Chilli Plant Problems

When all is not well with your plants, this section of Grow Chillies can hopeful help you out. Check out the other sections of Pests, Problems and diseases and make sure you identify your issue correctly.
Check the Chilli Health Care Plan section and get your growing conditions right to prevent problems occurring in the first place.
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  • flower drop

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    This is quite a common problem, particularly early in the season. Especially with chinense varieties, you will find that the first flush of flowers either not set at all, or set only for the newly forming pod to drop with the flower. Usually, the problem just rectifies itself and the next flowers set. However, there are a few common causes of flower drop.


    Flowers dropping from plant before developing into chilli pods.


    1.  Pollination failure.  Chilies are both insect pollinated and self pollinating so you can remedy this by giving flowers a gentle shake or brushing gently from flower to flower with a soft kids paintbrush or similar.

    2.  Overwatering is the most common cause of all chilli growing problems and can cause flower drop.  Underwatering can also cause flower drop. Keep soil moist but not wet. A generous helping of coir or vermiculite in the compost will soak up excess water and release it back as the plant needs it.  

    3. Overfeeding or the wrong feed can cause plants to drop flowers. Once plants start to flower, switch feeds to a high potassium feed such as a half strength tomato feed. Chilli plants have generally not been bred like some super Tomatoes and cannot tolerate such high strength feed.

    4.  Unstable temperatures such as cold nighttime and high daytime ones.  Stabilize temperature by insulating at night or ventilating better in the day.

  • blossom end rot

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    This condition develops in green fruits of chillies, peppers and tomatoes. It a problem caused by Calcium deficiency, caused either by a sudden increase in demand for Calcium as the fruit develops or by excessive nitrogen, reducing the uptake of Calcium. It is essential for plants to have a good flow of water. Plants is small pots are particularly susceptible to drying out and water logging, which can prevent the distribution of calcium around the plant.


    1. Blossom End Rot starts with a small legion at the blossom end of the fruit that appears water soaked. It affects fruits that are quite well developed.

    2. As the legion grows, it becomes sunken and turns colour to dark brown and in severe cases it can completely cover the lower half pod the fruit.


    1. Adjust watering to keep moisture levels more constant.
    2. Check and adjust your plant feed, to avoid excessive nitrogen which promotes leafy growth, leaving less calcium for fruit.
    3. Foliar application of calcium are recommended by some, but usually quite poor in rectifying fruit problem due to poor movement around the plant.
    4. Foliar application of Magnesium Sulphate (Epsom Salts) can aid the uptake of calcium.
    5. Remove affected fruits to prevent plant stress. You will not be able to save these.

  • leaf burn

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    Patches of pale brown, almost papery leaf tissue on otherwise healthy leaves. Water, splashed onto leaves in the heat of the day, acts like a magnifying glass onto the leaf, concentrating the suns energy onto small areas of the leaf.


    1. Light brown to white marks in splash formations or concentrated around the edges of leaves, particularly on lower leaves. The legions generally doesn’t bleed into the leaf, the edges remain sharp and the surrounding area is unaffected.

    2. Affected areas become paper thin, almost transparent. The leaf tissue is completely dead.


    The affected area will not recover but unless the burn is severe, the plant should not be too affected. Leaf burn can be avoided quite easily.
    1. Water in the early morning or evening, out of the heat of the day.
    2. Water slowly, taking care not to splash leaves, or let plants soak water up from a tray placed under the pot.

  • powdery mildew

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    This disease affects chilli plant leaves, typically in the flowering and fruiting stage in the most humid part of the summer. It can severely affect your crop size. The disease looks exactly as its name suggests, like a powdery white mildew.


    1. Patchy growth of white powdery substance that slowly covers the underside of leaves, occasionally on upper side too.

    2. Yellow and brown patches on upper side of leaves, where mildew is present on underside.

    3. Leaf edges may roll upwards to reveal white, powdery growth.

    4. Leaf drop.


    1. Prevention is key with this pathogen. Make sure your plants are well spaced and ventilated so that they can dry out between waterings.

    2. Chemical controls for Powdery Mildew are fungicides, the most effective of which is Myclobutanil. Organic gardeners use Sulphur and Potassium Bicarbonate.

  • edema

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    This is a condition caused by a chilli plant taking on more water through its root system that it can use in growth or transpire through its leaves. It causes strange-looking crystalline growths on leaves. In itself, edema causes little harm but is symptomatic of other problems.


    White crystalline growth particularly on the underside and around leaf veins.


    Check watering levels, soil should be moist but not wet. A more likely cause is poor ventilation so that plants are growing in an over-humid environment. Increase ventilation and space between plants.

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.
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