Pepper Plant Leaves Curling - What Causes & How to Fix

Written by Ivy

Jan 26 2023

Pepper Plant Leaves Curling - What Causes & How to Fix

The health of a plant can first and most clearly be seen in the leaves of pepper plants. The Pepper Plant leaves curling could be a sign of a number of different issues, if you notice them. The first place where diseases, infestations, and water stress manifest themselves is in the leaves. If the leaves of your pepper plant begin to curl up, some of the potential causes are listed below.

Main Causes of Pepper Plant Leaves Curling:

  • Overwatering
  • Plant Edema
  • Nutrient Deficiency
  • Too Much Light
  • Insect Damage

This article will explain the specific causes of the curling leaves on chili, bell pepper, and jalapeno plants as well as what you can do to correct the situation.

Why Are My Pepper Leaves Curling?

Pepper Leaves Curling

Five factors stand out among the many possible causes of pepper leaf curl as the most likely culprits. Try to diagnose your problem and treat it appropriately because every person's presentation of the problem differs slightly.

When a plant's leaves curl, it's an indication that it's stressed, and you can usually fix it by making a small change to your regular plant care regimen. You could experience leaf curl whether you're growing in the ground or in containers.


Maintaining an excessively wet soil environment is one of the worst things you can do to your pepper plants. Overwatering will cause a lot of issues for pepper plants, which prefer evenly moist soil.

Pepper leaves can curl from overwatering because the roots can't get enough oxygen and nutrients from the soil. Yellowing leaves and stunted plant growth are typical side effects of overwatering.

Poor drainage is the main cause of pepper plant overwatering. To allow extra water to drain from drainage holes in pots, make sure to remove the bottom saucer.

The solution: Water only when the soil is adequately dry. When the soil is 1-2 Prime below the surface, or when you lift the pot to feel the plant's weight, you can tell that the soil is dry enough to water.

If you allow the plant to dry too much, the leaves will begin to wilt, but will quickly rebound after being watered. You can also try using a cheap water meter from amazon to check soil moisture levels.

Plant Edema

Pepper Leaves Curling

A common cellular disorder brought on by erratic water retention is called plant edema. In peppers, it will manifest as a whitish, crystallized texture beneath the leaves. Plant leaves may curl under severe edema.

On indoor pepper plants, edema is more frequent, though it can happen anywhere. Although the disorder is not fully understood, in our experience, a few environmental changes can be beneficial.

The solution: By moving the air around your plants, you can improve aeration for indoor plants. Additionally, if the air is extremely dry, increase humidity or mist plants with water every morning first thing.

Nutrient Deficiency

Pepper Leaves Curling

A nutrient deficiency is one potential reason for "bubbled" curling. For the growth of pepper plants, calcium is an additional nutrient. Among other things, it is used by plants to develop strong cell walls.

Plants that are calcium-deficient will have curled or bubbly leaves because they are unable to grow properly. There may also be other nutrient deficiency symptoms, such as yellow leaves, and this is sometimes accompanied by brown spots on the leaves.

The solution: Measure the pH and calcium of the soil. The amount of available nutrients that a plant can absorb and use depends on the acidity of the soil.

If your soil does need more calcium, it can be added in a variety of ways (cal-mag sprays, for example).) Adding just one nutrient can result in a deficiency in the other, so make sure to also add calcium and magnesium. Check the ingredients because these nutrients are occasionally, but not always, included in all-purpose fertilizers.

A straightforward, well-balanced fertilizer with calcium and magnesium, Miracle-Gro Organics.

However, not all potting mixtures will contain calcium. To see what nutrients have been added, examine your soil. Send a sample of your soil for analysis if you are planting in the ground.

Too Much Light

Pepper Leaves Curling

You must give your pepper plants light. If you are planting peppers outdoors, lighting is probably not a problem because most pepper varieties prefer full sunlight throughout the growing season.

The incorrect use of indoor grow lights results in a more frequent problem. Grow lights can vary widely in brightness and intensity. You must adhere to the specific light instructions for how close the lights should be to your plants, but they are necessary if you want to grow your own pepper seeds indoors.

If your plants are too close to the light, you will begin to see the leaves curling up and closing in rebellion from the intense light. As a result of this issue, pepper leaves may eventually dry out and fall off, frequently turning brown and crumbling when squeezed.

Be aware that mature peppers are typically less susceptible to this problem than young, delicate plants. Compared to fully grown plants, seedlings are more delicate.

