of water that is applied to them, so the output will be affected by how much water they get.
If you are growing hot peppers and you find their heat level too low, you are probably overwatering the plant.
– Incorrect Soil
Pepper plants flourish when they are grown on a well-drained type of soil. Their roots are very sensitive to their surroundings, with damp soils being the worst enemy.
You should avoid using heavy or compacted soils because they hold water within the system for a lengthy period of time. When oxygen circulation is excellent, the roots remain healthy and will be capable of supplying the whole pepper plant with adequate water and nutrients.
Clay and fine sand are not good for pepper cultivation as they easily get compacted. These soils create the ideal breeding conditions for rot-causing fungi, which ultimately poses danger to the pepper plant.
If you want to grow pepper plants in pots, you should use potting soil that is very rich in organic matter. Avoid using ordinary garden soil because it easily gets compacted when watered.
– Too Much Watering
Despite having your pepper plants growing on well-drained and well-aerated soil, watering them too frequently leads to the deterioration of the plant’s overall health.
If the soil is not given adequate time to lose moisture before being watered again, the airways will be constantly saturated, and this scenario leaves the roots stressed. Remember that it takes a good number of healthy roots to support a pepper plant’s production of healthy foliage and fruits.
Once the pepper plant’s roots are suffocated for a long time, they will begin to rot. The inability of dying roots to take up enough supplements for the plant’s upkeep leads to malnutrition.
It is at this point that you begin to notice the plant’s leaves yellowing up, wilting, and drooping. Too much water also negatively affects the heat of pepper fruits.
Pepper plants produce capsaicin, which makes their fruits hot and flavorful. Capsaicin production is high in pepper plants that are well-watered.
Too frequent irrigation washes out the nutrients from the potting soil, thereby leading to calcium deficiency which causes yellow leaves. We, therefore, recommend watering pepper plants after the soil is dry and when the leaves wilt a bit.
– Slow-Draining Containers
Pepper plants perform best when they are grown in well-drained containers. If the container has few or no drainage holes, the plant will not make it as it will ultimately succumb to overwatering.
Slow-draining pots affect your pepper plant’s performance in the same way that water-holding soils do. The water that you apply to the soil will not drain out but will stay pot-bound, thereby causing the roots to sit in soggy conditions for a long time.
You will start seeing dying leaves and fruits on the pepper plant in a short space of time. The leaves will also wilt because the root system will be dead and cannot absorb adequate water for the upkeep of the entire plant.
Potted pepper plants are more vulnerable to the risk of being overwatered compared to those that are planted directly on the ground because fine soil and debris can close in and block the drainage holes of the pot.
You should therefore conduct regular inspections on the pot and if you come across blocked holes, use any available suitable utensil to force them open.
During the cold season, if your plant’s pot is taking more than two to three days to get the soil dry enough for irrigation, consider drilling more holes or changing the pot.
– Changes in Weather Conditions
Although pepper plants love warm weather, they can also be grown in cold climates. You just have to give this plant the pleasant conditions that help its roots to remain healthy.
During spring and summer, the pepper plant develops actively and needs more water to support itself. As the weather changes in winter, plant growth stunts and this ultimately scales down the need for irrigation.
If you water pepper plants using the same frequency throughout the year, overwatering will result, especially during the cold season.
Temperatures and sunlight are at their peak during summer and this raises the rate of moisture loss from the soil. This situation calls for frequent replenishment to prevent starving the plants.
During cold spells, evapotranspiration falls and if this situation is not put into consideration, you risk overwatering your pepper plants.
How To Revive an Overwatered Pepper?
To revive an overwatered pepper plant, you should change the watering frequency, move the plant to a more appropriate spot, prune the affected roots and leaves, replant the pepper plant, and make sure it gets the correct growing environment for it to be healthy.
Under normal circumstances, pepper varieties like the bell pepper produce between six to eight fruits but in overwatered circumstances, the yield falls.
However, you should not worry much if your plants are exhibiting overwatering symptoms because there is a probability that you can save them.
Watering pepper plants correctly throughout the year prepares them for the flowering season, which in turn increases yield. You should therefore take prompt action to save an overwatered plant before its flowering period commences.
– Change the Watering Technique
As soon as you notice leaf yellowing starting to take place, reducing the watering frequency can be helpful. Pepper plants first yellow up their leaves before wilting joins in.
Wilting is a sign that the roots are now failing to supply the plant with adequate water to keep it thriving. You should let the soil dry up until you see the leaves starting to wilt a bit before applying another dose of water.
Letting the soil dry keeps its airways open and this supports free oxygen circulation around the roots. Also, if the soil of your plant is allowed to occasionally dry up, the development and breeding of fungi that cause rot are discouraged.
Cutting back on irrigation works very well when the soil is regularly loosened up to reduce compaction. More airways will be created, thereby allowing the roots to spread freely, grow healthy, and increase water and nutrient absorption.
You should be mindful of the environmental conditions in which you are cultivating your pepper plants as they play a great part in watering frequency considerations. The watering schedule that you were following during the hot season should not be adhered to during winter.
If you cultivate your peppers on well-drained soil in summer, it may take only 24 hours for the potting soil to dry up, whereas at least two to three days should pass by before watering during winter. If your plants are mildly affected, you should expect to see the plant looking lively just by scaling back on watering.
