Pepper Leaves Turning White: Treating Peppers With Powdery Mildew
By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer
Pepper leaves turning white is an indication of powdery mildew, a common fungal disease that can afflict nearly every kind of plant under the sun. Powdery mildew on pepper plants can be severe during the warm days of summer, and can significantly affect quality and yield at harvest time. What can you do about that nasty white powder on pepper leaves (or sometimes brownish-yellow)? Read on for helpful information.
What Causes Powdery Mildew on Pepper Plants?
Powdery mildew on pepper plants spreads primarily by wind, but also by splashing water. The disease is also transmitted by humans, and sometimes by insects such as aphids, thrips and whiteflies.
Certain weather conditions favor the disease, particularly weather fluctuations such as warm, dry days followed by cool, moist nights. Plant crowding is also a contributing factor, as is excessive use of high-nitrogen fertilizer.
Mature plants are most susceptible to pepper powdery mildew.
What to Do About Peppers with Powdery Mildew
Treating pepper powdery mildew in the garden is certainly possible, although prevention is even better.
Monitor plants closely, especially the undersides of leaves. Fungicides may provide some level of control, but only when applied as soon as the disease appears, or even before symptoms are visible. Complete coverage is critical, and repeat applications are usually required.
Avoid conditions that promote wet foliage, including shade and overcrowding. Plant peppers in full sunlight and allow plenty of space between plants. Also, keep weeds under control, as weeds can foster disease pathogens.
Water at the base of the plant and avoid overhead sprinklers whenever possible. Irrigate early in the day to allow time for the leaves to dry completely before evening. Avoid high-nitrogen fertilizers, which make plants more susceptible to infection.
Home remedies for powdery mildew on pepper plants are sometimes employed as well, especially in organic gardens. It is usually recommended to alternate these remedies, however, for them to be most effective.
Some research suggests that milk may be as effective as chemical fungicides. Fill your sprayer with a solution of 1 part milk to nine parts water.
In some cases, baking soda is effective against powdery mildew, especially when mixed with horticultural oil. Fill a one-gallon (3.78 l.)sprayer with water, then add a tablespoon (15 mL.) of baking soda and 2 ½ tablespoons (37.5 mL.) of horticultural oil.
Try a garlic extract consisting of two entire garlic bulbs blended with a few drops of liquid dish soap. Strain the mixture through cheesecloth and store it in the refrigerator. Combine the mixture in a sprayer at a rate of one part garlic extract and ten parts water.
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How to Get Rid of Powdery Mildew on Plants
Last Updated: August 19, 2020 References Approved
This article was co-authored by Artemisia Nursery. Artemisia Nursery is a retail plant nursery in Northeast Los Angeles specializing in California native plants. Artemisia Nursery is a worker-owned small business with plans to become a worker-owned cooperative. In addition to California native plants, Artemisia Nursery offers a selection of succulents, heirloom veggie and herb starts, house plants, pottery, and gardening tools and supplies. Drawing on the knowledge of the founders, Artemisia Nursery also offers consultations, designs, and installations.
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Powdery mildew is a fungus that looks like flour dusted on plants, often in circular spots. It most commonly appears on leaves, but can also attack stems, flowers, and fruit. Infected leaves can twist, break, turn yellow, and dry out. To get rid of powdery mildew, you’ll need a fungicidal spray. Fortunately, organic fungicidal sprays are easy to make at home. You’ll also want to take other precautions at preventing powdery mildew from occurring in the first place.
Fresh peppers ready to eat!
You now have a solid foundation of knowledge to control, manage, and eradicate pepper pests.
The majority of pest problems are pretty easy to get rid of completely.
But some garden pests, like aphids, will require some more effort on your part. Be persistent and patient and eventually you’ll enjoy a pest-free chili, bell pepper, or tasty ghost pepper so you can do your ghost pepper challenge in peace.
Pepper plants are naturally hardy to some of the most extreme conditions.
So just a few pests here and there won’t do much harm.
For severe infestations, practice the DIY home remedies for pepper pests outlined in this guide and see what works to save your plants.
Were you able to get rid of the bugs?
Do you have any questions about a specific pest problem? Or if you found this page helpful, please let me know as well!
Please consider telling a fellow chili head so they can get some value out of it.
Thanks for reading. And happy chili growing.
Currently an active researcher in the pest control industry for the past 8 years- with a focus on using natural and organic methods to eliminate pest problems.
I share handy DIY pest techniques I come across here to help out others (and possibly save them from a mental breakdown).