The solution: Adjust your lights a few inches higher if you believe your plants are suffering from light burn. Our grow light needs to be 12-18 inches away from the canopy of leaves.

Also, make sure the lights are set on a timer to be on for 12-16 hours, and off for the rest of the day. A 24/7 light is not good, so make sure the timer is functioning properly!

The problem is not likely to be lighting if your outdoor plants have leaf curl. Inappropriate hardening off is one potential factor. Indoor plants must be gradually adapted to the direct sunlight before being moved outside. Sun scald and curling are two effects of sudden exposure.

Insect Damage

Pepper Leaves Curling

Insect infestations that go unchecked can quickly ruin your garden. They seem to appear out of nowhere, and in just a few days they can completely destroy your plants.

Curling pepper leaves can indicate a pest issue, but usually only affects those particular leaves rather than the plant as a whole. It's possible that the leaves with bubbles and curls are the ones that the insects have been eating.

If the entire pepper plant has curled leaves, one of the other issues mentioned is probably the cause. However, if you notice localized leaf curling, you may have aphids, thrips, spider mites or another pest.

Unfortunately, pest control is harder to do than preventative medicine. You can try to solve the problem and get rid of the majority of the insects, though, by taking some steps.

The solution: Insects that feed on sap should be sprayed with water to remove them. For added security, mist surfaces with a diluted neem oil solution. In order to draw predatory insects that prey on common pests, plant alyssum as well as other advantageous companion plants.

As a preventative measure, neem oil is effective – simply work the suggested amount into your soil before transplanting or spray a diluted solution onto the foliage.

Other Causes of Pepper Leaves Curling

There are many other possible problems that could result in curling leaves, even though the aforementioned causes are the most frequent ones. There are some other, less frequent causes if you are certain that none of the other causes apply or if you have tried and failed.

Your plants could be root bound. In this article, we go into more detail about root-bound plants. Plants kept in too-small containers are the root of this problem. Sometimes tangled roots result in distorted leaves.

Your pepper plants could have a bacterial infection, though this is often accompanied by brown, circular spots. This is frequently brought on by the use of sterilized soil, which can draw in new colonists, or by soil splashing on low-hanging leaves. See more information about pepper plant diseases here.

If you are growing indoors, your plants may suffer from poor pollination, which can cause distorted leaves. Once the flowers have opened, try hand-pollinating the plants or shaking them. Dropped flowers and a scarcity of pepper pods are additional problems related to this one.

Pepper Plant Growing Tips

  • When planting pepper plants, always choose a sunny location.
  • To prevent calcium locking, make sure the soil pH ranges from 5.8 to 6.8.
  • Plants should be spaced between 18 and 24 inches apart.
  • Before you plant, amend the soil with a lot of compost and organic materials.


While it can be unsettling to notice wrinkled, curled leaves on your pepper plants, most of the time the issue can be resolved fairly easily if you deal with the root of the problem as soon as possible. Always look for pests and poor environmental conditions before investigating plant diseases or herbicide damage in more detail, if necessary.

Don't anticipate the curled pepper leaves to straighten out and appear completely healthy after treatment. Even if the plant doesn't regenerate into a lovely specimen, the problem may still have been solved.

Expect new leaves to look properly formed and understand that the curling leaves will remain curled. Avoiding past mistakes in the future is the best way to deal with the majority of planting problems!

How Do You Know If You Are Overwatering Pepper Plants?

Check the top one or two inches of soil with your finger before watering the pepper plant. Water it if necessary if it is dry. A common side effect of overwatering is root rot, which causes the leaves to yellow and curl.

Can Peppers Recover from Overwatering?

The length of time the roots have been submerged in wet soil will determine the answer. The amount of soil moisture has a direct relationship to the root damage. Analyze the damage and the roots. You'll need to start a new plant if the majority of the roots are rotting.

How Long Does It Take for Pepper to Grow?

Most sweet peppers take 60 to 90 days to mature. The process takes 150 days for hot peppers. From the day of transplanting to the day the plant bears a full-sized fruit, seed packets provide information on the number of days it takes for maturity.

How is Pepper Harvested?

The fruits of the pepper plant are harvested by picking them as soon as they turn red and then immersing them in boiling water for about 10 minutes. Hot water causes pepper to turn dark brown when dipped in it. The following three to four days are spent drying in the sun.