– Transition the Pepper Plant to a Low-Light Spot
Moving a recovering overwatered pepper plant to a low-evaporation spot surely sounds like a bad idea. Keep in mind that water-saturated pepper plants become stressed and quick water loss from their system can also damage them even further.
Remember your motive here is to help a dying pepper plant to recover so you should remove it from yet another potentially stressful condition.
Moving the plant to a low-evaporation spot does not completely hamper water loss. It only reduces it while reducing the danger of endangering the plant.
We do not recommend that you place the recovering pepper plant on aspot with direct sunlight before it re-establishes itself because the wilted and yellowed leaves will get stressed further.
Bear in mind that too much sunlight is as detrimental to the recovering plant’s foliage and fruits as much as overwatering is, so do everything possible to avoid it.
– Prune Bad Leaves and Roots Off
It is easier to inspect, trim, and replant a potted pepper plant compared to the ones grown directly in the ground. You simply have to turn over the container and tap its base while shaking it gently.
If the plant is already in its flowering period, try to be more careful so that it does not lose the blooms. Clean the roots using distilled water and make sure no previously used potting soil particles are left attached to them.
Closely inspect the roots and if you see any of them appearing mushy and black, you should use a sharp knife or scissors that are dipped in rubbing alcohol for disinfection. Ensure that the cut root pieces are well-disposed of.
Pathogens like the Phytophthora ssp. survive in dead plant matter for a long time and can invade nearby plants. You should apply a fungicidal solution on the remaining roots before replanting the pepper plant.
Overwatering pepper plants cause them to become susceptible to diseases and pest attacks so you should prune all affected foliage.
Yellow and drying up pepper plant leaves should also be cut off so that new ones can grow in their place. Additionally, if you find the root system extremely saturated with moisture, wait for at least three to five hours before replanting so that it dries up.
– Replant the Pepper Plant
Most pepper varieties thrive in loamy, sandy soils. This type of soil consists of large parts of silt and sand, with a small percentage of clay included.
An addition of any amount of compost and organic matter will put a finishing touch on the soil. Also, find a pot with many drainage holes and get a tray to capture the released water.
Fill the pot with soil and create a wide hole in the middle to accommodate the pepper plant’s root system. Place the plant in the hole and make sure that the entire root system is submerged.
Fill in the gaps with the leftover potting soil and ensure that the plant stands firmly upright. You should leave a gap of at least one or two inches between the topsoil and the upper end of the pot to aid in deep watering.
Deeply water pepper plants until water begins to drip out through the holes. Do not water the soil again before the soil has dried up.
One effective and accurate method to know if the soil is dry enough for irrigation is using a moisture meter. When grown outdoors, consider planting the pepper plants on a mound where drainage is excellent. Flat ground drains poorly and it is very bad for these dry soil-loving plants.
– Transition the Plant to a High Light Place
When growing peppers in pots, you should slowly transition the plants to direct sunlight. This process should be done only when the pepper plant has started showing signs of new growth and recovery.
You should begin by exposing the plant to a few hours of early morning sun and move it back to a shaded spot. Give it more hours of exposure to sunlight the following day and keep on adding more time as the days go by.
Within a few days, your plant will be fully accustomed to high sunlight conditions that are more favorable for pepper plant development.
With the right supplements, you should see your plant’s leaves reverting to their natural green color. High sunlight is vital for flowering and leads to healthy pepper fruit production.
– Expose the Pepper Plant to Its Care Requirements
Please note that watering pepper plants at night is bad as it encourages diseases. The only time that you can risk watering at night is when you notice that the plant has wilted excessively.
Make sure that your recovering pepper plants have access to at least six to eight hours of sunlight daily. Once the root system is fully established, you should use a continuous-release fertilizer that has low nitrogen content to enhance productivity.
Although peppers tolerate slightly alkaline soil with a pH of around 7.5, you should keep it between 6.2 and 7.0 to achieve the best out of the plant. Pepper plants thrive in optimum relative humidity that ranges between 50 and 60 percent.
High humidity promotes pest and disease infestation, which reduces the plant’s yield and lifespan. When grown indoors, using a humidifier is the best option to keep relative humidity at desired levels.
Try not to let the temperatures around your peppers fall below 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 15 degrees Celsius). Also, if temperatures rise above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius) during the day, the leaves become stressed, and the blooms start to fall off.
Night temperatures that are above 75 degrees Fahrenheit (23 degrees Celsius) also do not support the well-being of a recovering pepper plant. Once you provide all the care needs accordingly, you will have your beloved pepper plant’s productivity back in no time.
Considering that pepper plants are mainly grown for their spicy-flavored fruits, neglecting them significantly reduces the expected yield.
To avoid this, implement the tips that have been provided in this overwatered pepper guide, and some of the important highlights are outlined here:
- Pepper plants’ leaves turn yellow and then wilt if their stay in soggy conditions is prolonged.
- Hot pepper fruits tend to lose their heat if they are continuously overwatered.
- If an overwatered pepper plant fails to respond positively to less watering, you need to uproot it and inspect its roots for rot.
- Once replanted, water the pepper plant thoroughly until water drips out through the pot’s holes.
Overwatering pepper plants reduces their flowering chances, and the quality of the fruit rapidly deteriorates. The good news is that, if you implement the nuggets in this guide, you will have your plants back to their usual productivity in no time!
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