Chilli Plant Diseases

Chilli plant diseases are less common but often far more dangerous to plants than other problems detailed on the site.
Identify the problem with the guide below and find some tips on how to cure or when best to remove and destroy plants to prevent further infections. Checkout our Health Care Plan to try and prevent problems starting.
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  • Anthracnose

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    A serious fungal infection, with a ridiculous name which has significant impact on the size and quality of fruit and yield. There are some 16 strains of Anthracnose to affect peppers, most of which are most likely to appear in tropical climates but do appear in temperate conditions too.


    1. Circular legions appear on chilli pods, sunken areas with black patches. Legions grow over time.

    2. Fruit eventually rots.

    3. Irregular brown spots with dark brown halos can appear on leaves and stems.
    1. Circular legions appear on chilli pods, sunken areas with black patches. Legions grow over time.

    2. Fruit eventually rots.

    3. Irregular brown spots with dark brown halos can appear on leaves and stems.


    There is no current cure for Anthracnose but there are a number of measures that can be taken to prevent infection.

    1. Anthracnose, like many fungal infections, favors damp conditions so make sure chillies are planted in well-drained compost and not overwatered.

    2. Copper fungicide may slow the spread of Anthracnose.

    3. Infected soil can harbor Anthracnose for several years so if planting straight into the ground, rotate crops to avoid new infection.

  • grey mould

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    Grey Mould is the more common name for the fungal infection Botrytis cinerea. The spores for Grey Mould are always in the air but it generally only attacks plants when under stress or through wounds in the stem. It can sometimes enter the plant but have no visible signs until the fruit starts to ripen and turns to a brown mush.


    1. Fuzzy, grey, mould growths on any part of the chilli plant including stems, leaves, buds, flowers or fruit. This can be in spots or across the whole plant.

    2. Look out for tiny black seed-like structures in the infected part of the chilli plant.

    3. Chilli pods can go soft and brown instead of ripening.

    4. In severe infections, buds and flowers and indeed the whole plant can quickly shrivel and die.


    There are no fungicides on the general market approved for Grey Mould. In fact the only thing to do with a plant with grey mould is to remove it from the greenhouse to stop the spread of the infection. Prevention is the only real way to deal with Grey Mould and this is all about humidity and hygiene.

    1. Remove dead and dying leaves, buds and flowers from your chillies immediately and do not leave dead plant material lying around.

    2. Grey Mould favours human conditions, so keep chilli greenhouses well ventilated and plants well spaced.

    3. Do not overwater chilli plants or leave water in greenhouses.

  • damping off

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    A soil born disease that causes seed rot and/or newly emergent seedlings to collapse and die. Pathogens or fungi in the soil, which are mobile in damp conditions, cause Damping Off.


    1. Seeds fail to germinate. If you carefully dig down into the soil, you will find seeds that have become soft and mushy which will start to disintegrate.

    2. Emergent seedlings are attacked at the root and stem at the soil line. Stem became soft, waterlogged and thin, generally disintegrating.


    Prevention is better than cure as emergent seedling have little resilience to disease or other problems. A tray of seedlings can suffer Damping Off at one end but avoid infection at the other.

    1. Use high quality seed stock to prevent the introduction of bacterial problems from seed.

    2. As the name suggests, Water Moulds are prevalent in damp conditions. So keep soil damp but not wet and remove any obvious cases of 3.Keep your seedlings well ventilated.

    4. A mild fungicide, such as a copper based formula or even Chamomile Tea can prevent the problem spreading.

  • Chilli Wilt

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    Caused by a fungi-like organism called a Water Mould, which is closely related to Potato Blight. The disease causes Leaf Blight, Fruit and Root Rot, all of which are serious or terminal problems.


    1. Brown or black patches concentrated on the infected part of the plant, often displaying a halo of white moulds.

    2. Fruits will quickly soften and dissolve into a watery mass.

    3. Entire plant suddenly wilts and dies, leaving brown stems.


    1. Blight thrives in warm, wet conditions so avoid overwatering, keep greenhouse well ventilated and plants well spaced. Remove infected plants as quickly as possible.

    2. Fungicidal treatments are available to control the spread of Leaf Blight, but once the infection is in the root system, the plant cannot be rescued.

  • pepper mosaic virus

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    Spread by aphids and whitefly, this virus is injected straight into the leaves and stems of chilli plants. Not to be confused with a similar Mosaic Virus, Tobacco Mosaic Virus, transmitted when smokers handle plants without first disinfecting their hands. This causes leaf curl along with mottling.


    1. Alternate patches of green and yellow in a mosaic pattern on leaves.

    2. Distorted and curled leaves

    3. Plant growth greatly slowed.

    4. Stunted pod growth and very poor yield.


    There is no known cure for this virus. Preventative measures include,

    1. Plant pepper varieties that are more resistant to Mosaic Virus.

    2. Deter aphids and deal with any infestation quickly.

  • Bacterial Soft Rot

    This bacterial infection affects chilli pods in a quite dramatic fashion. Bacteria splashed from the ground onto pods causing them to rot from the inside out. As a result, Soft Rot mainly occurs in instances of wet weather although insect pests can also introduce the disease.


    1. Soft pods become waterlogged and eventually dissolve.

    2. Pods produce a foul smell as they rot.


    1. Raising plants off the ground onto staging or similar.

    2. Reducing risk of insect pests or keeping control of their numbers.

  • bacterial leafspot

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    This is a serious bacterial disease, spread by the bacteria Xanthomonas campestris pv vesicatoria. The disease cannot survive in the soil for long and is spread though seeds, plants and dead plant material. The bacterial disease spreads very quickly.


    1. Small yellow-green legions and necrotic patches on the leaves. This could also take the form of brown legions with yellow halos or patchy areas of dark and light green.

    2. Leaf edge tissue becomes dry and brittle.

    3. The symptoms will show first on older foliage, moving onto new growth soon after. Leaves eventually drop off.

    4. Stems can develop brown cankers.

    5. Fruits display pale, water-soaked legions, which later harden and become brown.


    There is currently no cure so it is advised to remove any infected plants from the greenhouse to prevent spread. Other preventative measures include,

    1. Prevent the initial infection with the use high quality or treaded seeds.

    2. Keep your greenhouse well ventilated and plants well spaced.

    3. Ease the spread of the disease by removing any infected plants from the greenhouse. General greenhouse hygiene is also crucial, so remove any dead plant material regularly.

    4. The bacteria can survive in dead plant matter in the soil and be transmitted to plants through splashing water. Water gently or bottom water in a tray placed under the pot.

    5. A copper-based fungicide can prevent further spread of the disease if used in the early stages of infection.

About Us
Founded by Sarah Hunt in 2008, World of Chillies is an online chilli shop specialising in chilli plants, seeds, gifts, dried chillies and sauces.

We are dedicated to the pursuit of everything that is hot and great.

We stock an extensive range of chilli plugs and plants varieties from around the world. VAT reg 223 1269 42


Hastings, East Sussex, U.K.
GMT — Greenwich Mean Time

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